The 6 Words You Should "Never Ever Ever" Say to Your Partner, According to a Therapist
They can make your partner feel invalidated and hurt your relationship in the long run.
We were all taught about "sticks and stones" as kids, and hopefully you've carried that into adulthood: Chances are you avoid yelling or being outwardly mean to your significant other. Healthy relationships are built on strong communication, and that goes beyond just being kind. As it turns out, some of the things you're saying could be making your partner think you aren't interested in hearing what they're feeling. To prevent such roadblocks, there are six specific words that you need to avoid, one therapist says. Read on to find out what you should "never ever ever" say to your partner.
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Questions Your Partner May Ask If They're Cheating, Therapists Say.
How you speak to your partner is critical.
Aside from physical attraction and intimacy, you want to feel an emotional bond in your relationship, which involves being mindful of what you say to your partner.
"Words are powerful and can have a negative or positive impact on your partner's feelings of self-worth, his/her/their value in the relationship, the level of vulnerability exposed—safe vs. unsafe perceived dynamic, their trust in your ability to support them, and so much more," Ellie Borden, registered psychotherapist, certified life coach, and clinical director of Mind By Design, tells Best Life.
When people feel good about themselves, they feel satisfied in their relationship, too, Borden adds, and you can provide that support for your partner by verbally building them up. Likewise, by being cruel, you can tear them down and damage your connection. We have a general understanding of what would be unkind to say, but you might utter some phrases you didn't even realize are hurtful.
These three words can make your partner feel insignificant.
In a Sept. 27 video posted on TikTok, Dilyse Diaz, LMFT, licensed psychotherapist and communication expert, warns that the first three words you should "never ever ever" say are "you're so sensitive."
"It's a beautiful thing that your partner feels deeply," she says in the video, with several commenters adding that it's something they've heard before.
"Being told I'm too sensitive or emotional hurts so much, it makes me not even want to speak about how I feel anymore," one commenter wrote.
Kelly Whitaker, communication coach, agrees with Diaz on avoiding "sensitive" or "over emotional" commentary, noting that it's an avoidance tactic and lacks compassion. "That comment is layered with negative connotations, from blame to judgment to condescension," Whitaker explains. "At its worst, it is a gesture of attempting to control their partner's emotional response, which can be a form of gaslighting or emotional abuse."
For more relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
You should never push your partner to move on.
In addition to knocking your partner down by calling them sensitive, it's also dismissive to tell your partner to "get over it," Diaz adds in a second video. By telling them to move on and saying "you'll be fine," you're once again dismissing your partner and insinuating that their feelings are irrelevant.
"Their feelings are important, too," Diaz says. "If you think about it, it's your own anxiety that's wanting to just not have your partner feel those negative emotions."
Whitaker echoes this as well, adding that invalidating someone's feelings is never an appropriate way to help someone work through something upsetting or hurtful. "Strong emotions need to be acknowledged and processed; pretending it's done away or ignoring will only make the problem grow," she says. "'Get over it' is essentially encouraging someone to pretend it isn't happening and bury down the negative emotion."
Thankfully, both Diaz and Whitaker note that there's something you can say as an alternative.
Take a different approach to these situations.
Diaz suggests coming from a place of understanding when your partner is "feeling a lot of emotions," and saying something along the lines of, "I can see that's really hard for you," or "I can see that you feel really strongly about that." Similarly, when your partner is trying to work through something, Diaz says you should ask how you can "best support" them. "That way there's no guessing and no extra work on your part, yet you come across as very supportive and loving," she adds.
Whitaker also suggests reassuring your partner of your feelings and acknowledging their pain, namely by letting them know you're there for them and ready to help with anything they need.
That being said, patience is a virtue, and sometimes people do react impulsively. You might even think that you're being helpful if you believe the issue at hand isn't worth your partner getting upset over. Either way, Borden stresses that "the way you package your message is everything."
If you find you're quick to dismiss emotions and tell your partner to just move on, Borden recommends taking a second to consider your words and actions. "If you catch yourself about to say these types of statements to your partner, stop and think about whether you are invalidating their experience and try to rephrase them to convey understanding," she says.