3 Things You Should Never Say to Your Partner, According to a Couples Therapist


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As humans, we're more susceptible to negative thoughts and actions than positive for evolutionary reasons. Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a psychologist and best-selling author of Hardwiring Happiness, even goes as far as to say that negativity is Velcro while positivity is Teflon; negative comments from others, for example, are more likely to stick in our minds than the positive ones.

On that note, it's vitally important for couples to build up positive interactions with one another in order to have a happy, healthy relationship. More specifically, research from professor John Gottman found that couples need a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions in order for love to flourish. 

"We need to be proactive about building a thick cushion of warmth and support so that we can weather the inevitable rough moments when they happen," writes clinical psychologist Alexandra Solomon, Ph.D., for Psychology Today. In order to do so successfully, she recommends avoiding the following three phrases when speaking with your significant other: 

  • "If you loved me, you would…"
  • "Why isn't it like it used to be between us?"
  • "You're acting just like your mother!" (or your father, or any other family member).

Each of these three simple phrases packs a powerful punch—you're implying that you either want action instead of words, that you wish things were how they used to be, or that you simply want to trigger defensiveness in your partner. "Love is hard work and bumps in the road are 100% inevitable," writes Solomon. "The challenge is to figure out how to work together against the rough patch instead of against each other."

Are there any other trigger sentences that you would add to this list? Share your opinion with us below!