Relationships
A woman's husband tells her to shut up.

10 Hurtful Things Your Partner Should Never Say To You, No Matter What

Telling your SO to "shut up" is *never* OK.

By Anjali Sareen Nowakowski and Mia Sherin
Updated: 
Originally Published: 
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Your romantic partner should be someone you love, someone you can rely on, and someone you trust. That said, sometimes, we don't always get that. There are some things your partner should never say to you — like, ever — and when we find ourselves in a relationship with someone who does say them, it's usually time to get out. Saying hurtful things to someone you love is something almost everyone does in a relationship, because we're human. We make mistakes. And then, we apologize. The thing is, when your spouse says hurtful things on a consistent basis, with the intent to hurt, then you’re undoubtedly with a bad seed.

“It's one thing if they say it one time. If it's something that they're continuing to say, it's a pattern,” Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, and host of the podcast Fix Yourself First, tells Elite Daily. And as well as looking at the frequency of the hurtful comments, Overstreet says you should also take into account the overall health of the relationship. “If there’s anything else in the relationship that’s unhealthy — maybe they’re not making time for you, maybe you have concerns with trust — and you’re hearing one, two, or three, of these comments, then it’s definitely a huge red flag that you need to do something about it,” she says.

If your partner says any of these things to you consistently, then it's time to cut them loose.

"I'm Not Attracted To You"

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If your partner feels the need to tell you they are not attracted to you, either at all or anymore, just go ahead and say bye, because this is awful. Sure, every couple goes through ups and downs when it comes to physical intimacy, as well as ups and downs in how they feel about each other. It's normal to have good times and bad, just like anything else. That said, someone who specifically tells you they aren't attracted to you is a jerk, plain and simple. There are many more constructive conversations to be had if things have dwindled lately physically, and often, something like this is said just to be mean.

Even more importantly, that hurtful remark can make you question yourself and your appearance. “That can lead you to try to change yourself, to try to lose weight, appear more sexy, or do all these things to yourself when it’s just the other person’s preference,” Overstreet says. “And that doesn’t mean it has to be your preference of who you are.” If your partner makes you feel like you need to change yourself in order to be loved and accepted by them, then they’re not the one. Don't let this comment get to your head. Instead, let your partner get to the curb.

"You're Stupid"

You're not stupid, and a partner who tells you that you are so is not worth your time. End of story. There are no excuses in the world to say "you're stupid" to any other human being, let alone someone you supposedly love and care about. This is one of the worst, most heartless insults out there, and only a truly crappy human being would be comfortable saying hurtful things to someone they love like this. This isn't just a mean thing to say, either. It's emotional abuse if said seriously and continuously.

If this is something you've heard from your partner, they aren't the one for you and are probably actually a terrible person. "Taking cheap shots at your intelligence so they can feel better about themselves is based on degradation," Mike Domitrz, founder of The Date Safe Project, previously told Bustle. When your spouse says hurtful things like, “You’re stupid,” they very well might lack self-esteem and are willing to put you down in an troubled effort to boost their own ego. "You deserve to be in a relationship that makes you feel great about yourself (not 'less than'),” he added.

"Stop Being So Dramatic"

"Stop being so dramatic" is a gaslighting term that makes you feel like you're being unreasonable, and no partner should ever say this to you. Overstreet defines gaslighting as “your partner trying to make you think that the reality you’re experiencing isn’t true, that something is wrong with you, and that you’re being dramatic.” She goes on to assert that gaslighting can be emotionally abusive, as well as a form of emotional manipulation.

If this is something you've heard more than once in your relationship, it means you are with someone who is not interested in listening to your needs and concerns and is already convinced they do everything right and you are wrong. Overtime, this can make you begin to question your own reality, especially in situations where you have a totally reasonable comment or concern. “They may not even realize they’re trying to gaslight you,” Overstreet says. “Regardless, it’s unhealthy, it’s toxic, and it’s definitely an attempt to shut you down into silence, which is not OK.” If a partner ever says this to you, go ahead and say "goodbye" to them.

"If You Really Loved Me..."

Has your partner ever made you feel bad for doing or not doing something and then added on to it, "If you really loved me you would have..."? Hopefully not, because if they have, that person really isn’t the one for you. “Typically, what happens is that they are asking for something you don’t feel comfortable with or that you’ve already said no to,” Overstreet explains. “That’s why it’s manipulation.”

Their tactic is to make you feel guilty, insinuating setting a boundary somehow means you don’t love them, and someone who makes you feel like your love for them is constantly in question or uses your actual love for them to manipulate you isn't someone worthy of a grownup relationship. There's no reason you should have to prove your love to your partner, so if they say this to you, let them go.

"I Told You So"

OK, sure, we all feel a little urge to go "I told you so" when something we said works out the way we said it would. But still, it's a terrible thing to say, and it definitely shouldn't be uttered with any kind of regularity in a relationship. “It’s almost like a comeback, like your partner’s way to validate that they were right,” Overstreet says. “That’s just not good for a relationship, that they need that kind of validation. It can lead to more issues with communication and trust.” While the severity of the comment may vary based on the context and tone used, it’s definitely a red flag that could signal weak, and even harmful, communication skills.

If your partner is the type to say "I told you so" constantly, they're probably also the type to hold it over you any time you do anything wrong or make even small mistakes. This is indicative of a really immature partner who is probably just going to get meaner over time. And if this is something you hear a lot, leave without looking back.

"Shut Up"

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"Shut up" is one of the worst things we can hear from anyone we're trying to have a conversation with, let alone a partner. Overstreet recognizes that there are varying degrees of harshness when telling someone to “shut up,” and recognizing what tone your partner is using is important. “I know it's hard to judge,” she says, “because for ‘shut up,’ if there’s some playfulness, some kidding around, that’s one thing.” When we should pay close attention, she says, is when it becomes, “Shut up, you're not making sense, you're crazy.”

If you two have a report and are comfortable joking around, saying “shut up,” with a light or even flirtatious tone isn’t a red flag. But trust your gut when you can sense that your partner is using these words to silence or manipulate you. For example, if my husband tells me to "shut up," this could be a sign that he does not value what I’m saying. Even in the throes of an argument, your partner should not be telling you to shut up. Instead, they should be using kinder and more constructive language throughout. If your partner says "shut up" to you, you should feel totally comfortable showing them the door.

"You Made Me..."

"You made me get that mad at you." No, no you did not "make" your partner do anything. We are adults, and we are responsible for our own actions. A partner who tells you that you "made" them do something is the worst kind of partner, because it shows they don't think they are to blame for anything, and they don't take any responsibility for their outrageous behavior. Not only that, but this is the kind of partner who will never, ever contribute to the relationship getting better because they will put everything on you.

“As adults, we have to take responsibility for our behaviors, and if your partner is saying that you caused [them] to do something, this just goes into the verbal abuse cycle that can be present,” Rachel Ann Dine, LPC, therapist and owner of Humanitas Counseling and Consulting previously told Bustle. By blaming you for their own wrong-doings, your partner is completely avoiding reality while pushing you to question your own — AKA, being a grade A manipulator. If you're dating someone like this, tell them, "Boy, bye."

"You're Crazy"

No, no, no. "Crazy" is a term men have been using to describe women for way too long, because men sometimes don't know how to deal with normal, adult behavior — like wanting to have conversations or being heard. If your partner ever calls you crazy, this is an immediate indicator that they don't value you as a person and are trying to write you off in a box of "crazy," so they can stop listening.

"Let’s say that you know your partner is cheating on you but instead they tell you that you are crazy and turn it around on you as being emotionally unstable," Dine said. "This is gaslighting and absolutely a psychological form of verbal abuse." This is because, overtime, this comment will wear you down to the extent that you'll feel you don't know anymore if you actually aren't crazy. When saying hurtful things to someone you love, you can seriously cross a line at times, and no partner who calls you crazy is worth even an ounce of your time.

"You're Such A..."

Insults and name-calling never solve anything in relationships, and a partner who does either or both isn't a partner you want for the long haul. Usually, nothing that comes after this phrase is good, especially if it's used or brought up in the context of an argument. Your partner should always be trying to work on constructive ways to move the relationship forward, not calling you names.

"It's one thing to call someone an idiot in the heat of an argument. It's another to use hurtful names on a regular basis, especially ones that are very personal," Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, relationship counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, previously told Bustle. "This is verbal abuse, and if this is happening in your relationship, you need to take note.” When your spouse says hurtful things and feels comfortable calling you names, ditch them. You won’t be sorry.

"Maybe I'll Just Find Someone Else"

That's cool, bro. You suck anyway. If your partner threatens you with leaving or finding someone else, Overstreet encourages you to say, “That sounds like a really good idea. I need to do the same thing.” Because when someone makes that claim but then never follows through, they are just trying to emotionally manipulate you into doing something they want. Hard pass.

Someone who continually holds this over your head has no interest in being in a stable, mature relationship. Instead, they are toeing the line of in or out and keeping you guessing the whole time. “‘Maybe I’ll just find somebody else,’ is the same thing as saying, ‘I don't care about your feelings,’ ‘I don't care about your emotions,’ or ‘I don't have respect for you,’” Overstreet says, “because I’m trying to manipulate you or make you feel a certain way.” This isn't someone who is worth calling your partner. Let them go. “No one has time for that,” Overstreet adds.

Although we'd all like our relationships to go well always and be happy, that's not always the case. And sometimes, we find ourselves with someone who truly damages our self-esteem because they're so mean, immature, or just plain awful that they make the worst partner ever.

We all make mistakes, but saying hurtful things to someone you love shouldn’t be excused or put up with. The important thing is to recognize that you are better than that and to get out ASAP.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.

Experts:

Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, and host of the podcast Fix Yourself First

Mike Domitrz, founder of The Date Safe Project

Rachel Ann Dine, LPC, therapist and owner of Humanitas Counseling and Consulting

Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, relationship counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.

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