There has been a near-epidemic of “whatever” going around. If “whatever” should reach your relationship, stop it at all cost. Don’t let “whatever” take root. In case you have no idea what I am talking about, “whatever” is what some people have gotten in the habit of saying to end discussion. Example: One partner says, “I can’t stand those sarcastic, cutting remarks you make toward me all the time. The other partner responds, “Whatever.”
What’s the problem? Well for one thing “whatever” is usually said in a (yes) sarcastic, cutting (and snide, too!) sort of way. “Whatever” is not a positive or even neutral way of stopping a bad exchange. “Whatever” is not said like “Please, let’s stop.” “Whatever” drips with all sorts of not expressed but clearly implied meanings like “Sure, you jerk” or “You win, for the moment” or “Who cares about what you think.”
“Whatever” is nasty. Like any sarcastic, sidewise remark, it is hard to deal with because the person using “whatever” is not talking straight. Challenge a “whatever” remark, and you are likely to hear back, “You’re too sensitive” or “Just kidding.”
Another problem with “whatever” is that it is often defeatist, when defeat could probably be avoided. When “whatever” is an expression of defeat or hopelessness, the message behind it is apt to be some version of “I can’t get anywhere with you” or “We can’t solve anything—this included.”
Such beliefs should be challenged. When people settle for the belief that change is impossible or that getting through to each other can’t happen, the relationship is stuck and probably won’t get unstuck as long as “whatever” is allowed to stand.