The Mating Grounds

10 Strategies to Overcome Contempt and Build Stronger Relationships

How to Overcome Contempt in Relationships

Have you ever experienced a relationship where you feel like you’re constantly being judged, criticized, or belittled? Where you feel like your partner doesn’t really understand you or care about your feelings?

If so, you may be experiencing contempt, one of the most toxic emotions that can exist in a relationship. What is Contempt?

Contempt is a feeling of disrespect, disgust, and disdain towards someone else. It can manifest as eye-rolling, sarcasm, name-calling, or mocking.

Contempt is often accompanied by a sense of superiority, as if the person displaying it believes they are better than the other person. When contempt exists in a relationship, it can erode trust, intimacy, and connection.

Causes of Contempt in Relationships

Contempt often arises from long-standing unresolved issues or unmet needs. Resentment can build up when one partner feels like they are not being heard or valued.

Blame can be placed on the other partner for problems in the relationship. Sometimes, one partner may feel like they have outgrown the other, leading to feelings of contempt.

Importance of Addressing Contempt

If left unchecked, contempt can lead to the end of a relationship. It can cause emotional pain and suffering, and can negatively impact other areas of life.

That’s why it’s important to address contempt as soon as possible, before it causes irreparable damage.

Assuming Love in Actions and Behaviors

One way to overcome contempt is to assume that your partner loves you and has your best interests at heart, even when their actions or words may seem hurtful or disrespectful. This means giving them the benefit of the doubt and looking for positive explanations for their behavior.

By assuming love, you can shift your focus from resentment and anger to understanding and empathy.

Avoiding Ascribing Intention to Actions

Another way to overcome contempt is to avoid ascribing negative intention to your partner’s actions. Often, miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings and assumptions that aren’t accurate.

By focusing on empathy and understanding, it’s possible to find common ground and get past disagreements.

Truly Forgiving and Letting Go

Forgiveness is an essential part of overcoming contempt. It’s important to truly forgive your partner, not just say the words without actually letting go of the hurt and anger.

Forgiveness means acknowledging the pain and accepting what happened, but choosing to move forward without holding on to grudges or resentment.

Taking Responsibility for Own Actions

Taking responsibility for your own actions is also important in overcoming contempt. By practicing introspection, you can identify patterns in your behavior and work on improving yourself.

This can help reduce the likelihood of conflict and make it easier to work through disagreements.

Seeing Situation from Different Perspectives

Another way to overcome contempt is to try to see the situation from your partner’s perspective. By putting yourself in their shoes and trying to understand their point of view, you can gain empathy and find common ground.

This can be especially helpful when dealing with difficult or contentious topics.

Seeking Unbiased Third Party Analysis

Sometimes, it can be helpful to seek outside help in overcoming contempt. A mediator or counselor can provide an unbiased analysis of the situation and offer strategies for resolving conflict and improving communication.

This can be especially helpful when the relationship is particularly strained or when both partners are having difficulty communicating effectively.

Reading Books on Relationships

There are many books available on building healthy relationships, such as Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and The Five Love Languages. Reading books on relationships can provide insight and strategies for overcoming contempt and building stronger connections.

Moving Forward and Avoiding Over-Communication

One important strategy in overcoming contempt is focusing more on actions than words. Instead of talking about problems endlessly or getting stuck in negative patterns of communication, try to focus on taking action to improve the relationship.

This can involve making small changes to your behavior, finding ways to connect with your partner in meaningful ways, or simply spending more time together.

Accepting Apologies Without Conditions

When your partner apologizes for their behavior, it’s important to accept their apology without attaching conditions or strings. This means not bringing the issue up again in the future and not using their past behavior as ammunition in future disagreements.

Accepting apologies with an open mind and heart can help build trust and strengthen the relationship.

Avoiding Overanalyzing

Finally, it’s important to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of overanalyzing and overthinking. Sometimes, acceptance of reality can be the healthiest approach.

This means acknowledging the situation for what it is, without trying to change or manipulate it. Letting go of fear and moving forward with acceptance and healing can be a powerful way to overcome contempt and build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.


In conclusion, contempt can be a destructive force in relationships, but it’s possible to overcome it with effort, understanding, and empathy. By assuming love, avoiding negative assumptions, forgiving and letting go, taking responsibility for our actions, seeking outside help, and focusing on actions instead of words, we can build healthier, stronger relationships that can weather the storms of life.

Remember, relationships are not easy, but with dedication, we can make them worthwhile and fulfilling. In conclusion, recognizing and overcoming contempt in relationships is critical to building healthy, fulfilling connections with our partners.

By assuming positive intent, avoiding negative assumptions, truly forgiving, taking responsibility, and seeking unbiased outside help, we can work through challenging times and become closer and more intimate with our loved ones. While relationships take effort and dedication, the rewards of deeper intimacy and connection are well worth it.

By prioritizing our relationships and committing to overcoming contempt, we can build relationships that last a lifetime.

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