The sooner you realize you're saying these hurtful phrases, the better.
When you have an argument with your partner or get angry about something they did, you can do and say things you'll regret later on because your emotions have blinded you. That’s why one of the best pieces of advice for when you're angry is to let your anger out on a pillow or be alone while you cool down and clear your mind. However, being angry doesn’t justify saying hurtful things to your partner. Anger doesn’t turn you into someone completely different, Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde style. Instead, it shuts down your filters, so to speak, so it’s easier for us to say things we wouldn’t have said while we were calm. If you use any of the following phrases when you argue with your partner (or, worse, when you’re calm), it’s time to realize that by saying them you’re hurting your significant other. Now, this isn’t the moment to point fingers or to say your relationship is doomed because you use these phrases. What you should do is think of the moments when you use these phrases and words to see how you can avoid repeating them and hurting a healthy relationship.
I hate you.
Let’s begin with a phrase that’s very hurtful yet super common during bad arguments. Maybe you don’t mean it, but the weight of a word such as “hate” can be a heavy blow for your relationship. "Hate" means you totally despise the other person, so is that what you really want to say to your partner?
There are nicer and less hurtful ways of telling someone to be quiet without having to recur to this phrase. Moreover, using “shut up” is a very violent way to end an argument or tell your partner you need silence.
Stupid/Idiot/and worse insults
I guess I don't have to explain any further why these words are so offensive, but using them with your partner, even if you're just joking, is a way of subtly hurting them with small but constant insults that get worse once you use them during an argument. I can’t really find a way to justify their use, so just avoid using them.
When you use absolutes like “always” and “never," you're unconsciously distorting the real dimensions of a situation. So, when you feel tempted to use this word, focus on the present. For instance, instead of saying, “you're always late,” talk about the actual times your partner has been late, and say “you’ve been late to our last five dates.” It requires effort, but it’s possible, and phrasing your arguments like that will also help you change your perspective on the issue.
You don’t care about me. (And other accusations)
Accusing your partner of no longer caring about you, taking you out, and other things, is emotional blackmail. Besides, you’re indirectly taking on a passive role in the relationship. Instead of demanding attention from your partner, why not take control of the situation and ask them out on a date? Or, like with the use of “always” and “never,” point out the times when you’ve felt your partner was neglecting you, so you can work it out together.
I need you.
This could either be another kind of emotional blackmail or simply a misconception of your relationship. No, you don’t need your partner: you need water, food, and sleep. Having a person you love by your side is one of the best experiences in the world. But saying you need them to live is another way of encouraging codependency, which isn’t healthy at all.
It’s not a big deal.
If your partner is angry at you about something you did and you answer with this, you’re basically lessening their feelings. Maybe you didn’t mean to hurt them, but your intentions can’t change how they feel about your actions. Instead, listen to your partner to know how and why you hurt them, and say you’re sorry. They’ll appreciate that much more than you telling them they’re getting angry about nothing.
Now what did I do?
When you say this, you’re being cynical about your problems with your partner. You're assuming that you did something wrong, and that you no longer care about it or your partner’s feelings. If you’re tired of your partner getting angry at you about something you do, it’s time to be honest with yourself and see whether there’s something in your attitude you need to improve.
As I said before, being angry doesn’t justify hurting your partner with words. So, just don’t say it.
You suck at…
Honesty is one of the most valuable qualities in a relationship. So, it's good to tell your partner how you really feel about things. However, there are ways of telling your partner they aren’t good at something or that they need to practice.
This is another way of lessening them while you tell them they’re getting angry or worrying about something they shouldn’t. This is another one you’d better stop using because it’s outright offensive.
My ex used to...
Comparing your current partner with your ex is one of the worst things you could actually do in your relationship, even if you’re something bad about your ex. Focus on the here and now, on the person you’re with, and close that chapter of your past. It won’t help your relationship at all. Instead, it could actually make your partner feel you're comparing them with someone they might not even know.
That’s none of my business.
Part of being in a relationship is working as a team. You don’t have to solve your partner’s problems, but the emotional support you can offer, or just letting them know that you’re there for them, is much more valuable than just leaving them on their own and letting them struggle by themselves.
Don't underestimate the words you use with your partner. As harmless as they might seem, when you use them very often, they can hurt or even destroy what could otherwise be a healthy relationship.
Here are other things that could damage your relationship without you noticing it:
Photos by Tessa Tadlock