For Those Of Us Married To A Passive Aggressive Spouse

Worth rereading!

Is Your Passive Aggressive Husband Withholding Sex?
By Cathy Meyer, Guide

Have you ever had a wonderful day with your husband only to be rejected sexually at the end of the day? You lay in bed replaying the events of the day in your head. There were no arguments; you both appeared to be enjoying yourself. It was an expensive outing at a local mall but your husband didn’t complain, he even made several purchases for himself.

So, what happened to that loving man you spent the day with? Where is the man who seemed to be happy to be with you and eager to please?

Not to worry, he is still there. He is now passive aggressively punishing you for what he wasn’t willing to express to you earlier. That expensive day of shopping bothered him. It bothered him tremendously and you now need to be punished for engaging in an activity that he failed to be honest with you about.

According to Scott Wetzler, author of Living With The Passive Aggressive Man, “Abstinence is a common complaint from women involved with passive aggressive men. If he’s in a financial pinch, he’ll take you out for the evening but remind you that the evening’s expenses are a huge burden. He’ll then make up pay by refusing to have sex. But if you offer to go Dutch before he suggests it, he’ll take it as an emasculating gesture. And still he’ll make you pay by withholding sex. His sexual refusal, however, will usually be hidden under the guise of a transparent excuse: he’s sleepy, sick, preoccupied with work.”

Try to get a passive aggressive man to admit he is punishing you by withholding sex and he will look at you as if you have three heads. My ex husband was passive aggressive. His favorite way of punishing me was to withhold sex. He punished me so often that as far as intimacy we averaged six times a year.

I did what most women who are punished in such a way. I internalized it, made it about me. If I were better looking, thinner, a better mother or a better wife my husband would want to be intimate with me. That is what most women married to passive aggressives do; they doubt themselves and buy into the “too tired” excuse.

In other words, we do exactly what the passive aggressive is not able to do openly and honestly. We punish ourselves. His need to punish us is successful and he didn’t have to say a word. All it took was turning away from us in bed. He keeps his good guy image and at the same time makes his wife pay for not reading his mind and knowing he was upset and acting accordingly.

Most men engage in sex for pleasure, so they can make a deeper connection with the woman they love. The passive aggressive man doesn’t view sex the same way. For the passive aggressive man sex is not about making an intimate connection with his wife but about proving to himself that he isn’t dependent on his wife, the he doesn't need that intimate connection.

While most men are having sex with their wife in order to connect more deeply with her, the passive aggressive man withholds sex from his wife in order to keep himself safe and to show her who the boss is. Sex is a weapon to be used, not a way of connecting more deeply with his wife.

“To undermine your self-worth without taking action is a passive aggressive man’s ideal crime of omission,” says Scott Wetzler.

Below are suggestions for dealing with a passive aggressive husband who withholds sex:

Do not internalize his behavior. It isn’t about your worth or attractiveness. It is about him and his inability to express anger.

Call him on his behavior. Tell him you know he is upset and you deserve to be told what is wrong instead of punished like a child.

Keep in mind that his behavior has to do with fear, fear of getting to close to you, fear of being abandoned by you and probably years of hidden anger toward you.

Get into therapy as a couple. A passive aggressive man can change his behavior if there is motivation and a commitment to his marriage.

Reassure him that he is important to you, that you love him and hope that he loves you enough to want to change the unhealthy relationship dynamics.

When all else fails, make the decision to either stay and accept his behavior or leave the marriage. If, after expressing your desire to save the marriage by going to counseling and helping him change destructive behaviors he carries on, the odds of him ever changing is slim to none.

nyartgal nyartgal
36-40, F
12 Responses Nov 16, 2012

The trick is to go Dutch in the humping department as well.

That would be funnier if my stbx wasn't dutch ;)

Thanks for this article. It never crossed my mind that PA could be the underlying issue with my wife, so I will be pondering this thought-provoking article. And, gypsyblue, misandry is also a distinct possibility! Both my wife's sisters have divorced and not remarried, which might support the argument. And then, oddly, did it all start with their father, whom my wife seems to have always been distant from? Like nyartgals article implys, got to talk about it to get the real answer.

Very interesting, and I think there's some of that in my marriage. Have always considered my almost sexless husband to be passive aggressive, and since his self-esteem is low, he may also be worried about losing me. Meanwhile, he's pushing me out the friggin' door.

I swear you read my mind! I know my husband loves me but he has been punishing m=ever since our wedding day when I got way drunk and slapped him.. 4 1/2 years later and it is always something I did or didn't do. Or he is too tired or the kids might hear or whatever but it is breaking me apart to the point that im hardening my heart against him so when I do walk out it wont hurt as bad.

I don't know, i think it is more complicated than that..i can see an occasional acting out in this passive agressive this way, but I don't think that is what is happening in a sexless marriage, I think it is something else. Not exactly sure what, and because people have different circumstances, it is not that easy to sort out. I do know that as I was pulling away from the marriage, I just had no more patience left, and my spouse became very controlling. And honestly, that contol issue was the one that drove me to finally do something. And I stumbled on EP.

can you tell me more about your experience? I know there are many factors contributing to why my husband refuses me. It's very painful and hurts my pride as a woman and my womanhood.

The problem with trying to sort out the why, is that it is too illusive. My suggestion is that instead, you decide what you want in life, the kind of relationship you want, and decide what works to get you to that goal. if it means going for individual counseling, or marriage counseling, or leaving the marriage, or having a friend...whatever, but it means placing the focus off of your spouse for the solution, and looking to what you yourself can do, to get the life you want.
The problem with counting on the spouse for your happiness, is that your happiness rests in his hands.

I know you are right. The only way to see change is to make change. We have done counseling, individual and couples to no avail. I honestly see now that when we first dated he placed me waaaay up on a glass pedestal and then every infraction, every mistake I have made has been a rock thrown at his image of me. I cannot bring up the subject without the argument suddenly turning into how horrible of a person I am and how could he want to have sex with someone who argues with him. im argueing because im begging for attention. ugh. I go talk to JAG today. I said 5 years was my limit if **** was the same and it is 4 1/2 now

Then again it might just be that the man does not have a very active sex drive. Confronting such a person in an accusatory way might just make the marriage both sexless AND loveless.

I am positive this is what my H's ED is all about. He might even own up to the fact that he is passive=aggressive, but he would flat-out refuse that it is a factor in his lack of desire.

Thank you for this article. It's quite interesting, concise and easy to understand. As I analyze my situation by corroborating this new info it comes to me that I am actually internalizing it, his passive aggressiveness.
Great article!

It's a good clean simple and concise summary you have sourced there NYG.
Thanks for posting it.

Personally, I think that by its' very nature, marital sexual refusal means - by default - that P.A. is in play to a large extent. I reckon they go hand in glove.

Tread your own path.

Thanks to Caitliz for sharing it with me!

may be a far streach... all most borderlines on Misogyny ( dislike of women ) or Misandry ( dislike of men )

Good article, the only thing I would add is that sometimes the PA punishment is not for something you did that day or even that week - this is why it's so messed up. You're thinking, ok what did I do? And it could be something you did 2 weeks ago that they were just waiting to ruin a really good day over.

It could be decade earlier. I had that one, and for something that wasn't even bad.

me too! I got really drunk on our wedding night and slapped him (I thought I was funny, damn alcohol) and that was the first strike. I didn't know that he was building up a case against me, holding onto every infraction I ever made but never telling me until we get in a fight. then I get the laundry list of failings all thrown in my face and told that these are all the reasons he cant be intimate. well ****, cant we talk about them, let me try to either explain my actions at the time or at least let me know when I do something he doesn't like, WHEN it happens. then I can try to correct it. But alas, almost 5 years of marriage and still mowhere.

My first husband told me on one occasion that I had once told him (when we were engaghed) that I did not care for a certain food. Ten years later I was eating the food at a party and enjoying it. On the way home the PA punishment launched. Eventually I discovered that he was FURIOUS that I now liked a food I had previously disliked. I think he thought I was deliberately lying to him on one occassion. . . . WTF? WHO lies about such a thing? And, in TEN years, I wasn't allowed to mature and change my mind?

But it only when you really become aware of the depth and insidiousness of PA behaviour that you stop intenalising these comments and realise it is NOT you!!

That is ABSURD. My version is that before I got engaged I told my H I would never, ever move to CA. He agreed to that, and even though he NEVER actually wanted to move back to CA, he has resented me for it ever since. Even though I brought it up as a condition of our future before we got engaged.

Isn't it extraordinary how the CONTROL aspect is so dominant? Your STBX didn't even want to live in CA! My Ex didn't have to eat the food!! So it all comes down to them being unable toSTAND us having any say in our own lives - even about the most INsignificant things (as in my case!)

thats is how they fool us, thier thinking is so off the wall.. it blind sides us

He will admit to having all these resentments against me---but I never found out what they were, and I guess now I never will. It's just amazing to be punished for years for a crime that not only you didn't commit, that you don't even know existed!

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I've been reading up on passive aggressive behaviour over the past few days as many of the 'symptoms' correspond to how my ex behaved. She seemed to seek minimal passion, she valued a pleasant but non-intimate relationship with as little conflict as possible. Of course over the years this emotional suppression builds up huge frustrations in the 'refused' and you find yourself bursting into rages and anger, making you the 'bad guy' (you're now behaving active aggressively which, if you're male, makes you vulnerable to accusations of being abusive - my ex worked in domestic violence, she knew how to do this, it's a nearly flawless manipulative strategy). So you begin to fall into the same game, you start to engage in passive aggressive retaliation with intermittent active aggressive language when the emotional abuse gets too much. You become one yourself - albeit a poor amateur in comparison.

Hmm... I realise that 'passive aggressive' is controversial as a true personality disorder, but it's eerily accurate in what it describes. I've spent a long time with one of these people (whatever they are), I loved her. It's only when you get away from them that you begin to get the perspective to see what's been going on and what they've been doing. It's almost impossible to do this when you're in it, and I'm fairly certain that I'm not dumb, needy or naive. I just wanted to have a loving relationship, pretty normal stuff, but it makes you vulnerable to these people.

I'm pretty convinced that the only thing you can do in these situations, is leave.

Accusations of being abusive are not only reserved for males. When H walked out (over a year ago) he told everyone that would listen that he didn't feel safe being in the same building as me, he refused to tell me where he was going as he said I would harass him. Less than a week later he says he's coming back, like there would be no consequences to that?? I said no, you're not.

I understand that the accusation of abuse isn't reserved only for men, just that we're more vulnerable to that accusation (thanks to the 'sensitive' behaviour of some of our brethren). It's a powerful 'weapon', applied skillfully it can be used so that even shouting or raging can be a sign of your innate aggression. You're not allowed to complain, or even discuss what's happening to you. Because to do so is wrong, domineering and oppressive. It worked on me, I was trapped by this for years. Oh, and add in the fact that you'd actually like to have sex. It took a long time for me to realise I was being manipulated.

[N.B. Even now, I read this and think, "well that's exactly what an abusive spouse would say...", as I said, powerful stuff].

Hmm.. that was silly - of course woman are just as vulnerable to being told they're 'mad', 'acting crazy', etc... A moment of self pity. Sorry about that.

Shouting, raging, complaining, discussing, questioning, suggesting, asking, breathing..... all signs of aggression to a PA spouse! :)

I can see how you would be more socially vulnerable as a guy to accusations of abusive behaviour. It's how it hurts inside to hear it and know it's so far from the truth that is worse for me. I feel your pain, tree.

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The book "Living With the Passive Aggressive Man" is the most helpful thing I read outside of EP.

Probably---check Amazon!