Lying is never a great idea, especially when it comes to sexual intimacy. “The definition of intimacy is letting another person see your vulnerabilities,” says Ford, and that includes admitting that your sex life might need some S.O.S. When you pretend you’re enjoying sex, you may think that you’re sparing his feelings, but you’re actually pushing him away by not being honest. And chances are, you aren’t fooling him: The very fact that he’s asking usually means he suspects that something is up. When broaching the subject, start with the positive: “Express appreciation of the fact that he even wants to know—’that’s so thoughtful of you, honey,'” suggests Ford. Then, while you’re both clothed and not in the bedroom, bring up some things you enjoy sexually and that you would like to try in order to enhance the experience next time around, taking care not to place blame on him. By emphasizing what arouses you and what you two can do in the future, you’ll spare his feelings without duping him in the process.
2. “You’re just like your father.
3. “When are you going to find a new job?”
4. “My mother warned me you’d do this!”
Something must have seriously infuriated you, because what you’re doing here is letting him know that there are others in your “camp.” “You are trying to validate your ‘side’ of an argument, as though you’re marshalling an army to your side,” says Orlov. But that’s never a good idea because it’s telling him that you’re not on his side, or on the side of your relationship. Though you should never let the opinions of others’ dictate your relationship, if there is some kernel of truth to a concern that your mother raised, think about how to address that. “Maybe your mother said ‘he’s too cheap,'” says Orlov. “Say to him, ‘why do you sometimes seem reluctant to spend money on things we need?'” Without ganging up on him, that could open up a discussion about money worries that stem from his childhood, for example. “Room is now cleared for creative problem-solving,” says Orlov. And if you’re just lashing out? Hold your tongue and focus on the root of what’s making you mad. In the end, coming to a solution together will make you feel better than unleashing hurtful words.
5. “Just leave it––I’ll do it myself!
6. “You always… [fill in the blank]” or “You never… [fill in the blank]”
7. “Do you really think those pants are flattering?”
8. “Ugh, we’re hanging out with him again?
There’s nothing wrong with your guy having a friend whose company you don’t love—no one says spouses are required to adore each other’s friends, especially that one college pal who likes to pretend he and your hubby never left the frat house. What is wrong is insulting your man’s choice of friends. Your disdain may also suggest that you’d prefer to pick his friends for him—and no one wants to be told who they should be pals with. A better choice: “Oh, honey, you know I don’t always enjoy doing the same things as you and George, so why don’t you plan a guys’ night instead?'” suggests Ford. Remember, there’s no marriage rule that says you two have to do everything together; he might actually be relieved to have a little guy time with his pal that doesn’t involve him having to worry if you’re having fun or are offended by his friend’s jokes. (And keep this in mind: If a friend is really awful, your husband is much more likely to see that on his own, over time, whereas if you nag him to drop the dolt it may never happen.)
9. “Please watch the kids. But don’t do this, take them here or forget that…”