The 5 Words You Should Never, Ever Say to Your Partner

DIVORCE

“Once you throw out the ‘D’ word, especially in anger, it’s like a bell has been rung, and you can’t unring it,” says relationship expert and advice columnist April Masini. “Throwing out ‘divorce’ is like throwing down the third rail. You shouldn’t touch it. You shouldn’t say it unless you mean it. And you definitely shouldn’t use it as a tool to get your partner’s attention. ”

ALWAYS OR NEVER

“Absolutes should never be said to your partner,” says pre-marital counselor and wedding officiant Hope Mirlis. “The words ‘always’ and ‘never’ are rarely true and they’re usually said out of anger or frustration. As in ‘you always prioritize your friends over me’ or ‘you never offer to cook dinner.'” Instead, she suggests sticking to the facts, which gives you a way to be honest about what’s bothering you without immediately putting the other person on the defensive. “I use a technique with couples that starts with a statement of a fact rather than finger pointing,” Mirlis explains. “So, ‘I noticed that you’ve seen your friends four times this week, but we haven’t scheduled a date night.’ Or ‘I cooked dinner every night this week.'”

SHUT UP

“‘Shut up’ tends to spill out in the middle of a fight or when a partner is upset or annoyed,” says relationship expert. “But saying ‘shut up’ is highly aggressive. ‘Can you please be quiet?’ can deliver the same message in a calmer manner that doesn’t feel so violent.”

YOU’RE PATHETIC

“You should always avoid labeling your partner when you’re dissatisfied with his or her behavior,” says Karol Paeslo, a registered divorce and sex therapist. “When we label a person, they get defensive right away.” Stick to observations about your S.O.’s behavior, instead. “This way, you’re opening up a conversation around how they can change what they’re doing.”

I WISH I NEVER GOT INVOLVED WITH YOU

“Or, ‘I wish I was still with him/her.’ Bringing up a former lover or relationship is about the worst thing you can do,” Hope says. Even if it isn’t true, “your partner will always believe it.”

The 5 Words You Should Never, Ever Say to Your Partner