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What To Do When You Hate Your Spouse

No marriage is perfect. Too often when partners seek a perfect or idealized version of marriage, they run up against a wall. Expecting something you will never obtain can lead to resentment, frustration, and anger. Marital hatred is a real phenomenon, especially for couples in lengthy marriages. Although the feeling is authentic, it’s usually fleeting, and the couple learns to manage these emotions in the natural course of their long-term relationship.

Although marriage researchers agree it’s normal to experience moments of hatred or disgust toward your partner, remaining cemented in these feelings is not acceptable. When you look at your partner and question how the relationship arrived at this point, who you have become, or where to go from here, thinking divorce is your only option, shift your mindset to practice these five healthier management techniques.

  1. Quit idealizing relationships. A long-term relationship demands much more work than a hook-up or date; it requires the actions of love - not just words. Commit to your partner when you aren’t feeling it and put effort into the relationship when you’re exhausted or unmotivated. Love is a verb, but words alone won’t sustain a long-term relationship. A good marriage isn’t a Disney fairytale; it involves giving, serving, and loving another person even when you’re not in the mood.

  2. Healthy marriages aren’t always rainbows and butterflies. Happiness isn’t constant, nor is it mentally healthy to feel happy all the time. Every couple experiences moments of closeness, cohesiveness, disruption, and repair followed by a return to closeness. This scenario repeats, and you become more capable of learning how to better manage the stages the longer you stay together. Remember that relationships never exist in perfect bliss, and moments of disdain or hatred happen.

  3. Daily check-ins reduce moments of hatred between couples. Feelings of dissatisfaction and lack of partner support lead to greater resentment and frustration. To counter these emotions, establish daily check-ins. Ask your partner about their day and ways you can help improve it. Minimize the days of resentment and hatred toward your partner by offering your appreciation to them each day.

  4. Tackle the little things before they grow. Learn how to talk to each other during conflict. Once couples become defensive, loud, and angry, no one wins - and the relationship loses. One of the single most impactful actions a couple can take to improve the health of their long-term relationship is to speak with a professional to learn how to fight fair and with mutual respect.

  5. Offer space and practice acceptance to deepen intimacy. True intimacy can be reached once we begin to accept our partner’s imperfections. This doesn’t mean you deny their faults. Rather, you feel the frustration while acknowledging them as unchanging traits. Re-direct your focus toward your partner’s strengths and make daily gratitude lists detailing what you appreciation most to replace your contemptuous feelings with admiration and fondness. When we fully accept our partner’s strengths and weaknesses, we enter a more deeply intimate and emotionally mature partnership.

In a new relationship it’s hard to imagine ever disliking or hating your partner, but these feelings arise when we feel unhappy with ourselves. Sometimes we don’t respond as well as we’d like or blame our partner for not simplifying our life. Getting in touch with your feelings, speaking honestly with your partner about those feelings, and planning to work on them together is key for long-term relationship success.


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