When you meet the one you want to be with forever, you’ll want to make sure you say and do the things that will make your relationship last. And on the same token, you want to make sure you don’t say and do the things that might make your relationship end.

With an average of 40-50% of relationships ending in divorce, you owe it to your partner to avoid the pitfalls of settling in for the rest of your life.

Excellent relationships take work by both partners to establish trust and cooperation. Communication is often the most likely place for relationship failure. A lack of intimacy is another relationship killer, as you read in 5 Things That Kill the Passion in a Relationship.

Fortunately, healthy communication is also the easiest place to make relationship improvements that affect intimacy as well. Let’s look at 5 words that you should avoid saying in your relationship.

5 Words To Avoid Saying In Your Relationship

In a study of hurtful words and relationships, researchers found that ‘people who judged something an individual said to them as intentionally hurtful felt the comment had more of a distancing effect on their relationship with the individual than did those who perceived the message as unintentionally hurtful. Furthermore, those who viewed the comment as intentionally hurtful tended to be less satisfied with the relationship they had with the person who hurt them and felt less close to the person than did those who saw it as unintentional.’

Hurtful words cause distance between ourselves and those we love. They also cause unhappiness in our relationships. You might have noticed that t+9-he research mentions the difference between the groups was ‘those who perceived the message as unintentionally hurtful’ and those who did not.

Avoiding hurtful words is best, but when your partner says things that hurt, you have another choice as well. Changing your perception of hurtful words could help take the sting out of them. You could just as easily say to yourself ‘My partner is just having a bad day. They didn’t really mean to hurt me.’ Let’s look at five of the most hurtful words that you should avoid saying in your relationship.

1. Busy

The person you are in a relationship with should be your number one priority. As difficult as that may be to accept, you can’t prioritize your job and still have a partner who is happy that you put them second. Similarly, you can’t put your children first, because they need a supportive, healthy adult relationship to be healthy and happy themselves.

You and your partner should never say that you’re too busy to do anything for each other. You can, however, question the importance of what your partner needs from you and negotiate for what you also need. There’s almost always a solution that will prevent hurt feelings.

For example, if your partner asks you to stop at the dry cleaner to pick up their suit, you could respond by saying you’re too busy or, you could find a way to make it a win-win. You could say ‘I’m scheduled with work up until 5:00 today so I can make it there by 6. Will that work?’ or ‘Since you’ll be closer to the dry cleaner, why don’t you get the suit and I’ll pick up dinner on my way home.’

2. Can’t

Again, declining to help your partner is hurtful. If you or your partner responded by saying ‘I can’t,’ it shows an unwillingness to help. The reason that ‘can’t’ hurts so much is that it is usually a lie. The truth is that you are unwilling, not unable, to help.

A study of hurtful words used in a humorous context compared to non-humorous communication found that the use of humor made people feel less hurt. If you can find a humorous way to communicate your message, the effect is more likely to be joyful.

3. Blame

Even if the word ‘blame’ is avoided, you should never blame your partner. Even if they made a mistake in the past, you are choosing to be with them now, so you can’t hold previous wrongs against them.

Sometimes people say ‘You always/never do ___’ which is also a generalization about your partner’s behavior that is untrue and also implies blame. Blame can get very tricky in a relationship because it tends to demonstrate that one partner does not trust the other.

4. Hate

The word ‘hate’ should never be used in a loving relationship unless you’re saying ‘I hate anchovies on my pizza, but you can have them on your half.’ You might dislike your partner’s behavior, but the word ‘hate’ should stay out of your vocabulary if you want to keep a healthy relationship.

5. Divorce/Breakup

A close, loving relationship should be focused on what each person needs to do to be sure that the two partners stay together. Mentioning, without even threatening to, break up with your partner is like holding a threat over their head.

There may be times when your partner’s behavior is unacceptable. If that’s the case, say those words without threats of a breakup. ‘Your behavior is unacceptable. I need you to ___’ is better than ‘If you don’t ___, I’m going to break up with you.’