17 Hurtful Phrases You Should Never Say to Your Partner

If you’re in a relationship, you know that disagreements are inevitable. However, you should always do your best not to be the cause of upset. Unknowingly, your “harmless” comments may be hurting your partner. Discover 17 of the most hurtful phrases you should refrain from using with your other half.

“I told you so.”

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Telling your partner, “I told you so,” can be extremely frustrating for them and never helps a situation. The phrase undermines empathy and only exacerbates your partner’s feelings of inadequacy. It can also create a sense of superiority, damaging the mutual respect between you, and fosters a negative dynamic in communication.

“I’m sorry if you felt that way.”

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This phrase implies that the problem lies with your partner’s feelings, not your actions. As shared by CNBC, “Narcissists have a hard time admitting fault, and this is their classic attempt at an apology. But it’s actually more of a deflection.” It avoids taking responsibility for your own part in causing hurt and undermines the sincerity of the apology.


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If your partner is trying to talk to you or show you something and you’re constantly telling them to “wait,” it can be upsetting. Repeated use of the word can be dismissive, making your partner feel unimportant. It also often signals a lack of attention or prioritization of your partner’s needs and can even lead to feelings of neglect or secondary importance in the relationship.

“You’re too sensitive.”

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Telling your other half that they are “too sensitive” can invalidate their feelings and emotional experiences. It is often used to deflect from addressing underlying issues and can lead to a breakdown in communication and emotional connection. Bustle states, “Often, if someone’s feeling sensitive, what they actually need is for their feelings to be validated and understood.”

“I don’t like it.”

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Whether you’re talking about food they’ve cooked or an outfit they’re wearing, telling your partner bluntly that you don’t like something disregards their efforts and feelings. The phrase can be demoralizing, especially if not expressed constructively, and it lacks the necessary sensitivity and understanding required in a relationship.

“You are nothing without me.”

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This phrase is extremely demeaning and can destroy your partner’s self-esteem—not to mention, it is an extremely toxic and narcissistic thing to say. The phrase reflects a harmful power dynamic in the relationship and implies unhealthy dependency or control.

“I can’t eat this.”

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To bluntly tell someone who has just cooked for you, “I can’t eat this,” comes across as rude and disrespects the efforts made by your partner in cooking or meal preparation. The phrase fails to appreciate the thought and care behind the gesture. Of course, if you genuinely can’t eat something or strongly dislike it, you can convey this in a kinder way, showing appreciation for the effort made.

“What is the matter with you?”

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This question shames and belittles your partner, damaging their self-worth. The phrase creates a hostile environment where open communication is hindered and indicates a lack of patience and understanding on the part of whoever is saying it. According to YourTango, “Said in frustration, it shames the other person and only makes you untrustworthy and (psychologically) unsafe.”

“You’re an idiot.”

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Insults like this one should never be used in a relationship, as they directly insult your partner’s intelligence and capabilities. Calling someone an idiot can lead to long-term damage to self-esteem and mutual respect. If someone has messed up, there are kinder ways to express this that don’t reflect a lack of empathy and understanding in the relationship.

“Do you know how much this costs?”

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This phrase creates a materialistic and transactional view of the relationship. It can make your partner feel undervalued or like a financial burden and neglects the emotional aspects of sharing and mutual support.

“You’re boring me.”

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Telling your partner that they’re boring you can be extremely hurtful. This phrase dismisses your partner’s interests and personality as uninteresting and can lead to feelings of inadequacy and lowered self-esteem. If what you’re trying to convey is that you’re feeling bored in the relationship, Relate says, “There’s a difference between saying you’re a bit bored and telling them they’re boring! The key is to focus on your own feelings and try to be kind and respectful.”

“You’re so stupid.”

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Whether someone has made a silly mistake or not, calling them stupid directly belittles their intelligence and decision-making and can cause lasting emotional scars and resentment. Use of this phrase and similar insults also reflects a toxic pattern of communication in the relationship.

“Why don’t you just…”

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According to Psychology Today, this phrase is shorthand for “I have instantaneously solved your problem because I am The Solution Giver. Now let’s talk about something that interests me.” It can come across as dismissive of your partner’s feelings or struggles and implies that their concerns are trivial or easily solvable.

“Not right now.”

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Saying this to your partner repeatedly can be perceived as rejection or a lack of interest in what they have to say. The phrase fails to acknowledge or validate your partner’s need for connection and often lacks the necessary follow-up to show continued interest and care. It shows the other person that whatever you’re doing is more important than them.

“You always do…” followed by a negative comment.

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This phrase generalizes negative behaviors, which can be unfair and hurtful. Power of Positivity says, “By overgeneralizing their mistakes, you make them feel bad about themselves. Plus, they’ll think they can never live up to your expectations.” It can create a cycle of blame and resentment and overlooks the positive aspects and efforts of your partner.

“There’s something wrong with you.”

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Telling your partner that there’s something wrong with them directly attacks their self-worth and character. This hurtful phrase can lead to deep emotional wounds and feelings of inadequacy. It also reflects a lack of empathy and support in the relationship.

“I don’t care.”

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This is a blunt and not very nice dismissal. The phrase signals a lack of interest and engagement in your partner’s feelings or interests and can make your partner feel undervalued and unloved. It also reflects indifference, which can be extremely hurtful in a relationship. Even if you’re frustrated or in a bad mood, it’s never okay to say this.

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