If you are in a long-term relationship, chances are, you’ve said some things you wish you could take back. We all have. But there are some things you should never say to your spouse or partner.

In the heat of an argument, it can be extremely difficult to hold back, especially if your partner really knows how to push your buttons. When you’re feeling angry, hurt or betrayed, it can feel good in the moment to sling an insult at your partner. But some words hurt more than others, and can even have a lasting impact on your relationship.

If you want to learn how to fight better and improve your communication with your partner, it’s important to explore what not to say in an argument – or ever.

5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Spouse or Partner

No matter how heated things get between you and your partner, the absolute worst things to say in a relationship are these five forbidden phrases.

A couple sitting on a couch and arguing, saying things you should never say to your spouse

1. I Hate You

This is at the top of the list for things you should never say to your spouse – and for good reason! Hate is a very strong word, and by telling your partner that you hate him, you are saying that you hate his whole being, not just something that he did. I don’t know if anyone has ever told you that he or she hates you, but, trust me, it’s not something that is easily forgotten. You can hate war, poverty, or childhood illnesses, but, it’s just not a word that should be used on your partner – no matter how angry or hurt you may feel.

2. You Never…

This is another one of the worst things to say to your wife, husband or partner. If you tell your partner that she never listens to you, you are probably taking one instance and generalizing her behavior from there. This kind of generalization feels very unfair, and, again, focuses on your partner as a person, rather than something that she did. 

In my work with couples, I find that people rarely do the same things ALL the time, so telling your partner that she NEVER does something is probably just not true. While this can be difficult in the heat of the moment, try to stick to the moment at hand rather than bringing up every past transgression.

3. You Always…

Similar to “you never,” “you always” is another generalizing term, and another thing you should never say to your spouse. If you tell your significant other that he always makes a fool of himself in public, he is likely to get defensive and try to find examples of times that he acted like a perfect gentleman. 

And because he’ll be so busy pointing out all the times when he wasn’t a fool, he’ll probably miss the point of what you are trying to tell him, while needlessly angering the two of you in the meantime. Anything that doesn’t directly focus on the issue at hand is a big part of what not to say in an argument, so do your best to keep your mind – and your words – on the here and now.

4. I Don’t Need You

This is a particularly hurtful example of one of the things you should never say to your spouse or partner. We all want to feel needed by the ones that we love. Telling your significant other that you don’t need her could even trigger feelings of abandonment because we often fear that if we are no longer needed, we will be left, or replaced with someone new.

Instead of blurting this forbidden phrase out during an argument, try to dig deep and think about what might be making you feel this way. Are you trying to assert a bit more independence in the relationship, perhaps? Or are you overcompensating for some feelings of codependency? Consider what’s really going on instead of using this phrase during an argument.

5. You Are Worthless

Of course, any insult, like stupid, ridiculous, or weak could be hurtful, but, worthless, in my opinion, tops the list of things you should never say to your spouse or significant other. This is because calling someone worthless not only puts down who they are as a person but it also calls into question their whole purpose in life. You don’t want to crush your partner’s soul, do you?

Okay, maybe if you are angry, you might be down for a little soul-crushing, but, deep down, (like, way deep), I know that’s not what you really want!

Two women are arguing and saying things you should never say to your spouse

Need More Help Communicating with Your Partner?

No matter how much you study this list of things you should never say to your spouse, actually following this advice is sometimes easier said than done. If you’re struggling with what not to say in an argument or need some help knowing how to communicate more effectively with your partner, then let’s chat.

Online couples counseling and even online individual therapy can help boost your communication with your partner and improve your relationship. Contact Couples Learn today to get started. We’re here to help.