120 Things Your Partner Should Never Say to You

What are some examples of disrespectful things a partner should never say in a relationship?
on January 30, 2024
Read time: 10 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

Words hold a lot of meaning, and when harsh words are said in a relationship, it’s very hard to take them back. 

In any relationship, the line between healthy and toxic dynamics can often become blurred, especially when emotions run high. No matter how heated things get, there are certain things that your partner should never say to you, no matter the circumstances. 

A cornerstone of any loving relationship is the belief that your partner would never intentionally hurt you. However, when hateful words start to become common practice, it could signal it’s time to end the relationship. 

Even in moments of anger or frustration, directing hateful or demeaning language toward each other can cause lasting damage to both the relationship and an individual’s self-esteem and trust. This is why it’s important to recognize these destructive patterns and understand how to move forward if they become commonplace in the relationship. 

What is not acceptable in a relationship?

Healthy relationships are founded on mutual respect and without this as a foundation, toxic behaviors can start to sneak in. 

If you’re in a loving relationship, you should feel like you can wholly rely on your partner and believe that they would never do anything to hurt you. When this starts to come under doubt, it could be a sign that your relationship is going in the wrong direction. 

Even though it’s normal for couples to argue from time to time, this should never escalate to a point where they shame, judge, or criticize you in any way. Many behaviors are unacceptable in a relationship, and if your partner starts to impact your overall well-being or mental health — it’s not the kind of dynamic that you want to be in. 

What should you not say in a relationship?

Even if you’re angry or upset, it’s important not to direct any hateful emotions toward your significant other. Words can damage your relationship and can have a lasting effect on your partner’s self-esteem and trust in the long run. 

Therefore, there are several things that you should never say in a relationship, as well as things that your partner should never say to you. 

When you’re in the heat of an argument, it’s easy to throw an array of hateful words toward your partner. No matter how angry you are, or what your partner may have done, you should never resort to name-calling or threats and vice versa. 

While these tactics are unacceptable, it’s also possible to inflict deeper wounds on your partner with more personalized attacks. For example, during a new argument, try not to bring up any past mistakes or issues — as this will just make things more complicated. Digging up old arguments or throwing salt in the wound can damage your emotional intimacy, making it even harder to heal from your past conflicts.

It’s also important to not use absolutes like always or never during your arguments, as this can make your partner feel like the relationship is futile or unfixable — so why bother trying? If you’re being attacked in this way, it naturally triggers defensiveness, which can lead to even more savage or hateful attacks in return. These argumentative patterns spell bad news, leading to negative feelings and resentment. 

On the other hand, resorting to stonewalling tactics can be equally impactful on your mental health, as you overcompensate to try and make things better. 

“If you read this list and notice that some of these phrases almost sound normal to you that’s okay,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired. 

“For many of us, negative relationship patterns were the norm during our childhood. The whole purpose of identifying these negative patterns is to create the healthy relationships we deserve, and it’s completely possible to learn how to do this.”

“Perhaps you grew up with parents using them to you or each other, hear them in movies, or even joke with friends,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Let’s acknowledge any shame that might be coming up for you right now as you realize these things have been said in your relationships.”

We hope that reading this list is an opportunity to interrupt negative relationship behaviors. 

What phrases should be considered deal-breakers when said by a partner in a relationship?

While arguments are normal in a relationship, there is a line that neither partner should ever cross. Even though it’s normal to disagree, talk about it, and reach a healthy compromise — there are usually a few stumbling blocks along the way. 

If your partner says any of these phrases during an argument, or you find yourself saying them, then it could be time to re-analyze your relationship. While some of these things can be said in the heat of the moment, there’s no real excuse to speak to your loved ones in this way — no matter what.

Hurtful things that your significant other should never say to you 

  1. What have you ever done for me? 

  2. Remember what happened last time? 

  3. You’re not the same person that I fell in love with!

  4. I am not in love with you anymore!

  5. You don’t turn me on anymore. 

  6. Stop being so needy! 

  7. I just don’t care anymore. 

  8. This is all your fault. 

  9. You're never there for me when I need you.

  10. You've let yourself go.

  11. You're just like your [negative trait of a family member].

  12. I'm only with you for the kids.

  13. You've never made me happy.

  14. You're a disappointment.

  15. I find someone else more attractive than you.

  16. You're not worth my time or effort.

  17. You've never understood me.

  18. I regret marrying/being with you.

  19. You're not as good as my ex.

  20. You've never been my priority.

  21. You're a failure as a [spouse/partner/parent].

  22. I wish I had a different life without you.

  23. You're not capable of satisfying me.

  24. I feel stuck with you.

  25. You're just a bad influence on me.

  26. You've never supported my dreams.

  27. You're the reason my life is miserable.

  28. I don't respect you.

  29. I don’t need you for anything. 

  30. I always knew you’d turn out to be a huge disappointment.

Hateful things your partner should never say to you during an argument 

  1. I hate you!

  2. You’re overreacting. 

  3. Calm down, you’re making this into a big deal!

  4. Don’t get so defensive!

  5. You’re being too sensitive! 

  6. You always do this!

  7. Why do you never listen to me? 

  8. I can’t believe why you don’t know why I’m upset!

  9. You’re pathetic! 

  10. Shut up. 

  11. I don’t need to listen to this right now. 

  12. You're a loser.

  13. I wish I never met you.

  14. You're good for nothing.

  15. You're a waste of space.

  16. I regret being with you.

  17. You've ruined my life.

  18. You're an idiot.

  19. You disgust me.

  20. I'm ashamed to be seen with you.

  21. You have no idea what you're talking about.

  22. You're a joke.

  23. You're worthless without me.

  24. You're a disgrace.

  25. You'll never be able to handle real life.

  26. You're a burden to everyone around you.

  27. I'm tired of always fixing your mistakes.

  28. You're a failure and always will be.

  29. You've never achieved anything of importance.

  30. You don't deserve me or anyone else.

Gaslighting phrases that your partner should never say to you 

  1. You’re crazy — that literally never happened. 

  2. You’re acting paranoid!

  3. Why are you making things up?

  4. You’re such a red flag.  

  5. I’m not going to speak to you until…

  6. If you really loved me, you’d never do this to me. 

  7. This is why nobody likes you!

  8. Stop playing the victim. 

  9. I’m the only one who would ever put up with you anyway. 

  10. You’re just like everyone else. 

  11. Why don’t you just leave if you’re so unhappy? 

  12. You’ll never find someone else who loves you like I did. 

  13. You’re remembering that wrong!

  14. You’re acting too emotional to see things clearly.

  15. Why do you have to overthink everything? 

  16. You need serious help. 

  17. I was just joking, why can’t you take a joke? 

  18. You're blowing this out of proportion.

  19. You must be confused again.

  20. You're too sensitive to understand.

  21. You're the only one who feels that way.

  22. It's all in your head.

  23. You're being irrational.

  24. You can't live without me.

  25. Stop trying to create drama.

  26. You're the problem here, not me.

  27. You're just trying to get attention.

  28. Nobody else thinks there's an issue. 

  29. You should be grateful.

  30. Why do you have to ruin everything?

Hurtful phrases that damage your self-confidence and self-worth 

  1. That girl looked amazing tonight! 

  2. Why can’t you be more like her? 

  3. I wish you could turn me on like she does. 

  4. Why can’t you do a better job? 

  5. You’re the reason for all my problems. 

  6. You’re nothing without me. 

  7. You’d never understand. 

  8. You’ve turned out to be so disappointing. 

  9. You’re lucky that I’m still here!

  10. You have no talent for this.

  11. You're not smart enough to understand.

  12. You're worthless.

  13. No one will ever love you.

  14. You're a failure.

  15. You're too weak to handle this.

  16. You're a disappointment.

  17. You'll never achieve anything.

  18. You don't deserve to be happy.

  19. You're too [negative trait] to be liked.

  20. You're not attractive enough for that.

  21. You're not the type of person people respect.

  22. You don't belong here.

  23. Nobody cares about what you think.

  24. You're just a burden.

  25. You're too incompetent to do this right.

  26. You're nothing special.

  27. You should just give up.

  28. You're always a step behind everyone else.

  29. You have no meaningful contribution to make.

  30. You're invisible to everyone.

How to deal with it if your partner speaks to you in this way 

Dealing with these intense conflicts can have a significant impact on your relationship health, especially if your partner has been using any gaslighting tactics or manipulative attacks. 

Even though your partner may be trying to convince you otherwise, remember that your feelings are completely valid and no one deserves to be spoken to in this way. When your partner is throwing insults at you, it’s natural to want to respond with the same ferocity, but this will only serve to make things worse. 

Take a step back from the situation, and when you’re ready, calmly express your feelings. Try to set clear boundaries, and that this behavior is not acceptable within the relationship. Make your partner aware of your feelings, while trying to understand why they said these things in the first place — is it coming from a place of insecurity or mistrust? 

It’s important to reach out to your support network for help and relationship advice, as you should never feel like you’re going through this alone. 

How do you tell you shouldn't be in a relationship?

If you’ve tried to resolve these conflicts healthily, but the patterns of behavior still continue, it could be a sign to call time on your relationship

At the end of the day, your well-being should be a priority, and to preserve your own health and safety, you should feel no guilt in walking away. Remember, everyone deserves to be in a relationship where they are respected and valued.

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