5 Things You Never Say To Your Partner
When we’re upset, we all say things we don’t mean. But when you say those things to your spouse, all hell can break lose. At best, you’ll hurt their feelings. At worst, you’ll make them file for divorce.
No matter how bad things get between you two, never say these 5 things to your spouse.
“I want a divorce.”
No. No. And no.
Even if, in the heat of the moment, you feel that splitting ways really is the best decision, never say that unless you really, truly mean it with all of your heart.
If you say it without meaning it, even if you retract it later, you’ll have torn something in your relationship. When you say, “I want a divorce,” you’re saying, “There’s a part of me that wants to give up on this. I have one foot out the door and I’m more invested in leaving than I am in fixing this.” You’re saying that your situation is hopeless and that you’re ready to walk out on your marriage.
It’s hard to bounce back from that.
“You never…” “You always…”
Absolutes are absolutely bad. Saying things like, “You never listen to me,” or “You always disregard my feelings” is probably not 100% true. Really? Your spouse never listens? Whenever you open your mouth, they clap their hands over their ears? And whenever you start talking about your feelings, they always walk out of the room?
Instead, point to a specific instance where they did something that bothered you, and break down why exactly it bothered you. It’s much easier to work outward from a specific problem to a solution, than it is to work inward toward a solution from a false absolute.
Other similar things to never say: You’re being too sensitive. You’re overreacting. You’re crazy.
You might be saying this with good intentions. Your spouse is behaving irrationally and you want them to take a deep breath so that you can calmly discuss the problem.
However, it comes off as dismissive and condescending. It sounds like you’re throwing away your partner’s feelings.
Instead, remain calm even if they’re not calm. Listen to everything they say without insisting that they’re overreacting. Acknowledge the truth in their accusations. They wouldn’t overreact unless something really, truly, upset them, so don’t disregard anything they say.
Talking about your feelings is hard, and it’s easier to bottle them up. Maybe you don’t want to start an argument. Maybe you want your partner to suffer and figure out what they did wrong.
But if something’s wrong, don’t be passive aggressive or ignore it. The problem will only stew inside of you until it becomes something much bigger than it actually is.
Instead, communicate. A disagreement doesn’t have to turn into a fight. It’s always better to just air out whatever is bothering you, because even if it’s more difficult in the short-term, in the long term it will save you frustration.
On the flip side, if you ask your partner what’s wrong, and they’re clearly lying when they say, “Nothing,” don’t let that go. Ask follow-up questions. Sit with them. Encourage them to talk to you so that you can move forward. Show that you actually care.
“If you really loved me, you would…”
Ouch. All of a sudden your spouse’s love is graded based on a rubric that they didn’t even know about. All this time they’d assumed that the only qualification for loving you was, well, loving you. Nope, apparently, there is a secret checklist that you’ve been eyeing during their entire relationship.
“If you really loved me, you would…” also sounds like an ultimatum; if your spouse doesn’t do this thing, then it proves that they never loved you and that you must stop loving them.
It also disregards all of the other ways that they have shown their love. In the heat of the moment, it might seem like their failure to do one specific thing proves that they don’t really care. But breathe – if that were true, and they had never shown that they loved you, then you wouldn’t be with them right now.
Instead, take love out of the equation. Say something like, “It hurts me when you…” or “Can we discuss this thing that you do or don’t do?” This leads to a much more open-ended and productive conversation.
Don’t let an argument cause irreparable damage to your relationship. There’s a smart way to argue, and it’s based on communication.
And, seriously, if you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this: Unless you really, truly mean it with all of your heart and soul, don’t say “divorce.”