Many people say things in relationships they later regret - whether it’s placing blame on a partner for something that isn’t their fault or calling them a malicious name in the heat of the moment.
While it’s generally important to speak your mind and be honest, there are also times when biting your tongue and taking stock before you say something you don’t mean are the best option.
Sam Owen, a relationship coach and psychologist, has some top tips on the type of language you shouldn't use around your partner.
- Don't repeatedly affirm anything you don’t want to come true. Words are instructions to the brain, they focus our thoughts, decisions and actions accordingly. So, for example, you don’t want to repeatedly affirm that they are still in love with their ex-partner because you’re then instructing their brain to think in this way and to make it a reality. Instead, use your words to focus their mind in the direction of your relationship goals.
- Don't use unnecessary ultimatums that come from a place of insecurity or from uncalled-for lack of trust, e.g. “Your friends or me!” If the insecurity or unprovoked lack of trust come from you rather than your current partner or the relationship then the solution isn’t the ultimatum, it’s addressing your insecurities and anxieties.
- Don't say “your family isn’t important to me”; if your partner’s family is important to them, it ought to be important to you. If you have difficulties around your relationships with your in-laws then address them for the sake of all concerned
- Avoid universal statements such as “You always...” or “You only...”, because such statements are rarely true and just inflame a situation. Aim to be more realistic by using phrases like “often” or “more often than not” or “about 80% of the time”. This will result in fewer arguments about the wording used than the actual point you’re trying to make.
- Statements can be deemed as though you’ve made your mind up so it’s better to ask clarifying questions, or to say how you’re experiencing something, to highlight what you want to convey in a positive way. For example, “You’re distracted when you come home from work so I don’t know when’s a good time to talk to you about this stuff,” could be better worded as “I feel like you’re distracted when you come home from work so...” or “I worry that you’re distracted when you come home from work so when do you think is a good time for me to talk to you about this stuff?”
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