MANSWERS: What kinds of things should you never say during a fight?

MANSWERS: What kinds of things should you never say during a fight?
Updated 20-11-16

I love my boyfriend and he loves me but we fight dirty. In our five years together he’s called me all manner of names including bitch and the c word. I’ve resorted to name-calling too. He has also told me to fuck off or get fucked when he’s really angry. I know this all sounds terrible but it’s about 2 percent of our relationship. The rest is awesome and what I’d call loving and respectful. It’s just when we’re mad that we can’t seem to respect each other. I want to change the pattern and have tried myself but he says when he’s mad he blurts it out and can’t control it. He is always apologetic later. What do you and the Manswers think? Are dirty fights ok if the rest of the relationship is good or are there things you should never say no matter what? (I’m going to make him read this!) Jen

When it comes to lovers tiffs, I’ve always been the wishy-washy one. I’m more likely to slam a door or walk out of the house than resort to name calling or swearing; weirdly, because on a daily basis I do curse probably too much. The one time I called a lover a fucking arsehole, he REALLY deserved it but those words, I remember, felt like pebbles in my mouth, so wrong was it – to me – to level that insult at someone I loved. Similarly, I’ve never told anyone to fuck off no matter how incensed I’ve been.

We all say hurtful stuff in the heat of the moment but that kind of verbal abuse just isn’t on in my book. Name-calling is the WORST. Psychologists say this kind of exchange between a couple may happen if one or both feel they’ve exhausted all other ways of expressing how they feel. Whatever the reason, saying these things breaks something precious that you can’t always rebuild. So Jen, in my opinion, here are a few choice phrases that should never be uttered … no matter how mad you are:

  1. Fuck off / get fucked (It’s ugly. SO ugly, no matter who you’re saying it to.)
  2. You’re a _______  / You’re being a ________ (name calling shows you have zero respect for the other person, plus names inflict emotional scars that might never heal)
  3. I hate you (which may be true in the heat of the moment, but often regretted later)
  4. I’ve always faked orgasm with you (even if it’s true, not the way to address this issue)
  5. I want a divorce / It’s over / I’m moving out (often a knee-jerk reaction and just tells the other person you can’t be trusted to work things out without issuing ultimatums).

A good way to break the pattern is to call time out when an argument looks like it’s escalating towards that danger zone. Say, ‘we’re both getting mad; let’s take a break and talk about this when we’ve both calmed down’. Lets see what the Manswers think about this one.

Love, reality chick

Dr Phil says… Having been party to the part-time serial cycle of verbal abuse and all the associated love-hate anguish involved in this type of trench warfare, I can relate to your plight. A previous relationship taught me this type of verbal assault (on both sides) chips away at the ever less tolerant core of a relationship, until too many bad things have been said, there is nothing left and its time to part ways. Yes, fighting is part of a relationship, but you’ve got to consciously check yourself in the heat of the moment to avoid saying terrible things you’ll regret later. It’s easier said than done. I’d suggest baby steps – initially both try and consciously intercept and catch yourself whilst seeing red to prevent a battle of bad words that will hurt each other. Prevention is better than cure.

BB says… Sticks and stones may break bones, but names really hurt too. It is normal for couples to argue and it might only be 2 percent of your relationship but when its this nasty and disrespectful it’s not okay. You say he is always apologetic afterwards. Simple, no need for him to apologise, he just needs to think before he speaks and not say the first thing that comes into his head. If he won’t change you should find a bloke who knows how to treat a lady.

RC readers, your turn: what do you think should never be said during a fight? Or do you have any other rules you stick to when it comes to fighting with a lover?

Got a question for RC or the Manswers team? Drop a line in

the RC Question Box! (Questions may be edited.)
Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. LB 4 years ago

    What brought me to this page, and what I think should never be said in addition to these things listed is “I’ll go fuck someone else”
    My boyfriend said this to me tonight in response to me expressing frustration that whenever I want sex he doesn’t and when we do he doesn’t really even bother himself with my half lately.
    =/ I simply communicated that it’s lowering my sex drive and making me feel uncomfortable and not want to do it with him and his response was “I’ll go fuck someone else”
    I feel like that hurt me more than almost anything and now I really don’t want to even think about having sex with him.

  2. Bree 4 years ago

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost three years now. When I get mad about something I give him the silent treatment not really to make him more mad but because I just can not respond at this point in time and he gets very upset with me because “I won’t talk to him”. I have called him an asshole during our fights and he’s called me a bitch as well. We always apologize to each other after we are done fighting. But I’d like to describe a certain event that happened recently and hopefully can gain some insight. We were out of town visiting my family and went out to a beer festival naturally we’d have several drinks and ended up at a restaurant with my cousin and some of her friends. My boyfriend had been arguing with one of my cousin’s friends over something that well my boyfriend just wouldn’t drop the subject he continued for a good hour. Now I apparently said something along the lines of “you never do something” i can’t remember exactly what I said but according to him I said something really rude and his response he got upset and said Why are you being such a bitch infront of everyone. Everyone at the table heard. He also spilt his beer twice throughout this argument and became tearing eyed and I sat there quietly because we were in public and I didn’t know how to handle the situation if we would of been at home I probably would of said why are you being such an asshole back to him. He apologized afterwards but I was still mad at him for calling me that in public and I stayed mad at him till the next day when we left. We got into another argument about that whole event and managed to settle it and he apologized again for what he said and he’s still apologizing for it. But I worry because it’s not the first time. We’ve gotten into fights where he’s punched a whole in our bedroom door, thrown and broke his phone against the dashboard of my car and he’s also thrown a fork at the wall during supper one night this has all been during our fights. He says I’m too stubborn and I always have to win fight and he’s called be a big baby from time to time. We don’t fight all the time and I really don’t want to call it quits I really do love him and he really loves me but something has to change and I could really use someones advice

  3. Diane 4 years ago

    My partner constantly tells me to F off and calls me the C word but the most hurtful thing he says is to die a painful death……my brother died a horrible death from cancer two years ago so I find those words very cruel. I have stayed because of financial reasons, my health and age but I am done with this abuse

  4. Jo 4 years ago

    Going through a similar thing. My husband slags me off. Calls me all the names under the sun. Tells me my family all think I’m a scumbag and calls my 15 year old son names and my mum too. They hear him say tho and they go to bed and try to ignore it.
    My mum has stopped sleeping because of it (she lives in our house too). We spend more time arguing than anything else and when we do he really goes for it and makes me feel completely worthless. Don’t know what to do. Love him but want the relationship to end but scared.

  5. Nicola 4 years ago

    I love my husband and he loves me but there is always a but right? But I am bipolar, which he says I use as an excuse for not doing something about myself. eg: excercising, eating better cos I have diabetese . He a widow and I a, a divorcee. I pine for my ex and compare my husband to him. My husband is not working. He is a guitar player and plays in bands to jam but does not earn any money. He is very close to his daughter and son who are both married but one has problems with her now ex husband which is really none of my business and I try not to make it. She is currently dating a nice young boy who seems to have taken a liking to me. But because I have a tendency to like young boys and because i have daddy issues. Please help me. I am worried I will have an affair. My husband doesn’t give any money to me for groceries utilities or household expenses only last week he gave me first utilitiy bill money for telephone. He waked me up in the morning and tries to make me walk which puts me in a very bad mood l suppose he does care but he is not giving me any space . I am going crazy and end up screaming at him

  6. Brianna64 4 years ago

    Im in a relationship with my Boyfriend we been together for 1 year and 5 months, we use to be happy and lovey dovey but he changed. He started calling me names, like b*tch and hoe and stuff like that when he get mad. He changed from being all im sorry baby and all that and i told him over and over again the names not called for you dont gotta call me this or that, because it hurts me. And he said he was tired of me treating him this and that way, he gotta be tuff now. Tuff dont got nothing to do with treating your girl with respect.. Am I right? I

  7. Genelia 4 years ago

    I’m not a mature woman like most commenters here, but..I’ve been in a relationship with this guy for a year, that claimed he loved me but would call me the c-word, f*ck you, whore, bitch and many other stuff during fights but would say that he only says that because he was mad. And he would never apologise unless I brought it up. It hurts how I always felt that there was something wrong about our relationship, but never said anything because..eventually, I just became afraid of him. Now idk what to do, he says he loves me but everytime I have forgiven him, it’s the same.

  8. Tasha 4 years ago

    I’ve been dating this guy for 8 years off and on… I had a miscarriage 3 years ago.. I love this man deeply. He is 31 and I’m 28. It’s hard for him to be in a committed relationship. But he like to control my whereabouts like we are together. He don’t like nor want me to talk to other guys. To be honest I only want him. Today we had a very disrespectful argument. We called eachother bitches he said I’m a ghost to him.. anytime we argue it’s like that. He say I’m pushing him away because of my mouth. My mouth is reckless and smart because how he treat me knowing I’m in love with him. He goes days without a single text stay out till 4 in the morning. No we do not live together.. So I get in my feelings and snap out or if I don’t answer my phone or text on his demands he curse me out. If we could get pass that and he commit we will make a wonderful couple.. I’m hurting right now.. I love him and just want him, but I know it wouldn’t work. How do I let go?

  9. Chelsa 4 years ago

    A boyfriend must never say fuck off/you to his girlfriend no matter wht it is subject to her insult and deep inside she felt disgracefull and insulted! Keep your girl happy and make her feel like queen and she ll make u feel heavnly!

  10. FC 5 years ago

    It breaks my heart to hear this. I was married for 16 years and divorced my wife who had an affair. 5 years later I became a Christian I met most beautiful woman my life. She too got out of a bad long marriage and when I met her she was 250 pounds. I love her. She lost 125 pounds got an education and a job as a nurse and in 6 months totally changed. She curses at me all the time uses the F-word all the time I can’t even ask her to come lay down with me because she’s on the computer or on her phone talking to other people from work. I’m a retired homicide detective. Before I met her in my previous life before I was saved I had 5 affairs three of them at the same time. I knew you had a cheat. I even wrote A Blog for women to catch their husbands cheating. I don’t talk that way he’s in that language Ephesians 5 33 says husbands to love their wives unconditionally and for wives to respect their husbands men need respect women need love. You can’t talk to each other that way. I wish people would understand that respect each other love each other unconditionally. I’m grieving for you right now as I’m laying in bed listening to the words of my wife just spoke to me 10 minutes ago. And I came across this post.

    • Eloise 4 years ago

      To FC,

      Is this still happening? Sounds familiar to me.
      Hope things have resolved for you both.

  11. Angela 5 years ago

    I’ve been in a relationship with a man for 13 years who is totally self absorbed and full of himself. He puts everyone in his life before me and our relationship. This means mama, cousin, daughter, etc. all come before us. ( Mamas boy at 50) I have given up all hope because of the emotional abuse he puts me through to make me feel bad about myself. It’s like a sick game he plays. We used to live together but he moved out many years ago because he said I was cheating on him. But I still stayed in the relationship for fear of being older and going through the same thing if I meet someone new. I’m 44 and he’s 50 and today he told me I am fucked up in the head because I showed him a paper my daughter texted me with a good grade in it. He says do you see her name in it and I’m like no but she sent it to show she is doing good in that class. I said I’m gonna tell her what you said just joking and he went on a rant calling me fucked up in the head. He argues with me about every little thing and never talks about making things better. I think we are done for sure. I need help to move forward.

  12. April 6 years ago

    My husband of 20 years whom i have supported the entire marriage has completely gotten worse. He now tells me to piss off he constantly makes our 17 yar old autistic son feel bad he puts us all down and just makes things unbearable. I have often thought of filing for a divorce but i feel like im worthlesss and cant make it on my own.

    • AnAmberIUsed2Know 5 years ago

      Although your post was 11 months ago, I do hope you have been able to find the strength to change something in your life and find some happiness for you and your son. I have an autistic 6th grader, and am not married yet, but feel like I am losing myself in my current relationship, finding it harder to feel joy and happiness with each passing day. Thank you for sharing your post with so many strangers! Good luck!

  13. Marika 6 years ago

    I have been with my husband for 22 years and he still calls me the c* word when we fight and tells me to f* off and that he wants to be with someone else because I am a slut and obviously have someone on the side, throws his wedding ring off and really makes me feel scared with his ranting and raving, if I ignore him he gets worse, I always have to leave the room or go out somewhere to make him stop. I don’t know what is wrong with me for putting up with it for so long. I suppose I have just accepted it as normal but it’s not, I have no family that live close that I can turn to which makes it hard, but I have to think of myself and my sanity this time…I don’t know what I am going to do but I have to do something after reading all these comments 🙁

    • Author

      Hi Marika
      I think anything can become your new ‘normal’ when you let it go on for so long. But you don’t have to live like that or put up with it. However, leaving an abusive partner isn’t easy and you need careful plans to do so, if that’s what you’re thinking. My suggestion would be to call as a first start – they offer counselling and support to women in your situation, and can advise you on the steps you need to take from here.
      Good luck xo

  14. paul 6 years ago

    No man should call a woman names you respect the person at the end of the day no matter what men think they can control woman make me sick it does I am single bloke with a daughter being cheated on twice kicked to corner confidence shattered so tell me this how do you trust again

    • Author

      It’s not easy Paul. I do think, though, while it’s HORRIBLE to be cheated on (I’ve been there), you become so much tougher from the experience, even if she’s not feeling that way right now. She’ll get it together in time and hopefully she’ll have a finely honed radar for dating when she’s ready to get back out there. She’s lucky to have a dad like you, though – you sound like a great support for her.

  15. Sharon 6 years ago

    today I walked away from a relationship for being called a c*nt which has happened numerous times. When I first met my previous other half I was quiet and meek, I was too mousy for him he said he liked girls who were a bit more feisty. Over time and various (incorrect ) accusations that I have cheated on him for the flimsiest of reasons such as wearing s new outfit that I bought in the sale on my way to work after deciding the skirt I was wearing had seen better days, or being home 15 minutes late because there were roadworks and I had to get of my cycle and walk to preserve my life, I grew resentful and started responding to his fuck off with the same response, There was no argument today, he said it, and I walked away, taking all of my property from his house. Okay he was a good man in so many ways that I turned a blind eye and cried alone when I was really down, the kindness was always followed with a price to pay for me taking his time when he felt resentful. What type of life is that, and after 6 years together and he won’t commit then today was the final straw.

    • Author

      For what it’s worth, Sharon, I totally think you’ve done the right thing. History means nothing if you’re having to put up with that kind of control and abuse. For your sake I’m really glad you didn’t let it become your new ‘normal’. Good luck going forward. xo

  16. Sarah 6 years ago

    I’ve just left my husband (taken a break) today for him repeatly telling me to fuck off, get fucked -even whilst holding our 2 year old son & it’s been happening daily. It has erroded my self esteem & for a while I thought it was normal & ok…but when I started to get help I realised it wasn’t :(.
    He didn’t change- didn’t get help & repeatedly was saying he was over the relationship & wanted to live his life free from responsabilty. Words hurt- but Somtimes you get so ust to them you get numb. Don’t go numb…. It’s not ok!

    • Author

      That’s rough especially with a little one, Sarah. I’m sorry 🙁

      Props to you for taking a stand and a step back from him. If he’s not up for parenthood or working on your relationship it’s better to know now right? X

  17. Debbie 8 years ago

    I totally agree with RC about the things that should never be said. I once told a partner to F off in the heat of the moment and didn’t realise just how hurtful it was until he said it back to me during a later fight. After that we both swore never to do it again – and we didn’t. Relationships are about respect and this sort of thing eats away at the core. Been there, done that, paid the price, hopefully learned better now.

    You don’t mention if alcohol is ever involved in these fights but in my experience the worst, most hurtful things can get said when we’re under the influence. Things we don’t even mean often. Never fight when you’re drunk – ever.

    Either way, can you make a pact that when you start to get into these fights one of you *walks away*. The other partner is not allowed to be mad about this. Wait until you’ve both cooled down – then talk. It is doable.

    Calling you a c*nt or a bitch is never ok in my opinion. No matter what. Any more than it’s ok for you to call him anything of a similar nature.

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