Never Intentionally Say Hurtful Words to Your Partner

If I Had Only Known

If I had only known it would be our last walk in the rain,
I'd keep you out for hours in the storm.
I would hold your hand like a lifeline to my heart,
and underneath the sun we'd be warm.
If I had only known it was our last walk in the rain.

If I had only known I'd never hear your voice again,
I'd memorize each thing you ever said.
And on those lonely nights, I could think of them once more,
And keep your words alive inside my head,
If I had only known, I'd never hear your voice again.

~Lyrics © by Jana Stanfield

What if you knew this would be the last day you would spend with your partner; the last time you would ever talk to them? Would you say the following?

  • "You just don't care about the house. I'm the only one who does. You 'never' do anything to help!"
  • "What a klutz."
  • "It's no wonder you got a divorce. I'd like to talk to your ex!"
  • "Go to hell!"
  • "How could you do that after all I've we've been through?"
  • "(Bleep) you!"
  • "You disgust me; just shut up."
  • "What a slob!"
  • "I wish I'd never married you!"
  • "I have to do everything around here!"
  • "You are absolutely good for nothing"
  • "That dress makes your butt look fat!"
  • "You are just plain clumsy! I could make a long list of the stupid things you've done!"
  • "That does it! Why don't we just get a divorce? We can't ever seem to get along!"
  • Would you say these words to your child if you knew it was the last time you would speak to them?
  • "You'll never amount to anything."
  • "You're going to be locked up someday."
  • "You're the reason your mother and I are getting a divorce."
  • "Your brother would never do that. You must have done it."
  • "You only got a 97 on your exam? What happened to the other three points?"

Ever catch yourself saying, "I wish I hadn't said that!"? Thoughtless words spoken by a stranger do not have nearly the impact as the same words spoken by someone you trust; someone you love - a partner.

Thoughtless words once spoken cut like a knife. Reckless words pierce like a sword. They leave long-lasting scars. They contain injurious subtleties. They are often intended to cause guilt trips.

Do not overlook the impact of your words on your partner. Insults take many forms and they all hurt. Hurtful words are seldom forgotten.

Thoughtless words such as these generally spawn disagreement which often causes arguments that derail the relationship and shift the subject from the one casting stones.

Some justify their words by saying, "I'm just being honest" or "I'm just telling you how I really feel" or "Well, that's just who I am" or "I'm telling you the truth!"

What they are really saying is, "I just don't care enough to want to make the effort to control my outbursts." They generally blame their partner for their tirades.

Many hurtful words come from lips that were aided by a dependence on alcohol.

Mindless name-calling is destructive. The meanness behind unkind words is uncalled for and serves no worthwhile purpose.

Don't be careless with your words. Speaking before thinking is a harmful habit. Better healing words than hurtful words. Better compromises than brandings. Thoughtless words do not lift people up, they drag people down.

Why do partners put each other down? Why do they criticize and condemn someone they say they love? Why do people criticize their partners to their faces and also behind their back? Why do they feel so justified to do that?

Name-calling is based on poor self-esteem and wanting to use power to put others down. It has a spiral effect of further lowering the self-esteem of both the name-caller and the partner being abused. Surely they must feel weak, vulnerable, and unloved, and surely they seek to find that strength, power, and acceptance through the games they play with their partner.

Living with a verbal abuser keeps you off-balance. They can be extremely pleasant one minute and bitingly vicious the next. The most calculating verbal abusers may be friendly and charming to most of the people who know them and hateful, disrespectful and hurl degrading insults to the one they say they love only in private.

You will find the receiver of thoughtless words suffering in silence, while inside, their heart becomes bruised from the verbal abuse. They feel hurt and attacked. Anger, depression, resentment, disgust and low self-esteem can be products of verbal abuse.

For partners with a poor self-image, cruel words can send them to the edge. Cruel words become chronic stressors when your partner hears them regularly.

If your partner is verbally abusive, just remember: There is never a good reason to stay in an abusive relationship. Never!

If you are guilty of saying hurtful words, the next time everyday pressures build up to where you feel like lashing out, try something else:

  • Put your hands over your mouth. Count to 10, or better, 20.
  • Stop in your tracks. Press your lips together and breathe deeply.
  • Phone a friend or a relationship coach.
  • Bite your tongue.
  • Take a leisurely walk and think about how to better handle the situation.
  • Splash cold water on your face.
  • Close your eyes and imagine you're hearing what your partner hears.
  • Promise yourself to simply to be more thoughtful before speaking.

Toothpaste once squeezed, cannot be put back into the tube. Feathers scattered in the wind cannot be collected. You cannot un-ring a bell. Hurtful words once spoken, cannot be taken back.

By the way, saying "I'm sorry" is okay as long as the behavior stops. Too many "I'm sorrys" is like crying, "Wolf!"

Speak unto others as you would have them speak unto you. Think twice before you say something that may hurt someone else!

Make an effort to make sure the last words to your partner each morning and each night are loving, positive, and encouraging.

When was the last time you told your partner, "I love you"?

Tomorrow is never a promise for anyone! What if today were your only chance to say, "I love you?"

Additional resources:

Read, "Weigh Your Words." - It is a wise love partner who is aware of the potential damage loose words can cause. Words spoken in anger inflict wounds that often take a long time to heal. Think first. . . then speak!

Read, "Domestic Violence Sucks!" - Physical and emotionally abusive behavior is sick! If you are in an abusive relationship, this article is a must-read. Includes helpful info and links for support for abuse victims.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 20). Never Intentionally Say Hurtful Words to Your Partner, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: February 28, 2023

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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