8 phrases you should never say to your partner if you want your relationship to last

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Navigating the world of relationships can be like walking through a minefield. One wrong phrase, one misguided comment, and you risk detonating a conflict that could cause lasting damage.

Communication in a relationship isn’t about saying whatever comes to mind. It’s about understanding your partner’s perspective, expressing your feelings respectfully, and fostering an environment of mutual trust and understanding.

Certain phrases, however, can act as emotional grenades. They may seem harmless on the surface, but they carry an underlying message that can erode trust, breed resentment, or spark unnecessary conflict.

Avoiding these phrases is crucial if you want your relationship to stand the test of time. Let’s explore what they are.

1) “If you loved me, you would…”

One phrase that can cause significant damage in a relationship is “If you loved me, you would…”. This phrase might seem innocuous, but it carries an implicit threat and an emotional manipulation that can undermine trust and foster resentment.

The problem with this phrase is that it links love with specific actions or behaviors. It creates a transactional view of a relationship, where love is conditional upon fulfilling certain expectations or demands.

This phrase also sets up a power dynamic where one partner is trying to control the other’s behavior by leveraging their feelings of love. This can breed resentment and conflict, as the other person may feel coerced into doing something they’re not comfortable with.

Moreover, it’s an attempt to avoid direct communication about one’s needs and feelings. Instead of saying “I feel neglected when you don’t spend time with me”, for example, one might say “If you loved me, you’d spend time with me”. This sidesteps the vulnerability of expressing one’s feelings openly and honestly.

2) “You’re just like your mother/father.”

Drawing comparisons between your partner and their parents can be a sensitive topic and can easily lead to resentment. This phrase is often used as a low blow during heated arguments, and it’s rarely helpful or constructive.

The assumption behind this statement is that your partner shares the negative traits you associate with their parents. Not only is this unfair to your partner, but it also dismisses their individuality and personal growth.

In my own experience, I have found that this phrase usually arises from frustration or impatience. The key is to address the specific behaviour that bothers you, rather than resorting to hurtful comparisons.

3) “You always…” or “You never…”

When it comes to communication in a relationship, absolute language like “you always” or “you never” can be particularly destructive. These phrases tend to amplify a conflict and create a defensive reaction, making it difficult for your partner to hear your underlying concern.

The truth is, few of us “always” or “never” do anything. By using these words, we’re exaggerating the situation, which can make our partner feel attacked and misunderstood. Instead, try expressing your feelings without making sweeping generalizations about your partner’s behavior.

This topic is something I delve into in my video on the complexities of finding a life partner. In this video, I reflect on my personal experiences and the lessons I’ve learned about communication in relationships.

If you find these insights helpful and want to explore more about living a life with more purpose and freedom, consider joining over 20,000 others who have subscribed to my YouTube channel. Click here to subscribe and continue on this journey with us.

4) “Why can’t you be more like…?”

Comparison is the thief of joy, and this is especially true in relationships. The phrase “Why can’t you be more like…?” is a direct assault on your partner’s self-esteem and individuality. Not only does it make them feel inadequate, but it also shows a lack of acceptance for who they are.

It’s important to remember that each of us is a unique individual with our own strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Trying to mold your partner into someone else is not only disrespectful, but it also goes against the essence of authenticity that I believe is the foundation of any strong relationship.

Rather than wishing your partner were different, embrace their uniqueness. Celebrate the qualities that make them who they are. After all, it was their distinct characteristics that attracted you to them in the first place.

5) “It’s your fault.”

In any relationship, there will be disagreements and conflicts. It’s part of our human nature. However, blaming your partner and saying “It’s your fault” is a reactive approach that hinders understanding and resolution.

Blaming others is often an easy way out. It can temporarily relieve us of our responsibility and guilt. But in the long run, it creates defensiveness, hurts your partner, and weakens the bond between you.

Instead, consider taking responsibility for your feelings and actions. This doesn’t mean you have to accept blame for everything that goes wrong. It means acknowledging your part in the situation and expressing how you feel without pointing fingers.

6) “I’m fine.”

“I’m fine” is perhaps one of the most deceptive phrases used in relationships. On the surface, it seems like a simple affirmation of wellbeing. But often, it’s used to mask deeper feelings of discontent, hurt, or frustration.

When we say “I’m fine” when we’re not, we avoid confronting our emotions and expressing our needs. This can lead to feelings of resentment and disconnect in the relationship. It also robs our partner of the opportunity to understand and support us.

Being open about our feelings can be challenging. It requires vulnerability and trust. But it’s also a testament to personal authenticity and the value we place on our relationships.

7) “You’re overreacting.”

Dismissing your partner’s feelings with phrases like “You’re overreacting” can be incredibly damaging. It invalidates their emotions, making them feel misunderstood and unimportant.

When we tell someone they’re overreacting, we’re essentially saying that their feelings are wrong or exaggerated. This not only disrespects their emotional experience but also creates a communication barrier. It can make your partner feel hesitant to share their feelings in the future, fearing they might be dismissed again.

Instead, try to understand where they’re coming from. Even if their reaction seems excessive to you, remember that we all perceive and process experiences differently. Respect their emotions and provide a safe space for open communication.

8) “Whatever.”

“Whatever” is a seemingly harmless word. Yet, when used in a dismissive tone during a disagreement, it can be one of the most harmful phrases in a relationship.

This phrase sends a clear message: “I don’t care.” It shows an unwillingness to engage in conversation or address the issue at hand. It creates distance and breeds resentment.

While it’s perfectly okay to need a break during a heated argument, it’s important how you communicate it. Instead of resorting to “whatever”, express your need for some time to calm down and gather your thoughts.

In embracing obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning, we must also recognize that every disagreement in a relationship holds potential for deeper understanding and connection. 

Understanding the language of love

Communicating in a relationship is like learning a new language. Each phrase, each word carries a unique weight, influencing the dynamics between partners. This understanding is not just about avoiding harmful phrases, but also about nurturing a positive communication style.

The phrases we’ve discussed here are not inherently destructive. Their impact hinges on the intent and emotion behind them. By being mindful of our language and intent, we can transform these phrases into opportunities for open conversation and deeper understanding.

Remember, relationships are not about winning arguments, but about understanding each other. Strive to listen more than you speak, to understand more than you judge.

As we continue to navigate our relationships, it’s essential to keep learning and growing. If you found these insights helpful and want to continue exploring topics on personal growth, authenticity, and living a more purposeful life, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel here.

Finally, I leave you with a question to ponder: How can you transform your communication style to foster deeper connection and understanding in your relationship?

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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