Tips on Dealing With A Passive Aggressive Husband

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It can be difficult living and dealing with a passive aggressive husband. Chances are, you are always full of guilt, frustration and anger with the way he approaches problems the two of you have. Wouldn’t sitting down and talking out your problems be easier than doing little things to torment you? It’s a difficult behavior to live with and an even harder one to change. Passive aggressiveness is a learned behavior that is developed over a life time. It’s not something you can change overnight or even over a few months. But, there are a few things you can do to help curb his passive aggressive tendencies, which will hopefully stop eventually.

How to Recognize Passive Aggressiveness

This is crucial! The first step is to always recognize the problem before you try to fix or change it.  Here are a few behaviors a passive aggressive man may exhibit.

Withholds as Punishment

Does your husband say one thing but mean another? Sure, you both agree to go  out for dinner where he seems to be having fun, until later that night when he rejects you sexually as a punishment for forcing him to do something he didn’t want to. Passive aggressive men would rather punish you later than deal with conflict and speak their mind. What better way to punish you than withhold something you want.

Fears Conflict

Would he do anything to keep from arguing with you? In his mind, anger is unacceptable. Anger, at times, is an open and honest way to deal and solve relationship problems. Both partners are better off after everything is said and done. A man displaying passive aggressive behavior would rather avoid taking responsibility to deal with relationship problems. Instead, you both end up avoiding a deep intimate connection.

Plays the Victim

Does he always shift the blame to someone else and never take any responsibility for hurting you? Was it his boss that made him stay late and kept you waiting by yourself at dinner? Sure, it would have only taken a few minutes to call you. But, to him, it’s better to see you get angry and then act the role of the victim and blame his boss.


Does your husband forget birthdays, anniversaries or anything else important to you? One of my ex’s would forget to tell me he needed something from me until the very last minute. Then I would have to spend hours preparing for something that would usually take me days.

Is Afraid

A passive aggressive man usually views himself as independent, yet still seeks the dependency that comes from a relationship. That’s why he will always be in a constant battle with himself when it comes to building an intimate connection with you. He wants to think he doesn’t need you, but is still bound to you emotionally.

How to Deal With Him

So, now you know. It is clearly evident that your husband displays passive aggressive behaviors. Now you want to change this behavior and stop your husband from always tormenting you. Well, the first thing you need to do is make sure you don’t have unrealistic expectations. This may cause you to demand for more than is possible or he is willing to give. If your marriage is worth staying in, change as much as you can and learn to live with the rest.

Here are a few tips and ideas on how to set limits and boundaries when your husband displays passive aggressive behavior. For one, he will know how to push your buttons. Don’t let him by reacting and playing along with his game. Just stay calm and follow these tips. In the long run it will all be worth it.

  • Set firm limits on what you will and will not tolerate. You have to stick by these!
  • Do not communicate in a defensive way. Show disappointment and start statements with “I”.
  • Don’t be afraid to hide your unhappy feelings. Learn how to communicate those feelings gently so he doesn’t try to avoid conflict and withdraw further.
  • Never accept excuses for bad behavior. It’s all a part of his game.
  • Realize that 9 times out of 10 he will do anything to avoid conflict. Choose your fights wisely and only go after him over big issues. If you hold everything in, you’ll only end up blowing up over some small issue and give him the chance to point fingers and call you crazy.
  • Set rules for discussions and arguments. No abusive language, stick to the subject and don’t bring up the past. If it gets heated, take time off and then resume the discussion later.
  • Encourage him to make choices. If you are going out or planning a trip, ask him to make some important decisions. Get him to pick and ask him to be more open and honest about his thoughts and feelings. Tell him there is no reason for a lack of effort on his part when it comes to your relationship.
  • Point out every time he tries to control you with anger. A passive aggressive husband will show anger by being withdrawing, sarcastic, intimidating or withholding affection. Make him aware of what he is doing.

These tips will help you make your  husband aware of what he is doing and how he is damaging the relationship. If he loves you, being aware of how he is hurting you will slowly make him realize to stop acting in such a manner. Passive aggressiveness is just a learned behavior that he uses to avoid confrontation and he is in control of whether or not he chooses to be passive aggressive. Make sure the consequences of continuing to be passive aggressive and not taking responsibility are not changed. In the end, it will be better for the both of you.

About The Author

Alice is a loving wife, proud mother and avid blogger that now hopes to help others learn from her past mistakes. She is the founder and editor of GuideToMyMan and blogs on a variety of topics relating to marriage and relationships. Learn more about her and connect with her on Twitter @GuideToMyMan


  1. Hi Alice, thank you for taking the time to share your wise learnings. I am just now realizing how so many of his bizzare actions are linked to this personality type and because they are so covert it has been do difficult to understand.

    • Not a problem! Its always nice to hear I helped someone :)

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