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Old 12-09-2012, 01:59 PM
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rory rory is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 497

I'll try some analogies that come to mind in trying to define the issue.

Imagine you were single. Your single friends had loads of dates, but you had none. Would you feel similar feelings of resentment? Possibly. What do you think would help there? Probably the last thing you would consider is ending those friendships to not have to feel the feelings. Talking to your friend about the feelings, and have them support you would maybe help some, but you would only bring it up once or maybe a few times. Definitely not regularly or every time your friend tells you about the date they had.

Another example. You and your wife both have jobs, which are just fine. Both of you feel you'd like to move to tasks that are more rewarding and challenging. She gets a promotion, and suddenly has the dream job you both wished for. She shines in her new job, which takes more of her time, but she is happier than ever. Meanwhile, years go by, and you're stuck in your old job. It is still just fine, but you feel resentful that you haven't got the break your wife got. Also, the extra hours she dedicates her new job lead you to have more time by yourself. What to do here?

With the feelings, to an extent you need to understand why you have them and accept them. You can't stop feeling resentful just by wishing you didn't. However, I think it is important to clarify to yourself what is a relationship problem and what is your problem. If you manage the feelings as a relationship problem, I think that will harm your relationship with your wife.

Partnerships are about support, so it is the right thing to do to talk with her about your feelings and let her support you. However, when it is one's actions that are the source of bad feelings to one's partner, supporting your partner is often quite taxing. Just like with friends, you wouldn't want to step on their date-stories with your bad feelings, and would have limits to how much support you seek from them - a romantic relationship is also give and take, and you need to balance the support she needs to give with also supporting her and having limits around how much you unload on her.

It is cool she is able to listen to you without feeling like she has to fix it, and it is good that (if?) you don't expect her to fix it. Because just as it would be completely unreasonable for you to wish she quit her new, amazing job just so you wouldn't have to feel like such a failure, it would be equally unreasonable for you to wish she dumped the other guys for those reasons.

I think it would help you some to try to learn, with time and practice, to frame it differently. If you had searched for a new shiny job for 5 years, and were feeling like shit about it all, what would you do? Quit the job search? Take a break? Change your circumstances? Give it less of your energy? Try to accept that it just might not happen for you? Try to find other things you enjoy?

Maybe it's time to accept that this is your life for now. Maybe, at some point, you find a partner and things will change. But this is your life. It's not on hold until you get there. So, how do you live like this and be happy? How do you change your perception or your situation so that you are more happy and satisfied and less resentful? What kind of things do you want in life? How can you pursue them? What do you want to focus on and what do you not want to dwell on? What kind of life do you want to lead, yourself? Not what you want your couple-life to be like; but what you want your life to be like? Figure it out and start moving towards it.
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