Passive-Aggressive Behaviors in the Marriage 

Are you guilty of behaving in a passive-aggressive manner in your relationship? When people are passive-aggressive they tend to outwardly appear like they agree or are “going with the flow.” However, they secretly may be very hostile or may try to sabotage the outcome.

Behaving in a passive-aggressive manner does not benefit anyone. It can further damage the relationship. The underlying problem sometimes never gets addressed and no one ends up happy in the end.

For example, Emily decides she wants to start getting a massage once a month. Matt thinks it will cost a lot and is a waste of money. Instead of saying anything, he agrees that she should do that. However, the day of her appointment, he tells her that he heard a strange noise from her car and he doesn’t think she should drive it anywhere until he has a chance to take a look at it. He then says he hopes a repair won’t cost much because they don’t have a lot of money.  Instead of talking to her about his concerns in the first place, he uses indirect methods to try and make her feel guilty and to sabotage her efforts.

If you find yourself sometimes behaving in a passive-aggressive manner, it is important to ask yourself why. Are you trying to avoid confrontation? Do you have difficulty sharing your feelings with your partner? Are you afraid of your partner’s reaction? Or do you struggle with speaking up for yourself? Do you think that talking to your partner won’t do any good, so you prefer a less direct method of trying to get what you want?

If your partner behaves in a passive-aggressive manner, point out your observations. Directly address what you see and explain how it made you feel. Ask questions to try and learn how you partner feels about the subject. Problem solve how you could handle this situation in the future.

2 Responses to “Passive-Aggressive Behaviors in the Marriage”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this article. I think it will help me immensely working with my patients.


    David Steinberg, PhD

  2. Communication is the best you could do for a relationship to avoid conflicts. A passive manner may lead to an unhealthy type of relationship, so might as well be open-minded and spit out all the things that both of you has to know for the benefit of each other’s consciousness

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