Resolving Resentment and Grudges

I have a very predictable cycle with my boyfriend. It pretty much goes madly in love, anger, resentment, madly in love…repeat. I think I completed that cycle a full 12 times yesterday. Minimum. I found him still at home when I got back from my Nia class in the morning, on the couch wrapped in blankets.

Two things to note: 1) My boyfriend is a workaholic. He will never admit that and is incredibly dedicated to his work, but he goes overboard, pushes himself to hard and is often at home until 10 or 11 at night still going through e-mails and doing work. 2) We have totally opposing schedules 80% of the time, so when we do have time together, it is precious and appreciated and filled with things we both want to do to enjoy each other.

So I knew if he was home he must’ve been very sick and I was surprised to find that rather than being happy that I could see him for a whole day, I was angry that he didn’t give me some notice. Yes, it was probably a split second decision to stay home that morning, but I had a list of things I wanted to do and why couldn’t he be sick somewhere else?

Seriously? That’s what I thought? I’m a terrible person for being so angry that he’s home.

And thus I went from madly in love, to anger, to resentment.

For some this takes much longer and can be over much larger things. So how do we deal with it when grudges build and resentment mounts? The key to resolution is forgiveness and it is so much easier said than done.

Yesterday to deal with my building resentment, I had to mentally step back and look at the larger picture. Workaholic boyfriend is home sick, I have a list of things I want to get done and he is in the way. His health is way more important than vacuuming. Then I removed myself from the situation to try and internalize what I had just come up with. I went grocery shopping and along the way, my water bottle opened up in my purse, soaking everything I had in it. Including my beloved planner. I came home, told him about it, he mourned with me over my bloated planner and just like that I was back to madly in love because I remembered how he could relate with me and comfort me over things that were way more important than the vacuuming. And then he moved his stuff so I could get to the floor in the living room.

I know it is not always that easy. In some places it takes more than a botched grocery shopping trip and some mutual grief to get over larger grudges. It takes a lot of recognizing emotions, understanding them and then forgiving yourself and the person who has hurt you.

Ultimately if you can recognize your own cycles of resentment and find out how to resolve them quickly, you can get back to being madly in love. But more importantly, recognizing that they are cycles and will phase out if you want them to and try and ride the wave until they do.

Oh, and I ended up finishing my to do list anyway. Thanks, boyfriend!

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