In order for human beings to live in any semblance of a civilized society, there are rules. Some of those rules are detailed, explicit and enshrined into law. Others form the fuzzy, ever-shifting grey space that defines what is considered acceptable by society. Among those rules that deal with interpersonal interaction are the unspoken, unofficial rules of engagement for fighting with your partner. Regardless of how angry you are or what stage of the relationship you are in, there are some things you should never say to your partner and some things that they should never say to you. If they do say them, that is your cue to head for the door, because this is not a relationship you want to keep.

"If you love me, you’ll…"

Emotional blackmail might top the list of terrible things a person can say to their partner. Although it can unfortunately occur at any stage of a relationship, it is most common when you have been with your partner for a while but have not yet made serious moves toward marriage. If a person plays this card too early in a relationship, the other person has fewer reasons to stay and is more likely to walk away. If someone starts doing this after six years of marriage, the other person will notice the change in behavior and be unlikely to put up with it. During the transition from a lighter, more superficial dating relationship to a more intimate, long-term relationship, however, both people are invested in remaining a single unit but are in the process of redefining the boundaries of the relationship.
This makes it harder for someone to walk away, but it also means that new behavior is less likely to stand out. Besides, at this point in a relationship, you do want to prove your love for the other person. Unfortunately, some people will take advantage of this. If your partner tries to use emotional blackmail to pressure you to do something, leave. Emotional blackmail is a form of abuse, and things are only likely to get worse from there.

"This is all your fault!"

Generally speaking, it takes two to tango so problems in a relationship are almost never the fault of one person. That said, not everyone is mature enough to accept that they were part of the problem. It is far easier to blame someone else and continue to believe that they were simply the innocent party who was so wronged. The problem, of course, is that refusing to take responsibility for one’s actions means that the underlying issue that caused the problem in the first place is never resolved. Instead, it festers and continues to make things worse. If your partner blames you entirely for issues in the relationship, it might be time to walk away. If they cannot take responsibility for their role in any disconnects, they are certainly not going to be able to solve them like a mature human being. Instead, the underlying problem will continue to be left unchecked and cause repeated flare ups that result in frustration, fights, emotional distance, hurt feelings, confusion and, most likely, a messy end to the relationship. Save yourself the pain and walk away.

"I want a break."

Here is a little secret. “Taking a break” is code for either “I’m too much of a coward to simply admit I want to break up” or “I don’t really want to be in a relationship with you, but you’ll do as a backup plan in case I can’t find something better.” Claiming to want a break leaves the other person in an uncomfortable state of limbo. They are usually reluctant to move on and try to find someone new because the person who wanted the break might come back. They are also unable to continue their current relationship because, well, there is not one anymore. 

If your partner claims they want a break, treat it as a breakup and crush your own hopes of getting back together. It sounds cruel, but it is the best way to protect your own emotional health. Assume the break is permanent and move on with your life. If you two are actually soulmates who are meant to be together forever, you will find a way back to each other eventually. If you partner is simply a coward or a jerk who wants to keep you in their back pocket, you are better off without them anyway.

"Why do you have to be so…"

No partners fit together perfectly. There are always little things that they do to drive each other up the wall. Understandably, sometimes partners call each other out on the habits that have them ready to tear their hair out. They should be speaking, however, of actions. It is one thing to be frustrated because your partner cannot seem to remember to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher no matter how many times you remind them or that they keep leaving their dirty socks all over the house for you to clean up. It is another to reprimand who your partner is as a person. Insisting they clean up after themselves is one thing. Calling them stupid or asking why they have to be such a complete slob is another. If your partner calls you out on your actions or explains that what you are doing makes them feel uncomfortable, taken advantage of or ignored, listen to them and discuss the issue. If they start attacking personality traits or insulting you, it is time to hit the road and leave what could become an abusive situation behind. 

"I never loved you!"

Claiming to have never loved someone is usually said in the heat of the moment during the heart of a furious argument. The words, however, can never be taken back. The phrase disregards both your feelings, your partner’s own feelings and everything the two of you have built together. It demonstrates a serious lack of commitment to the relationship and a willingness to hit where it hurts. Neither of these are a situation you want to remain in or endure. If they claim they never loved you, it might be best to take that statement at face value and walk away. It will hurt, but it is better to get it over with than to draw out that sort of emotional pain because you can bet that fight is not going to be the end of the emotional rollercoaster.

Fighting with your partner is always awful, but there are some things that are worse than others. There are some lines that should not be crossed, and when your partner steps past them, it is time to say farewell. No matter what anyone says, everything is not fair in love and war, and if your partner is using these lines, what you have is not really love anyway. 
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