How to Overcome Hurt Feelings and Open Your Heart Again

advice: relationship john gray

Are hurt feelings getting in the way of your relationship?

Everybody makes mistakes. No road is totally smooth. And you’re bound to experience things that keep you from opening your heart again.

What I want you to know is that there is a healthy way to move those emotions “out from between you” so you can give your relationship its best shot.

In this post, I’ll explain what all women can learn and do in order to move past hurt feelings so you can open your heart and experience all the romance and love you deserve.

Hi John,

My boyfriend of five years just asked for us to take some time off and a break from each other.

I’m starting to read Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and taking this opportunity to concentrate on myself and make myself happy instead of relying on him for that.

I just finished reading the segment on how men are like rubber bands, and I’m hopeful that my boyfriend is just stretched to his limit and needs time and space to crave intimacy again.

He told me to be hopeful for our future, but I’m finding this hard to do when he broke my trust and hurt me.

I want my heart to be open if he does decide to come back to me.

I want to know how to handle my feelings of hurt and mistrust and not feel resentment and anger towards him.

– Dee

First of all, I love that Dee is reading Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and taking responsibility for her own happiness.

Besides understanding our differences as men and women, that’s one of the most important principles we teach.

So much of our resentment toward our partners comes because we don’t understand them. So much peace can be found in our hearts when we correctly interpret their seemingly hurtful behavior.

One of the most common misunderstandings is around a man’s need to pull away at times. I’ll break down why your man is pulling away, why that’s actually a good thing, and show you how to open your heart so you can receive his love when he comes back to you.


Making Peace With Our Differences to Ease Hurt Feelings


Those that have already read the book will know that men occasionally need to pull away like a rubber band and take some space.

On a biological level, that space allows them to rebuild their testosterone. Testosterone gives a man well-being and increases his interest in connecting with his partner.

It’s important to keep his testosterone up because intimacy alone will lower his testosterone.

This is because intimacy produces the hormone oxytocin, which lowers testosterone in men.

So remember that when your man pulls away, he’s just trying to solve a problem in the relationship. He’s actually trying to help your connection even if it looks like something else.

In order to build up his testosterone so he can feel good, spring back, and be an interested, turned on, and engaged partner for you — he has to pull away, do things he’s good at, and get messages that he’s successful.

The thing is if he returns and you’re feeling hurt or resentful, he may get the message that he’s not successful, which may cause him to crash (hormonally) and reignite the need to pull away again.

When he pulls away after a conflict, he’s simply rebuilding from his own “crash” so he can be loving and positive again.

Believe it or not, his willingness to take space is an attempt to do good for the relationship!

Understanding this insight and hormonal difference can help you begin to open your heart.


So What Can You Do With Your Real Feelings of Hurt and Resentment?


Good intentions and love alone are not enough to make a relationship work — that’s why studying MarsVenus principles is so important.

As Dee points out, in reading the book, she has recognized that some of her own behaviors have contributed to the relationship challenges she’s experiencing now: She had been relying on her boyfriend to make her happy.

In other words, she’s owning her contribution.

This is huge and a necessary step for each of us in improving our relationships.

The number one way to overcome hurt feelings and resentment is to first recognize personal responsibility.

When you zoom out and look at your contribution to the situation from the outside, there’s an opportunity to take on a different perspective.

Perhaps, like Dee, you’re struggling with hurt feelings and resentment.

With hurt, you have to see how you contributed to the problem to let go of it.

Ask yourself: What did I contribute to this situation?

This isn’t about blaming yourself or getting down on yourself. This is about true reflection and genuine curiosity.

If you’re stuck here, let’s think about what resentment really is.

Resentment is about “I gave and gave and gave, and I didn’t get back.

It’s a feeling of unfairness based on the belief that you’ve put in more and got out less.

Perhaps part of your “contribution” was making a decision to “put in more.”

But, by putting in “more,” what were you expecting that you didn’t get?

After you reflect on your personal contribution, it’s time to examine the expectations behind your hurt feelings and resentment.



Great Expectations (You Can’t Resent an Alligator)


Often, when we’re feeling hurt or resentful, it’s because we expected something that we did not get.

But think about this: You wouldn’t resent an alligator if you put your hand in its mouth, and it bit you.

It’s an alligator. So if you stick your hand in its mouth, it’s gonna bite you.

The difference is that we know what to expect from an alligator, so we can’t resent them.

With our partners, it’s different.

We make up expectations based on what we want or wish for instead of who or how they are.

It may be unrealistic expectations that have caused you to feel hurt, excluded, left out, or unloved, but the great thing about those great expectations is that those feelings are there to show you something!


So instead of holding those feelings against your partner, you can use them to grow by:

  1. Understanding that he did not mean to hurt you or “do this to you.” It was the situation — that you equally participated in — that hurt you. Taking personal responsibility includes not just what you contributed to the situation, but also your reaction to it and how you feel.
  2. Instead of thinking about what you wish he would do as a must-do, (or a demand), think about it as being your preference.

Here’s why:

When you’re in “preferences,” you don’t feel as deeply hurt by things.

You may feel disappointed, but you can let that go much easier.

Remember: You can only let go of hurt and resentment if you choose to. It’s not that simple, but it is a necessary step.


Let Go of Hurt Feelings and Resentment With This Technique


To really let go of hurt feelings, your intention must be:

I want to let go of this hurt because it is getting in the way of love. It is not who I am, how I want to be, or my true self.

This is the foundation.

Then, you have to do the work of actually processing those emotions.


In processing your emotions, you are moving the feelings from the back part of your brain, into the middle, and then the front part of your brain where you can release it.

  • The back part of your brain is where you’re feeling hurt and scared.
  • The middle part is where you’re feeling angry, sad, and afraid.
  • The front part is where you’re feeling simply frustrated, disappointed, or concerned.


Once you’ve processed your feelings, it’s much easier to move forward and communicate with a clear mind.

I’ve written many books on how to process feelings. The simplest is What You Feel You Can Heal, and I’d also recommend Mars And Venus Starting Over for when you feel deeply resentful or hurt from a huge loss.


To start now, here’s a journaling exercise I recommend:

  • Write down all of your feelings of hurt, anger, fears, regrets, and any shame for the mistakes you’ve made.
  • Write down what is working about the relationship. What do you appreciate about the relationship, and what do you love about him?
  • Finally, get in touch with what it is that you want and write that down too. What do you wish for? This will help you not only process your emotions but also get clear on your preferences.


Sometimes, when you’ve been struggling with hurt feelings and resentment for a long time, it can take time to process and let go of all of it.

You have to start over — like a new person — and let him be a new person as well.

You deserve to have your relationship work and grow in love — and I believe in you completely because you’re working so hard to make it happen!


Grow in love,


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