NEVER say these things if you want your relationship to last, experts warn
Leading love experts weigh in with the words you should NEVER say if you want to keep your relationship strong.
Despite coupling looking more attractive than ever thanks to social distance and the innate desire to form human bonds, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that marriage rates have hit an all-time low. The national marriage rate fell from 6.9 to 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people in the last studied year on record, following a long, slow decline since the 1980s. Given the lower-than-ever marriage rates and steady divorce rates, you may be wondering: what gives? People still want to find and maintain love, but it seems like toxic words could be making it harder than ever, and ruining the good relationships we have built.
Cupid isn’t an endangered species though, and the will to love will continue as it has for thousands of years (if not longer). One of the most important keys to forming bonds that truly last is avoiding the words and actions that trigger breaking those bonds, and it goes far beyond the hypothetical. The National Library of Medicine even published research outlining that the feelings of hurt and anger both have their place in the human experience, but can do permanent damage to fragile interpersonal relationships — especially non-blood bonds.
Here’s what experts say you should NEVER utter if you want your love to last:
If you want to get someone really riled up, try telling them to relax in the middle of a heated conversation or argument. “This is especially objectionable when men say this to women,” tells Deborah Krevalin, LPC, LMHC, a psychotherapist and relationship expert of the cringe-worthy word. “It trivializes her feelings, deeming them and her unimportant.”
“You sound just like your mother!”
Ooph, that will not go over will with just about anyone of any age or gender. “If you say this, you’ve just ruined any chance of having sex. A partner can smack talk about his or her mother, but the significant other NEVER has permission to do it,” Kevalin says of this dicey phrase. “Not only is it insulting, but it can make future family functions tense or awkward.”
“I wish you more more like…”
Comparing your significant other to anyone else is a recipe for disaster, and it really doesn’t matter who you’re measuring them up against — a past lover, family member, or other acquaintance. Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist and aither of The Self-Aware Parent says this is one of the absolute worst things you can say to a loved one. Comparison words are “Too critical, negative, and harsh,” she says, adding that “No one wants to give their body to someone who is quick to put them down.”
Stop talking about THIS in bed.
Sure, intimacy is important, but if it’s another emotionally-loaded topic? Leave it at the door, or it’ll kill your bond. Walfish says couples should member to never bring up “Emotionally-loaded topics like the kids, in-laws, finances, income and spendings, the desire to sell or buy a new house, or conflicts during love making. You will kill the moment.”
And if you think it’s just one moment, think again — conversations have a tendency to become patterns, and repeated stressed-out time in bed can have a crippling effect on otherwise healthy relationships.
“I hate your friends.”
“This is a tricky statement to navigate because you genuinely may not like your partner’s best friend,” explains Karol Ward, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist, confidence expert, and the author of, Worried Sick: Break Free From Chronic Worry To Achieve Mental & Physical Health. “Unless the friend is abusive or driving a wedge between you and your romantic partner, you will have to stay back from this statement. People choose friends for different reasons and if you significant other is happy hanging out with his or her best friend, then refrain from saying anything.”
“I don’t respect you.”
“This statement is one that will absolutely destroy your relationship,” says Ward of the often-used silver bullet. “Unless your partner is displaying some obvious behavior that is harming your relationship, it’s wise to ask yourself what you are really saying. Often critical remarks by us towards another person are just a cover for our own unhappiness. Really contemplate what you are trying to say before you tell someone you don’t respect them.”
“I want a divorce!” (or a break-up)
“Saying you want a divorce or break-up very time you have a conflict demonstrates to your partner that you are not willing to work things out and are ready to terminate the relationship with every rupture,” shares Sidonie Freeman, a California-based psychologist. “Over time, this can really create cracks in a relationship that make it impossible to trust the other and feel secure.”
“YOU ARE CRAZY!”
Oh boy, buckle up. This ride is about to get very, very bumpy if you plan on uttering these very dangerous words, or anything like them, for that matter. Dr. Markesha Miller, a licensed psychotherapist, warns against ever using this phrase in an argument. “It implies that one is mentally deranged,” she says. “Many times, a partner may hear this and feel misunderstood and minimized. Crazy is a word that should NOT be used to describe your significant other if you want your relationship to last. Avoid using this statment.”
“Actually, my ex…”
Stop bringing up your ex. Don’t talk about them. Don’t contact them. Don’t let their name slip from your lips if you want to make your current relationship last. “Don’t mention past bad relationships,” explains Bonnie Winston, a popular matchmaker. “It shows you can be vindictive and taints you, as well as portrays you in a negative light moving forward. Continued talk about an ex is just something that isn’t necessary.” Winston continues, “Don’t say they remind you of an ex, don’t bring up that you’re good friends with all your exes, skip mentioning that your ex is a terrible person, and definitely don’t post about your ex on social media.”
“Get over it!”
“These words automatically imply to the offended partner that whatever was said,done, etc., is being disregarded,” details Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., a prolific author of relationships-focused books. “It implies that the offended partner was not attended to by the person who supposedly loves them. It suggests the offender is not on the same page with what is necessary to move forward. It suggests that he or she needs to ask how they might help the other to ‘get over it,’ even if it might not seem necessary in their eyes.”
Break out a shield and some armor, because things will get very heated if you add this fuel to the fire says Anita Chlipala, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love. “Phrases like you’re overreacting, you’re so sensitive, get over it already, you’re crazy, and I was just joking are all examples of gaslighting,” she illustrates. “It’s a term used to describe manipulative behavior with the purpose of getting the recipient to doubt their experiences and reactions. You can’t have a healthy relationship when there’s gaslighting because things like safety, security, and connection get eroded with every comment. You also can’t be fully self-expressed or vulnerable with your partner.”
“You never think of anyone but yourself.”
“You want to avoid criticizing sentences where you attack their essential character,” says April Brown, LMFT, a marriage and family therapist at The Heard Counseling. “Examples like you never think of anyone but yourself, or you are always so selfish target your partner’s personality and characteristics. You might express that it upsets you when they don’t think of your experience, but when a couple is critical of each other it leaves the partners feel hurt and rejected, paving the way for distance, contempt and resentment- even worse then criticism.”
“Your mom is soooooo…”
This isn’t going to end well no matter how you cut it, which is why Caroline Madden, PhD, a marriage and family therapist and the author of Fool Me Once: Should I Take Back My Cheating Husband?, warns you should watch your step when you’re poking around mom topics. “Even if your spouse is frustrated or wounded by their mom — stay out of it. It leaves your partner feeling torn.” she says of this no-win scenario. “It is a natural instinctual reaction to protect ones mother. It will quickly go from them being angry at their mom to defending them against them. If you stay out of it then your spouse and concentrate on what is bothering them about their mom versus changing the subject to you or launching a defense of their mom. Be there for support and empathize with their feelings without agreeing about whatever negative thing they are saying about their mom.”
“Stop eating that!”
Are you the food police? We hope not. “One of the most hurtful things a partner can do is comment on someone’s choices about food and weight,” Shari Botwin, LCSW and the author of Thriving After Trauma: Stories of Living and Healing. “Most men and women struggle with body image issues. And some people who have had or are currently battling with binge eating or emotional eating will hear this as a rejection or judgement. If a partner is concerned about his/her spouse’s eating habits it is better to say things like ‘Are you okay because I am noticing you are making less healthy food choices?'”
“You’re boring in bed!”
Well, that’s the quick way to kill someone’s motivation to please, and maybe their desire. “Never tell your somone they’re boring in bed,” says Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan and Washington, D.C. psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. “Instead, suggest ways to enhance what you have. For example, you might say, ‘I love that we are so close and can explore ways to satisfy each other,’ and then make some constructive suggestions.
This statement, much like it’s close family members Relax and Get Over It, is a recipe for relationship disaster. “This completely invalidates the other person’s feelings,” Dr. Renee Solomon, a clinical psychologist and the CEO of Forward Recovery says. “It basically says that you are overreacting and there is no merit to the feeling. This response to someone sharing feelings can make a person feel like he/she is not in a relationship where it is safe to share vulnerable feelings. It can make one feel like his or her partner is trying to be controlling and will make the person either feel very angry or very insecure. That type of response shuts down all further communication on that topic.”
“I don’t love you (anymore)!”
You can just imagine how hurtful these words can be. “Even when you apologize after the fact and say that you were just mad and didn’t mean it, once it’s said it can take years to remove that doubt that is in your partners mind about the fundamental heart of your relationship,” explains Dr. Brenda Wade, an advisor to Online For Love. “If you’re saying this because you really do want to end the relationship and you have fallen out of love, there are much better ways to express this without suggesting that the relationship was never real.”
And remember, honesty isn’t just about not telling lies.
One of the most important things to remember in a healthy committed relationship is that communication is of the utmost importance, which is why it should be treated as ‘safe space’ for delicate, personal information. Dr. Jessica Griffin, a clinical and forensic psychologist and the fan-favorite doctor on the popular reality TV show Married at First Sight, stresses that private information cannot be kept private between spouses.
“Your relationship should be your safe place, your respite from the rest of the world — which is why boundaries within the context of your ‘couple bubble’ are critical to the success of your relationship,” Griffin expounds. “Intimacy and vulnerability lead to trust, and each partner needs to be able to count on the other to keep private information private. For example, imagine that your partner opened up to you about very personal information they weren’t willing or ready to share with others. If you ran off and told your friends about it, chances are they’d be less inclined to open up with you, inhibiting the level of emotional intimacy in your relationship. If you aren’t sure what’s ‘off limits’ to discuss with others, couples are advised to be explicit about what is private and personal versus what can be shared.”
This article was originally published on News Break (https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2150788785620/never-say-these-things-if-you-want-y)