10 things you should never say to your partner if you want your relationship to survive, according to psychology

There’s a fine line between open communication and destructive dialogue in a relationship.

This difference is rooted in your choice of words. Saying the wrong thing can unknowingly sabotage your relationship, while the right words can foster growth and connection.

According to psychology, some phrases are potential landmines. Careless use of these can cause irreparable damage to your relationship.

In this article, I’ll reveal the 10 things you should never say to your partner if you want your relationship to survive.

Let’s get started. 

1) “You’re just like your parent”

In the realm of relationships, certain phrases serve as emotional triggers. One such trigger is comparing your partner unfavorably to their parents.

Comparisons are a breeding ground for resentment. And when it’s about someone’s parents, it can hit even harder.

This is because our parents play a crucial role in shaping our identities, and any negative comparisons can feel personal and hurtful.

Famous psychologist Carl Jung once said, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.”

So, by saying “You’re just like your parent,” you’re not only criticizing your partner but also invoking their deepest insecurities about inheriting undesirable traits from their parents.

A relationship thrives on acceptance and understanding. Instead of making such comparisons, focus on discussing the specific behavior or trait that bothers you.

2) “Why can’t you be more like…”

We all have a story to tell, and mine is no different. I once made the mistake of comparing my partner to a friend who was seemingly more organized and disciplined. The fallout? Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.

The phrase “Why can’t you be more like…” can be a dagger in the heart of your relationship. It not only belittles your partner but also creates a sense of inadequacy and resentment.

Legendary psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”

When we compare our partners to others, we’re indirectly telling them they aren’t living up to their potential, which can be incredibly disheartening.

From my personal experience, I’ve learned that it’s better to appreciate the unique qualities of my partner instead of comparing them to others. After all, it’s our individuality that makes us special.

3) “Maybe we should just break up”

Let’s get real. We’ve all probably said something in the heat of the moment that we didn’t mean. I’m guilty of it too.

In a particularly intense argument with my partner, I blurted out, “Maybe we should just break up.” It was a moment of anger, not a true reflection of what I wanted.

This phrase can create a deep-rooted fear and insecurity within your partner. It suggests that you’re willing to end the relationship at any sign of conflict, which can make your partner feel unsettled and unvalued.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, once stated, “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love.”

Love makes us vulnerable, and threatening to break up can heighten this vulnerability drastically.

In retrospect, I wish I had taken a deep breath and chosen my words more carefully.

Conflict is natural in any relationship, but it’s how we handle it that truly matters.

Always remember: words hold power, use them wisely.

4) “I don’t care”

In my journey of love, I’ve come to realize that indifference can be more damaging than outright hostility. I recall a time when, in a bid to avoid confrontation, I responded with an “I don’t care” to my partner’s concerns. I thought it would defuse the situation. I was wrong.

The phrase “I don’t care” can give your partner a feeling of being insignificant or unimportant. It dismisses their feelings and can make them feel unheard and undervalued.

Psychologist William James noted, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

By saying “I don’t care”, you’re essentially depriving your partner of this basic human need.

In hindsight, a more empathetic response could have made all the difference. Acknowledging your partner’s feelings and showing concern is integral to fostering a healthy relationship.

5) “You always…” or “You never…”

It might seem logical to use absolutes like “always” or “never” to emphasize a point, but I’ve learned this can be counterproductive. These words can make your partner feel cornered and defensive, as they suggest a pattern of behavior that they might not even be aware of.

The use of absolutes can also create a negative narrative about your partner’s character, which can be detrimental to the relationship.

Albert Ellis, a renowned psychologist, stated, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

By using phrases like “you always” or “you never”, we’re indirectly placing the blame on our partner for our unhappiness.

A more constructive approach would be to discuss specific instances or behaviors that have caused distress.

After all, blaming doesn’t foster change—understanding does.

6) “You’re overreacting”

Discrediting someone’s feelings is a surefire way to breed resentment in a relationship. Telling your partner they’re “overreacting” dismisses their emotions and makes them feel invalidated.

Feelings are subjective, and what might seem like an overreaction to you could be a perfectly reasonable response to your partner. The key lies in understanding and empathy, not dismissal.

Psychologist Carl Rogers said, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good.”

Instead of labeling your partner’s reactions, try to understand where they’re coming from. Their feelings are real and valid, even if they don’t align with your own.

7) “Fine, you win”

In the past, I made the mistake of treating arguments with my partner like a competition. The phrase “Fine, you win” slipped out more times than I’d like to admit. But I’ve since realized that in a relationship, winning an argument often means losing peace.

Using this phrase implies that the conversation is a battle to be won, rather than a collaborative effort to find common ground. It can also suggest that you’re only agreeing to end the argument, not because you understand or agree with your partner’s viewpoint.

Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson stated, “Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.”

This quote rings true in conflict resolution within relationships. It’s not about who’s right or wrong; it’s about understanding each other and finding a solution that respects both partners’ feelings.

8) “I wish I never met you”

Let’s dive deep and bare our souls here. We’ve all said things we didn’t mean in the heat of a fight. One phrase that slipped out during a particularly heated argument with my partner was, “I wish I never met you”. The words hung heavy in the air long after the fight ended.

This phrase, filled with regret and resentment, can deeply hurt your partner and cause lasting damage to your relationship. It brings into question the very foundation of your relationship and can cause your partner to feel unloved and unwanted.

Renowned psychologist John Bowlby said, “What cannot be communicated to the [m]other cannot be communicated to the self.”

This quote emphasizes the importance of open, honest, and mindful communication.

In hindsight, I wish I had chosen my words more carefully. It’s crucial to remember that words, once spoken, can’t be taken back.

Always strive to express your feelings without attacking your partner’s character or questioning the value of your relationship.

9) “You’re acting just like my ex”

Here’s a counterintuitive truth: referencing your ex in a current relationship, especially in a negative context, can be harmful. I once made the mistake of telling my partner, “You’re acting just like my ex.” It didn’t go down well.

This phrase can spark jealousy and insecurity and may lead your partner to question their uniqueness in your eyes. It might also make them feel like they’re being constantly compared to a ghost from your past.

In retrospect, I realize it would have been better to address the specific behavior that was bothering me, rather than bringing up my ex.

Comparisons don’t resolve conflict; clear communication does.

10) “Whatever”

I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of ending a heated discussion with a dismissive “whatever”. It may seem like an easy way out of an escalating argument, but I’ve learned from personal experience that it’s anything but constructive.

“Whatever” can be interpreted as you not caring about your partner’s feelings or the issue at hand. It’s a conversation ender that leaves no room for resolution or understanding.

Renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman noted, “In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.”

The phrase “whatever” disregards the emotional mind and negates the importance of empathy in communication.

Looking back, I realize that instead of dismissing the conversation, I should have taken a moment to cool off and then address the issue at hand with a clear and empathetic mind.

After all, good communication is key to any successful relationship.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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