The 3 reasons you should never say this well-meaning phrase to your partner, according to an expert

It may bring 'temporary comfort,' but the phrase can spell the end of a partnership

Couple arguing
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A psychologist has revealed the seven-word phrase you should never say to your partner and, while you may mean well, it has the power to destroy a relationship. 

There are plenty of red flag behaviours and negative actions that experts have drawn our attention to when it comes to our relationships, like how 'soulmate thinking' and even just watching TV with your partner can negatively impact your relationship

But even if you're giving it your all to keep up a healthy relationship, perhaps by finding ways to connect with your partner after your kids have gone to bed and like being with your partner again after having a baby, there is one common phrase you may have incorporated into your vocabulary that could be killing your relationship - and we've all said it before. 

According to Jeffrey Bernstein PhD, a parent coach and psychologist with over 30 years of experience providing couples and family counselling and coaching, the phrase 'Don't worry; we will work it out' is one you never want to say to your partner for three very important reasons - even if you mean well when you say it.

1. It provides 'false reassurance.' Writing in Psychology Today, the expert explained that it might feel like, when you're in the grips of a difficult time, saying "Don't worry; we will work it out," is a supportive response that will either calm your partner or, at least, get them off your back. But, in reality, the expert says it merely brings 'temporary relief and comfort' from a problem that will most likely persist and even worsen without intervention. 

The supportive words are completely useless without follow through. Instead, you should take 'concrete steps to address' the problem - so doing the actual 'working out' that the phrase implies. Without trying to find a solution, the struggles continue and the partner will start to question the sincerity behind the phrase, 'leading to doubt and frustration' that can kill the relationship. 

2. It allows for a 'lack of accountability.' If you and your partner are making big life plans, from anything like starting a family, to moving house, to moving country even, it can be easy to want to go with the flow and 'work it out' when problems arise. But, as much as we want to, big life plans often require a lot of actual planning.  

Throwing out the phrase 'Don't worry; we will work it out,' may feel easy at the time, but in the future as plans come to fruition, the expert says you'll experience "a lot of strain as each avoided serious discussion of crucial specifics. 

"Instead of facing issues head-on and taking responsibility for finding solutions, they relied on each others' empty promises of resolution—without actively engaging in problem-solving."

3. It leads to a communication breakdown. It's likely that in a relationship, one person is a 'planner' and the other is a more 'laid-back' type whose likely to 'prioritise fun over structure.' When the latter is constantly throwing out the phrase 'Don't worry; we will work it out,' the planner is likely to get frustrated as their 'conflicting viewpoints lead to heated debates over everything.' 

This can turn making decisions into an argument every single time you try to talk about something, leaving one or the other unsure of how to deal with 'the strain of their differing perspectives.'

So, what can couples do instead? According to Dr Bernstein, "While offering reassurance and optimism is helpful in any partnership, it's equally important for partners to back up their words with meaningful action and genuine effort to address challenges."

So, next time you want to say, "Don't worry; we will work it out'," take a breath and figure out a solution instead. Over time, you'll notice how much better your trust, communication, and accountability is in your relationship. 

In other relationship news, compromising may be killing your relationship - here are 5 ways to reach healthy compromises, according to relationship expert. And, one common habit could be key to improving your sex life, says relationship expert - it only takes 20 seconds and can even be done in public! Plus, reframing one simple habit could get your sex life back on track after having a baby, new research shows.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.