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My husband holds grudges

Elizabeth Louise
Community Member

My husband holds grudges and resentment against me. We had a fight 3 weeks ago, I was really upset over it, and I know that we were both at fault but I chose to let it go and forgot about it because we couldn't see eye to eye on what had happened.

A few days ago I reminded my husband that I had organised a date night and booked a restaurant so that we could spend some time together without the kids as it's been over a year since we last did that.

He replied "Why are you pushing this"? "I don't want to go on a date night"? I was a bit shocked and asked why he doesn't want to spend time with me. He said if we talk about it will cause a fight. I kept probing and basically it was the incident that I forgot about 3 weeks ago that he still hasn't gotten over were he kept trying to blame me

He says it was not "resolved". But how can it be resolved if he can't see what he did wrong? All he can do is focus on my actions. I think this is why I have learnt to just let things go, because we can't even agree on what had happened we have a totally different perspective. So I give up on trying to make him understand my perspective.

The discussion about the date escalated and started another fight. I know I got triggered, upset and I was obviously very tired. The problem when I'm really tired and then get triggered i have had some meltdowns and can't stop crying and yelling. He says the kids can hear me and I need to stop. I'm not really listening at this point as I'm so emotional. Eventually I start thinking and go have a shower to calm down. But this time, even that didn't really help. He says it's a deal breaker. I know I overeacted and I should have gone outside or I should have done something to stop the meltdown. But I struggle when I'm exhausted after work and stressed and upset. I know it's something I need to work on.

I think the main cause is a communication breakdown and he should tell me how he feels at a better time and not wait until things come up. Also he doesn't let things go like I do, I wish he would. I know he needs to talk things through and "resolve" things. How do I help him let things go when we don't see eye to eye?

He thinks I'm invalidating his feelings when I do things like organise a date night. Its as though i cant be happy if hes not. I'm not saying things are perfect between us, I'm just trying to help us and make things better. I want more joy and happiness and less negativity and stress.

8 Replies 8

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

In couples relationships it is really important imo that individuals are permitted to remain as individuals, -be themselves. This requires that both parties don't compare the other with them, to have expectations the other should tackle problems like they do is wanting them to act like they do.

So if I can use that to highlight one part of your post "Also he doesn't let things go like I do, I wish he would".

It is no different with your condemnation for him "holding grudges". You might not believe he has justification to be angry for a considerable amount of time, but to him that's how he feels so it is justified. " and I know that we were both at fault but I chose to let it go and forgot about it because we couldn't see eye to eye on what had happened."

Here you are saying -my method is right, I moved on, he is wrong, he held a grudge.

Relationships whereby such differences exist in their processes of resolving issues should accept the other party for their natural methods of handling situations and that is carried out in their own eyes, how they see it.

"I know he needs to talk things through and "resolve" things. How do I help him let things go when we don't see eye to eye? Here you show, you know he does have different requirements however there is ways to let him "vent". The process requires calm, caring approach with a listening ear. If you are not ready to do that then you should have the same consideration given to you, from him as the above examples. His responsibility is to chat with you when you've calmed down and so on.

You said "I think the main cause is a communication breakdown and he should tell me how he feels at a better time and not wait until things come up." on the other hand you acknowledge that your yelling, over reacting, emotions and so on is something to "work on". I suggest all these issues are as important as each other.

I do think couples counselling would help you both enormously.

In the meantime, the thread below will help also. Just read the first post.


Beyondblue topic relationship strife? the peace pipe

Beyondblue topic talking to men- some tips

I hope things settle down.



Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Elizabeth Louise, I am sorry that this has been happening and wonder whether you could call this 'emotional abuse', either way.


Hi Geoff,

Yes i can see how it would be emotional abuse from both sides.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Elizabeth Louise,

I have some experience with this in my past relationship as my ex had a fairly explosive temper whereas I am more of a slow burn and it would take me a while for me to get angry but once I got to that point it was hard to let things go. The problem that I had was that my ex was fairly combative/argumentative and would lash out, which is something I would never do. I would feel that I was prioritizing the relationship by choosing to let things go before they happened or bringing them up calmly. Whereas he would really go for the jugular and say all manner of nasty things. I would find it hard to let go as it really felt like a betrayal to me and the things that were said were pretty awful whereas I feel that there are still rules during arguments, you still need to remember that you love this person. Similarly, he would then book things like dinners and then flare up again when I “wasn’t over it yet”. But I don’t think you can really dictate how long someone’s hurt should last. He often felt that I should get over it and move on and similarly accused me of “holding grudges”. Whereas I felt that he spoke to me abusively and disrespected me and it wasn’t cool. The reality is that neither of these conflict resolution styles are particularly healthy and they’re certainly not effective, rather they create more issues than they resolve. If it continues this way all it will do is create distance between you both. So you need to sit down and work out how you are going to meet in the middle, rather than just wish the other person was more like you. You need to stop exploding at each other and making excuses for that, and have a rule that if things get heated, you put a pin in it and walk away and revisit on another day when you can talk about it calmly. Ask your partner what his ideal conflict resolution style would be and vice versa and you both need to work towards creating that. IMO the “letting it go” after the argument has already been had is way too late, there’s obviously damage that’s being done during the fight and so strategies need to be implemented earlier.

Hello Elizabeth Louise, when we are first in a r/lationship and experiencing the honeymoon period, we can cope with emotional abuse, but as time progresses then this emotional abuse can become too dominating and affect us in so many different ways that can go against our principles, that's when it becomes a problem.

Best wishes.


Thanks Tony

I have really thought about what you said and I'll take this advice on board. I'll try suggesting marriage counselling again.

We need a plan and to learn how to vent and listen actively when we are both calm and when things get heated to both know how to pull the pin and revisit when we are both calm.

We have been married for 15 years but for the last 2 years, more recently he has been threatening divorce in anger in fights like this. This is what happened this week.

That really affected me. I have been upset all week and yesterday i was really not OK, not myself and I had lost hope.

Last night he came home after work appy like nothing had happened. This makes me feel as though it's a threat and he shouldn't say it in anger. I think it's just so damaging.

But when I see him come home from work happy and smiling I feel happier. I feel hope again.

I have asked him not to say that in anger larer when he is calm and he says it's not a threat that's how he feels.

I understand things have been rocky lately and maybe he has thoughts that "we cant work" but we have had good times too and I feel that every time we argue he feels like giving up.

I still think he shouldn't use the term lightly if he doesn't really mean it or wont follow through. I have fear because the threat started with the word "seperate" 2 years ago and he had his walls up for 6 months which caused alot of stress and pain. Now the threat has moved on to "Divorce". So I feel like I need to wall on eggshells and try really hard not to cause problems. But it's unavoidable i can't prevent all conflict.

Hi Elizabeth L,

Thankyou for replying. I worried about how I could respond to you in detail that included some confronting well, almost criticisms. To take all that on board is a reflection of your character and I'm most pleased because, my intent is that you and your husband remain together happily, nothing more.

The "divorce" word or similar is imo a reflection of desperation, a warning of sorts as well eg "if you continue then we are finished" frame of mind. As I said we as individuals all think and express differently and this is his way of doing so. I've come across many examples of how different people express themselves and we do by nature interpret the words in ways we compare it with our own language. The best approach to this is seek clarification with communication, that cuppa 30 minutes after an argument (as in that link I left for you - relationship strife) to begin talking again.

From a male perspective I dont like sitting down talking about issues, its like a school class thing, hard to explain. In fact males and females differ so much it is the area that we need to be more flexible in our dealings with each other. The book "Men are from mars, women are from Venus" was a best seller because of it and its highly recommended to read it. Truly amazing how we interpret words from the two sexes. Some relationships like yours has a notable gap in this way, that your natural female side and his natural male side is more a gulf than a gap, hence your words are interpreted unlike how the person meant them to be, visa versa. Alternative words are said that is more a message than a statement eg "I'll divorce you" is more like "I'm desperate and I dont know how to process our differences, I'm at the end of it all, I need help". Unfortunately couples have a tendency to think they are capable of sorting out the problems themselves and that counselling wont help. In my experience I know differently. At least following counselling if it doesnt work you've tried a third party to help out.

There is a possibility of other factors. Mental health issues like anxiety, depression etc. These factors can lurk in the background but in effect they can be the instigator as can be lack of sleep.


Worry can compound to magnify issues




Thanks Tony.

That makes so much sense! Havnt really heard another males perspective. It's a little reassuring.

I have the book Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. I'll have to read it again. I first read it in our first year of marriage.

I know sleep deprevation was a major problem the last couple of years. My husband had nerve pain which affected the duration and quality of sleep.

I know sleep really affects my mood too. That last fight we had, I woke up tired, didn't have a good sleep. I'm aware of when my addiction to Netflix has impacted my sleep recently. We both have fit bits and monitor our sleep.

Thanks again for your perspective. Always very insightful.