1. The breakup fake-out.
When we’re in the midst of doing battle as a couple, one of the most common ways people taunt each other is to express just how easily they could walk out and move on. Some might actually start packing up their things. Others might walk out the door and announce their intention to return at some point for their belongings. “Keep everything. I’m leaving,” may be the most powerful insult of this genre. Alternatively, there’s always “Good bye—and good luck, cunt.”
2. The subtle cheating insinuation.
Whether or not you have any intention of straying from your partner, it’s always a nice kick in the butt to imply that you might be thinking about it. You can do this by saying something like, “I’m not sure monogamy’s working for me anymore.” Alternatively, you might imply that you’ve already cheated by alluding to a past suspicious event. “Remember that time I had to work late last month? We need to talk about that once we’ve both cooled down.”
3. The outright infidelity promise.
If you’re really irate, you might as well go all out and announce that you plan to visit a rub-and-tug salon later that day, or hire a prostitute to get the job done. “If I can’t get it at home because you’re so fucking impossible, I might as well pay for it—and don’t think I’ll feel an ounce of guilt about outsourcing that shit.”
4. The market value reminder.
If you want to increase the stakes in a lover’s quarrel, it’s almost always effective to remind your significant other of your market value. You’ve got options—and lots of them—right? One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to mention that person in your life—a former lover turned buddy, a childhood friend of the opposite sex, or an office spouse—whose name automatically provokes your partner’s territorial animal within. “I might as well meet up up with [insert jealousy trigger of a name here] tonight since you and I aren’t exactly getting along.”
5. The digital embargo.
When you’re talking in circles, nowhere close to a resolution, it’s time to go your separate ways. But you’re still raging, and you need to emphasize that you plan to stay angry for a while. So as you walk out the door, you issue a seemingly flippant warning: “Don’t bother calling or texting, okay? Cause I won’t be answering.” If you’re feeling more extreme, you might say, “Why don’t you just go ahead and delete my number. I’ll be deleting yours shortly.”
6. The hypothetical reputation ruin.
Some people care a lot about the way they’re viewed by others. This doesn’t mean they’re shallow, necessarily, but it does mean they’re incredibly vulnerable to threats against their reputation. If you’re dating someone who’s at all sensitive to public perception, go ahead and threaten to live Tweet your fight as it unfolds, or say something along the lines of, “I wonder what everyone will think when they find out how nasty you can get,” and then point out the fact that you’ve been secretly recording them for the last several minutes. If your partner’s the type who cares deeply about what his or her nearest and dearest think, you might say, “It’ll be really interesting to hear what [insert name of friend or family member] thinks about how much of an asshole you’re being…”
7. The sex ban.
“Good luck getting laid this week,” is a great way to remind your partner that you have veto power when it comes to accessing your penis or vagina. Of course, the inherent risk of the no-sex-until-you-admit-you-were-wrong move is triggering 2 or 3.
8. The temporary separation insinuation.
When you reach an impasse and one person has to walk out the door to get to work or a prior engagement, both parties are well-positioned to threaten that they might just disappear for a bit. “Don’t expect me to see me later,” someone might warn on their way out. Similarly, there’s the casual but biting, “I probably won’t be here when you get back.”
9. The “reality” check.
When you really want to hit someone where it hurts, you undercut their best qualities. Think about the areas in which your partner excels—the source of all those compliments you typically shower them with, and tell them what you “really” think. Everything you like best about your partner can be refashioned into a tool for whittling away at their ego. So if you’re dating someone who prides themselves on their work, you might tell them that you feel bad about their waning talent, or that their latest work sucks. And if you’re with someone kind who’s devotes a large percentage of their time to volunteering, you might call them out for being “a self-righteous, hypocritical bastard.”
10. The passive aggressive slap.
On the tail end of a fight, while things are cooling down but both parties are still quite rattled, it can be tough to resist tossing around a few extra jabs of the passive-aggressive variety. “I guess it’s a good thing we never got that puppy together. We’re definitely not quite there yet as a couple…” Or, “Maybe relationship therapy isn’t such a bad idea after all…”
11. The cheap shot.
We’ve all got a secret stash of especially cheap shots we can wield if we choose to reduce ourselves to that level during any given fight. Making fun of someone’s family falls into this category: “By the way, your mom’s famous lasagna tastes like dirt,” or, “Do you even realize what an idiot your sister is?” You can also always attack a person’s lack of sexual prowess, however good or bad they are in bed: “Have you considered watching more porn? You could really use a little blowjob demo from an expert.”
12. The “accidental” slip of the tongue.
This one requires concentration because you have to at least try to package the slip-up as a believable accident. For instance, you might call your significant other by your ex’s name to get a rise out of them. Then, you feign shock. Hand over mouth: “I can’t believe I just said that.”