Don’t be overly sarcastic
“The dishwasher won’t get unpacked on its own.” “Do I look like a babysitter?” Words of sarcasm may seem harmless at first, but they can be used to dig at your partner and communicate that you’ve been frustrated by an unmet expectation. “Sarcastic comments that put your partner down will erode the relationship and are likely to leave your partner feeling frustrated,” says Hall. She suggests that you deal with the issue from a loving and genuine place, which is more likely to be heard by your partner.
Don’t be their biggest critic
“While ‘stupid’ isn’t a curse word, it’s hurtful,” says April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert and author. “It’s often worse than any other word.” The same goes for “What’s wrong with you?” “What kind of father/mother does that?” or “That’s an awful idea.” Your partner wants you to be his cheerleader, not feel like you’re on different teams or that you don’t believe in him. You shouldn’t be his biggest critic, but rather, his biggest fan. “Supporting your partner is an essential part of a happy, healthy and successful relationship,” says Hall. “Unsupportive phrases will wear on your partner’s self-esteem, and ultimately, the relationship. Show you care about your partner, and they’ll be far more likely to want to be supportive and caring back.”
Don’t overuse “I” statements
When you care more about yourself than your spouse, you often start sentences with “I.” “I want that pair of shoes.” “Just get it done; I don’t care what happens along the way.” Instead of it being about your partner, it’s all about you. And your partner may even fear that you’re going to cheat on him or her. “If you tell him that he can’t meet your needs, he may assume that you’ll find someone who will,” says House. “That’s initiating and instilling insecurity and jealousy. Name calling and threats are unhealthy and hard to forget.” Remember that your partner isn’t a mind reader, says Samantha Burns, a relationship counsellor, dating coach and author of the ebook Love Successfully: 10 Secrets You Need to Know Right Now. “So if you’re feeling dissatisfied in your relationship, it’s important to address your needs in a calm, non-blaming way,” says Burns. “As soon as your partner processes something as a complaint, they’re more likely to shut down since they may feel that no matter how hard they try, it’s never good enough.” She suggests trying a ‘compliment sandwich,’ where you praise your partner for the effort they’re putting in currently or have given in the past; then tell them specifically what could be improved or what you need from them; and end with another positive compliment. You might say, “I really appreciated that last week you came home early from work. What I really need is more quality time with you during the weeknights so that I feel more connected to you. When you carve out time to give me your undivided attention, I feel so loved.”