Relationships take work. And when couples don’t deal with issues – even small things, like leaving the cap off the toothpaste – resentment builds. Here are the most common reasons men resent women, and how to protect your relationship:

  • Negativity. Marriage therapist Dr. Bob Navarra says that women are more likely to bring up a problem for discussion. But men tend to get defensive if you start that discussion with something negative. So, skip comments like “Why can’t you just bring your dishes to the kitchen? Are you that lazy?” And stick to “I-statements,” like, "When you leave dishes in the den, I feel frustrated. I’d really appreciate it if you’d stack them in the sink.”
  • They often involve other people in the relationship. Most men consider what happens between the two of you to be private. And if he finds out that you complained to your friends or family, he finds it humiliating and hurtful, and makes him lose trust in you. If you really need to vent, talk to someone outside your social circle – like a therapist who’s required to keep things confidential.
  • Beware of making decisions without him. Whether you’re buying a dishwasher, booking a vacation, inviting friends for dinner, or signing your kids up for soccer – remember that it affects him too, and he deserves a say. Experts say that making unilateral decisions without consulting your partner can drive you apart.
  • You don’t appreciate the things he does right. Dr. Scott Haltzman wrote The Secrets of Happily Married Women. He says that men need to hear, on a regular basis, that you’re proud of them. And for men, actions speak louder than words. Which means, he may empty the dishwasher to show he cares about you. So, let him know you noticed, and that you appreciate it.