When A Passive Aggressive Witholds Sex

Whether it’s the man or the woman, when your partner withholds sex it has a definitely bad effect on a relationship. Over and above what it’s doing to the relationship, what is it doing to you?

Many feel that the spouse withholding sex is a free pass to cheat. Personally I don’t see it that way. I believe if someone is unhappy in a relationship and you’ve tried everything you can think of to fix it to no avail, then it’s time to “man up” and bring it to an end, before you go looking elsewhere. That’s just the “right thing to do”.

Many of us are dealing with passive aggressive partners that withhold sex as a way of controlling us, a way of punishing us for things that have angered them, and because they are incapable of allowing themselves to get so intimate that they have to admit to themselves that they need us. I was surprised to learn that even without this little “fly in the ointment” that according to a study done by Bob Berkowitz, Ph.D., and Susan Yager-Berkowitz, M.A. that thousands of people in a heterosexual committed relationship where the man was the one to end the passion, an astonishing 24 percent of the female respondents told us that their partners stopped having sex with them almost from the beginning. Fourteen percent said that their husbands ended physical intimacy in the first year of marriage, 8 percent said that sex stopped prior to marriage, and 2 percent said that it ended on the honeymoon. (Only 8 percent of the male respondents claimed they stopped being intimate during or before the first year of marriage.) Are there that many passive aggressive males in relationships?

So what does it do to you when your partner doesn’t ever act like he wants to have sex with you? One thing it does is dump all the work needed to develop and maintain a sexual bond on you. They don’t have to take responsibility for any problems in the marriage, and if the marriage ends they can point a finger at you for being the problem. Sound familiar?

It leaves you feeling unattractive and undesirable. You wonder what happened, why your partner no longer wants you. You start to internalize their rejection and blame yourself. You start by thinking you are not attractive enough, sexy enough, thin enough, smart enough. There is the danger of depression, loss of hope, and there is certainly a sense of shame. Shame over the fact that your own spouse does not desire you. This shame keeps you from sharing your problems with someone else. You find yourself with no support system and the growing belief that there is something terribly wrong with you. You really need to take control and start protecting yourself immediately.

When I first got involved with my BF, I figured I was an answer to every red-blooded American guy’s dream. Oh no, not that I consider myself beautiful, or have the perfect female body, but I loved sex.  I had no problem initiating it, giving it, or trying new things. I didn’t mind getting woke up in the middle of the night by a little jab or feeling arms around me, hands starting to get a little playful. I didn’t realize at the time that his being “courteous” and not wanting to wake me up even though he wanted to,  was actually a sign of what was to come. I never rejected him, in fact telling him any time he had the desire to please, go for it. So what happened?

I quit initiating the intimacy.  Once I quit being the one to do the pursuing, days turned into months, months into a year. I don’t even know now how long it’s been since we’ve shared any intimacy what so ever.  Right now, I know my weight is a big issue and I get that. What I didn’t understand was when I lost almost 50 pounds to be more desirable, and it didn’t make any difference. While he complimented me and supported my weight loss efforts, it didn’t lead to any more intimacy at all. The lesson I learned? It’s not us!

According to Dr. Irene  Matiatos, a PhD. psychologist in New York,


“if an individual has done everything in their power to be gracious, loving, and understanding towards their partner (which is their responsibility to themselves), and sex is still not forthcoming, then the individual needs to choose whether or not sex is important enough to merit threatening the relationship. “Forcing” or cajoling another to give what they don’t want to give will only lead to resentment and problems down the road.”

 You really need to ask yourself if this is how you want to live for the next 5 years, and for the 5 years after that, and so on. If not, the only way to survive it is to run from it. Take your damaged self-image, your shame and any unhealthy beliefs you have come to feel about yourself and get out. Once you’ve done that, find a qualified therapist that can help you take back your power. It’s a tough road and it may be slow to repair but with time and work, you will once again feel sexually desirable, attractive, and maybe even loved.


191 Responses

  1. […] Many feel that the spouse withholding sex is a free pass to cheat. Personally I don’t see it that way. I believe if someone is unhappy in a relationship and you’ve tried everything you can think of to fix it to no avail, then it’s time to “man up” and bring it to an end, before you go looking elsewhere. That’s just the “right thing to do”. […]

  2. My Gosh, I could have written this blog by ladybeams. I initiate and he rejects. I ask what the problem is and he gives all kinds of excuses. My question is can these men ever change? I think my husband’s problem began in early childhood when his mother deserted the family and took the baby with her but left the other kids. She did not keep in contact and later in life she pops up and then moves without letting him know and gives no phone number to him. This is repeated every few years. I think he operates from a child’s faulty belief system and tries to be independent, never asks for help, hates to give help, never volunteers, can not sustain friendships because he refuses to phone people or invite them and even refuses to call them back after they try repeatedly and leave messages. He seems to see everything as a battle where he has to win and that means letting out his pain and anger in passive aggressive ways. I think he just uses me to release his anger, I don’t think he loves like most people love. Not giving me what I need, he wins. Its all some sort of game to make himself feel better. I think it is an addictive game that has become his life. It is a depressing joyless existence that he is trying to drag me into. Can he ever change or is it hopeless?

    • Arborgreen- Thanks for stopping by. If this blog sounds familiar, at least you’ve learned you’re not alone. LOL. There are more than a few of us.

      Sounds like your husband had a really sad childhood. A prime environment for growing a passive aggressive man. Let me say here that I am no doctor or therapist or anything, but from all my research the only hope of change is if he realizes what he’s doing, owns up to it, and is willing to seek help to change it. Unfortunately, most won’t admit that it’s anything with them, so the rest is hopeless.

      Unless he gets help and really works on trying to heal the past and change the present, he’s never going to be able to connect with you emotionally the way people do. You being his wife, he probably harbors a lot of the same fear and resentment toward you that he’s had for his mother all this time. It’s hard for them to distinguish the difference. It sounds like he’s afraid to get close to anyone as they may leave him, and then where would he be? You’re right. It is very addictive behavior that he was doing probably long before you came along and will continue to live long after you’re gone.

      Have you tried discussing with him how he feels about what his mother has done? Or tried talking to him about how he makes you feel when he ______? You could try leaving one of the books on the coffee table or somewhere he’ll see it, about the passive aggressive man, etc. (There’s a whole list under “recommended reading”). Unless he’s willing to put into the solution to the problem, I’m afraid it is hopeless.

      Good luck and feel free to stop by anytime. Sometimes it’s at least good to have a place to vent. You may want to see about getting a therapist for yourself for support, if he won’t see one with you or by himself.

    • My husband never changed. As a matter of fact, he got very good at knowing what I wanted and needed and made sure I didn’t get it. I am past middle age and my advice to you is this….if he refuses to admit or realize that he is part of the problem, refuses to change, refuses to admit that there is anything that he has wrong with him…..run in the other direction. It only gets worse. I tried everything I could for years and got nowhere. And yes, I do believe it becomes an addiction with them. Get out while you still have your sanity.

      • Hi Rose- Thank you and Welcome! You definitely sound like a “voice of experience”.

      • In response to Rose from Nov. 14th, 2012…I realize you wrote this 8 months ago and wonder if you’re still around but you adivise getting out. What if you can’t? I am 58 years old and totally financially dependent on my pa husband. He has all of the traits, there is no doubt. I didn’t know about pa disorder until recently and then it was as if all the puzzle pieces came together. I have various health issues and he holds the health insurance as I am unemployed. So, big question, how can I get out? I can’t move in with my daughters, don’t want to disturb their lives, and I don’t want to lose my house over him and his disorder, that to me would not be fair. I can be a bit stubborn too when it comes to being fair. No, it would not be fair to let him win everything, the house, the furniture, lose my health insurance, lose any income he brings in. I’m not able to work but have started a graphic art business that’s going nowhere right now. I wish I COULD get out and get rid of him asap but that’s not possible. I’m at my wits end with him, have completely stopped loving him as a husband, actually feel sorry for him that he is so sick with his pa. It’s really coming out now. We’ve been married 25 years this year and over the years it’s only gotten worse. I want out, but I can’t get out. How does one deal with being trapped like this?

      • I have been married 5 yrs and been with my spouse for over 13 yrs. From day 1 of the marriage sex became non existent..all of a sudden it was medicine issues…depression…just not into sex…etc…I had always been very sexual…loved being intimate and this change has left me completely staggered..I’m not stupid..well not in most things..I have 2 degrees…one in counselling even…but since I married I feel I have no talents nor any way out..every day is a struggle to just try and make sense of HOW I allowed myself to get to this place. I’m scared to death. He has depleted all my life savings from before marriage and will not put me on any of his affairs. I have recently found out he’s been filling rx’s for viagra for a while and when I asked him why (since he hasn’t touched me since our wedding night)..he was so hostile I backed off from fear of what he would do if I continued my questions. I have no where to go…so what do i do? Stay in this relationship and lose all identity and any sense of sanity..or leave with no where to go??? Why does it always seem men have the best end of the deal when it comes to manipulation, controlling and threatening the person who loves them the most.

  3. I think sex means different things for different people. For some people, it’s just a physical release. For other people, it’s validation of their attractiveness or virility. For some, it’s about intimacy and bonding. And, there are people out there who see it as being for procreation only.

    I think that if there is a mismatch in meaning between partners, it can cause a problem, even when there is no passive aggressiveness going on. In a normal relationship, if one person experiences a lack of desire and thinks of sex as just a physical release, s/he might not realize that the rejection is causing the partner to question the strength of the relationship or their own attractiveness. So, even when no PA is involved, this is a tricky issue.

    If the passive aggressive is withholding sex, it’s probably about intimacy and/or attractiveness validation for him, and he assumes it means the same for you, so that withholding it is a way to get back at you.

    But, by withholding, he loses those things, too, which is that thing about passive aggressiveness. We hurt ourselves to punish others, and even if we hurt more, as long as they hurt some, it is worth it to us, for some reason.

  4. In the last few years, my husband has opened up enough to talk about how much he was hurt, felt abandoned, rejected etc. by his mother and still is hurt. He really does not see and has no empathy that he is treating me the same way his mother treated him. It seems that he can not grow up, and can not take a step forward to separate emotionally from his childhood. He may be trying to keep some false hope alive that he will someday get what he never got as a child. The problem with that is that you can’t go back, it can’t be fixed, undone or redone. He is hurting the very people who really do love him now. He has talked in person with his mother but she does not see what she has done, she has no remorse. She is just the nicest person when you meet her but very selfish and out of sight out of mind is her way of living. He really has tried to get closer to her but just when he thinks he is making progress she always disappears again. I think this keeps the past alive for him. He is still trying to please her, to have her like him, to have her want him.
    He wants to be independent and safe by avoiding intimacy. I think he fears acceptance as much as rejection and fears getting too close. It is as though he collects life’s injustices and uses them as an excuse to punish me. He is purposefully driving me away perhaps to continue being a victim so he can say “my mother left me and my wife did too”

    I don’t think that he can see that the passive aggressive behaviors are a problem for him and he isn’t uncomfortable enough to change. However, I am uncomfortable and do not want to live for the next 5 or more years on only crumbs of affection. The man can only hesitantly touch my hand or shoulder for a second or two now. And this is only after I have talked with him extensively and he has been in counseling for 8 months. This is as far as he is willing to go and think that it is just the minumum that he is doing to pacify me and make me wait. “Wait” is his favorite game and excuse.

    Here is what I would like to say to the passive aggressives out there.

    When you stop adding injustices to your collection, when you grow up and stop playing the victim, when you can come to terms with your past and move on into the present, when you can change the misinformation and faulty childish beliefs that guide you, when you let go of your unresolved anger, when you stop hurting others, trying to control, using and manipulating because it makes you feel good, when you stop using lies and excuses to provoke, when you can stop withdrawing and withholding affection, when you can share yourself and actively participate in life, when you can allow yourself to express real affection without any underlying passive aggression, then we can have a relationship.


    • Hi Arborgreen- glad you found your way back here. Wow, I thought you did an excellent job of pretty much covering it all in your last paragraph here. It’s a shame we couldn’t get some of our passive aggressives to read that and take it to heart, realizing it’s them.

      It’s a shame your husband still feels he has to seek his mother’s approval instead of looking at it with a grown up mind and realizing that that’s who she is, but he doesn’t have to let her keep hurting him. Some people don’t know how to ever stop vying for the love they missed. My Grandmother went to her grave never giving my mother the acceptance she wanted so bad. My whole life all my mother did was push away the very people she so desparately wanted to love her. At least your husband is willing to go to counseling. That’s a good sign if it’s doing some good. At some point we have to take responsibility and break the cycle to stop it from happening in the next generation.

      I can’t say that I blame you looking down the road and not wanting to settle for possibly less than you’re getting now when it comes to your husband’s affections. It’s a pretty lonely way to live while living with someone. Just remember the problem is his, which in turn affects us, but the only real power we have is to change ourselves and our circumstances. We don’t have the power to “fix” them, especially if they aren’t willing.

    • Arborgreen, you seem to have a real handle on your situation. I have only recently defined things in my own “relationship” and I use that term cautiously now. It is the most traumatic “relationship” I have ever had.. I divorced a man who tried to control me but I am committed to a PA. Go figure. It wasn’t long into our relationship that I found out how a lack of maternal nurturing had impacted my PA….maybe two weeks or so…At that point we spoke openly, easily, sharing our histories. It took over a year before passive aggressiveness showed up and raised it’s ugly head. The adjustment has me spinning. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t really know how devastating it could be. The man I love most in the whole World shared that his earliest memories reflect the fact that his mother was totally immersed in the death of her own brother…so much so that she was not there to nurture her own child. While I found that very sad indeed,at the time I had no idea how much a lack of maternal nurturing could turn out a 59 year old PA. On perhaps our four or fifth evening together, we came back to my home after an evening out, I invited him to kick off his shoes and stretch out on my big comfy sectional, which he did and it wasn’t long before he crawled up into my arms, with his head on my chest and my arms holding him tight I could feel his need and upon reflection I know that what he was looking for was what he had missed as an infant/child. She was never there for him..ever. I’m fully aware that my own maternal instincts kicked in as well. I am the classic rescuer and any therapist would probably say that I’m also a codependent. I readily admit …I need to be needed. It didn’t take long before he had become my priority. Everything I did everyday swirled around making him happy. He knows he is my priority. He has told me that no one has ever made him a priority. He needs that..It scares the shit out of him but it keeps him coming back to me. I know all of these things. After a year of a one on one relationship and an incredible intimacy, things have come to a screeching halt. Withdrawal and witholding are now an everyday occurance. I was fortunate to find Dr Wetzler book at the library and I caught him sneeking a peek at it in the car. Now he knows that I have a clue. That scares him too. Everything scares him now and he goes through elaborate arrangements to avoid discussing anything so right now I feel like my hands are tied which ties my stomach in knots. Anyone in my position knows that feeling. His fear is now impacting me… impacting my life. and for the first time in my 60 years I’m facing the fact that maybe loving someone as much as I do him isn’t going to be enough. I keep thinking that “something” is going to happen to turn this around again but if that doesn’t happen I know that I will never be the same proud, independent, positive, free spirited female that I used to be. Don’t you ask yourself what you may have done in your lifetime to warrant this kind of punishment from God? I think I know what I did but it’s too personal to share. God has found the way to punish me. He couldn’t have found a better way. Now that I have emptied my soul for the day perhaps I can function. Funny, I used to keep a journal for such personal thoughts. Now I’m sharing with anyone who will listen. What would we do without this site? I go now to try and find something productive to do with my day. God bless.

      • your last paragraph is me Marilyn…you are not alone…..sending good vibes your way…..tears and more tears ………

      • Your not alone, I have been living with this for 13 years my husband is PA and it is a slow kill for me, I have made up my mind I am going to seek help and try to get him to also and if this does not work I will leave him, I deserve a happy life, I am staved for love, attention, communication there is no bond here and I am losing myself as my spirit has almost ceased to exist and have gained 50lbs replacing food for comfort.this is so sad because I truly love him, but I can’t keep sacrificing myself soon there will only be a bitter shell .

        • Debra- I feel your pain. I’ve gained about 50 pounds also, and the other day I was reading an article about how your brain can make you (or keep you) fat, based on the stresses you’re facing. There is some forms of stress that keep you thin and ready for flight, and then the other which relationship stresses fall under, that keep you fat and ready for famine, which in the case of no love or affection, famine would be the right analogy.

          I’m glad to hear you’re going to see about getting help for yourself. Do that even if he won’t. We all need a support system, someone or a group of someone’s to validate our feelings. It will give you strength. Even if he agrees to get help, you should know the odds are against you. Make taking care of you a first priority.

          Good luck and come back any time to let us know how you’re doing. It’s always harder when you still “truly love him” instead of being “done”.

        • I always wonder how unconscious this behavior is, do they really get satisfaction out of it even when you let them know you are aware of it. How small their minds are!!!

          • Thank you, everyone. I have been recently abandoned by a man I know now is passive agressive. He is a classic case, to the point of saying “yes” so often the last few years, that everyone in our families thought of him as a near saint.

            Little did I know that he was hiding behind that smile and inwardly seething at me. He has told me that I controlled his life for all of our marriage, though I distinctly remember decisions that were his. Many.

            Thanks to sites like these, I have enough information to have been able to go to our counselor and suggest this as one of the roots of our problems. She replied with a resounding “Yes!” and has hopes she can steer him away from blaming all of his life’s troubles on me.

            What interests me greatly is the theory of some of the passive agression stemming from childhood and a weak self esteem, because he is very vocal and quite enjoys pointing out anyone’s error’s, including professional people!

            It is my belief that this behavior is not so much a conscious thing. He told me that he knows “something” is wrong but not what and that he built up “all this crap in his head about me”.

            Our therapist agreed on my idea of pa for him and when I told her of his chilchood traumas, she said yes. His father died at age 9 and a brother committed suicide while everyone was home at age 18. My husband was 9 when he lost his dad and 15 when the brother died.

            One thing too is that he has told the therapist absolutely none of this and only talks about marriage things. We take our daughter to her own counselor and when I told him some things I wanted help for her with, like school and fits and such, he was surprised and said he thought we were only taking her for “our situation”.

            I think passive agressive people maybe get very mixed up in their heads and if any are like help, refuse to ask for help for a problem til the cows come home.

            Thanks for cyber-listening. -Rogue13

        • Hi I know this is an old post, but I am in exact same position, my partner Is a PA and of course would never admit that, I am constantly questioning myself as a person in all areas , he withholds sex and has done going on for a year and every couple of months he does the mercy one, I feel sick about this we have an abnormal exsistance he knows I am unhappy but as long as I do not voice this he quite happily carries on, he causes major probs by saying things then saying he didn’t say them!! all the time , I calmly try to discuss and of course he will not accept he is doing or saying anything wrong then I lose the plot, I feel like my head is about to explode, I love this man the Father of my child but all the angry explosions about the smallest of things and the lack of any affection is killing me, I have said some awful things to him in the heat of the moment to try to provoke a reaction he then takes himself to bd feeling sorry for himself, because of course he did not do anything to provoke such a reaction!! and then in the Morning acts like nothing happened, I have now turned to food as a punishment I starve and lose lots of weight quickly then I eat loads seems like on purpose to put weight back on, I have no real idea why I do this , I just want him to love me like I love him, I do not want drama after drama, I want to have intimacy and a man who can speak rationally and discuss relationship issues , calmly and deal with them!! sorry for the rant am absolutely exasperated, we have a 1 year old together who he showers with love so I just do not understand his behaviour toward me, I think he secretly must hate me but will never admit it? If you do not want a real relationship with someone why be with them, I have given him an out several times but he never leaves, but doesn’t change either..from..slowly but surely going INSANE

          • Hi Priscilla, I realize it has been several months since you wrote the above, however, I hope you are still sane 🙂 I am 45 yrs. old and I have been married to the same man for 25 years. I just realized in the past year that he is P/A. I will share some things that have helped me to cope and even find contentment.

            First, don’t feel sorry for him because of his past, although, he may have had some tragedy in his childhood, he is an adult and he is responsible for his actions. A P/A man is a man that wants to behave as a child. If he doesn’t get his way he will withhold from you emotionally, physically, sexually, and even spiritually.

            In fact he will withhold whatever he learns you need to make you happy. If you have a happy day he will do everything in his power to sabotage the rest of it and even subsequent days after. In other words, they throw temper tantrums, and abuse you to get their way. P/A’s manipulate, lie, cheat, throw tantrums, withhold, whatever it takes to get what they want. They demand everything you have and “NEVER” give anything in return. They are self-centered, irresponsible, abusive adult “BRATS”.

            There are women that are P/A’s as well. My brother was married to one. You see, my Dad, is this way with my mother. My mother is a saint, I have no idea how she has endured for nearly half a century and I have learned a lot from her. I am thankful to have her and I rise up and call her blessed.

            Second, don’t tolerate anything he does to hurt you, immediately call him on it, even if you know you will pay for it later. He has to know that he cannot treat you in a disrespectful manner and it go unspoken. You wouldn’t let anyone else by with disrespecting you so DO NOT let him by with it either. Keep in mind he will stay on you about it and more than likely try to push you into blowing up…. because he will need some drama to satisfy the anger he has for getting called out. Whatever you do, keep your calm. And remember he will be relentless and will not give a thing. Beware of his ploys to pull you in, so he can push you away as punishment. The goal of the P/A is to get their way. They are BRATS!! If you watch him carefully you will see all the ways that he manipulates you and uses you to get his way. Be prepared with the knowledge of his abusive ways, ok?

            Third, don’t give up! The hardest thing for me to handle was him throwing other women in my face and then withholding sex from me.
            He is a very handsome man even at the age of 47 and he knows it. We nearly divorced over him and other women, although, I have no physical proof that he has cheated on me, he has certainly built a portfolio of adultery. The thing that has worked for me is… I call him on it when I realize he is trying to make me think he was with another woman. And I give it right back to him. I fixed up a profile on a “sex sight” and I started texting an unknown man all under the scrutiny of my husband… I would never cheat on him, so this seemed like a safe way to put him in his place and it has worked… it put the fear of God in him ;D
            Now onto how I got him to stop withholding sex… I love this and it works ladies 🙂 I call it “putting on sexy” lol. I put on my sexy and I go out with a friend, my sister, or one of my adult daughters, someone that is safe.

            I don’t want to make him angry just show him I am still beautiful and alive! I gently flirt with other men in front of him, and he takes me home and throws me on the bed and makes wild passionate love to me… YES… score!!

            “Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young!!”

    • Wow. That last paragraph just made my jaw drop. I think I am going to copy and paste it and read it out loud to my husband. Thanks for that Arborgreen.

    • Arborgreen, Thank you for your summary in your last paragraph to all PA. I have read quite a bit on this behavior in one day and know for sure what I am dealing with now. I called a therapist and am starting counseling after much thought about what to do next. I have been married almost 15 years to the same man, no children. We live outside of the USA and he got cancer 7 years ago. Lack of sex was beginning to be a problem in our marriage and now there is none. I left him for six years and went back to the states. Sex is non exsistent in our relationship since I came back so I am considering leaving soon. Need to decide what to do next and do it. Will not take any more a use from someone that does not take responsibility for his failure to do anything about it. I will not live like this anymore. He can be by himself and withhold sex from himself but I plan not to be a part of his life very soon. I am so glad to know there is nothing I can do to change his behavior. We all have our part to do and I will not be held captive in this crazy making any longer. Glad to know there are other people who understand what it is li,e living with a passive agressive person who won’t do anything to change. Bye the way, my husband has been in a remission with his cancer but still no sex!

    • I love your last paragraph

      • This seems old but I just got it today so that is really odd. Who knows with all of the updates and spy ware they keep putting on my computer.

        Anyway, it took me a long time to get out but my kids are grown and out of the house now and I have a job, he retired years ago (early at 60) and at 67 I am still working. We are still friends but nothing more. I do things myself and don’t ask him for anything. I am out of the house and into my own patio home. It was not easy. I wonder a lot about why he is the way he is…is he gay (which he denies), is it some degree of Asperger’s, or is he just so damaged by his mother leaving him all those years ago.

        I found his mother and got them together. He saw his mom and confronted her about her behavior but she took no responsibility for it. She just gave him excuses that he saw through immediately. He understands that she is not a caring person, is selfish, and is not ever going to admit to being wrong and hurting him. I thought that the realization of it all might cure him but it really had no effect on our compatibility.

        When his younger brother died recently (his brother was the baby and the only child that she took with her when she deserted my husband and the other kids), then she suddenly started calling him every week for conversations that last over an hour. He never talks to me that long. He gives his cat more attention than he ever gave me.
        I think he has come to terms with her but does not trust her.

        I see him for holiday dinners with the kids often. The only thing that we have in common now is food and the kids. But after 47 years he is a part of my life. I am not angry with him any more. He is sort of like a cousin or member of your family that you see for the holidays and nothing more. I would not see him at all” I tell myself that I do it for the kids but I do care enough that I want to be sure that he is okay. I was the one he called when he collapsed and I took him to the emergency room and I was there when he had to have surgery and I took him home and checked on him for several days. He has no one else.

        What he did to me left a big hole in my heart and wasted my youth, time and energy but I have moved on as best as I can and am happier.

        I feel as though he does not trust any woman and thinks they all lie and cheat and are not as smart as men. He never listened to my advice or wants or needs and taught my older son to dismiss me too. My youngest son gets it. One is married and the other has a live in girl friend of two years. Both seem to be in loving relationships so maybe they are okay.

        My advice is to get out as soon as possible and don’t look back. It seems like it took me forever and because we are older and were together for many decades and have grown kids we are still in each other’s lives.


  5. Thanks Ladybeams:

    How did your mother’s hurt of never achieving your grandmother’s approval play out in your own life? How have you come to terms with it all?

    At some point, I think an adult child has to realize that they may never get approval from a parent but thats okay as long as the adult child approves of themselves. Life is full of choices ….chose how you want to live…be who you want to be…its how you react that determines you fate. You can decide to live a life worth living or continue playing a game of being a victim and hurting others.

    I have adapted, accommodated, put up with and ignored the passive aggression for as long as I can. I have endured the bad behavior and naively believed the excuses and actually made some for him. I have been in a marriage all alone. One person working at a marriage just does not make it …especially when the other person uses intimacy as a weapon. He has just been a ghost, a mirage in our family. He peers in but does not participate. I will do everything I can to help him but I will not allow him to use the same excuses to control me any more. I just worry about my young adult sons and how the behaviors that he has modeled may affect them in their future relationships.?

    In retrospect, I see the patterns of behaviors and responses and options of responses that have played out. I have to say my husband has a very high intelligence and is a master of the game. Once you realize the patterns then you can see through the continuing maneuvers. The difference now is that I still give him opportunities to participate in the marriage but do not trust that he will, and am not surprised when he doesn’t.
    I call him on some things but told him that I am not going to police his every move. I am not his mother. How he responds and treats me is his choice and how I respond is my choice. His actions speak louder than his words. If he continues to be absent from this marriage, I will also withdraw.

    He thinks I will just hang out forever like this but I gave myself a year to come to terms with everything that is going on, to get my youngest off to grad school and to figure out where and how I am going to live. The year will be up in 3 months and after a real sense of grief and loss, I now actually feel a sense of relief that I am free to go on with my life.


    • Hi Arborgreen- Thanks for asking about my mother and my life. I feel bad for her that she’s so mean and nasty a good percentage of the time, but I just ignore most of it. Like I said, and you’re saying here, is that we need to be aware of and break the cycle. It didn’t effect me that bad, but my sister is going through a lot of the same thing and has continued a lot of the same traits.

      It does affect our children how we live, regardless of what we say. Hopefully you’re able to talk with your sons and explain about relationships being a two-way street. I was lucky with my son as I had a middle daughter he was very close to who helped teach him a lot about how relationships should go. He’s still passive aggressive, but he’s temporarily moved back home and we’re working on that. I think it’s mainly with me. LOL.

      I think it’s great that you’ve set a timeline for yourself. Does your husband understand your deadline also? Just curious. I understand about withdrawing, as that is how I have chosen to be in my relationship. It’s a pretty cold way to live. The other nite I woke up and he was actually cuddled behind me like we used to do (way back when) and it was so odd, I think that’s what woke me up. Maybe he’s coming to the point where he’s getting tired of no affection, etc. I don’t know.

      It’s good you’ve allowed yourself to grieve and are in a good place now with it all. I wish you all the luck in the world. Please be sure and let me know how you’re doing. When you actually decide to make the break, if you do, you may still feel more sense of loss, but that’s ok. If you need a place to vent, I’ll be here.

  6. Hi Lady Beams:
    Yes, I do need to talk to my sons. One is home for Spring Break this week and I will take him out for dinner on one of the nights that hubby works and talk with him.

    Let me know how it goes having your husband back. I hope it works out cause that will mean that it is possible for mine.

    Mine will act like he is trying but can’t keep up the pretense for long no matter how I encourage him. He does not want to change but he just wants me to think he has.

    No, he does not know about the year deadline.

    This weekend I went to an antique auction with an old friend and was being nosy so I just asked her what was the straw that broke the camel’s back that ended her marriage of many many years and she told me that she came home to find her husband dressed as a woman. They went to counseling and he said he had been doing it since he was 13. His mother never gave him any affection and he did it for comfort to feel loved and close to her. Gosh we mothers can sure screw up our kids. Anyway, she said that while she was just dumbstruck by it all..the part that she could not get over was the sense of betrayal. They were both older when they married, a second marriage for both and she thought that they had discussed everything openly and honestly…his kids…exwife, money, her exhusband, how each felt about sex, cheating, religion, politics,etc. They lived together 2 years before marrying and dated 2 years before that. Cross dressing just never entered her head. I guess that is also how I feel…Betrayed…someone who says they love you and then purposefully withholds and rejects affection with you to hurt you. Doesn’t sound much like love to me.

    Let me know how it works out with the husband.


    • My Dear Arborgreen- Sorry to disappoint, but that was very short lived. I’m afraid that’s partly my fault as I’m not very encouraging. I used to be, but I realized pretty quickly it didn’t do any good. It’s been so long that we’ve been nothing more than glorified roommates that, other than the little smooch goodbye I don’t respond very well to his affection. I guess I don’t want to allow myself to get emotionally attached again where his lack of attention and sexual desire could hurt me anymore. He consistantly does the opposite of what I tell him I want so I’ve basically just quit.

      Boy, bet that was quite a surprise for your friend, aye? Just goes to show the old adage is true. You never really know someone until you live with them, and sometimes not even then. I found out my ex was bi-sexual and a child molester to his first wife’s daughter, but it was a while after I married him. When we got divorced, because he had adopted my first daughter he got visitation. I tried to stop it, but the mediator just thought I was being vindictive. He ended up molesting her also. He’s been basically on the run since 1993.

      I think we have a right to feel betrayed. When you start out in a relationship and the other person is affectionate and loving, to a certain respect you have a right to expect that to continue. I know the novelty wears off, and the “honeymoon’s over”, but it shouldn’t go away completely. Of course if they showed what they were really like from the beginning, we probably wouldn’t have gotten involved, right?

  7. good gosh! I nominate your bisexual child molesting ex for both the America’s Most Wanted and Dog the Bounty Hunter shows. I think that you should turn in the details to them by email on their web site and get some justice after him. To think that he is out there probably hurting some other innocent child. Give them his SS#, relative’s names, last phone numbers and addresses, and any other information that you know about him, an old picture, where he went to school, kind of work he does, cities/states he has lived in etc. Get him off the street.

    With men like this, I now understand why women become Nuns.


    • I did turn him in, of course, but the DA dropped the case. Then when my daughter got older she tried to pursue it again, but the system is too lazy to chase him since he’s out of state. I feel bad if he’s been involved with anyone after us, but not much I can do. One thing I was able to accomplish is he hasn’t been back to our state in 16 yrs. They’re supposed to be going after him for welfare fraud too, but I haven’t seen any results from that either.

  8. I say America’s Most Wanted or Dog the Bounty Hunter if he still has warrants …they could get him and I would love to see some justice in action.

    I had a long talk with my youngest son over dinner out last night. I think he gets it. I told him how worried I am about how he and his brother will relate to women and why. You do what you learned as a child and he learned that every request from me is seen as a demand by his father and how there is no team work, no working together as a family. That Dad has strategies for making me frustrated…tells me he will do it later, does a sloppy job or forgets. That there is no affection, no parenting, never inquires about your interests or work and that he knows which buttons to push, no complements, no acknowledgement, and the times that he suddenly abandons everyone at the last moment like childbirth, death of a parent or child’s surgery. I explained the awful childhood that his Dad had and how he is trying to come to terms with it.

    Unlike his Dad, my youngest has lots of friends and real goals. I hope that is a good sign. He voiced that an individual makes his own luck and his own life and can’t blame failures on anyone else. That no matter how many times you get knocked down, you have to have the courage to get up. You don’t drown by falling in water but by staying there.

    I think he will be okay but it is the older son I am really worried about because he pretty much dismisses anything I say as just like his father does. Here is the difference between the two. At five years old the eldest tried to ride a bike without training wheels and fell off. He went inside and did not get back on for a year or two. The youngest tried at five also but he fell and cried and fell and cried and kept trying for hours until by sunset he could ride the bike to the corner and back. This trait of giving up is very much like my husband. He always says why something is not a good idea or why it can’t be done and if that is not successful he tries to delay it, do a sloppy job, or forgets it or refuses to help.

    I am not sure when I will have some alone time with the oldest but I am working on it.


  9. I found the comments really interesting as I just realised this week this is the problem my new husband of only 11 months has. In my case I left my country, job, family, friends and financial security to be with him. I could not understand what his problem was. It was almost as if he realised he’d made a big mistake after the wedding with the way he treated me. I tried and tried to connect and every time I asked for time together he always had something more important to do. Found things to complain about all the time from my grocery shopping habits to the way I raised my children. He was negative about everything on this earth! Imagine how this affected me being in such a vulnerable position in a different country. I am the complete opposite and very optimistic and happy.. until I found myself under his control and he took away all my self esteem. I knew he had negative tendancies while we were dating for two years but nothing this bad until the wedding.
    Luckily I was able to leave the situation for a while and return to my own country and friends etc to try and work out what was going on as I knew it wasn’t right. It took me a few months and a lot of research to come to understand it all. We’re still living apart now. I’m not a quitter and would dearly love to try and sort things out. He has all the classic symptoms and I’m just in the process of thinking about pointing the finger and telling him this is his problem not mine as he keeps telling me.
    I have all my confidence back and feel it’s make or break. If he doesn’t think he has a problem then I walk away.

    • Hi Pamela- Oh my gosh, what an awful position to be in. It must be so hard without family, friends or anyone for support. I know how it feels just to give up my place to move into his, but you really gave it all up, didn’t you?

      I’m glad you got a chance to break loose for a bit and get some of your independance back. It sounds like you’re in a good place with yourself again, which is very good and very lucky for you. Men like this rarely change so it’s a good thing that you have made a stand and will save yourself if he’s not willing to look at his own problem and get help. I don’t think it was that he thought he made a mistake after the wedding neccessarily. These kind of men are just like that. They sucker you in and then they withold affection, etc. as a way of controling their partners.

      Good luck to you and let us know how it’s going. I’m hoping and thinking we’re all sort of an inspiration and source of support for each other.

  10. Great discussion ladies. I am cotemplating a separation from my husband of 18 years. We have 4 kids aged 17-7. My husband has withheld affection from the beginning, and sex stopped 3 eyars ago. We tried therapy, but it is not working, and he refuses more, or to change at all. he wants a marriage in anme only. He has a passive-avoidant personality, and is getting more intractable by the day. His mother supports him, and blames me all the way for being too critical, etc. It is somewhat comforting to see that I am not alone, but I dread telling my younger kids that their world is about to change drastically. They love their dad, and he is a devoted father–and sadly, a LOUSY husband.

    • Hi esqlatr- Welcome. Thank you for sharing your story.

      I’m sorry to hear the therapy isn’t working, but unfortunately I guess with this kind of personality it rarely does. 18 yrs. is a long time. I’m sorry he couldn’t see his share of being part of the problem and help keep it together. Of course, you’re pretty much fighting a losing battle if his mother is there backing him up and enforcing his thought about how bad you are.

      It’s really sad when there are kids involved. I know my oldest daughter resented the hell out of me when I left my ex. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that they don’t know about. It makes it hard for them to understand. The thing you have to think about is how is your marriage affecting them? Or the way their father acts toward you?

      I hope you continue therapy for your own support, or even some family therapy if it appears to affect your children too bad. The main thing is to let them know that just because you and him are splitting doesn’t mean anyone loves them any less.

      Good luck and stop by anytime. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that things go better than expected. You never know. Kids are pretty perceptive. They may already realize things aren’t good this way.

  11. Hi everyone: It is so difficult to break away. Its like I love so much and he doesn’t. All of my trying and love can not make up for the fact that he will not try or show his love. I am like someone who is physically abused and we all wonder “why doesn’t she just leave him” but she can’t because she is still hooked to loving him and to his lies. He hits her and she comes back for more. I am doing this too..just in a different way.

    I keep thinking of the phrase…you make time for what you want and love… and then I realize he has no time or love for me and no desire for me sexually. He loves the computer games, sitcoms and reruns more than me. His need for an ego boost and the need to hurt me by avoiding, withholding affection, and rejecting me is greater than his need to experience love, sex and any togetherness with me. I can’t change that and in my case I don’t think he wants to change anything. It is all he knows and he is unwilling to give it up. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about passive aggressive behavior and this weekend read the Sedona Method which talks about letting go of past hurts to be able to get on with your life. I think it would work for him if he really wanted to change but he hasn’t realized that he needs to change. He has gone to counseling and has rehashed his hurts from childhood but I don’t see that he is getting over them. He is still using them to play the victim and blame everything on his mother but not working through to figure out why he rejects me. He has not gone on to give up the behaviors and I can’t change him, I can only change my reaction to him and get on with my life. The grief is overwhelming for me… maybe because I was so stunned by it all and never saw it coming and never put 2 and 2 together for so long. One of my friends likens it all to a tick on a dog’s back. There the tick is in the Dog’s life sucking the life’s blood and not contributing anything but uncomfortableness and disease. The tick will ultimately suck everything it can until either the dog dies or it rids itself of the tick.

    I hate to give up but this time I can’t see it working out now that my trust is gone. I just can’t find any info on men that have successfully overcome passive aggressive behaviors and have happy fulfilling marriages.


    • Oh Jane- I’m so sorry. My heart aches for how much I can tell you love this man. I’m afraid you won’t find many happy endings with this kind of man, because they are very rare. Most of them
      1) Refuse to admit they have or they are the problem
      2) Many don’t really want to change even if they do see it

      It takes a long time for therapy to really do any good when trying to repair a lifetime of hurts. Hopefully he at least has a good therapist, but even they will tell you getting a passive aggressive to change is pretty tuff. We have a lady self-admitted PA that visits here and she fights these habits constantly, and she realizes she has a problem and really wants to change.

      For encouragement that saving yourself and taking your life back may be your best option, read Rita’s message. That could be any of us.

      Please, keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing. Be sure and come here if you just need a place to “let it out”. You are a valuable person, and I’m sure you used to feel that way. It’s time to get some of that good feeling back.

  12. Ladies I was married to a P/A for 18 years. Me and my kids suffered at the hands of his passive aggressive, aggressive aggressive, for years. Guess what. He went to China to work and found a phillipino woman and basically threw her in my face and now we are divorced and he is planning on marrying her. So much for all the years I tried to make a sexless marriage work. I think he is even taking an erectile dysfunction medication to aid him in his sexuality with her. She is 20. Wasted Years. Wasted Life. I actually tried to kill myself three times from the utter shame, humiliation, and sheer gratification that he displayed while signing the divorce papers. I am okay now, but a passive aggressive is like poison to your system. they give you little doses till you can’t take anymore and then wham, rip the rug out from under you and walk away as if they never knew you.

    • Hi Rita, Welcome to the site.
      I’m so sorry to hear it hasn’t ended well for you. Unfortunately it hardly ever does. There’s been women I’ve seen be miserable for over 30 yrs. before they finally take the step to save themselves. I’m glad to hear your doing better now.

      It’s not really wasted time if you have children out of it all. Hopefully you have a good relationship with them. I know this doesn’t help much, but you shouldn’t be ashamed and humiliated knowing you tried to work it out. It was his problem, and now, Lucky you, he’ll be someone else’s problem and give you a chance to live again! The best revenge is living well. Try to remember that. LOL. The other thing to remember is that as soon as he marries her, if he does, he’ll probably do the same to her that he’s done to you. And if God is really good, she’s just marrying him to get over here, and then she’ll dump him.

      You have all kinds of good stuff in your future. I hope you’re joining a support group somewhere or seeing a therapist. It really does help to have someone to talk to. You’re welcome here anytime. We all feel your pain.

  13. Wow Rita what a jolt. It really boils down to we are the only ones trying to have a relationship and to make it work. Poison is a good word for passive aggressive behaviors.

    I read the intro to a Dr. Phil book yesterday and his discription of himself as a teenager is much like my husband’s family situation I think. Wish I could get my husband to read it. But I can’t seek solutions for him, he has to do that himself.

    Over the years I wasted a lot of time trying and wondering why I was not appealing to him, and finally I realized that I wanted and was actively giving and seeking affection. Then I began to wonder why he was avoiding intimacy and rejecting me. I wondered if he was having affairs, if he was repulsed by me, if he hated me, and wanted a divorce, if he had an STD or AIDS, if he was impotent, etc. I even wondered if he was gay. I read that 1 out of 5 gay men have been or are married and many have kids. for the longest time I wondered if he was gay and if we married young and he did not know it or was trying to avoid it by marrying.
    I wondered if he was asexual, trangendered or some other strange sexual. You always hear that married men who are serial killers, rapists etc. always have wives who never had a clue what they were doing.
    So I wondered and doubted myself.

    Glad you did not succeed with the suicide, you have to live not only for youself but also for your kids. What kind of life would they have with just him?


    • I am not sure about how being a PA was connected to sex, and did not want to make a connection between the two, but I have been thinking a lot about this.

      I am sexually dominant, so a dominatrix, however this is my sexual orientation, so I am not referring to a job/occupation.

      I have come across many submissives who are sexually passive and want things done to them by the active, dominant party.

      Many of these subsmissives are also bisexual or gay and aren’t interested in women and sex, only men or dominant women for kinky play. I have met many submissives who are also PAs, so I am thinking that the reason they withdraw sexually might be because they are quite simply not interested in women.

      This may sound unusual, as one would imagine they won’t marry one, but we live in a society where being homosexual is still largely taboo and is hidden in many cases. So many of them may still marry as it looks better.

  14. Are there any ladies out there who came to the conclusion to have a lover on the side for affection and intimacy and just ignore their husbands behavior? Just wondering.

    • Hi Donna- Welcome, and I apologize that it’s taken me so long to get back to you. Usually I’m much faster but I’ve been working on my own homefront as of late.

      I’m sure there are, but I don’t advocate that kind of dealing with your situation. I know it’s probably an attractive solution, but in the end, and there’s almost always an end, too many people get hurt and it can get really ugly. I feel if you’re that unhappy in a situation then get out of it, where you’re free to see and do as you like. The clean-up’s a lot easier. LOL

    • YES! EVERYDAY! I can’t believe I found this site. I have been baffled for years. I beg, cry, scream, carry on. I have behaved and humiliated myself time and time again. Thinking there was something wrong with me. I just came to the conclusion a week ago, that I need to stop making a fool out of myself. Accept him for who he is, and get my sexual ass out there and have an afffair..
      Sex stopped right after we got married. I had no idea up unitl I found this web site what the heck went wrong. I am 43, in my prime and I am so tired of begging. He’s to the point that when I ask, he sighs and says, LETS GO! And I go because I am desperate at that point.
      When I sext or flirt with him, he ignores me! When I jump on him and say let’s get it on, he just looks at me. If I ask him if he wants to get some movies or toys, he doesn’t respond. I have been baffled, angry, fustrated and devastated for 4 years. I have had it and YES I want to have an affair. Oh,, and I will not leave him because he makes a great living and I don’t.

  15. Hi Donna: I guess for me if I was going to have an affair, I would have to divorce my husband first. It all just gets too messy and Two wrongs doesn’t make it right. Why would you stay in a relationship if you are attracted to another man? Would it be to hurt your husband the way he is hurting you? Would it be to wake him up? To show him that you are attractive and that he could lose you? Heck. don’t listen to me…I can’t even figure out why I stayed so long. Guess its like an addiction. I have been settling for the crumbs of affection doled out every once in a while. And now never.
    The end of June is my time limit to decide wether to stay or go. Unless some dramatic breakthrough occurs I am leaving. I have been setting things in order. I have alot of legal stuff to get settled with my siblings since my Dad recently passed away and I was hoping it would be completed by now. Once it is in order then I will either buy them out of his home or take the inheritance and buy my own place. I have my own checking account and my own savings and I own my car. I have a great education and a wonderful job. One of my boys is married and the other is in Grad school and will graduate in a year. I have been house hunting and know what area I want to live in just in case I buy my own home. Yep, I can do it. In reality, I have been living on my own for years so it really won’t be much of a change except that I will not have to be reminded of how much of my love, time, energy etc I have wasted on a man who is incapable of loving me back.

    • Hi Aborgreen- Thanks for your input. I think you’re right in your thinking. It’s just better to make a clean break all the way around instead of just adding to the mess. You just can’t make a wrong situation right no matter how you try.

      I’m sorry your own situation hasn’t improved any. It’s always so hard to admit you wasted so much of your time, but even when it’s awhile, sometimes you still need to cut your losses. It sounds like you’ve done well preparing ahead. Good luck to you and thanks again for being an important part of this blog.

  16. Thanks Arborgreen for the reply 🙂 The answer is “Yes” to all of your questions, but I honestly did become attracted to and like another person who shows emotion and feelings,talks to me, compliments me, is full of life, inspires me, makes me feel confident about my ideas,etc. I pushed this man away for a long time because I am married and didn’t want to give up on my marriage.
    My husband just began to see a counselor to talk about his inabilyt to connect emotionally. I am happy about that but at the same time I am so tired of it all and I want to have hope but I’ve just been going through it for so long that i can’t stop having convos with the other man. It was like in the other man I saw what it is like to be desired. I saw what it was like to talk to someone and they are not staring ahead at a TV or laptop. . I see what it is like to have a conversation with a man and talk with someone that has interest in what i am saying, looks at me in the eyes.
    Its confusing now because of the addition of him going to counseling. I’m not quite sure what to do yet.
    I’ll keep everyone updated.

    • Donna- Congrats on your husband at least admitting he’s got a problem and taking a step to do something about it. Don’t feel too bad if you don’t hold much hope anymore. Even tho this is great news, sometimes it’s just a little too little too late.

      I’m not sure the confusion doesn’t come from throwing a third party into the mix, but I hope you are able to decide quickly which way you want to go and things work out for you for the best.

    • I have been married for 22 years to a PA. I had an affair many years ago but because of the guilt, I stopped the affair. my only regret honestly is ending the affair, or not engaging in others. It sounds ridiculous and immoral, but if he is not willing or able to participate why should I starve or ruin my children’s lives? If there is no food in the house, I say go out for dinner. Just my personal thoughts. And sad thing is I saved my virginity for my husband. Guess he didn’t think it was that important. The way I look at it is he could prevent future encounters but he chooses not to on a daily basis by not participating in any intimate behaviors much less sex. I hate to sound like a child but he started it, Donna. You have to do what keeps you sane. Many men think women don’t need sex or affection or withhold it as a punishment. Honestly what kind of men are these in bed anyway? if they are so selfish, even if they made love to us would it really be worth our time, or would we be thinking about our grocery list for the next day anyway?

      • Kim thats exactly how I feel too! My story sounds just like yours but to be very honest I find him so repulsive now that even thinking of sex with him makes my hair stand up. and to be very honest it never was great anyway. Looking for a decent man, hard to find I am sure but their are some normal healthy ment out there we just need to find them. haha!

      • Been seperated for over a year from my PA husband. Have my own apt. now. I don’t even miss him because there was no affection. I lived in my home with him for 12 years and was lonely begging for attention,affection, just wanting to be complimented and noticed. He has had two new women and now lives with one and her three kids. One day he accidentally pocket dialed me….I listened and I heard him talking to her just like he used to talk to me. Its not love ….its total weirdness and I was replaced so fast without any thought. They are emotionless creatures. Its hard getting over the abuse. I work on it all the time, but being out of it is a great start.

  17. I understand your situation. I am also so very tired of waiting for an emotional connection with my husband and would give anything to have someone desire me, look at me, touch me and be interested in love. I want to have fun with someone and plan and share and work together. I realize that after all of these years and all of the excuses, it just isn’t going to happen again with my husband. Love is just not a habit or a need that he has with me. His deep seated anger is greater than any desire or love for me. At the same time, I refuse to let his emotional anger drive me to have an affair. The damage would be far too great and most importantly my children would never forgive me. I would have trouble living with myself. For him it would just be another victory and he could play the victim forever. His mother rejected him and then his wife had an affair. No, this will be a civilized parting at least on my side and my children will understand why and he will understand that he abandoned and rejected me emotionally so that I had no other option. I would give anything to have someone hold me and kiss me again but I am determined to be able to say that I have tried and tried. That I have been open and communicated my needs and that I gave him every opportunity to change and to heal.


    • Jane- Very good. Even tho you’ve been through so much, it sounds like you have your thoughts together and heading in a positive direction for the rest of your life, even if you have to leave part behind you. I know it’s hard and you didn’t come by all this good sense overnight. You go girl!

  18. Had a long talk with the husband last night and will try again tonight.
    I asked about his counseling and he told me that he is not going anymore. Don’t know why I was so shocked. Its like he is Mr. Monk on TV and does not tell you anything. It all has to be pulled out of him by asking the right questions. Some sort of emotional connection is missing in him. I asked why he stopped going and he said that he is just rehashing the same stuff. I said it sounds like you were stuck and either did not want to delve deeper or that you were not willing to come to terms with the past and let it go. He said that he needs to talk to his mother to resolve it. I asked why he can’t just let it go. He feels that he must let her know how he feels about the rejection and abandonment in order to get over it. I asked if he wants to hurt her or if it was an excuse for him not to move on. I asked when he plans to do this and he was vague so then I asked…are you saying this has been eating you alive for 40 years and it is the reason that you behave the way you do and the reason you can’t step into the present or future to have a normal fulfilling emotional relationship with anyone until you talk with her and yet you have no commitment or time frame in which to resolve it? I told him it sounds like just another excuse to me…procrastination. How long will you wait …another 40 years? I told him that I do not plan to wait indefinitely for him to find salvation.

    Now then he volunteered that he will go to Atlanta on his day off next week and talk with her. I asked what he hopes to gain from this. He said that he wants her to understand. I asked what if she never understands or even admits what she did and continues to do? The most heart felt apology would not take away his pain. Will he still be able to come to some kind of terms with it all?

    I will not hold my breath that he will even go. There will likely be some work related excuse and since he is the boss he could take off today if he wanted . I have heard it all before well I guess I should not be pessimistic but at the same time not get my hopes up that he will follow through. I can’t help thinking that talking to his mother is not likely to solve anything.

    I told him that he has done to me what he says his mother did to him and that he seems to dismiss it all and does not understand how I feel. His apology did not seem heart felt …too little …too late. I told him that I have no sense of trust…just betrayal and abandonment and rejection and I don’t have any simpathy with him playing the victim anymore. Grow up and release the past. I told him that I will not allow him to hurt me anymore.

    At least we are talking but that is the only positive thing I can say about this mess.


    • Aborgreen- Thanks for sharing. Actually I think your husband has the right idea if he actually does it. He may not get the response he’s looking for, but at least he will have said it all out loud to her. If it doesn’t work for him, what I had my daughter do is put it all down in a letter. Even if he doesn’t mail it, it gives him a chance to fully express himself and the hurt that he feels. Then, once he gets all that out maybe he can start building forward.

      I’m sorry to hear he quit therapy, but he probably has stalled until he takes care of this one step. That’s good that you got him to talk to you as much as he did. Mine just completely clams up. It’s also good that you were able to express to him how he’s hurt you, but be careful because if he doesn’t feel safe expressing himself to you, he’ll clam up also. If he doesn’t end up going to see her, then maybe you can suggest the letter thing.

      Good luck and congrats on getting any communication from a passive aggressive at all. LOL.

  19. Thanks, the letter is a good idea. Like most passive aggressives he just tells me what he thinks he should say or what he thinks I want to hear and it usually in no way resembles the way he really feels or what he will actually do. While I can get him to talk a little, it is not often. Last night did not work out as far as talking about problems. I can’t push him too much and I have to just sort of drop things into a conversation now and then and not harp on it or he feels controlled. He absolutely NEVER takes my suggestions or advice so unless it is something that he comes up with he won’t try it. I can work methods of finding solutions into a conversation but it can’t be a conversation about him. Thats probably why he stopped counseling. He mentioned that the counselor really didn’t come up with any suggestions. And see he isn’t willing to do the work himself to dig deep and find solutions because he is getting so much of a boost to his self esteem by staying a victim and hurting me. He is probably looking to download some passive aggressive behaviors on the counselor too by resisting suggestions since I am not playing the games any more…but it looks like the counselor did not want to play either. I will just have to see what happens next week. He mentioned he would call his mother this week to tell her he wanted to talk and would be driving down to Atlanta to see her next Thursday …but he has not done that yet. I tell my students that PROCRASTINATION is the greatest cause of failure and the hardest habit to break.


    • Aborgreen- You may be right. The counselor may have made a few suggestions and when your husband didn’t move forward with them, he quit taking your husband’s excuses. There’s a lot of benefit to staying the victim, even when it makes them miserable. Excuses abound.

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you for next week. If he does go ahead and go see her and actually tells her what’s on his mind, it could be a huge step. Sometimes I just ask the BF if he’s called “so and so” yet as a little reminder. If he says no, I don’t say anymore but I feel like I planted the seed.

      You are so right about procrastination. I don’t know how I got this way but I am a terrible procrastinator. In the process of breaking that one, but it’s not so easy. LOL.

  20. ladybeams – I think the “third party” opened my eyes to alot of things and in turn it made me really stand up for myself. I don’t think he would have gone to counseling if this lion (Leo) hadn’t roared so loud. I think maybe he sensed something was different this time with my complaining. who knows.
    Happy he is trying now though and I will support him ……taking one day at a time. I still plan on chatting with my friend from time to time though . He keeps me sane. he too has told me to support my hubby through the counseling and see what happens.

    • Donna- It sounds like you have things under control. If the “third party” gave you strength, that’s a good thing. It also sounds like he wants you to be happy or he wouldn’t encourage you to work things out with your hubby. At least with your husband going to counseling now, if it doesn’t work out and you supported his effort, you’ll be able to feel like you gave it every chance. Sometimes we need that in order to not feel guilty if we leave, no matter how right we are. I’m encouraged for you.

  21. Arborgreen- my husband also has abandonment issues with his Mom and dad. I’m hoping that will come up in counseling. Sounds like your husband really is scared to confront his Mom. She has done a number on him. He may have quit because he couldn’t go any farther until he did what the counselor wanted him to do…talk to his mother. It’s too uncomfortable and his reaction is to not deal with it and disconnect.

  22. Hi Donna:
    I think my husband definitely knows that this time things are different because I told him that I have caught on to all the patterns of behaviors and that I refuse to waste the rest of my life like this or to put up with the emotional abuse. But at the same time he may think that if he is just a bit more crafty that he might sneak in the PA stuff and I won’t know it. (afterall he fooled me for ages and ages) I still think that he thinks that it would be easier to fool me than to change himself. Afterall, I am the one that is uncomfortable and unless I can make him see the future and feel uncomfortable too, he will have no reason to change. I think he went to counseling just to gain some time hoping that I would forget or lose interest in focusing on him. In the past anytime I got upset he would be good for a week or two but it never lasted very long and he would be up to old tricks. He would tell me that he loved me and was stressed and that I misunderstood something or twisted his words or exaggerated and it isn’t what he meant. It was never his fault, always mine. He would always say we should wipe the slate clean, forget and start over and I always did but he just continued the PA tricks.

    Just like Ladybeams BF, my husband stayed home and did not work for almost 2 years once and he did nothing around the house really. I even paid for him to go back to college for a second masters degree which he has yet to use. Thank God he is working at a good job now so I don’t have to feel guilty if we split.

    Many years ago, his mother gave us all sweat shirt/pant PJ sets from Sears for Christmas with our names monogrammed on the front. Mine was spelled wrong and so was my son’s. She just isn’t caring or nurturing. Most of his life he never knew where she was. A month before he went to college he found her and spent 5 days with her and then after he got to school she moved and he did not know where she was again for four years. She had his address but she never even told him she was moving. She still moves at least once a year and never tells him so he probably thinks that if he expresses any kind of resentment she will cut him off totally.

    I still have to find a time alone with my oldest son to discuss all of this PA stuff before it carries over to his marriage.


    • Aborgreen- I don’t think they believe we will ever leave, and that is part of the problem. Especially if we’ve stayed and maybe threatened, but never did. Hopefully he does get that you’re serious this time. PA’s are good at doing what you would like for a little bit, they just can’t carry it off for very long because they don’t realize they really do need to change, not just pretend.

      That’s good that you’ll discuss this with your son so that he understands what’s going on with you and his Dad, besides giving him some insight into his own relationships.

  23. Last night my very PA husband asked what I wanted him to do and I told him that alot of it is the little things like a kiss or hug hello and goodbye and a phone call once in a while, looking at me, paying attention to and making time for me. I told him that we don’t even have any friendly connections left any more and I refuse to be in a marriage alone. I just don’t know if it may be too little too late. My way of thinking about him has changed. Even if I can forgive it all, I can’t forget. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to get a peck on the cheek goodbye, and its a start. He is trying but at the same time last night he also threw into the conversation that he has Sunday off and will be off work next Thursday instead of his usual Wed. and that he has to change his dental check up. His way of saying that he is not planning to to talk with his mother. I don’t think he wants me enough to release the past. On the one hand he says he needs to confront her but I think he still can’t risk that she may cut him out of her life again. He is more aware but not uncomfortable enough to release the past and move on. He wants to keep her by not saying anything …even though he says he can’t go on until he talks to her and lets her know what she has done. At the same time he wants to keep me but probably just so he can continue the PA games. I suggested that he write a letter (which I thought was a good suggestion) to get his feelings out and that he could mail it or not.. As ever, he does not like my ideas or advice or suggestions. He says he has to talk with her. We all know that he could go talk with her either Sunday or Thursday but as of last night I don’t think he really has any plans to do it. If asked he would say he doesn’t want to ruin her Easter and that on Thursday he has a dental appointment for a checkup and cleaning. He has no plans to confront her .
    Sorry, just bitching and being pessimestic.


    • Hi Arborgreen- I can’t blame you for being a little pessimistic. It does sound like he’s setting everything up for a big excuse for not talking to her. If she’s basically alone, he can’t be ruining much of an Easter, it’s not like she has small children you wouldn’t want to fight around or anything. He could take her a nice little bouquet of Easter Lilys which she would probably think was really nice, and have his talk with her all at the same time. Of course if he scheduled his dental appointment really early, he could always go afterward.

      I’m sorry he didn’t like the letter writing idea. He’s really kind of foolish. It would have given him a way out of confronting his mother head on, and get his feelings out at the same time. I think sometimes the PA is so busy making sure they don’t do what we want, they lose sight at how easy some of this stuff would be on them.

      I wish you a Happy Easter whatever he decides to do, altho I know it’ll be kind of hard when you’re thinking about how he could be talking to his mother if he really wanted to. I’m going to be trying to get the BF to call his son, AGain, who he too doesn’t like to have to confront. When I have my mimosa in the morning, I’ll say a silent prayer for you too. LOL.

  24. What is it about calling people that they have such a phobia about. Mine will not phone anyone back…its like they have to keep calling him to prove how much they like, love, need him and then he can reject them by not returning the calls. He also loves to have me make appointments for him and then repeatedly changes them and wants me to call them to reschedule. A few years ago I caught on to this and now I refuse to do it so if he wants to go he has to do the calling and rescheduling.

    Youngest was home from college and the older son and wife came over but I did not find a time to talk to the older son alone. He and the younger son went to a movie and we all went out to eat and then I had a shower to go to and the boys disappeared over at the older ones house. I will try again next weekend. Since husband never mentioned that he is going to Atlanta all weekend and I don’t believe he has phoned his mother. I guess he thinks I forgot. I will drop it into a conversation on Tuesday or Wed.

    I need a truck load of Mimosas and chocolate after writing that check to the IRS this weekend. We are just going to have to start paying quarterly as it makes me mentally sick to write one large check and think how it will be so poorly spent.

    I think that each child should have a course in school that would help them release the past, recognize Passive Aggressive behaviors and deal with marriage relationships. I went to a private girls school and we had a Marriage and Family course but it was just life stages and sex and pregnancy. I think I could have recognized this sooner if I had known how Passive Aggressive behavior works within a marriage to destroy trust. I suppose that I have just been too naive … It has been a real shock to me to discover that someone who professes to love me would use displaced anger to purposefully hurt me so much.


    • Hey Aborgreen- I think you’re right. At the high school my kids went to they have a marriage class and they have to carry life-like real babies around, etc. but it’s not required. I think if all teenagers had to go through it 1) it would cut teen pregnancy 2) it would take all the fantasy out of being married and teach them how it is to have to live with someone else. It should teach about relationships and recognizing different behaviors. I think that’s an excellent idea. Now if we could just get it through Congress. LOL.
      Crossing my fingers for your H and his mother for Thurs.

  25. Arborgreen- using displaced anger to hurt you is a self protective habit they started doing a long long time ago. My husbands shut down behavior started in childhood when he was abandoned by his Mom. Many claim that they don’t mean to do it ,but it is their protection device since they are emotionally scarred. It’s like like an animal that has been hurt and wants to bite you before you can hurt them. They are constantly looking for and protecting themselves from that hurt. Its a sad way to live.

    P.S. No, I’m not the Dog Whisperer (LOL) 🙂

  26. Wow, Donna ..so your husband was abandoned by his mother too!! Wish we could get them into therapy together. The poor therapist! ..what a nightmare. How long have you endured this sort of treatment from your husband? Did you catch on quickly or did you make excuses in your mind for him or doubt yourself? What finally made it all click and you realized what he was doing? What kind of childhood did you experience? My parents were not really demonstrative of affection and my mother in particular had flat emotions..not happy…not sad…and very selfish. So I grew up living on the crumbs of affection and always giving more than 100% for little or no return from her. I do not have brothers so I never really understood what my husband was doing until the boys started to dismiss me too.


  27. Forget Thursday. Last night I casually dropped into the conversation my schedule for the rest of the week…. then I asked him what time he will be back today and on Thursday. He said that he now has a phone conference and will have to go into work for half a day on Thursday so he will go to Atlanta at the end of the month. Here we go again with the delays. He is supposed to take 5 days at the end of the month of use them or lose them days but of course that can be affected by some manager getting sick, hurt, dying, or going to training so its really iffy.

    I carefully worded the question not to mention Atlanta and thought he might act like he forgot the Atlanta trip…that is how he would have responded in the past.. I was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t forget and actually had a time to go. Its all still iffy but there is a bit of light in the tunnel. I won’t get excited yet as he has plenty of time to delay it all or forget or cancel it.

    I am too old to wait forever. got to have a back up plan. Humm. the house was inherited fully paid for and only has my name on the deed. I wonder if I can have him ousted? I will have to check on that. I really can’t see staying in this house as it is much too big to maintain alone. I probably will sell it and find a smaller house. I am willing to give him my portion of our rental house. I also have to find out about separation agreements.

    Guess it sounds cold but I am sort of excited by the prospect of being on my own. I need to get on with living. I have been dead for so long and now I just refuse to be dragged back into that dark lonely hole.

    Love yes, marry again…maybe not. I obviously don’t know how to pick them. I wonder if he ever cheated? He says no but I trusted him and he emotionally abused me so I can’t believe what he says. And he worked alot out of town and out of state…. Priests have more sex than we do. So he is either asexual or finding other outlets. Like all of those wives of serial rapists and mass murders who had no idea of what their husband’s were doing, I wonder what I don’t know. Porn addiction, homosexuality, cross dressing, hookers, affairs???? Wish I could have him take a lie detector test and be tested for STDs.


    • Arborgreen- I hope he follows through, but I think you’re very smart to be thinking ahead in case he doesn’t. If you’re willing to give him your part of the rental, maybe you can get him to give you your house and move out without any hassle. I’m sure there is away to have him “put out” but it would be so much easier all the way around if he would just go peacefully. You need to have him sign an interspousal or quitclaim deed also, even if the house is in your name alone. It just keeps the title from being clouded because you have been married to him. It basically means if he has any claim on the property, he gives it up.

      I know what you mean about wondering if he’s done things behind your back, but you can drive yourself crazy wondering about that kind of stuff. Surely if he had, you would have seen some kind of clues, high bills for restaurants when he’s out of town, etc. I think priest have had more sex than most of us. LOL (No offense to anyone. Just a lot in the news).

      Good luck as you get things in order. That’s always the smartest way to go. If you decide to not leave after all, at least you have things set up in case you ever have to.

  28. Thanks for the quick claim advice. I will get one and then figure out how to bring it up. The weekend went well, he went to work and I pulled overgrown Virginia Creeper and blackberry vines out of the rose garden. I made brownies and lasagna, took some lasagna to a neighbor who just got out of the hospital and roses and brownies to two friends. One son called with car problems and the other just called to talk to me cause his wife was working so I invited him for lasagna. I grocery shopped, cooked, cleaned, washed, read a book and had a good time with friends. I had to come back to work today to rest. Overall, I can see now that life without him will be okay. I guess that I have really been without him for years. I also looked for smaller houses on the internet cause this one is too big to stay in no matter what.


    • That’s terrific Arborgreen. Sounds like you had a great time. It is possible to get your life back! It’s amazing what’s out there when we don’t spend all our time worrying about what they’re going to do.

  29. Wow, this article describes my marriage. I am a (not to brag) very attractive 25 year old female. I have a great body and a pretty face. I always have men hitting on me when I’m out without my husband. In bed I love sex and am open to new things, but my husband is ALWAYS “too tired, baby.” Too tired? Screw that, I now realize that he is passive aggressive. Thank you for writing this article.

    • Hi Wife and welcome!
      If you know about his childhood and you understand what causes someone to become passive aggressive, and 2 and 2 make 4, then you can be pretty sure that’s what it is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually get better as time goes on. My first instinct is to tell you to RUN while you still realize that you are attractive and you still feel good about yourself.

      If you still really love this man, you can try talking to him about it or see if he’ll go to counseling with you, but I have to tell you even with counseling, the odds of things changing are not real good. Unless he realizes he has a problem, and unless he’s really willing to work at changing, a lot of times it’s just another way to manipulate you. They’ll agree to go, but then not take any of the suggestions or put any of the work into it, which is typical of a passive aggressive.

      I hope things work out well for you. Glad you found the info here useful. Please, check back in any time and let us know how you’re doing.

  30. To wife:
    Knowing what I know now and being far older than you with many more years of marriage and 2 grown kids…I say run as fast as you can. Do not waste your life with a man who can not really feel love or give love. It gets more difficult as the years go by to disintangle yourself. It also hurts the kids. I can’t tell you how much of an idiot I feel for not knowing what he was doing for so long. I have wasted too many years with a man who rejects me sexually, abandons me emotionally and avoids affection. Most men would love to have someone who enjoys sex. My husband has made me doubt myself, wonder about his sexual orientation and made me feel totally alone in a marriage. He has given up all responsibility for making this a successful marriage and life together. He has invested nothing. Silence is his weapon as he lacks the ability to express emotions. I think that my husband’s emotional growth was stunted by childhood trama of his mother leaving the family and abandoning him. He never developed that inner character normally. He never had anyone to model behaviors of love and acceptance. It is just easier for someone like this to just take care of their own needs and not worry about a wif’e’s needs. It is hard for him to discuss anything serious. I am always the one to bring it up. I read somewhere that ongoing adult sexual relationships require commitment, emotional responsibility, accountability, and acknowledgment of each other. It also requires communication of feelings and valuing the other person in order to have an ongoing growth of closeness between husband and wife. Masturbation is just his easy way out because it requires none of these things.

    • Your last line about masturbation, really hit home with me! The selfishness of not sharing yourself with your spouse is mind blowing! Married 26 years, together 29 and I have had it! Children are grown & out of the house, the loneliness is unbearable. About two weeks ago, I found viagra, male enhancement supplements, porn on his phone and believe it or not, I was calm and asked for an explanation. My AP husband turned into an Agressive-Agressive in a blink and backed me up to the counter and drew back his fist to hit me (while foaming at the mouth) that he would kill
      me. I looked him straight in the eye and told him to stop and take his hands off. He moved, I stepped around him picked up cell phone & handbag and went to the garage, got in my truck, pulled out unto the road and called the sherriff. They escorted his sorry butt out, went to court
      and I have a peace order through August 2015. Side note: he is back in the house on the condition that he will not harrass, harm verbally or physically, per the court. In the meantime, he is supposed to go to counseling, he refuses. Yesterday, I asked him to pack it up and
      move out. The home is jointly owned, but he caused us to lose a very nice rental property because it was another way to
      stick it to me. I’m done, he knows it!
      Please keep me in your prayers!

  31. Its the week of the long awaited take -it-or -lose -it time off days for my husband. He plans to do the yard and pool today. He says that he plans to see his mother on Wed. but has not phoned her yet. On the plus side..he did bring it up, not me. I asked him what he thinks he will achieve, he said he just wants to get it off his chest. I told him that I hope he is not expecting a sincere apology as I am sure that after all of these decades she has justified it in her own mind. I hope he is not expecting to get all of the love and attention from her that he feels he lost in his childhood or that she can somehow make up for all of the pain and make all of the hurt disappear. For me this may be the home stretch. He is very much afraid of losing me and knows that I mean it because I have never threatened it out loud before. He also knows that I have caught on to all of his patterns of behavior and will not tolerate even one bit of PA from him. The kids are grown and there is nothing to hold me in the marriage as he has severed almost all of our connections. He is definitely trying to reconnect but I have seen these patterns of behavior for short periods before so it is going to be more of what he does rather than what he says that will influence me. He knows that I have been in counseling and will not accept the blame for his PA stuff any longer. He has pushed me away for so long that I know I can stand on my own 2 feet. He has refused to take responsibility in our relationship and now I am independent. His attempts may just be too little, too late and I have told him that.


  32. Here’s a new addition. He phoned me at work which I have told him I would appreciate but more than that he shared a hurt. He phoned his mother but could not get through on her land line and finally got her on a cell. she had also changed the cell but his neice knew it. This woman moves at least once a year and changes phones all of the time. He probably spoke to her a month ago and she said nothing about moving. So he is still planning to go see her on Wed. He has directions to her new house. This woman who is almost 80 continues to move at least once a year and often twice a year without telling her own son. At least he shared with me this time. His mother is nuts. I’m telling you, someone should write a movie script or sitcom about his family. And lucky me, I married into 2 sets of in-laws plus his 104 year old grandmother, 84 year old gay uncle, his 2 brothers and 2 sisters, their various ex spouses, children, grandchildren, step siblings and their families and various aunts and uncles and cousins etc. Its a zoo.


    • Arborgreen- LOL. I had to laugh out loud at your last couple of lines. It sounds like a zoo, and I hate to say I understand all too well what you mean.

      First, I want to thank you for responding to Wife. It’s good for her to hear what to expect from others who have stayed in these kind of relationships, besides just me.

      I think it’s great that your husband is making these steps. It sounds like you may actually have his attention. It certainly sounds as if he’s trying to communicate better and let you in on more of what he’s thinking. His mother moving all the time and not even mentioning it to him sounds like a bad joke. Why would she tell her niece and not her son? My ex’s mother used to move without telling my husband’s brother, but that was because every time he found out where she lived, he would weasel his way into living with her and her supporting him (well into his 40’s). Obviously that’s not a problem here, but she sure seems like that’s what she’s afraid of. Are his other siblings from her? If so, does she tell them anything? You’re right. She’s definitely a bit strange. No wonder he has issues. That’s pretty drastic to even change her cell number. I’d be curious what it is between him and her to make her behave so drastically.

      Good luck on his moving forward in doing his share to try and keep you two together.

  33. Thanks for the great advice about the Quit Claim Deed. I am close to settling my mother’s estate and buying out my sisters shares of 2 homes. My family can be a zoo too. Because they can not agree they have let these 2 home deteriorate for 5 and a half years and in this economy the value has decreased. Anyway, during all of the bickering, I got my husband to sign the Quit Claim Deed and then I bought the sisters out. Well, it is all done but their signing which they have agreed to so maybe I should not count my chickens but I have handed over the cashier’s check to the attorney today and signed the stuff I need to and it is up to them. If they don’t sign, I am planning to tell them that I am no longer interested in bickering any longer. This was my last offer and they took it so if they change their minds before signing then I will just go spend the Cashier’s Check money on a new house for me. Its a win-win situation for me.
    If I they do sign, then one house is mine entirely and the other is 3/4 mine and 1/4 his. I don’t care about his share except that he can go live there if he does not reform and I will live in the other one. The stress has somewhat lifted and I have taken care of a place for him to go and I have taken care of myself for the first time in my life. I have always been busy sacrificing and taking care of others and this time I am looking after me and what I want and need. I just can’t tell you what a load is lifted. I am at a point where I just need to get the toxic people out of my life. My blood pressure must have gone down because I can just feel the peace. Maybe I will take my own last name back too. I have never liked or felt an ownership in his name. It is too unusual and no one ever pronounces it correctly. Its just not me. I am going to get my passport renewed on Fri. too. Oh. I don’t see much of a change in my husband. Yes, he talked with his mother and maybe he is trying some but it doesn’t seem that it is the whole enchilada. He isn’t suddenly liberated emotionally and there is still that line he can’t cross. He is not playing a bunch of games but the emotional thing is still there and maybe after all these years he can’t get past that. He had no role model growing up and he has gotten away with this for so long that maybe he just can’t ever get over it. Can I live with that ? No, I can’t. Trust is fragile and I still wonder if there is something yet that I don’t know. Someone who loves you does not play PA games with you…thats not love. But al least I don’t have to worry about a house.

    • Hi Arborgreen! Congratulations. You sound terrific. It’s amazing once you start taking control back how good you can feel, isn’t it?

      I’m glad the quitclaim deed went well for you. You said about giving the check to your attorney for the houses you’re buying from your sisters, is he handling the escrow for you? If he is, you may want to see if he did a title search. You don’t want to get stuck with any judgements or anything against the properties that you may not know about.

      I’m glad your husband went to see his mother. I have to admit, I like you, was a little skeptical, but I’m glad to see we were both wrong. (Living with a PA makes you a little cynical. LOL) How did he say it went? Did he actually get to tell her how he’s been feeling about the things she’s done? Did he feel any better at all afterward?

      As far as the affection and intimacy go, if you’re still interested, now may be a good time to try couples counceling. Also, it’s been long enough he may just need you to lead the way back to being how you two were in the beginning. I also know from your point of view after being rejected so many times, you don’t feel like making all the effort any more. I totally can understand that. I guess it all depends on how close to going out the door you are.

      Whatever you decide to do from here, I am so happy you checked in to share. It’s so good to hear you sound so positive about your life and the things you’re doing. I’m sure you’re on the right path to being able to handle which ever way things go. Thanks for being a spring of hope for the rest of us!

  34. Yep, title search is done too. All that is left is for the sister’s to sign and then Mother and Daddy’s estates are settled. What a relief. Funny, but it is the same offer that I made to them five years ago only now I am asking for reimbursement of the funeral expenses and care and maintenence of property. And they agreed but the attorneys still have to round up everyone and get them to sign. One more thing to check off of my list of things to do to get my life back. And if they don’t sign I can still take the money and buy myself a house. I have 2 possibilities in mind just in case.

    Mother’s Day weekend was good. I finally got to talk with my oldest son alone on Saturday and I think he was shocked and had no idea about his dad’s childhood. We got interrupted so it wasn’t as in depth as I wanted it to be but it was a good start.

    Ladybeams, you have great insight. You are so right about my feelings of rejection and not wanting to be rejected again but the biggest thing is that I don’t want him to service me either. If he has no desire then so be it…let me know and I will move on. And that is perhaps what I am sensing. He likes me, he loves me on some friendship level but it does not seem to equate to be a desire for intimacy beyond hand touching or a hug once in a while. Who knows maybe it will grow but after all of these years, I am not sure that either one of us trusts it to be real. I am no longer willing to do all of the relationship work and him not participating at all or only giving the bare minumum. That I feel has not changed yet. I don’t want “pretend”
    affection and I do not want “servicing” to shut me up or play PA games. If he can’t feel real desire about intimacy then I don’t want it. Trust….if he enjoyed the PA games more than being intimate with me for all of those years and he enjoyed/desired television, computer games etc more than coming to bed with me or spending time with me then obviously I am low down on the totem pole as far as priorities, wants or needs go. I don’t want him to change because he thinks he should in order to keep me but because he truly desires me. I think he doesn’t want to lose me but I still don’t think he desires me. And I guess that is my real bottom line…a sense of desire is still lacking.


    • Dearest Arborgreen- It looks like you have your legal stuff well in hand, and I am so thrilled for you that you have such a positive outlook no matter which way it goes. Plan B sounds like it would work out for you almost as well as plan A. Way to go!

      I’m glad you had a nice Mother’s Day and got to have at least a little conversation with your son. It seems funny to me that your son never knew about his dad’s upbringing. Didn’t he ever ask questions, or your husband ever talk about it? Of course if it was a source of pain, I can see your husband not really saying much.

      I totally get what you’re saying about the intimacy in your relationship, altho at one time I would have been glad even to just get “serviced” LOL. For all the talk my BF used to do about “I’d rather be cold than horney” or stuff to that effect, sex isn’t a priority. I always thought it was my weight because I knew that he had always liked skinny women, but when I lost 46 pounds and it didn’t make any difference, than I knew it wasn’t me, it was him. (I was down below my ideal weight then). No matter how much I would encourage him to reach for me, etc. it never worked until one day I just quit reaching for him also. Now we’ve just settled at an impass. I know at times he resents it, and he’ll show it in small ways, but that’s the way it goes. Like you, I want to feel like he wants to be loving, affectionate, and intimate. Not like it’s some obligation, or I do all the reaching out and he just accepts it.

      I’m just curious, have you asked him lately how he feels about you regarding his desire for you. I know to a certain extent it wanes for a lot of men as they get older. Some of them lose too much testesterone. Then again, some are just PA’s. LOL

  35. Oh, I forgot to tell you about his mother. She kept trying to change the subject and he said he would not let her. At one point she tried to make it all his fault and told him that if he felt so bad all he had to do was call her. This made him mad and he pointed his finger at her and said ..I was 11 years old and you walked out and never contacted me to see how I was doing. You never sent a birthday card or a Christmas present. You did not call me. When I tried to find you, not even your own mother had a phone number or an address. He told her that everytime she moves without telling him it dredges up all of the old pain for him and stabs him again with rejection and abandonment issues. He shook his finger at her and told her never to do it again.

    Basically, she just made excuses. He told her that what she did was wrong. She never apologized.
    At one point she said that she had to leave because she was afraid and he said and yet you left your helpless children instead of taking us all to our grandmother’s house. He told her that a good mother does not leave her children and she certainly does not move every year without telling her children where she is. He told her that a woman who drives a Jaguar and lives in a huge home can afford to send a birthday card or phone her kids.

    I think his mom was probably shocked. No one has ever called her on anything. She has phoned him a couple of times since the meeting.

    She is getting older and her husband probably won’t last a year. Her own mother is going to be 104 in August so this is a woman who is likely to outlive me.
    She is starting to worry about who will take care of her. Her favorite child ..the baby she left with, died last year and that just leaves all of the 4 kids that she abandoned. She can no longer drive as she has macular degeneration and has been relying on a granddaughter but the granddaughter is getting married soon and moving. No one else whats her to live with them. I guess what goes around comes back around.

    • Arborgreen- This sounds great for your husband. Good job! He must have got a lot of his point across to her if she’s at least bothering to call now. While it’s always nice to get an apology, it sounds like he had a chance to get a lot off his chest. As you tell me about it, it almost sounds like he probably felt fairly excited telling you about it, giving you details, etc. That was one big step. It’s just a shame it took so long in coming.

      While I can understand her starting to worry now about being alone, I hope she, nor your husband thinks the next step is to move her in with you. LOL. If your marriage has a chance, that sure would screw things up. That’s one place I have to give the BF credit. We have my mom living with us and he’s been very patient, complaining very little, but I know it’s hard on him.

      Good luck with him moving on to the next step. Hopefully that talk helped free him a little to show you the love and affection you deserve. Hopefully withholding hasn’t become an old habit that’s too hard to break.

  36. It is strange but my husband never talked about his parents. Our kids knew that the grandparents were divorced and both remarried but did not know the circumstances surrounding the split up or that my husband was hurt by it. I did not know alot of it until a few years ago. The kids never saw them much and were closer to my parents.

    The same thing happened to me. I lost 40+ pounds and so did he but he never said a word to me about it and he certainly did not show any interest sexually so that was that. He was not much interested when I weighed 120 and was 21 years old either. I am tired of being the only one interested, the only one touching or working on the relationship. I wonder if he equates desire as a weakness? Does he feel like women will deceive and that you can’t trust them, like his mother?

    I don’t know but I am tired of it all. We both went for check ups on the same day a few years ago and I saw the doctor first and asked that he not tell the hubby but saw to it that he got 6 Viagra samples and had his testosterone checked. He has used Viagra once that I know of and his levels are fine.

    Yep, I asked and he says he loves me and he desires me but there has not been any step forward. He never brings up any issues himself. He rarely asks any questions at all of me unless it is about where to go for dinner. He rarely asks me to do anything. He does not compliment and he does not volunteer to help. He does not come to bed at the same time, he does not initiate any touch other than a hand hold while watching tv or a brief shoulder touch while waiting in line. I don’t know if he said that he loves me because I asked and he is just saying what he thinks I want to hear. He never spontaneously says it. Its still feels like a PA game of withdrawal to me. the daily phone calls have stopped but he still tells me when he is leaving the house. He always asks where I want to go out to eat and then he nixes my ideas so now I make him decide. It is an arduous process.
    I guess I feel like he is still doing the minimum to participate in our marriage and the PA withdrawal of affection is still very much alive. One thing that I have noticed is he is not sighing. A couple of years ago he started sighing sometimes and also developed a sort of clearing his throat (which I thought was due to deviated septum and allergic post nasal drip) and since he has talked to his mother both of these things have vanished. Clay Aiken sang an old song called Solitaire and the words fit my husband to a T.

    • Dear Arborgreen- Oooh, that’s just so frustrating isn’t it? They say they want us, but their actions clearly show something different. It’s funny you mentioned the sighing. I catch my BF doing that also, and if I ask what’s the matter he swears he didn’t even know he let a sigh out. I’m glad to hear those two things at least, have vanished after his talk with his mother. Maybe they were a subconcious block. It could be a sign of “freeing up”. While that’s great for him, unfortunately it doesn’t sound like it’s helped you much. I’ll have to find that Clay Aiken song on line and give a listen. LOL. Keep your chin up, Girl. At least you’re one of the few ready with a “Plan B”.

  37. I took care of my Dad for 2 years until he passed away and then my Mother for 6 years but she only lived with us for a year. It was awful. It wore me out …lifting and changing and feeding, hiring sitters when I had to work and taking off when they did not show, getting up multiple times a night. After they passed away, I told hubby that I can not do this ever again. My parents were loving and wonderful to us and we owed alot to them for helping us get a house and setting up a business etc. but I am too old to do it again and will not do it for people who never cared enough to learn how to spell my name or know our kids birthdates or visit.

    These is no way that either of his parents will live with us. He has even said that he would not want them in our home.

    • Arborgreen- That’s so good you two are on the same page about this. It makes life so much easier. I’m pretty lucky in that my mother is pretty self-sufficient other than me fixing dinner or helping her in the shower. Not nearly as hard as what it sounds like you went through. I totally agree with you also, it’s one thing to put yourself out for someone who has been good to you. Another thing completely for someone who has acted the way your mother-in-law has.

  38. Here are the Clay Aiken song lines that I remember
    A lonely man who lost his love through his indifference
    A heart that cared that went unshared until it died within his silence.

    By the way, I loved the saying about you can only push a girl away for so long until she walks out of your life on her own.

    Today has been tough. Son is home on break so I feel like things are on hold cause I don’t want to drag him into anything. I have not heard back yet from attorneys as to my sisters signing the deal and I certainly don’t want to call to ask as that is just another $800. in their pocket everytime they do anything even answer an email or phone call. I guess I feel like I am on hold waiting and waiting and waiting while my life just ebbs away.

    • Hi Arborgreen- Thanks for the couple of lines to the song. I can see why you say it’s so perfect.

      I’m glad you liked the little “bumper sticker”. I was sort of surprised I didn’t get more of a reaction to it than I did. I thought it was very appropo for this site.

      Hope things are starting to move forward for you. Even when we feel stalled temporarily, just remember you have the wheels in motion. Iwould tell you patience is a virtue, and I am sure it is, but since I have none I’m not one to preach. LOL

  39. Papers are signed now and the houses are mine. I now own two homes free and clear on my own and 3/4 of another one with my PA husband. I have a place to go if I need to and can sell this one if I need to and I can throw him out and tell him to go live in the one he owns 1/4th of if I want to. I can rent two or sell two of them and buy another one if I choose. This gives me options and a bit of power to direct my own life. Most of all it gives me a bit of peace. Now if I can just get the flash flood flooring repaired in one of them with tile instead of carpet and hardwood that was there before and I will feel really good. I am looking forward to my youngest going back to grad school so that I can push ahead with my life. I have things to say and just want him out of firing range.

    Here is what I learned from my PA husband:
    I learned that all of my ideas, plans and work are deemed a bad idea or dismissed or undone by him.
    I learned that anything I want or need will be sabotaged, that I can never rely, depend, count on, him for anything. That he will put me down in front of the children, he will dismiss and undermine my authority as a parent . That he will make no attempt to be a part of parenting and will teach the children that a man tries to get out of anything a woman requests in a marriage. That he will dismiss me and all of my communications as stupid. For every step that I take forward he will knock me two steps back. I learned that he does not think it is important to be with me. That computer games or sitcom reruns from the 60’s, late night talk shows, ballgames, etc. are always more important than me. I learned that his desire to punish and emotionally abuse me for something his mother did to him as a child is stronger than any desire for intimacy with me. I learned that I am the only one working at affection, intimacy and the marriage. I learned that he can not give praise, acknowledgement, or compliments. That he can not give affection unless prompted and then feels that he is servicing me. That he sees the expression of love as a weakness rather than enjoyment. That he never asks for help nor does he offer help. He makes you beg for help so that he feels needed and then has the opportunity to turn you down, make you wait, forget it or just screw it all up. I learned to watch what he does rather than what he says because he will say anything he thinks I want him to say but never follow through.

    I learned that I have wasted all of my adult life with a man who is an emotional cripple incapable of an adult relationship. I learned that I can not count on him to change.

    I have learned that my marriage has been a mirage, a dream that he never participated in. I learned that trust is a fragile concept and that once it is betrayed it is never the same again.

    I learned that I am responsible for myself and my own happiness, that life is too short to spend it with a PA spouse and I am too old, tired to continue. Most of all I learned that PA behaviors are not love in any shape or form. He may love to manipulate, use, emotionally abuse and control me but that is not a loving marriage relationship. I value myself and my sanity too much to continue. To continue would be condoning his behavior and would make me a sadist.

    I have learned that you must write down a plan. The plan can be changed but you must have a plan written down. So here is my plan. Fix up the house, present him with a separation agreement, either move or move him out, change my name back, and go on a cruise or vacation, buy a dog ( my elderly Westie died this year). Learn to play bridge and majhong, exercise and go to church more ( he has always refused and now that the kids are grown and gone I rarely go but I can be brave and go by myself). And I am going to reward myself for a change.

    I have had patience….to much for too long … his favorite game is WAIT….now I am not waiting I just want to see progress.

    • Arborgreen- Look at you, Girl! Wow! That first paragraph was like reading all the options for a game of monopoly or something. LOL. You have so many ways to go, and it sounds like you’re just having a ball thinking about all the ways you can put it together. I think that’s absolutely wonderful!

      I also enjoyed reading all the things you’ve learned. Even tho some of the lessons we learn are not fun, the main thing is to learn them. I think one of the greatest things you seem to have learned is that you deserve to be treated better. Unfortunately we stay in this kind of relationship way to long because at first we don’t feel like we are worthy of any better. That it must be us. I’m so glad you are sounding like you are back on track to believing that you really are special and as such deserve all that being special brings.

      Going to church by yourself isn’t so bad. I’ve been going alone also. Sometimes you have to go to a few different ones until you find one where the people actually seem to practice what the minister preaches about love for your fellow man and woman. I know one I went to they said to stand up and greet each other, and not one person acknowledged me. That was the last time I went. Then I found this little church where the minister is a young woman who seems very real about her own sins, and the congregation has been very welcoming. It’s like anything else, you just have to find the one right for you.

      Keep in touch. You help lift my spirits. LOL

  40. Wow, I have fought, argued, screamed, cried, b*tched, whined, got mad, got depressed and even tried to get even. For 9 years i have done everything, trying to get my husband to understand the mental damage he is doing to me and my children. This is my second marriage his first…. Believe it or not it was not until last night that we even figured out what his issues were. After talking to his mom today at lunch he did find out that his grand and great grand fathers both had P.A. So being that we are struggling thru all of this and it is all new, please give me advice, knowledge or something to lead us in the right direction.

    • Hi JacQui- You’re off to a great start. At least he’s willing to look at the idea he is passive aggressive. My next suggestion would be to either get him into therapy to work on his issues, you into therapy for support, and then possibly couples therapy for the two of you to work on issues together. However you get started, getting started is the main thing. (and no I’m not a therapist so I don’t get paid for making this kind of recommendation. LOL) You may have to go through a few therapists to find a good one or one you’re comfortable with and understands passive aggressiveness.

      For you, a lower cost alternative but still a great avenue for support may be some kind of group therapy, or a group like Al-Anon. Even tho it was set up for family of alcoholics, I hear it’s great in general for dealing with any kind of relationship problems and how to cope. One of the main things for you is to get some support so you don’t start blaming yourself for what’s happening in your relationship. When someone is a true passive aggressive, it has nothing to do with who they are with, it is all on them. You need to work on keeping your self-esteem in tact and not let his issues drag you down and isolate you.

      I also would start building a self-esteem file for times when you’re not feeling like yourself. I even keep loving messages on my cell phone to be able to go back and listen to them when I need a lift.

      You can check out the “recommended reading” list for material that explains the passive aggressive man, etc. The more you know and understand, the better prepared you’ll be to help yourself and your children. You’ll want to start helping them understand if he seems emotionally disconnected, etc so they don’t think it’s because they aren’t good enough.

      Good luck to you, and feel free to stop by and let us know how you’re doing, or if you need a place to vent, etc. There are a bunch of us here who really do understand what you’re going through.

  41. […] SpouseThe Passive Aggressive and Emotional ConnectionsThe Tricks of the Passive AggressiveWhen A Passive Aggressive Witholds SexIntimacy, Emotion And The Passive Aggressive…Why Are You So Passive Aggressive?Passive Aggressives […]

  42. Oh My Goodness! This website has been so helpful! I am married with two young boys. My husband stoped having sex with me after my last baby. I did everything. I lost all the weight, I came on to him, I cleaned the house better, made him more yummy food, sent him fishing more, just whatever I thought would make him love me or show me he loved me. He now just rejects me straight out. I never wanted to get divorced but I get so frustrated (not just sexually!) and angry that this is not good for my boys. Bugger. I feel so lost and alone in this relationship….how could I have not seen this???

    • Amanda- Welcome and thank you for sharing. I’m glad you’ve found the blog of some help.

      Don’t beat yourself up, My Dear. None of “see it coming” and there is very good reason for that. Usually in the courtship stage they act like they really do desire us, to be with us, to care for us and have us care for them. There is only a small handful that ever get a “pre- warning”. Everything you’ve done to get him to want you more is stuff most of us have tried at some time or another. The thing is, it doesn’t work because we were never the problem in the first place. We just allowed them to manipulate us into thinking it was.

      You are very right to be concerned how this is effecting your boys. Children mimic what they see, grow up doing what they learned at home. Depending on how much of an effect your husband has on them, you could be raising a couple of passive aggressive males yourself. You didn’t say what kind of father he is now, but as the boys get older and have their own thoughts and demands, his passive aggressiveness will come out more toward them also. You may want to read a few of the posts and comments here regarding passive aggressive parenting. Part of the lack of sex may be he is punishing you over the boys, the fact that they require so much of your attention. Part of it may be after the boys came, now he sees you as his own mother vs. his wife. There are so many reasons possible, it would take a lifetime to sort them all out.

      Have you talked to him about all of this? Have you asked him about couples counseling? Is he open at all to going to therapy? If he’s not willing to accept being any part of the problem, you will never get him to agree to try and fix anything.

      Please feel free to come back anytime, leave a comment, or a rant if you need to. There are a lot of us out here. While you may feel alone in the relationship, you’re not alone as far as support. Be good to yourself first, then you can do what’s good for you and the boys.

      • Hi Ladybeams,

        thanks so much for replying. My husbands partening style at the moment is great. My boys are only 5 and 3, so they get quality time, cuddles, books etc from both of us, but he has worked night shift for the last 5 years so he is able to be not present most of the time, even though this has seriously effected our relationship he is unwilling to push for day shift or find a different job. We moved to country when my first boy was 6 weeks old, a big move for a city girl, but I didn’t mind cause as a team we can acheive anything, but we are not a team. I have asked him to move out (which of course he wont) but he has agreed to to go a therapist. I look back and I can see the sublte signs. The fact that I look so much like his mother I guess is no surprise. He comes from a catholic family with a alcholic father, the mother left the family a few time, once thru illness the other two by choice, and finally the whole family left him when he was 15. I have never ever seen him angry. This is a lonely life in the country with two boys, no help and no cuddles, no sex, no communication. But I am glad I have found this site, I feel stronger in my thoughts, I so thought I was going nuts! None of the words, like I love u, I do want this family, everything I do, i do for you, is every followed up by actions. I did anti-depresants for a year, and now I guess I am just hurt and angry BUT with a desire to move forward or move on out! I DO NOT WANT MY BOYS TO BE PA! They deserve better.

        Thanks so much for reading my rant!!

        • Amanda- So glad you have found this site a place to not only rant, but find it uplifting and giving you strength. At least you got him to go to a therapist. That is a big step, if he will do as the therapist tells him or he doesn’t manipulate the therapist. You will know, because eventually the therapist should ask to speak with you also.

          In the meantime, concentrate on you and your boys. Start doing things you like to do, or you like to do with the children. Do things that make you feel good, make you feel worthy again. For now, while I realize it’s frustrating to not have the intimacy and communication, and a real husband, try to concentrate more on what is good and happy for you and the boys. When you start doing that, you will find you have more energy to deal with the PA.

          Thank you for your rant. LOL. And you come back and rant or comment any time you like. We’re all here.

  43. Just wanted to leave a note to say that my DIVORCE from a passive aggressive man (who also has self hate issues too) will be final on Sept. 23rd. We are great friends and he is still a help to my family……. but I am worth more than going through 12 more years without affection and emotional abuse. I am not saying this is the solution for everyone. It just was a good solution for me because I LOVE affection…can’t get enough of it 🙂 It’s a big part of who I am. It wasn’t fair to have to live for so long trying to do without it. I have gone through the years of trying to “figure him out’ and the “maybe if I look this way or do this particular thing, I will get affection”, to thinking I will creatively try to live around it by either accepting that I have no affection or attempting to get hugs and kisses on the side. It has been an extremely crazy way for me personally to live. We do not have kids due to his fertility and to be honest…lack of sex…and he never got close enough to me to really express that he wanted to adopt. Didin’t have alot of expression about anything except sitiing on the computer.
    After going through all of that he announced this yr that he had a little college girlfriend (he is 47) at the college he worked at as a security officer, but they had not had intercourse or anything, but he was in love. The college ended up firing him because him hanging with her was against the rules and completely bizaar.
    That was an insult I couldn’t even deal with. My HUGE wakeup call that showed he can never connect and I have wasted my twenties and thirties trying to get him too (Im 38).. Anyway, of course as soon as that girl graduated she left him like a hot potato. He saw way more into it than it was just because she showed him some sort of attention. Yet the attention I have showed him through the years didn’t compare. Everyone was greater than me…….and my self esteem suffered at his hands.
    Now, of course I know now that I am beautiful, worthy of converstaion, and all those wonderful things. I learned that I DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT behavior like that fom a man.

    Many Blessings to All Of You!

    • LadyLane- Congratulations! And how lucky you are that it’s not a big battle but that the two of you can do this like two grown up adults. It makes things so much easier. Of course, after coming to you about this college student and losing his job over it, I would imagine he’s feeling a little sheepish. LOL. This is exactly what I was saying about cheating in another comment. I can never understand how they can cheat when they are the ones who cut off the sex. I guess it’s all in the difference between a girlfriend (someone new who doesn’t know them) and a wife (mother figure).

      It also sounds like you’re managing to come out of this with a good perspective on how worthy you are. That is so great! Now you know the signs not to get mixed up with a PA in the future (although they hide it pretty well until you’re trapped) and you have a chance for a truly loving relationship, the way it was meant to be.

      Isn’t it great when the future looks so bright? Please don’t forget us. Feel free to come back and let us know how you’re doing in your “new life”.

  44. This site has given me strenght and I thank you so much for that. I feel sane again. Its not me! YAY. I had to smile when you said you wanted conversation. I so hear that…..

    Thanks so much

    • Amanda- No Sweetheart, it’s not you! So glad this site has been able to shed some light on your situation. It makes me sad sometimes to think of all the years we think it’s “us”. If you really want to feel some strength, don’t forget to start a “self-esteem file”. They are a great booster when you’re feeling like something’s wrong with you.

      Thank you so much for your comment. Don’t forget to check in once in awhile and let us know how it’s going.

  45. I have lived with a passive aggressive man for 17 years, and I only hit upon the awareness that he was PA a year ago. Prior to that, he really got me into thinking that I was crazy and unattractive, and treated me in a disprespectful manner. He is affectionate in a superficial manner, will call me everyday from work, and tells me that he needs me and that he is happy in the marriage. This is why it took me a long time to figure it out. However he loves pulling the rug out below me, forgets things, puts me down before others, yawns when I talk to him and constantly provokes me. Its when I read a book on PA that it hit me hard and I confronted him with his behavior. We are in therapy now and he admits he has many of the PA behaviors but I am not sure if he is really going to make any changes. It is very draining to live with a PA and they suck out all your life. Interstingly, I am the perfect wife for a PA, because I try to manage everything for him and the family and it gives him plenty of opportunity to disrupt me in my actions. I am wondering if I should continue to go to therapy with him or just let him go and work it out, and are there any case of PA that have made any changes in their life.

    • Shanti- Hi and welcome! 17 yrs. is a long time to be living with a passive aggressive and having him abuse you before discovering what the problem is. One of the biggest things in your favor was being able to start counseling for you both, and that he will actually concede that he has many of the passive aggressive behaviors.

      You ask if you should continue therapy “with him or just let him go on his own”. Personally, I would probably stick to going with him. That way you know what the therapist is actually saying vs. having to rely on your husband’s interpretation which may not be all that accurate. Also you can see first hand if your husband is actually working on the things your therapist suggests for him. It should become appearant before long if your husband is actually willing to change or is just going through the motions to please you. Hopefully the therapist has been able to help you discover different ways to handle your husband’s behavior when pulls some of his stunts.

      I’m sure there are cases where therapy has done some good and some passive aggressives have changed. Normally therapy isn’t really productive because the passive aggressive just manipulates the therapist, doesn’t work on the things the therapist suggests. It sounds as if your husband is at least willing. I think I would try to give him the benefit of the doubt, look for progress, and see for yourself if it’s doing any good. If it becomes obvious that he isn’t going to do anything about his behavior, then I would look at alternatives.

      Feel free to come back anytime. Let us know how it’s going, and if you would like any more feedback, don’t hesitate to ask. There are quite a few of us out here, and it usually doesn’t take me so long to answer. (Sorry about that).

    • That’s so much like my relationship, the yawning, disrespect but contradictory message that he loves me so much and wants to marry me!! It’s so frustrating but so are PA men!

  46. I can’t tell you how relieved I feel to read some of the stories on this website and to finally understand that my boyfriend has a severe problem, I do think he is passive-aggressive.

    My boyfriend was amazing in the early stages of the relationship, he had a reputation with women and was passionate with me. Things slowed down after about six months but it’s not been until very recently that things have gotten much worse with witholding being the main problem.

    His previous girlfriends had said of him that he was jealous, insecure and controlling. The wonderful charming person that he was in the first three months of our relationship though led me to believe that these people were all wrong.

    We’ve been together for twelve months now and things seemed to have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. We are in the process of moving in together. Because of this we see more of each other on a day-to-day basis so I have been going out some evenings visiting friends (we live miles away from civilisation and my friends!).

    Whenever I have been out with friends I come home usually in a good mood and feeling frisky, like say on a Friday evening when most people stay up late. On about three occasions my boyfriend has rejected me when I initiated sex with him. I was totally devastated and am still reeling from the shame of it, I feel undesirable and my self-esteem plummetted. I argued with him about it and there was a lot of crying.

    He is controlling in a very covert way. He would never say ‘don’t go out with your friends’ but I really feel punished sometimes if I’ve been out. He witholds his attention, sex, all forms of intimacy including conversation.

    When he feels he’s taken it too far he will try to make everything better, usually by offering me great sex or by making me promises that keep me in the relationship.

    What made my heart skip a beat was hearing the stories of women whose passive aggressive mates had problems with their mothers early in life. My boyfriend had a very bad childhood. His mother was mourning the loss of his brother when she gave birth to my boyfriend, he was born into grief. Although he would never discuss it (that would make him too vulnerable) I do feel there is something wrong with the relationship between him and his mother.

    His mother totally mollycoddles him, she rings him sometimes five or six times a day. He lives next door but one to his parents and they call at the house a lot. His mother does his washing and he is 30 years old! When I have tried to talk to him about this he said his mother would be upset if she stopped washing his clothes as she wouldn’t feel like his mum any more.

    We don’t have a washing machine yet but I have told him I’m a professional woman who needs to wash!!

    I have tried to quit the relationship a few times but we have both decided to try to work things out. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty vulnerable anyway as going through a divorce. With the mind games he has played on me due to the witholding (starving me of love and affection) I am amazed I am still sane and working.

    If anyone has any advice I would gladly take it. Although I am committed to making the relationship work I feel there is only so much I can do about his behaviour. I have tried talking to him, reassuring him of my love but apart from sit in the house, give up my freedom and my friends and my mind I don’t know what else can be done.

    A previous girlfriend told him he needed counselling (he never said what for but I imagine this is repeated behaviour) and he denied he needed it saying she had the problem.

    • Kati- Welcome to the site and I hope the comments on here have helped you see with some vision as to where you’re relationship is probably headed in the future. You say you “are in the process of moving in together”. Does that mean you haven’t yet? If you haven’t, DON’T. It’s even harder to get out once you are sharing the same roof. You can see already how he’s treating you, and trust me, it doesn’t get better with time. If you have had more than one previous girlfriend try to warn you, I would pay attention.

      One of the passive aggressive’s tactics is to totally isolate you from friends and family. If you have no support system they seem to instinctively know it makes you weaker. As you get weaker from their actions, they end up punishing you more. It’s one of those where they fall for who you are, then try to change you, then when you change they don’t like you. It’s a terribly vicious circle with you not coming out better on the other side. If you are vulnerable already, which they always seem to pick up on that also, continuing on with him could break you. It’s very important to set the ground rules and protect yourself immediately.

      I can understand his mother having a special need to hold on to your boyfriend, given she lost a son not too long before he was born, but even with that it sounds like they have a very dependent relationship with each other. You should know that no matter what you do you will probably never be as good as his Mama or do things the way she would do them. That gets to be very burdensome after awhile. Maybe he is so controlling because his mother has been so controlling over him all of his life. He can’t control her so he tries to control the girlfriends in his life. Either way, it’s not a healthy, adult, loving relationship. Living next door, calling several times a day, doing his laundry, all of that is over the top excessive for a 30 yr. old son and his mother. If you do continue this relationship, you will always have to take a back seat, as his mother and her wants will always come ahead of you. I’m sure you can see that just with the laundry episode.

      If you haven’t moved in with him and you’re sure you want to try to make a go of this relationship, try it with both of you in your own residences. Work out all the kinks first, before you give up what little freedom and independence you have. If things don’t work out, you won’t be exceptionally vulnerable at his mercy for a place to live, etc. Don’t get yourself into a trap that makes it harder for you to get out. That’s exactly how some women have stayed for so long. They feel like they don’t have any other options. You need to be strong and confront his behavior when he’s abusing you (not talking, etc because you’ve gone out with your friends), and you need to take care of yourself first, always. Otherwise, it will just get worse and worse if he thinks he can get away with it.

      Thanks for sharing. Hope this helps a bit. Feel free to come back anytime. Let us know how you’re doing, etc.

    • Hey Kati,

      My advice is, if you are not married, and have no children to this man, get out!

      I havn’t had sex at all in the last year….withholding is a powerful tool when you have children.

      I have brought the book living with the passive aggressive man, from the boardroom to the bedroom, and it says the best time for a pa to change his behaviour is when they are married and have children, when there is everything to lose…

      I have spend countless hours crying in the bathroom on the floor, alone and rejected. It hardly gets better sweetie, just worse…I am 38, attractive, slim, a good house wife and mother but whew if I could go back in time I would have left before my beautiful boys arrived.

      Sorry to sound to cut and dry but truly this is no pinic! I have past the point of talking to him, asking for intimacy etc so I just live my own life…I am not as gutted about it anymore, but I do know that this is not a normal relationship. Your call honey…I know what I would do! Good luck

      • Amanda- Hey, good to hear from you again! Thanks so much for your reply. I couldn’t agree with you more. The only thing I would disagree with is the part about a passive aggressive changing after he has children. I agree he may be a wonderful father when the children are small and look up to him as the hero. Even if we as the spouse, significant other, whatever, are not getting any love and affection, he may be exceptional with the children, until they get old enough to want him to help with a school project, or pick them up from school, or take them to a friends house for a birthday party. Even though at that time they have everything to lose, they are never really emotionally connected anyway, so it’s no big deal. They just walk away, just like they probably have from their mother or father or siblings for the last whatever years that they haven’t been in touch.

        It’s not too late for you either My Dear. Why do you stay? Love to hear more from you whenever you are so inclined. Take care of yourself and thanks for the support.

  47. I just learned 3 days ago that my husband is Passive Aggressive. What an eye opener, reading all of your posts above and also on other websites, the experiences you have all shared I could have wrote myself. I have a feeling this will be a long letter(It is very long, grab a coffee lol), I have never spoke to anyone about this other than my older daughter, no one is aware of his behaviour, he is a perfect man on all outside appearances.

    I have been with this man for almost 20 years, we have 2 girls together, 18 and 12. We have had a VERY rocky relationship. From the beginning I had my own baggage, I was 16 years old, had been abused all my life, molested by a grandfather, and was very scared to show affection to anyone, I had fears of abandonment.

    For years we, or shall I see I (it only appeared as though he was helping), worked on MY problems, because I thought I started with all this baggage, that everything wrong in our relationship was MY fault, I felt very much to blame, and he told me I was to blame for everything wrong as well. I asked for his help many, many times throughout 19 years, the help I asked for was for him to be loving and affectionate and in turn I hoped it would help be not be scared to let people touch me or that I could really open up and have that intimacy that we all deserve in a relationship. His help would last a few days, then everything would go back to the same, I would just sit back and try to be comfortable with my life, as we lived as roommates, and this cycle happened at least once a year, and has eventually started happening a lot more frequently, like a few times a year, then every 3 months, I was sick of being in an unhealthy relationship and really wanted so much more.

    Better add that he has also been an alcoholic for about 16 of the 20 years we have been together, his drinking made him very nasty and mean. I thought this alcoholism was the root of his anger that always showed when he was in the comfort of our home.

    This man is perfect to everyone else though, very dedicated to his job, a good work ethic, never went out after work to drink with buddies, always came home and spent all his time with his family, would help anyone in a second. I do love him dearly, and over the years I have felt he was my best friend, I loved spending time with him, as long as I was happy, or appeared happy to him he was awesome to be around.

    About a year ago, I had a breakthrough in my own problems, and had decided I was not going to let my childhood abusers rule my life and keep me tied to the damage they caused me, I wanted to break free and experience love and intimacy as it should be in a healthy relationship. I talked to him about this, and asked for his support, at first things seemed to be going well, but soon if I tried to talk about anything he would tell me to shut the f*ck up and quit my bit@hing, any feelings I expressed was bit@hing, what I was asking for his help in, was for me to be more open sexually, he ALWAYS told me he wanted me to become more aggressive sexually and with affection. So that is exactly what I was trying to accomplish, I wanted this too, so it wasn’t something only he wanted, I was not only trying to satisfy him with my change, this one was for myself. We did have sex(lights out/missionary type sex) on a regular basis, but everything that was done was only done to make sure he was satisfied, I never had an orgasm in the 20 years we have been together.

    My first attempt at ever initiating something somewhat sexual with him, I asked him to have a shower with me, in 19 years we had never done this, it was something he had told me he would like to do in prior years, so I was quite upset at the fact when he said no, I don’t feel like it. He had told me he wanted to see me naked more than just when we have sex (I always went and hid to change), so one day I just started changing in front of him, going to bed with only underwear and no top, as he suggested. He never said anything, never any compliment, nothing…he would lay there and stare at the TV.

    I was feeling very confused, hurt, ugly, undesired, shame, and a whole whack of other bad feelings, when I would try and bring the subject up, I was told to shut the f#ck up as soon as I opened my mouth, his verbal abuse escalated so badly, I was a whore, a bit@h, a bad mother, everything was my fault. I would beg and plead just for him to let me talk, I was never able to talk and express my feelings on the subject, we essentially had huge blow out fights just about me talking, I would be crying and he would tell me to quit acting like a child and just grow the fu@k up. I was forced to write letters, cause he would never let me talk, in my letters I expressed to him that I need reassurance and self-confidence. I asked him if he would be able to compliment me once in awhile (still waiting for that, and its been almost a year), he would never bring the topic up, I had to ask him if he read the letter and what he thought, his answer was usually to shut the fu@k up or don’t force the issue. My attitude was that we had been unloving for 19 years and why wait, I felt I had caused this, and wanted us BOTH to be happy and feel loved and appreciated. My plan was to move ahead and start being happy.

    Anyways, move ahead a few months, many, many more battles, here I am now, I am in the healthiest state of mind I have ever been in, or so I thought. I have NO fears regarding sexuality, nudity, intimacy, etc. I am open and not embarrassed to talk, try anything. I talked to him last week that I thought he was being distant, he of course responded angrily. I said lets fix this once and for all, I am completely ready to move ahead with our love/sex life, sex had been dwindling down to once every 2 weeks or once a month, I asked him what he needed from me or what I could do to help improve upon our relationship, he responded by telling me he needs me to shut the fu@k up and to become more aggressive, he doesn’t want to see me crying about my feelings or talking about anything regarding our relationship. I was angry as hell, here I am trying to do EXACTLY what he has asked for all these years and he doesn’t want to be part of the solution. I had had enough, I gave him an ultimatum, his choices were: 1. Have sex 2-3 times a week, and for him to help with reassurance. 2. I would leave. Of course he just avoided, blamed and played a victim. He said “just because I have this new outlook on life and want to be all happy, doesn’t mean the whole world is going to do it too, so stop acting so selfish”. His exact words.

    The next day he takes me for a walk, and says he wants to talk, you can certainly imagine I will not turn this down because he NEVER talks about our relationship, maybe 2 times in the past 20 years. Anyways, on this walk he proceeded to tell me about all my faults, how nobody can stand to be around me, I am demanding, controlling, I only care about myself, he doesn’t care that I am in my prime sexually-where was I when he was in his prime, he told me he feels like I am trying to rape him by asking for sex on a more frequent basis, I am childish, idiot, and pathetic.
    He has ALWAYS told me how nobody likes me, I am selfish etc, etc, my self-esteem had been crippled by his remarks over the years, my main focus on him was for more intimacy and reassurance. You can guarantee I did not feel any of this after his little talk with me. I was just so confused by his actions and words. So I googled, lol and in my search I came upon a description of Passive Aggressive men and how they operate, I was shocked, I could not believe what I was reading, it was like someone hit me with a tonne of bricks. I feel so empowered with this information to FINALLY understand why he acts the way he does, to think back to our past fights and remember his manipulating ways to shut me up so he could ALWAYS get his way, blaming me, never taking responsibility, never trying to reconcile after a fight, I had to do all the work for this relationship, the guilt he would lay on me, playing the poor little victim, and the anger, always angry, would prefer to be angry than any other emotion. I could give him exactly what he asked for and he would still be angry, it just never mattered, the anger never went away.

    So since finding this out just 2 days ago, I have been really paying attention to how he operates when I try to “talk” AKA “bit@h”, it is textbook Passive Aggressive, I actually find it funny but so sad in the same sense. So here I am left to decide if I even want to try any further, I asked him yesterday about the ultimatum I gave him, and about the sex 2 times a week, he told me (yelled) not to push, he needs time, just wait and see how things go, said I am never happy with anything he does, he is useless at sex, far from the truth (he’s playing victim here) I mentioned 1 time VERY gently that I can show him how to please me sexually, he took it as criticism and has made it appear as though I said he sucks at sex, not true whatsoever, I just wanted to be part of sex and also get satisfaction out of it.

    At this point I have decided to give it a week or two, he knows what I have asked of him, but he is still just being angry, I said to him there are only a few reasons why someone withholds sex from their partner, 1. Not in love anymore/not attracted etc. 2. Cheating , I asked him if either of these were the case, he said no, which I believe him, but then I told him I believe the reason he is withholding is because of anger. I am fully aware that he is using sex as his weapon at this point, he knows that I want that intimacy and connection with him, but he is angry at me for trying to control or tell him what to do, he doesn’t see it as it helping our relationship, he sees it as Winning or Losing, if he has sex with me, then he thinks I have won and he has lost, what a sad outlook to have on life. He has not told me this, I am aware that he is trying to punish me, typical PA.

    To make matters worse, we just moved to a new city, I don’t know anybody in this town, have no support and if I leave I will be moving 1500km back to where we own a home. Throughout this letter I never mentioned our ages, I am 36 years old, and he is 40, I am far too young to be trapped like this forever. I have great confidence in myself now, I know I look good, same shape I was in when I was 16, I just recently completed a 2 year University program, FINALLY got a drivers license after so many years, so I feel like I can make it on my own, I do know that other men will appreciate me. I am actually quite proud of myself to have been able to hold onto some of my self-worth and confidence after all the crap he has said to me, I feel pretty strong right now.

    The hard part is deciding to stay or go, I love him with all my heart, just can’t imagine living the rest of my life without him, BUT can I live with his games for the rest of my life, I take steps forward, and he just pushes me 100 steps back with his remarks and anger. It scares the shit out of me that if I leave I might be making the biggest mistake of my life and may not be able to ever get it back if I ever chose to be with him again. I see his behaviour in my youngest daughter now, it scares me, I don’t want her to live her life with that kind of warped thinking, my oldest daughter hates her father, besides me, he took out his behaviour on her as well, this girl is an amazing daughter, never done anything really bad, honour roll through school, has had her work published in books, just a terrific daughter, but he has crushed her self-esteem, she has major anxiety from the way he treated her, she fears him, and has wanted me to leave him for years.

    Sorry for the length of this, hard to give the short version on 20 years of craziness. I know there isn’t a lot of advice anyone can give, but I think I would just like to be validated for once in my life that everything wrong IS not my fault. For all you other women out there who have endured this crap from someone who “loves you”, I am so sorry you had to experience this, that you fell for their games like I did, I think there is no way to change these people, its their way or the highway, sadly I think I will be taking the highway.

    • So Done- Welcome and I’m so sorry to hear, as I always am, that it took this long for you to realize who your husband was. I have to tell you that quite a bit of his anger is probably at the fact that you have been getting better. You were much easier for him to deal with when you were so willing to take all the blame for everything and thought yourself as ‘broken’. It’s time to “wake up and smell the coffee”. LOL. No, My Dear, it’s not all you, and no you’re not crazy. This is a real disorder that takes a toll on many lives.

      Whenever I get a letter from someone who is going through what your are and have been through, and they have children, that is always my first warning. The children will be young and they will say what a good father he is, even if he isn’t that good of a husband. This is usually true while the children are young and look at Daddy like the hero. As soon as they are old enough to start making their own demands, start realizing when he lets them down, Daddy will usually start taking out his passive aggressive ways on the children. It sounds like you’ve seen that already. The really bad part about being married to a passive aggressive is usually one of the children starts picking up the passive aggressive habits and will carry them on to their own relationships if they don’t learn what a good, loving relationship is supposed to be like.

      It sounds like you have finally got all the ducks going in a row for you. You are plenty young enough to still find real happiness and having a truly loving relationship. No one under any circumstances should have to live with being called nasty names and being told to shut the F up all the time. Why would anyone want to? You say about leaving possibly being the biggest mistake of your life and what then? How could living on your own with your two daughters teaching them that love does not hurt people, and the way their father treats you is not acceptable for you, and it’s not acceptable for some man to treat them that way, be any worse? Right now they are growing up thinking this is ok with you, it’s ok if they behave like their father, and when they have their own relationships they will be comfortable with it if some man treats them that way. In fact because it is what they know, they are even more apt to have that kind of relationship.

      I personally think you’re on the right track. You’ve let him know what you want. If he doesn’t want the same things and if he’s so angry all of the time, maybe it’s time to let go, to give all of you a chance at happiness in the future. Just be careful because they are masters at making it look like they care, like they will change, like they will do something to make the relationship better, and then once they are secure again all that goes right out the window. That’s how so many stay trapped for so long also. It seems so good and we hope so badly that this time it’s for real. Then we beat ourselves up when we find out we’ve been duped again.

      Thanks for sharing your story. What ever decision you make, I wish you and your daughters the best. If you read through enough of these comments, I don’t think you’ll find any where once someone got out of the situation with the passive aggressive, they wish they were back there. Feel free to comment anytime and let us know how you’re doing.

      • Thank you so much for your reply Ladybeams, I hope you know how much we all appreciate your input and support and for the fact that this website exists. It feels nice not to be alone, although I am sorry that other people are experiencing this.

        You just turned a light bulb on for me, when you said that his anger now is probably due to me getting better, this makes perfect sense now. This is when his anger really seemed to escalate, during my time of changes (mainly past 6 months), I have never seen him so angry, this is when he has been the worst he has ever been. He was happy when I was broken, cause I was easy to control and I would avoid confrontation with him, he got his way every time.

        My changes were too important to ignore them, they HAD to be done, obviously these changes would have benefited both of us, but he never saw it that way, just losing. Anyways, I refuse to back down, I will not resort to hiding my sexuality and affection anymore in my life, it was hidden long enough.

        Knowledge IS power, I never really put a lot of thought into that statement, until now. Thanks again Ladybeams!

        • SoDone- Yeah! Another one declares freedom! Even if you’re still in the same house, your “getting it”. Good for you.

          It is always a shame when something is good and should be a wonderful thing for the two of you doesn’t work out that way, but first and foremost, if we are to have any joy in our lives, we have to watch out for ourselves first. You are one of the fortunate ones that as his anger escalated it didn’t get you to quit. The hardest part is basically over for you now. I’m not saying it’s easy sailing from here on in, but you know what it’s all about now. Knowing is the first step to fixing.

          I wish the best of luck in what ever you decide from this point forward. You are absolutely right, knowledge is power. People don’t realize how much. Take care of yourself, and please, keep in touch.

  48. Thank you ladybeams for your blog
    I’m so glad to find someone who understands.
    My marriage is over but the torment lingers – PAs never let go
    your blog here describes my marriage. I haven’t read every detail but it went horribly wrong for me.
    I left because I had to save myself from financial ruin – he honestly didn’t care what happened to me and I’m in my 50’s
    I have so much pain and anger – so much to say –
    thank you for this forum
    I have questions too –

    • WickedCricket- Welcome! You are free to ask questions and comment however you like here as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else from the blog. This is our “safe haven” to tell our stories, to share our insights, to get support, and to learn to move on to better and much happier places in our lives.

      You sound like one of the lucky ones that “got away”. Your saying he didn’t care what happened to you is so familiar. I am in charge of making sure we survive in our house. If I leave it up to him we would be on the streets long ago. They just don’t take responsibility.

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. If you see today’s post, you’ll know that I’m usually a little faster than this. Feel free to ask whatever questions you have. You are not alone in this. There’s a lot of support out here.

  49. Thank you so much for posting about your PA relationships. It gives me comfort to know I am not alone.
    Woman of the Forest

    • Woman of the Forest- Welcome! Oh, you are definitely not alone. LOL. There are pages and pages of this stuff. Feel free to join in anytime. We’re all here for a sounding board, support, healing, ideas, etc.

  50. I have started reading about Passive Aggressive men and have come to the sad realization that mine is exactly that – and he will never change, nor does the want to.

    I have realized that he enjoys avoiding everything that would build a healthy relationship. We have been married 17 years. I have done everything I could to make this work but I now realize this only feeds how he enjoys power. He stopped having regular sex with me within the first year of our marriage. It has killed my soul, and my body. I now suffer from atrophy.

    He always had an excuse, he made me believe it is my fault…if I was only this or that….then he would love me…but it never happened. Finally the real eye-opener was when I saw him behave in a passive aggressive manor to his own son (my stepson).

    My step son lived with us for a year to save for the downpayment of a house. The house was purchased, then my husband withheld (even hid) the mortgage statements when they came to our house (stepson had used our address when making financial arrangements). This resulted in several latepayments and calls from the bank. I asked my husband if he was going to forward them, he said, that he would give them to his son when he saw him. I knew that there were no plans to see our stepson within the next six months. The only way I could describe this behavior was creul. I argued with my husband telling him they should be forwarded. He told that that his son knows when the bills are due so it does not matter if he has the paperwork and that I should mind my own business – he was not my son.

    So I have begun the process of separating my mind and soul from this man. I will leave in two years when our daughter is done high school.

    I call myself Woman of the Forest because I was before I got married.

    • Woman of the Forest- Thanks for sharing part of your story. You’re right. What he is doing to his own son is cruel and destructive. You wonder what pleasure he derives out of doing that? You should let your stepson know he should change the address, even get a P.O. Box if he has to so that he gets the statements on time. It would be a lot cheaper and better for his credit than the way it’s working now. If he’s computer savvy he may even be able to see his statements and pay his payment online. That would save him a whole lot of heartache. What a bastard, excuse my language. It just never ceases to amaze me the lengths some PAs will go to keep some sort of control.

      You mentioned a daughter in high school. I hope the two of you are close enough that if you’re going to keep her exposed to his behavior, you are able to talk to her about what isn’t right, so that she doesn’t settle for the same kind of relationship. Also, so she doesn’t emulate him and act toward you like he does. Teen years between a mother and daughter are hard enough as it is.

      It looks like you’ve got the first step down. The first thing you need to do is disconnect emotionally from this man. I know it’s easier said than done, but once you start doing that, the rest actually, to me, becomes a little easier.

      Feel free to come back whenever you like. New friends, ideas, sharing are always welcome. Hopefully you’ll find a lot of support here.

  51. Hello,
    For the first time I have found information and connected with other women who are experiencing many of the same things I have been experiencing with my husband of 18 years. I knew something was wrong since our honeymoon. I could never quite figure him out. We had two children over the years. I had one from a previous marriage. He was always so angry. Mood swings, aloofness, never quite engaging in intimate things. I always felt he was mechanical when we had sex-those few times we had it. We have not had sex in over three years now. He makes all these excuses-some don’t even make sense. You can’t reason with him. I have talked with him many, many times. That is what everyone tells you to do-communicate “in love” with your spouse. I would, and he would continue to withhold affection. He has never really connected sexually with me. But he will act like he was this great lover, when in fact I did all the “work” cause he didn’t have a clue about me nor did he ever care. I remember telling him that he was hurting me and advised something else-he got so mad at me that he couldn’t “perform”.
    He lies and thinks nothing of it. He has ADD, too. Now he is on medicine, which makes him calmer, but he is still controlling and does the opposite of what I would like. He has been mean to the kids and my daughter has anxiety-probably caused by his behavior. There have been times when my kids have told me to leave him. He has always been difficult to talk to and disregards everything I say. I had told him recenlty that I was going to leave as soon as our youngest is done high school (in 4 years). He said “okay”. I have bee very irritable because I found out that he was impotent for real, (I think) and he went to the doctor after I begged him too. Well, his testosterone was low. The doctor gave him this hormone to take every day. I would ask him how things were coming along with the med. . He would respond-I see a little improvement. After 6 weeks of this, i started to wonder, cause his doctor told him it takes about 4 weeks to see results. it had been 6 weeks. Well, I looked at the medicine-HE HAD NOT BEEN TAKING IT! It was suppose to be done after 4 weeks and he had not even finished the first bottle!! He actually was trying to liehis way out of this situation. I can’t tell you what a revelation that was to me. he has been leading me on-he knows that I always liked sex-(before he ruined it) I have no one to talk to and I can feel my frustration rising. My kids are wondering why I am so mad. I don’t want to be the ugly one in this. I keep forgiving and going on-he keeps smug and comfortable. He never loses sleep over any of this. I am the one hurting, feeling like I am not human. I would love to feel wanted and desired by my husband. He is not going to give me that-that is clear. Like the others-I could go on and on-there is a life time of memories, and by the way, his mom died when he was 12. He knows that this may have some bearing on his behavior but he does not change his behavior. I have often asked him why he takes out his anger on me and the kids-it is like he is not hearing my question. I have been strong and gone on with him because he does have a nice side-but it changes and he disconnects. I am tired. I hate to divorce or separate because the kids are hopeful, too. I worry that I have set an example of someone who tolerates mental abuse. I so hopemy children would not marry someone like this and put up with it. Thanks for listening.

  52. Hey Hope

    We are listening….and living the same lives…I have no answer, last time I had sex was 2009. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me cause I have past the stage of caring. I just get on with my life and look after my little boys. Its not fair. None of this is fair. But just to let you know we are all here, living out our we lives of silent frustation. Get the book hon, Living with the passive-aggressive…it helps.

    Look after you…xx

    • Amanda- Thank you. I’m here with you, Lady. I think that’s about the same for me, and I think it was probably over a year before that. LOL.

      I’ll have to do a lot more reading. Missed you. Thanks for sharing.

  53. Hi there, Thank you so much for this discussion. I have been reading through it and I feel a bit less alone, and a bit less crazy. I am dealing with a passive aggressive woman. We’ve been together for just over three years. The first maybe 6 months to 8 months were passionate and we were very close. Then she developed an alcoholism problem (well, it got worse) and did some bizarre things when she was angry at me for “perceived” abandonment (my going to a long time friend of the same sex’s birthday party… literally at a coffee house sipping tea, before she got off work). I could tell she was hurt, or felt excluded, but didn’t feel like it made sense to say so other than in tone of voice. That night, she went out dancing all night (until 6 am) on her own to a really sleezy bar and later told me she took her top of and danced topless and got a lot of attention. She then claimed that she only took her top off because she was hot and other guys around her were taking theirs off, and because she associated it with fun and free times of her youth… . She said it had nothing to do with me, but agreed to go to a therapist (I think just because I was angry). I could tell in my heart of hearts that her feeling of rejection was directly linked, and that her going out dancing like that, which seemed out of character, was direct retaliation. She played along and went to therapy a couple of times, and had a fake revelation that all the dancing had to do with was too much stress at work. Then she quit therapy…. of course, it later happened again after another perceived slight (my going on a somewhat long business related trip… perceived abandonment again…she was kicked out of her house as a teenager….). She again went out and ended up grinding with another guy. At this point I broke up with her.

    After this, she joined AA, and started therapy. I was started to have hope when she said it was just the alcohol, and now that the booze was gone, the risk was gone. I took her back… but little did I know that the BIGGEST abandonment I could have done was to have left her, even if for good reason. I have done nothing but pay ever since. She totally witholds sex….. she has been sober for 1.5 years and we’ve maybe had sex 4 times. When I do try to initiate something she just suggests (as you put it) pleasing me… which I don’t want. I don’t want one way sex being faked just to keep me in the relationship and willing to take more abuse for longer. I don’t know what to do. I am actually really in love with the woman I see under all this really thick baggage. At the same time, I am left feeling undesired, with no energy, and like there is something wrong with me. Even writing that out… it is clear that it’s her, but she twists so much it is making me feel crazy. And, of course she won’t admit that she is angry. I sense this is all about deep resentment and she refuses to admit she’s angry. She says she’s not even angry at her parents. There is not way… she just cannot express anger directly and it is coming out in this hideous way.

    It has been 3.5 years now, and she just tried to break up with me this week. I actually begged her saying that i would try harder and would not ask her for sex for as long as she needed (I really only try once every few months). I also said I would work on myself so I didnt need her so much. My need, however sick as she makes me out to be, is directly correlated with the fact I get nothing from her. No love, no emotional connection. Just a stone. And then every now and then I see a glimpse of that person in there and I want her so badly. I just can;t get to her. HELP! what do I do?? I know in reading this it seems like walk away is the answer. For some reason I love this woman… and I want her to love me back again. Will it ever happen or am I just wasting my time?

    • You love what she could be, not what she really is. Love yourself more. You are the nice one. Find a nice girl.

      • Jane- Very good. I remember I used to tell my girls, “No one’s opinion of you should count more than your own”. My oldest was always upset over her older cousin being so condescending to her. I used to explain to her that he had no effect on her life, her job, the outcome of who she was. We all need to quit looking through “rose colored glasses” when it comes to love. What you see, is what you get, maybe. We have a tendency to overlook the ‘red flags’.

  54. Jane is correct, and Hab you have been with this lady for 3.5 years at this point and you ask whether it will happen (her changing), well I can tell you that you will try EVERYTHING to make her happy, at the expense of your own happiness and next thing ya know 20 years have passed. NO it will not change, unless SHE gets some serious counseling -even then that is not a guarantee.

    I found this site last November when I was searching out reasons why my husband does the things he does, finally realized he is passive aggressive – really enlightening and empowering to have real reason why he does the crap he does. I tried and tried to fix him for 20 years – he made ME feel crazy and like I was the one with issues. I love him dearly and would love him to open his eyes and see what he does, but he just can’t or won’t. I am done. 3 days from now, I am getting in my car with my daughter and moving 1800 km away and not looking back. So proud of myself to finally take this step. His response to this, to losing his family, he doesn’t care, won’t show any emotion at all, just ignores it. I WILL be happy, with or without him!

    • Susan- OMGosh! Today’s the third day and I’m so sorry I didn’t see this sooner. I just want you to know my heart is with you and your daughter and I admire the courage of the step you are taking to save yourselves. 20 yrs. is plenty long enough, and it’s not your job to fix him anyhow. It’s his. I know how hard it is when you still love someone to let them go, but sometimes we have to for our own good.

      I’m glad you are proud of yourself, and we are all proud of you too! God Bless, and please, let us know how you are doing. It’s amazing once you break free and let go of the past, how the future opens up to you. There was once a book I read called “You can’t steal second with your foot on first”. While the book may not pertain to this particular situation, I always thought the quote was very appropriate. LOL

  55. I figured out my husband of 20 yrs is PA a couple months ago. The day I married him, he abandon me sexually, emotionally and physically. He has always been a good provider. Not a drunk or physically abusive. Never argued with me.
    I have 3 kids, one is his son from an ex gf, he is married now and is PA just like his father, his wife will get sick of it eventually. Our daughter, 17 yo, I think PA. Then my youngest son 13yo, I see more of me in him.
    I actually caught up with an old flame and the only reason I didnt cheat is because he lives so far away. My husband found out and has decided to finally change his ways. After fighting over this for 20 years, it took the threat of another man to make him change.
    He has never desired me in the least. Never talked to anyone about it because who the hell would understand. He is Mr. Nice Guy, I would be just being ungreatful.
    I was going to commit suicide years ago. He has made me feel like I am crazy, from a crazy family. But since talking to his sister in depth about this stuff, found out, I think his family may be crazier than mine. Thier mother has the last word and it is the gospil, and no one speaks agaisnt her.
    So yes I have had the silent treatment for 20+ yrs. I hope he is going to change, I do regret having a relationship with the old flame. It was wrong, but when someone is telling you all the things you want and need and your husband treats you like another peice of furniture. I can see how it can happen.
    I think eventually, a spouse wil cheat, leave or let the PA torture them forever. My marriage had to hit rock bottom

    • Lynn- Hi, don’t beat yourself up about your old flame. Even if you were “tempted” you didn’t follow through on those actions, and then apparently “confessed” to your husband. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.

      I hope for your sake, he does change, but you need to be prepared if he doesn’t. Your thoughts of suicide scare me, as you are a very special person and there is no one, not one single person exactly like you or that could fill the void on this earth if you were gone. Not only that, but if you were to do something like that “HE WINS!” OMGosh, you can’t let that happen. Then he can go on and destroy more women’s lives, and maybe the rest of your children’s lives. Don’t ever think about going there, especially as long as you have one child you are close to and can talk to. Sometimes children just need to grow up, be on their own, and experience a few hard knocks in their own lives before they appreciate you and what you were dealing with. Don’t give up on your kids. And don’t leave them with the guilt and memory of a mother committing suicide. My mother tried all my young life to commit suicide until the last time I told her I would help her. I even went out to the garage to find the box she said the pills were in. Now that I am much, much older, I see that she was just selfish and ignorant, and probably crying for attention. Don’t leave your kids with that.

      As far as your last paragraph, I personally don’t like excuses to cheat. If you are not happy in your marriage than get out of it. Then get involved with whomever you like. Hopefully we’ve learned to make better choices. LOL. As I said, don’t feel guilty because you had the desire. That part is natural. Pat yourself on the back that you didn’t do anything about it.

  56. For the record, I was 19 when I got married, great body, pretty face, very outgoing and friendly. I am 39 and still attractive for my age. But over the years I have let him beat down my self image and he has made me lazy, I hate who I am now. So all you young women out there putting up with this. RUN FOR THE HILLS! It is not worth losing yourself over, no one is. The only reason I stayed with him all these years is because of my kids. Although throughout the years I tried to make him love me, it don’t work. All I feel like now, is I wasted half my life on a man that is pretty much a room mate.

    • Lynn- I’m 56 and feeling your pain. LOL. You described me completely, but I’m getting better. LOL

  57. WOW! I had no idea there were so many strong, capable women out there who have fallen for the same crap I’ve fallen for lo these many (35!) years!

    All this time, I’ve been thinking my husband was “complicated” and if I just loved him hard enough and long enough “all would be revealed.”

    Well, last spring my husband had an online affair with a previous girlfriend. He told me they were corresponding and even enlisted my help in dealing with her contacting him. He SAID he had unanswered questions about the way their relationship had ended (37 years ago.) I said if it would help him resolve his intimacy issues, I would support his corresponding with her. What a dope! One day I see her phone number on our caller ID and ask “Why is her number on my phone?” “I don’t know!” says he. “How did she get our number?” says he. Well, the smoke was in the air. I checked his email account (which I had NEVER done before) and discover he has a separate account and there are MANY messages to/from her. I began to read…talk about shock! All these years he had never had a nice word to say about her, how bad she treated him, how she did not want sex, etc.
    Then I check his cell phone…again, something I had NEVER done before…and lo and behold…here’s her number…not her name, but her initials….I cam unglued!

    I stomped my foot (again, something I NEVER do) and screamed all my hurt and anguish out at him… I could NOT believe that the man I’ve been “waiting” for all these years could go running off with someone else (albeit cyberly) after 35 years of marriage….

    I am in therapy…I am getting stronger…I actually no longer have ANY desire for him sexually (he told her he was good in bed… not so much!) I do not know what the future holds, but I know I feel more like “myself” than I have felt in years.

    I would say to anyone who thinks they are involved with a PA…”Run, run for your life!” If you want a close, intimate, healthy, mutually sustaining relationship that you can be proud to demonstrate for your children: LOOK ELSEWHERE! As flattering as it is in the beginning, the neediness will eventually wear away at your soul…and he will ALWAYS look out for #1! My husband’s motto is “Keep ’em guessing” and after years chasing the “pea on the plate” I don’t want to play anymore!

    • Older And (finally) Wiser- Thank you so much for your input, and welcome. I’m so sorry to hear how you finally regained your strength, but I’m happy for you that you got there. Thank you for your encouraging words from a “voice of experience”.

      I always hate to be the “party pooper” but people really need to know that it doesn’t just magically get better with a passive aggressive. What you are living is probably the best it will ever be from here, and you’re going downhill, or uphill, whichever seems to be the worst. I love to believe all the romance, etc. and I do, I just don’t think it’ll ever happen with a passive aggressive.

      I don’t care how old you are, how much time you’ve wasted, it’s never to late to still feel better than you do now.

      Please, stay in touch and feel free to comment anytime. Thank you so much.

  58. Well, I may have the record on this site. I’ve been married for 36 years and only figured out 2 years ago that my husband is PA. The behavior has been there all along and it’s very like his father’s behavior when he was alive – not wanting to talk about anything intimate, not wanting physical intimacy after the children were born, long periods of silence. Before we were married, I misinterpreted the silence and “calm” as depth of feeling – how wrong I was! Soon after our second child was born, the sex began to wane. If I initiated, I was rejected – and he stopped initiating. I insisted that we go to a therapist – he refused to do what she asked of him. At one point, I bought satin sheets and a sexy teddy and asked a friend to take the children for the day when he was off work – he fell asleep! I probably should have left then, but I kept thinking that I could do something, say something, explain something that would provoke a change. Then he was diagnosed with a debilitating disease – and what kind of horrible person leaves her spouse when he’s sick? The fear of dependency is rapidly getting worse, of course – and his behavior is now totally emotionally withdrawn. When I suggest something that may help him, he dismisses it out of hand – I got him an ipad to help him communicate since his speech is soft and slurred, but in the 8 months since he’s had it, he refuses to use it to communicate with me. I have to ask him any number of times to repeat himself, but since I suggested the ipad, he can’t possibly use it! When his speech started to get bad, he tried to convince me that my hearing was going… If I suggest that he not eat meat because of his swallowing problem, that means that he’ll eat more. Today I had a major meltdown – he’s been gone for 7 weeks and he’s due to return home next week. I’ve been on my own, doing what I want to do, not worrying about him falling or choking or walking into traffic, and I’m grieved that this man that I love so much is going to come back and make my life miserable again. After my meltdown, I decided that I have to harden my heart toward him – when he called tonight and I couldn’t understand him, I told him I would call later and talk to our friend about what he was trying to say – I just can’t say, “Honey, would you repeat that? I can’t understand you” one more time! If he chooses to eat the things he shouldn’t, he’s just going to have to live with the results (which may be pneumonia or choking). If he chooses to do things that are dangerous, I just have to let him. When we were first married, I told him repeatedly that I was NOT his mother, but it seems that he’s always able to manipulate me into playing that role. And he, of course, has become his father. This is a strange way to live a life.

  59. I am now in a sexless marriage and im female. I never have been with a guy that with held sex from me. I am so confused & at this point very angry. I love sex and we had a healthy sex life in the beginning of the first 2 years together. Now he always says he’s tired or he’s an old man etc…excuses! WHY? I have sat down and talked to him about it and let him know what i need. I have done everything i know to do like wearing lingere. There are plenty of times where he will have a full erection and be pretending hes still sleeping on his back-hello….and then i will initiate and he will respond to that, but will not actually have sex?? I get angry and have had a lot of headaches too. He will say stuff like you just wanna have sex 24/7 and it would of been 2 weeks since we did. I am so confused and i feel unattractive now and starting to feel real bad about myself. I am hurt too. I just don’t get it. I even told him im gonna get a divorce if he can’t be intimate with me at least 2 times a week. He acts as if he’s responding to what im saying and knows i want sex really bad, i don’t even have to say anything anymore, he knows!! and still enjoys torturing me and not showing affection unless he knows im mad at him, then he try’s knowing i am mad and not going to accept it, and when i do it doesn’t lead to sex EVER! I am so fed up, i just want to know why though? phsychologically why?

    • ribcurlbutterfly- Hi and Welcome.

      Don’t feel like you are alone. Trust me, I used to ask the same question, always ready, in fact, I told my passive aggressive if he ever woke up horny and wanted it, to go for it. I was not one of those females that got upset. Never happened.

      It is confusing. I too, thought I was too fat. My passive aggressive had always liked “skinny women”. We went to a dinner party once and ended up sitting across from one of his ex-girlfriends and her husband. I knew her as an individual. Never put the 2 of them together. After dinner I asked him about it, which is only normal. He started his part of the conversation with “I knew her when she was skinny”. So I lost a ton of weight and was really pretty thin, fitting back into Juniors clothes, etc. Did it make one bit of difference in our sex lives? Heck no! And what was worse was because I had lost it to get a certain reaction out of him instead of myself, I gained all the weight back.

      Keeping you confused and thinking you are the problem is their amunition. Learn as much as you can. Build the biggest support system you can. Write down all the things you’ve accomplished, all the compliments you’ve ever gotten, etc. (Read my post on the “Self Esteem File“) Use every weapon you have to hold yourself up.

      • thanks for your reply, i know its been awhile. i backed way off after i left this comment & it worked somewhat at least i get it about once a week now lol… that’s better then nothing although its still frustrating that he will only do what’s necessary instead of enjoying it more and doing other things. I have more problems though now. I feel betrayed because he went out of town on business/construction with a crew of men doing a commercial roof and didn’t call me all weekend and the times i did get a hold of him he was wasted. Even though he’s not the cheating type i was more upset that he lied. He promised that it was just work and he wouldn’t go out and party. I questioned all about before he left so he would know my concerns and act accordingly. Well it went in one ear and out the other. He didn’t use to do that to me. I am having a hard time forgiving and forgetting. I am super angry and want a divorce now, but cannot bring myself to go through with it. I do still love him, but i am not happy. What to do?

        • oh don’t go there…… quicksand, sister……you are not responsible for his behaviour , he is! Why do you think you are having such a strong reaction to this behaviour…..is triggered by something from your past…..I only ask because I have been there, I am there…..and I need to let go….you didn’t cause, you can’t control it ( and if you are a co dependent like me , this is VERY dangerous territory) and YOU can’t cure it….he can…..

  60. What about the PA woman? I’ve been married for 24 years. The first several years were great. Sex every where, any time. She would dress sexy for dates, go out with me all the time. About 15 years ago after having the son she wanted intimacy stopped dead. I would try new toy, the response; to gross. Weekends away from the kids, gone to long. Shipping the kids out to my sisters for the evening, she’s to tired. We would have sex only when i became very upset. I went to a counclor who told me to contact her more during the day, take her to lunch, have flowers delivered to her office. I even pushed the kids off to my parents one evening, ran her a bath with roses and chocolates so that when she got home all she had to do was relaxe and watch a movie (The Titanic) with me.

    It got to the point where I would tell the kids for the fourth time to pick up their cloths and she would yell at me, “the only reason you’re acting this way is because we haven’t had sex”. About four years ago she starting sleeping on the couch. At first the reason was she was just to tired to get up and come to bed. After awhile it was because I snored, she finally admitted that the reason was that all I wanted when she came to bed was sex.

    For several years if I wanted to go to a party, dinner, movies I had to go by myself. She has been “sacrificing her life for the kids” and doesn’t have time or energy go. Apparently she has been up late at night waxing the wood floors and is to tired.

    She has been sleeping in my daughters room for a while.

    The last councilor we went to told me on the way out that we have real problems. Haven’t head from him since.

    Im 55 years old now and am over the BS.

    • I am mostly through the BS……I know it sounds hokey but I was watching Oprahs latest lifeclass on letting go of anger…..forgiveness is a gift you give YOURSELF……keep repeating that !
      This current mess has NOTHING to do with you…..we ALL have our own wounds and silly shit but that is part of being human…..you give it your best shot , openly, willingly, to make it work…..and then your self esteem ( and all that entails) goes in the toilet…….
      I don’t think he is capable of a full on relationship with someone like me…..no pity party here; should of seen it coming….got my own wounds which blinded me …….
      I am on my way out……one foot in ; one foot out….and working on getting me healthy on this trip

    • jjackson- Hi and welcome. We don’t hear from many men here, although I don’t know why. Passive aggressiveness is not a “gender specific” or “sexist” personality disorder. Unfortunately there are many women out there as well as men that are passive aggressive.

      It sounds like you have tried counseling more than once, tried to do all the romantic stuff to make her feel as though you care about her, vs. just for sex, there really isn’t much more you can do. I hate to tell you, but even if you had been lucky enough to get a counselor that was well versed in passive aggression, it most likely wouldn’t have solved your problem. It’s very rare that therapy or counseling works. Many times the passive aggressive just ends up manipulating the therapist. You may want to see a therapist for yourself, as part of your support system. Just be sure to ask them if they are familiar with passive aggressive personalities or not. Many therapists, because it’s not in their diagnostic handbook any longer, don’t really have a full understanding. If you get a good one, they can be very valuable in helping you validate your feelings.

      You should also be very aware that children that grow up with a passive aggressive parent can develop passive aggressiveness themselves. It’s very important that you try to stay close to your children and help them understand what is happening in your household. If your wife is sleeping everywhere in the house but your bed, believe me, they already have a clue.

      Have you spoke with your wife about the possibility of a split? You’re still young, and I don’t believe anyone should just go on living miserably. How does your wife actually feel about you, aside from the sex? Why does she stay in the marriage? Maybe it’s time to get everything out on the table and take it from there (if you can get her to talk. Most PAs just clam up).

      What you can do for yourself is to start emotionally detaching from her. Build a good support system with a therapist, family, friends, church, etc. Whatever is easiest for you and brings you comfort. And start realizing that if you stay with this woman, you will have to build your own life apart from her, which it sounds like you are pretty used to doing.

      The one thing I don’t advocate is cheating. I know that any kindness by the opposite sex is very appealing when going through a life with no sex from your spouse, but that’s no excuse. If you can’t live without the sex, and you can’t get it from her, then it’s time you consider moving on on your own, the right way.

      Good luck to you, jjackson, and feel welcome back anytime.

      • You are right on. The counselor we went to was a complete idiot. Called abuse a “buzzword.” P-AH manipulated her and she was totally enamored with him. I wish they had started dating…

    • Hello JJackson… I am so glad you wrote about this– about 6 years ago.. I finally broke, and being all alone my friends got me help. For years they had told me the problem in my life was my mother who I really adored…. but she could be cruel sometimes, threatening to send me away to a boarding school, walking out of award ceremonies cause I did not get the award she thought was right… etc.. I felt so awkward I remember when I got married, as though that was something I should not do because I was not old enough…and it lasted two years, with a son being born in between…. I think back to the idea that my mom never had a lot of friends…..but she was also busy. My father was quiet. He sometimes shared his wants and desires with me.. like he would have liked to buy a certain car and my mom said no, or she told him his job was no good and made him get a different job where I often wondered if he was happy in….I always felt he was made to give things up.

      Once he passed away, my mother began to turn on me. I could not be around her more than 3-4 minutes that she did not start to cut me down like she had done with my father.. ” You are not worth a damn” she would say.. or “you stay out of this.. you are not apart of this family, you are nothing more than a problem”– and finally when I was all alone, had an accident about 500 miles from home and no support, I just broke…. and she became even worse. There was nothing I was capable of doing. My sister was even worse.. and after her bouts when she was 20, and she left home without contact for 16 years… I found that they would verbally, and my sister physically as well as emotionally would beat up on me.. and tell my son that they were there for him” because your mother.. there is something wrong with her…” It bothered me that she would undermine me like this and it went on for years.

      I have been in therapy for 4 years now. I am stronger, and last year I met a man who like my ex husband years ago wanted to get married about 2-3 months in to this relationship. I did not even know if I wanted to be in a serious relationship… I was still healing. I felt the need to go slow.

      Then one day about 6 months later.. he did a 180 turn. I was totally blown away. what had I done wrong. He son had come to live with him a week because he had broken up with his girlfriend, who when you talk to her never knew what really happened, he just left.

      In the pass few months things have gotten far worse. He cut off intimacy because as he says ” it really bothers him that I called my sister in law cheap..” and he did not that purpose behind it… She was trying to save my mom’s money and not spend it as my mom wanted to — for the purpose that she would get the balance to spend as she wished.. it was my mom’s money. not hers. but there was a motive to be cheap. So he is upset with me over this and he did not want to date me anymore.. if I had noticed he said, I got left home most of the time.

      He would upset my appointments.. I had a convention.. we went, I had to give up two days to go sightseeing with him…. and he could not take an extra couple of days off to do the sightseeing.. in fact, we sat in different seats of the plane going and coming. I had to take a train to our hotel when I was at the convention at 10:30 at night alone in a strange city.. and it was at that point I felt.. I need to go.

      One day about2-3 weeks ago… I wanted to know how to cope with men who are verbally abusive as I felt he was.. he would make a comment that would be a compliment on one side, and a slap on the other side.

      PA came up. I watched video after video.. and like you, I did not see a lot on women, but I was in therapy. I realized my BF was passive aggressive, and that my decision to quit was right on. I had to finish his work the week after the convention, and because I was not sure how he would react.. I began to take things out of my office that he had leased me.. little by little, and then after I got the work to a good breaking point, I took my neighbor, went into the office and in 30 minutes cleared it all out. I was gone.
      Just what his PA son had wanted months earlier, when he wanted to abuse me too… and it took me 2-3 days to calm myself down because I did not know what was going on.

      Today, I have shared this with my therapist. She had said to me months earlier.. do you see the similarity between you BF and mother. I saw some, but after all these videos and articles.. I realized the reason I was suffering with anxiety depression.. the reason I did not want to live in the beginning… the reason I had crumbled was because these people suck all life out of you and then move on like you caused it.

      Today, I know the symptoms… they control with MONEY and SEX. and are very manipulative. They try to keep you drawn into them…

      My therapy is at a new level now. I went to my son and apologized. I told him what I had learned….that if I had done any of the things I saw my mom doing.. if he felt abused, I was sorry.. I did it unknowingly…I think I tried to really be good to my son and do what was in his best interest, even if it meant that I had to deal with my emotions.. like having him go away to college… it was time for him to learn to fly.. I could not hold him back even though I had a tear.. my mom did not want me to leave home to go to college, and when I did she called EVERY day and talked for hours…I would say nothing. Sorority sisters would ask me who I was talking too….. you never talked. Maybe I was my mothers therapist.

      One day she took up taking my brother to a therapist on campus, and the counselor told her that she was the problem…. my mother never went back.. and I never understood what was wrong, but today I do..

      JJackson… you have to back up and realize that you can not fix this s
      siituation. You did not cause it, and you can not cure it. It can mentally and emotionally break you……

      What I have to be careful of is to make sure that I myself do not go down this path. Someone told me you have to learn about this because you deserve to have a happy and healthy relationship. I never dreampt that I would have a BF like my mother, and perhaps that while I sometimes thought I met an amazing man the truth was that from the first little trip we went on… there was ALWAYS something wrong– and I could not put my finger on it.

      They have been abused, They abuse, they use drugs or alcohol….. they use sex and money to control, they belittle you in public as well as private, they sabbotage your dreams and goals… they just suck life out of you.. period… There is no where to go by OUT. How my poor father tolerated this is beyond me.. he must have been a saint.

      It was sad to leave my BF last week for the last time, but he does not call.. he probably does not want to see me because he knows I know. he son is PA.. when they play off each other you see the sickness.

      My mother, I backed away from. It was hard, I dont see her as much.. my siblings are always better anyway according to her…. she is elderly… and yet still tries to control.

      I think when you are exposed to it as a child, you never can figure out what is normal… and when you get near a PA… it feels normal, and while you hear and see it….you need to take a step back.

      I hope I can change this behavior. I dont think my son is a PA.. thank god. I think by talking to him, and he has listened… that if he does think he has these tendencies that he will seek help because they can change if they want to…. anyone can.. if they want to is another story.

      Maybe the lesson here to learn is that you have to forgive them because they do not know what they do… and by doing that.. you give yourself the gift of love.. to realize you do not need to be angry, but free… and while I never thought I could get to this point ever… I realize while I can not forget.. while I need to be mindful of the circumstances.. I can bless them and let them go… but I can not be a part of their lives… Forgiveness is not for them.. it is for you! Forgiveness is so you can move on to a better place! Maybe I finally got it!

      • Anonymous 1023- Thank you so much for your input and you are so right on. Forgiveness is extremely important to healing of self. It doesn’t mean we have to ‘forget’ or let anyone keep abusing us, but as some say “To not forgive is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die”.

        I’m happy for you that you are on the road to recovery, so to speak, and that you’re able to maintain a close relationship (and honest) with your son. With your help, maybe he will learn what is not appropriate in a relationship with others.

        Thanks again. Happy to have you comment anytime.

  61. Just to check in.. My husband and I separated and I have been happy all of this time living by myself. I changed my will, got a new bank account and have 2 3/4 houses in my own name. It was a scary thing to do but it worked out fine without alot of screaming and anger I just detached. I have friends and activities that keep me busy and involved. Recently my husband lost his job and has not been able to find another. His investments are all in the toilet. At this point I don’t think it is likely that he will find another job as he is 60 and no one around here is hiring especially not very well educated 60 year olds with medical problems. And Yes I felt sorry for him and now he is back in my house and on my insurance. There is no husband/wife relationship. It is like we are roommates or aquaintances. He goes his way and I go mine. I don’t try to keep up with him or solicite interaction. I don’t cook for him but occassionally if I make alot of something I will invite him to have some and we will eat together in front of the television for the duration of one television show but he has his own bedroom, bathroom and television room on a separte floor of the house and I have mine. We talk but it is about superficial things. I don’t ask him to do anything around the house and I don’t clean up after him or wash his clothes or clean his rooms. Its like he is a boarder or brother or cousin or something. We are pleasant but not interested in the lives of each other. I don’t feel any anomosity at all…there is nothing there any more…no love and no hate…no anger…just nothing. I don’t feel it necessary to call him or ask his opinion or tell him about things going on in my life or inquire about his. I am not interested. I go to bed early and he is not awake when I get up in the morning and I spend most evenings working or with friends.. He is gone most of the weekend doing the odd repair or painting at relatives homes and caring for an elderly relative or going to ball games/movies/dinner with our sons. The only difference in our lives now is that I don’t think of US anymore. I make no attempts for an “US”relationship. I was always the only one in the marriage relationship and now I have quit trying and its okay.
    One of his elderly relatives is not in good health. He is leaving his house to my husband and then to my way of thinking …my husband will be out of here again. And this time I plan to sell this big house even if the market is down and buy a smaller one in a nearby town where I have a number of friends. If I feel like this arrangement we have now isn’t working out I can always shift him to my son’s house. I would hate to disrupt my son’s marriage as I really do want grandbabies some day but the option is there.


    • Arborgreen- Hallelujah! I am soooo happy for you! It sounds like you are doing great. It’s also good to hear that you aren’t holding any animosity toward your ex. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is learn to forgive (never forget, but forgive).

      Of course, even if your ex inherits the house, he may have excuses like not being able to pay utilities, etc. I guess the way to deal with that is he could put that house up for sale and buy a small place and have some savings for necessities. Your plan for your house sounds good. Don’t know that the housing market won’t keep going down awhile longer, so waiting for the greatest time to sell may take forever.

      I am so happy you wrote to share. I’m sure your entry is a beacon of hope to many here. Good luck, and please, stay in touch once in awhile. =)

  62. Painful to read everyone’s stories as I am all too familiar with this life for 25 years. Thought I was alone for years. I know I don’t have to go into the ugly details as you all understand the hell associated living like this. I am now to the point of knowing what was wrong all those years and I have no plans of continuing in his “game”. After being down for so many years I don’t care “why” anymore, I just want out. Classic problem associated with this is I have is no money of my own, no vehicle, no job, no family or friends. Thankfully I have come to a place where I am no longer investing in him mentally or emotionally and want to invest my energy on myself. I still go through all of the thoughts everyday that weigh you down but I detach my feelings and emotions and am ready to overcome by focusing on me and all of the good things I want for myself. How do I even start without those independent resources?
    I have researched home business’s and basically anything that can help me build a future from where I am even if it takes a year to get on my feet and out the door. Now that I see and don’t play the game, I don’t have a problem living in this house for now as he is mostly never here, but I want more than anything to become independent and have my own “place of peace” soon. Once I am on my own I will never become dependent on someone again ever and have even become excited about all of the possibilities that await me in life!
    The loneliness doesn’t scare or bother me as I realized I did it for years and it didn’t kill me. It is my time now, I just need to figure out the realities of independence. If anyone had to start over with nothing I would welcome your ideas. I guess I should add that I do want to do this on my own without any help or knowledge from him. Call it pride if you will but I’ll take it!
    Truly “seeing” all of the garbage for what it is is the most painful yet liberating part of healing. I will not be bitter- but better!

  63. After reading so many of these posts, I realized I don’t even have to recount the things my PA-thetic has done — you’ve all been there, had THAT done to you, and hand-woven the T-shirt with the hair you’ve been pulling out! He’s a classic nice guy, everybody’s buddy (who can go weeks without talking to you), eager to (appear to) help (except he never will), able to do just about anything (but he won’t), and a very spiritual person (but you’ll never catch him praying, reading the Bible, or attending church).

    But I do have something to share about the withholding sex thing. Before we were married, he couldn’t get enough sex — as in all about it all the time. Immediately after we married, sex suddenly became almost a dirty word. Free spirit that I am, I kept trying to continue what we’d had before but to no avail.

    Between 1998 and 2011 I tried literally everything I could think of to make this ill-begotten relationship into a marriage. I’ve been in counseling so long I could probably CLEP a PhD in psychology so of course I recounted all his behavior (post-marriage because none of it surfaced pre-marriage) to my therapist. It was only then that I was introduced to Passive-Aggressive behavior. I just couldn’t accept that there was no way to explain, exhort, entreat, or entice him into wellness and then into happily-ever-after with me so I vigorously applied my considerable talents to “fixing it”.

    So earlier this year, in yet another effort to “make things right”, I offered PA-thetic a blank sheet of paper. I told him, “Let’s go back to the very beginning. Let’s forget that we’ve been married 13 years and done such a miserable job of marriage. Let’s be girlfriend and boyfriend again and see if we can keep from making the same mistakes.”

    He was overjoyed! He held the paper like it was a priceless treasure, then gently put it on the table, and reached for me with a tiny smile on his face and tenderness in his eyes. (The boy is on stage ALL the time and he’s good in his role.) And he said, “Well, then, since you’re my girlfriend, why don’t we take this to the bedroom?”

    If I hadn’t been so needy for “IT”, I would have laughed out loud at the sheer absurdity of it; but he’s good at “IT” and it had been a long time since we’d done “IT” so I just decided to let it go and enjoy myself. Forget that we had hardly touched each other in more months than I can remember — all of a sudden, he’s transformed into a love machine.

    In the ensuing months, I noticed that while he enjoyed what he enjoyed, he never seemed to suggest we go out for dinner or to call just to say hi or to do anything you would logically expect a boyfriend to do. I told him he wasn’t being a very good boyfriend and since I wasn’t enjoying being his girlfriend we might as well go back to being married.

    And so we’re back to the old way — except — maybe he’s the only one of us who thinks that. For my part, I’m getting myself together, building another life in my church and community, spending more time with my grandchildren, exercising and eating right (losing weight, which he has noticed) and making plans for some trips with my friends. And when I’m ready, I’m going to hand him another piece of paper, but it won’t be blank. It will be the divorce papers and the official beginning of my happily-ever-after.

    (Can’t tell you how happy I am to have found you girls! I “hurt his feelings” yesterday morning and he hasn’t talked to me since. Having this site and your stories to encourage me, I am not seeking him out to try to smooth it all over. Reading your posts and sharing your pain is kind of like an alcoholic in recovery calling her sponsor when she wants to drink. It’s making me so NOT thirsty!)

  64. Oh it is so painful to read all these stories as so many could have been written by me, am still in the marriage with the divorce papers pending at the lawyer am not able to move on as house is not selling and job very hard to find all due to the economic crisis. He is in the ‘oh look how hard I am trying bit’ but I know already how long it will last and he will never take the final step, your heart goes up and down like a roller coaster as its never a good feeling knowing that you have to go out and start another life on your own after 25 years of marriage but I have to remind myself of all the damage he has done to myself and my two daughters and that his little honeymoon time never has lasted and chances are it wont last this time either. I have always felt like I was dragging a great big rock along in my life, he is so reluctant to let go and live normally and I have to accept that he will never change. How do you begin to have normal thoughts about any future relationship with another man after a relationship like this, he was so different when we were dating, how will you ever trust another man? Its really is all so heartbreaking and hopeless.

    • Hopeless- Welcome, and thank you for your comment.

      It is hard to trust again. The good thing about that, is we no longer follow blindly and start paying attention to all the “red flags” that warn us to get away. While the wounds are raw, you may not trust men that actually deserve to be trusted, but as the wounds heal, you will be better, and be better for someone else in your future.

      While you have the time waiting for your house to sell, start emotionally detaching from your husband. One of the best quotes I think I ever heard was “Either accept him for who he is and shut up about it, or decide you are worth more than how he treats you and get on with life”. I actually gave that one to my oldest daughter who had a best friend that was one of the flakiest people I had ever met. The BFF had broken my daughter’s heart so many times, that finally I told her “You have to accept ____ for who and what she is, or you have to let her go. You cannot go on expecting something different out of her because she just doesn’t have it, and you have to decide if you can accept that, and continue being her friend.” They are still BFF’s but my daughter doesn’t cry over her friend’s thoughtlessness anymore.

      Also, while you’re waiting, start seeing old friends again. Make new ones. Build yourself a good support system so that when you are out on your own, you have people you can go have fun with, or share with. Maybe see about getting a therapist for yourself, or into a group therapy for self esteem, or getting along after divorce.

      There are many things you can do while biding your time, waiting for your house to sell. All of these will make it easier when the time comes for you to go on with your own life, and your own new chance at real happiness.

  65. I love you all- this site is a lifeline! I’m in the process of trying to independently and civily live in the same house as my pa – and grieve at the same time for the marriage i thought I had. Every dumb trick I now catch him out at, or every sulk he now goes through, I think – that’s one more day of sorrow done – no longer the hours of why, or what can I do to make it better.

    Recent LOL for me was yesterday when, with an innocent seeming gambit (I know from past experience just how these blow up into major awful scenes) backfired in his face for once:

    Our grown son asked to cook some chips in our kitchen for himself and girlfriend as a treat, then went off to buy some fresh oil and odds and ends as well for me. While out, pa asked ‘ is X cooking chips tonight?’
    I answered ‘you know he is, you heard him – you were in the kitchen with us when he asked.’ Quick as a flash he answered ‘No, he was in the lounge with you when he asked!!!!’ (it loses lots in the telling, but the hidden agenda of his question is that HE, poor put-upon soul has no intention of cleaning up after his son and he was trying to invoke a fight with me for allowing X to cook! Needless to say pa scrounged chips from X and I ended up cleaning the kitchen – there really wasn’t much extra, X is tidy. It was just pa’s way of trying to ruin a good family time, and reinforce the contention he has that I have spoiled X his entire life. Like another poster, all I have done is deflect and shield X from his dad’s behaviour all his life. PA never wanted kids really, and when our only one showed up, took on and beat him hands down at being the biggest baby. 20+ yrs later, he’s the only child in the family with the excuse of his medical conditions as the official crutch for his behaviour. #Like other posters, I dreaded X turning out like his dad, but can thankfully say, laughing is more his line than sulking 🙂

    • Elizabeth- Lucky you! It sounds like your son inherited YOUR sense of humor. As I read your comment I felt you try to see the humor in your situation. It’s funny, when I started this blog, I said that was the only way to handle living with a passive aggressive.

      Good for you. “Laughter’s the best medicine”.

  66. Same here! 17 years of this garbage. I thought I was alone and I was too embarrassed to talk about it for a long long time. Thank god for my late therapist. Of course he blames me to this day. I am seriously disabled and we have kids so we share a 2 family house. We do NOT live together anymore – HALLELUJAH! He has his apartment and the kids and I have ours. Ours is messier and also more welcoming! He hates it – has zero boundaries and barges in a lot to criticize and demean. Even the kids tune him out. And he did that to himself.

    The no sex thing was so bizarre. I have PCOS for 45 years now and after I had my kids it got really bad and I put on a lot of weight. He dragged me to the world’s worst marriage counselor who told me “abuse is a buzzword” and if I lost weight and “got over” my disability he would “love me” again. WTF? The first 7 or so years of our marriage was fine then WHAM – no initiating no nothing. Then it started “sex is WIERD” – “holding hands is WIERD” – “kissing is WIERD” – just insanity. When I got pregnant he was happy but of course didn’t understand or try to understand my post partum issues. Then the disability – he couldn’t have been more cruel. He makes mountains out of molehills and is a huge obstructionist.

    I’m so glad to have my own room and my own bed. We are like co-tenants and I try to be cordial. He refuses divorce but that’s ok – we have a nice mediated estrangement. The kids and I have insurance, a roof over our heads and utilities paid. One day, when the kids are gone – I will probably cut it off. Happy couples really upset me. Not jealous just a difficult reminder. I used to think, what did I do wrong to deserve this? Now I know it’s not me. Listening to him is wall to wall projection.

  67. Hello ladies, I have been in relationship with my husband for nearly 25 years, we have 3 wonderful sons – and no sex! Ater the birth of our twins it just kind of dwindled down, we were constantly tired looking after three small boys. But now our boys are 15 and 17, are out a lot, and we have had zero sex in three years. I am in therapy and was advised to take the initiative, that a PA man wants to be conquered. I felt ugly, insecure, unloved and after I finally talked with a good friend about it, I got up the courage to confront him on a long walk during our holidays. He could hardly answer me, felt very uncomfortable and avoided any future talks. When we got back from our holiday he went to see a prostitute and came home with the clap. When I asked him why he went to a hooker he admitted that he wanted to prove to himself that he was able to have sex. So he can, but I guess just not with me.
    I started therapy , but he refuses to go. I don’t know how I should initiate sex with a man, who does not respond in any way to intimacy, who lives by my side like a brother in a respectful distance. I was told by my therapist to use my imagination, that he was a “Brad Pitt” kind of guy. I’m just not turned on by him. He will not talk about our problem and I am frustrated and lonely.
    Just searching the internet now I found a great link, and actually printed a passage to use as an argument for his next silent treatment:
    hugs to all you great but lonely women out there

    • Mary- Hi, and Welcome.

      It never ceases to amaze me how PAs can have sex with anyone except who they are supposed to “love”. Although I’m sure if I initiated it, my PA and I could have sex, that’s one reason I quit. I was the only
      one that ever initiated it. Now I’ve gained weight and I know how he feels about “fat girls”, so it suits me
      fine. When I lost a ton of weight, it didn’t get me any more sex going that way either. LOL.

      I have to admit, if my PA went to a prostitute, I can’t say I’d be that interested in sex with him anymore at all, especially if he brought a disease home with him. If things have gotten down to that level and since your boys are almost ready to leave home, maybe you should be preparing for the same. It looks like you have 2 or 3 yrs. to start distancing yourself, working on your self-esteem, and getting ready for true happiness for the rest of your life.

      Good luck. Please let us know how it goes with the therapist. So many are not very knowledgeable about passive aggressive spouses, and thanks for the link. I’m going to look at it right now!

  68. Today I spent eight hours online reading about Passive Aggressives.
    I was researching the subject because my severely passive aggressive mother just moved in with me a few months ago, and she’s driving me insane. I knew my husband displayed some of the same behaviors, but compared to my mother, I thought he only had minor troubles. I had no idea that ALL of his behavior in our broken-down, shredded marriage was passive aggressive. I’ve been married eleven years, intamacy almost completely vanished about six months into our marriage, and we have averaged sex once a year for about the past seven years. Today, all the dots connected. I had no idea PA’s withheld sex. I’m so tired.

  69. I have been in a relationship with a man for about 5 years. I love him very much but we broke up around 2 years ago because he was always threatening to leave me. The threats started out mildly around 2 months into the relationship and escalated into him breaking things and charging at me with rage. I have been through therapy and have faced many of my childhood wounds, so i can into the relationship with him feeling positive and loving. He had been in a non-marrriage marriage for around 10 years before us and he told me when i first met him that he withheld sex from his exwife because she gained weight when they were married. I got back together with him because despite all of his behavior, i wanted to believe that we could still work things out. His behavior did not change. He threatened me again and again till finally I had had enough….I told him I was going to leave him and proceeded to do so. He begged and pursued me till i gave in( it was Christmas and I weakened) But i did not give up and made it my job to get him to realize that him threatening to leave was driving me away and that it was an aggressive behavior that was hurting both of us. He finally got the message and stopped threatening to leave but then the real games began. He started to simply just have no energy or desire for sex. At one point we went to see a therapist counselor and i told her that i felt sexually frustrated because we had sex ‘only twice a week’. Well it has dwindled down to 1 or 2 times a month. Yes he does not threaten to leave anymore and his rageful behavior is much curbed but his sexuality has taken a nose drive. I found myself totally frustarated and angry, till i stopped caring. He makes every excuse, from being too tired to being to old, (he is only 54) to having sinus problems to Eptein Barr. The list is endless. My conclusion is that he is doing a PA move. He refuses sex because after we went to therapy, i dared voice my dissatisfaction with sex. But he denies it all. I recently began imaging falling in love with another man, and I have been having dreams for the last year about have sex with other men. I think after all the work and effort that i have put into this relationship with him, ( got him to eat better, be less judgemental, and basically improve his quality of life) I have had enough. I given him an ultimatum. He takes charge of his own healing, emotional and physical or i leave. I am tired of carrying the burdon of healing him. I have my own life that needs my attention. He has caused me to make bad financial decisions because of his own self centered controlling needs. I have had enough, I was alone for nearly 15 years before i met him and i think i was better off. So unless he is willing to make some radical changes, I will probably leave him.

  70. I have come to suspect my partner is also passive aggressive. I don’t want to go over examples right now, as the grief is heavy in me now, but suffice to say it is as if whatever I need most at any time, he will not give. These a often such simple little things, requiring minimal effort, and which I would think should bring as much joy to him as me. It gives me joy to do those little things that mean so much to someone – to ‘love well’ I guess – and I presume he is the same. So we talk and I think ok now we have understanding, and we can move forward, but Its either all forgotten or disregarded. The relationship makes me crazy with confusion and frustration sometimes. I feel such tension and sickness through my body, its like I am imploding, and beneath that is a grief that is like a black hole. I just don’t want to go near it.
    But what I want to do here today is hear people’s thoughts on one thing that perplexes me. Now this is to do with behaviour of his father where he says stuff to the dog, that seems directed at me. It leaves me shaken every time. I have tried to talk to my patner about it, but my parnter says I’m being paranoid and reading too much into it.

    Ok, these are three examples. 1. The father leans foward me offering me chocolate and as I go to take some, he suddenly yells “What are you looking at you fat pig!” I look up from the plate of chocolate stunned, and see his head is turned towards the dog. It appears he was yelling at the dog, but I feel freaked. 2. This one hot day we had the father over for dinner, I wore a top that showed a bit of cleavage (rare for me). I noticed him looking past me during dinner, then afterwards we all stood up to go inside and he suddenly yelled “Well time to drop your knickers you silly bitch.” I looked up and he was looking at the dog. He was apparently telling her to go to the toilet before we go indoors. 3. One weekend I was sick with flu, feverish and very unwell. My partner had the father down for dinner. I was too sick to join them and stayed in bed most of the evening. I came out briefly to get some water and had a coughing fit at the sink. The moment I had stopped gasping, he yelled “Go and get on your death bed you silly bitch”. I had my back to him. I kinda knew when I turned around that he would be looking at the dog, only I had already noticed the dog asleep in her bed when I walked through. I turned and saw she was still.there. I was trembling as I said as firmely as I could “That better have been directed at the dog and not me”. They both looked confused. I felt so embarrassed like I was paranoid or something.

    I discussed it with my partner. His dad is the sweetest, kindest guy you could imagine. Just like my partner. The sudden yelling at the dog is just so out of keeping with the character. It rattles me no end. It often seems indirectly directed at me sometimes. Either that or extraordinary insensitivity and extemely poor timing over and over. My partner insists its innocent, says I’m paranoid or cold shoulders me for implying that his father is an evil man or something.

    This is just one of hundreds of things that perplex me. I am slowly losing all faith in my own gut feelings. No matter what it seems I make the wrong call. I feel cross-eyed literally a lot of the time.

    Please will people share with me – can you understand why I feel its directed at me? That its not just coincidence? Even if I am wrong ultimately and it is just coincidence, can you understand why it seemed that it wasn’t to me?

    I accept that there is a possibility that I am insecure and distrustful to the extent that I am reading stuff into things and feeling startled and offended for no reason. Neither of them look into my face or eyes to see if something shocked me. Its like I don’t exist for a bit.

    • There is a possibility that he’s shouting at the dog. There’s also a possibility that monkeys will fly out of my butt. The possibility of either is extremely slim to nonexistent.

      That horrible man is using the dog to verbally abuse you. And his horrible son is not only allowing him to do it, he’s siding with his horrible father and using your bringing it up as an opportunity to insult you and your mental health or to give you the silent treatment.

    • Your sentence “I am slowly losing all faith in my own gut feelings” is what made me have to reply. Having been a confident, capable woman before coming into a relationship with a PA man, I recognize this as one of the things that I struggled with for almost a decade.

      There is a book that describes exactly what you’re talking about; and even though it won’t change how your heart feels, it will tell your head that you’re not crazy. The book is “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans. You may already know that verbal abuse doesn’t just mean being cursed at — any kind of talk that diminishes you and makes you feel crazy is abusive.

      You’re not crazy. What you see is really happening and it is really abusive, cruel, and wrong.

      I wish for you healing and happiness.

      • Alive Again- Thanks for the tip on the book, and the encouragement. It helps also to remember the 3 C’s.
        1)I didn’t cause it.
        2)I can’t control it.
        3)I can’t cure it.

        I hope things are going well for you and you have been able to find the help you need. Feel free to drop
        in anytime.

  71. I posted this comment to another post, but it belongs better here.

    Maybe it’s because I live with one of those not-at-all-nice passive aggressive men, but I don’t get why anyone would want to have sex with someone who works so hard at making her so miserable. I suppose I could be accused of withholding sex – no doubt he’s accused me of exactly that – but is it withholding when I can’t stomach the idea of having sex with someone who’s so f*****g mean to me? I mean, it’s not as if I’d like to have sex with him but opt not to as a way of punishing him. Instead, having sex with him would be punishment to me. Call me crazy, but I prefer having sex with men who are nice to me – genuinely nice to me.

  72. This is all about men. My wife withholds sex, is angry, and very judgemental. She refuses nights out with me, and even trips to Florida, Hawaii, etc. She has gained about 100 pounds in the past 10 years.

    She is the sweetest person on earth in the presence of others, but silent and cold when they leave. The behavior began slowing, starting about 10 years ago as our 4 sons got into high school (she has always been a stay at home mom).

    it has become unbearable since her mother passed away last year. The same relationship existed between her mother and father (her father passed away 10 years ago).

    She is very critical of anything I pursue, enjoy or succeed at. She refuses to do anything with me. Exersise classes. bible studies, movies, dinner. But constantly complains that we never do anything together.

    • Claude- Hi and welcome!

      Yes, you are right. This site is mainly talking about male passive aggressives, but only because men married to female passive aggressives don’t speak up much. We’ve had a few here. I think men are more likely to want to “fix” the problem on their own, rather than share that there even is a problem.

      I am so sorry to hear your wife can be so mean, especially when there are so many women that would love to have their husbands invite them to do the very things you’re talking about. I hope, regardless of what she says, you move ahead with the things you enjoy. That’s one of the few ways to keep your sanity and self esteem in tact.

      One thing you might try, is the next time she says you never do anything together, ask her what it is she would like to do, then be prepared to do. Just say “Okay, let’s go”. If you do that enough, she should stop with that complaint. I’m sure once you say ok, she’ll probably start “back peddling”.

      Your expression of the fact that her mother and father’s relationship was just as yours is now is the exact reason I tell people with kids to get out. I’m telling you, a lot of the passive aggressiveness we see today is “inherited”. Maybe not genetically, but as sure as if there was a line from generation to generation.

      Good luck Claude. Feel free to drop by anytime. Just because most of us are complaining about the men in our life, doesn’t mean we don’t like men at all. LOL.

      • I was married to a PA for 27 years. 5 years later, aftery divorce, I am still coming to grip with the damage I allowed him to do to me. Fortunately, I have recovered from depression, kept my job, maintained a relationship with my only child, and slowly begun to realize I will make it. The leaving was very difficult, because he had so much control over my mind and finances. The years of withholding, silent treatment, sighs, disapproval, no sex, and criticism killed my self esteem. I am recovering, but backslide when I feel slightly rejected by others. Fortunately, at 53, I am still considered by others attractive, and received quite a bit of attention from men, however, I have NO trust in any if them due to fear of the horrific rejection I suffered daily. I feel so much anger toward my ex. I want to punish him, but I know this is no possible. This anger only hurts me…. I am praying for release from my anger. God Bless all of you and may you find your way out of hell.

  73. I am so glad I found this. Just like everyone else my story is a carbon copy. I’ve known my husband 20yrs. We were great friends and still are. We started dating in 2006 and married 4 yrs later. Now I know that we’re not going to work out. The second day of marriage he wasn’t willing to have sex. We’ve had many arguments this last year and a half. Ive wanted to leave but couldn’t support myself. I now have the courage to look for an apartment and been actively looking for a job. I’m glad I figured out that he is a PA from this site. I’m really not crazy after all like he’s made me believe!

    • Co- Isn’t it amazing how easily they all seem to convince us it’s us? LOL. Good luck to you and please, let us know how you’re doing. Even in circumstances like yours, sometimes it just takes a little patience and perseverance to break free..

  74. And here I was thinking it was just American men, my first husband certainly had the Madonna / hoar complex – the passionate sex and intimacy stopped the first day of our honeymoon leaving me shaking my head wondering what on earth happened to him. Our marriage did see it to one year. Now onto husband number 2, lived together for 3 years prior marriage we wanted to make sure we had road tested each other. I had an inkling when we would have sex that he was somehow disconnected from the softness and intimacy that I craved but stupidly thought it would develop. Coming up to our 3rd year of marriage – says he no longer wants to be married to me, says we are just too different, that all the little things have got to him and he is done. Financially neither of us can leave our home so he says we will stay under the same roof until financially we can both go our seperate ways. The passionate kissing stopped after 1 year of marriage – constantly saying that I need to be kissed, but he was not motivated to try. Now there is just a hug of a morning when I get up and that is the extent of the affection and sex we are having. His hands are on the dogs and his boat more than me. One of his complaints was that I needed to lose 20lbs; did that and now through my depression and stress have ate myself back to my starting weight, feeling fat, and unattractive. I am trying to focus on getting work and getting the ball rolling on my business again. On top of that during this time had breast cancer, kidney stone infection and nearly died not to mention all the other aliments. He is definitely an isolator and introvert.
    Needless to say I am very much in love with this man, apart form the above description he is kind and generous and there was a time I felt safe and very relaxed with him. He is not a huge communicator so he is very hard to read, his way of dealing with this is alone and in his head…good luck with that I say! When it comes to intimacy, kissing, soulful sex and tenderness that has disappeared. I am his 3rd wife and he left the other 2.(okay I know what you are thinking didn’t she see the writing on the wall before she married him – my answer was yes but you know some of us women think we can aid in the healing of a man) His father walked out on him and his family when he was 13. I have asked that we see someone to talk through this but it is a big red light to him, no way. My alternatives will be immerse myself into my own life/career/interests/friends and eventually he will turn around and I will be gone. My past behavior would have been to throw myself in the arms of another man. I do not want to do that as the only arms I want to be in are his. Am I dreaming or do I hang in there long enough to see if this will heal with time and showing him I will not abandon him like his dad did.
    Nothing like coming up on 50 and feeling like this…I know I am not alone and if you are on this page you are in your own pain.
    I pray everyday for signs to help me direct my footsteps over the egg shells that I feel I have to tip toe around.
    Thanks for letting me bend you ear!

  75. Does he want to save the marriage. How does he feel about you? yep, the father walking out has to be dealt with I think. Some people can’t even look at the past because of the pain and until he does, nothing will change. It is a painful process that he is still looking at through a 13 year olds eyes and heart. So ask him some leading questions. like How did you feel when your dad left? When did you know he was really gone? Did you blame yourself? What was it like living without a dad? Not too many questions to start or he may back up and put the brakes on it all. Just talking a little helps but it is not a one time thing…it is something you have to do a lot until he sees that he is more than his past. Then tell him that it is a wonder that he did not become an alcoholic or drug addict because that often happens. Tell him that it must have taken a lot of inner strength to get as far as he has. Dr. Phil had a show about a 10 year old whose mother left him in a park and never came back. She took the sister but not him I think. It really screwed him up. Dr. Phil told him that he needed to examine how he felt closely and then realize that there are people in his life right now who do love him the way his own mother is incapable of loving him even now. He can’t fix her, she is broken just like your husband’s father and the marriage of his parents but that he now has the opportunity for real love if he will make the effort. Backing off of showing emotion with you will not punish his mother or father and it will not keep him from bring hurt again. He deserves and is worthy of and needs love but he must put the past behind him and take a step into the reality of today. He had no power as a child but as an adult he has the power to live a life worth living.

    Ask him what kind of relationship he would love to have. Does he want a wife that meets him at the door with a kiss and a hug? A wife that wakes him with a kiss? Someone who wil sit with him and hold his hand while watching tv? Someone who will sweep up the grass clippings while he cuts the grass?

    You may have to be the one who initiates the touch, the kiss, the smile. He is still the hurt 13 year old emotionally. And you know how nasty teenagers are. He may not ask you to help out at first so ask him.. Marriage is a partnership and let him know that is what you expect. You expect him to participate. Where do you want to go out to eat? What do you want to buy at the grocery store? Do you think I should wear the blue or the red? Let him make decisions that show teamwork and that you respect his views. Work the phrase ” you are right” into the conversation or that’s a good idea”. These guys usually lack a sense of self worth. Reward him for participation and teamwork. “wow we got the kitchen cleaned up quickly..thanks for helping” It seems to go so much more easily when we do it together.

    Happiness is contagious….fake it til you make it.
    Well, its worth trying.


  76. Sorry, I think I mixed up some of the ages in my post.

  77. I want to thank everyone who posted on this blog, and especially to the article author. I have been living in my worst nightmare for over 3 yrs. I have read everyone’s responses, yet I do not see any resolution here. And that scares the crap out of me! Yet, I would rather be in reality than not. Here’s my story:

    I met a gentleman a week after I ended a 4.5 yr relationship with another PA, since it was discovered he cheated. In addition, both relationships were with men who struggled with drug addiction. I lost 7.5 yr of clean time in that relationship. I have never be able to secure any real amount of time after that, though, marijuana is my drug of choice. Yet, my PA partners drug of choice is crack. I lives a lifestyle where I was totally engrossed in a anonymous program, and therefore, you get in a relationship with people you meet in those circles, and some of them stay and some of them go.

    When I met my current PA, he was an extremely beautiful man. I wanted no parts to him. I then found out he was intelligent, and then I was all over him. Well, this guy was smart, beautiful and skilled, in the beginning. I was just trying to have fun. This guy never left my side. For 3.5 yrs, the most time I had away from him was 3 weeks, before he was crying on my phone. At any rate, after about 45 days, I have BPD, and I had a rage attack on him. Sex pretty much stopped after that. Many a total of 6 times after that point, ever. It is nothing now. He says he wants to get better. Yet, he puts the blame on me, and there is nothing wrong with me. I dont judge my sex partners like that unless its casual sex. He is a great family man, and his family has loved me for a long time. Yet, he is now frustrated, and he wants to be out now, because he says he knows its me. Yet, I know it isnt. I know he hasnt cheated, because if he did, he would have quickly found out the answer to that question. If believe he can do it until they no longer met his ideal mate.

    The effects have been disastrous for my self esteem. Like others, I gained weight. Sex was a large part of my weight management program. He completely killed it. My ex also did similar behavior. I am not so much mad at them, as I am at the fact that I thought they would be different, when I pretty much found the same man, just the difference was on how the punishment was executed. My ex was actually better in treatment to me, as I was adored. It actually makes me wonder about my decision to leave a man who would have died for me, though he cheated on me.

    I, on the other hand, am no picnic. I have BPD, and my rageful episodes are activated everytime I relive the rejection I feel from this man. I have attempted suicide over this, I have lost myself, and yet continued in a deeply co-dependent relationship. He doesnt work, he uses drugs, and I support him entirely. I keep getting good jobs, so luckily I afford to keep us afloat. Yet, in the beginning to middle of our relationship, I had nothing. I built it up bit by bit, and he just never got better. He never wanted sex, and he is always crying about how much of a failure he is, but he does nothing. Now, I have him and his daughter, who is such a joy to be around, and to be quite honest, my own son is definitely showing PA traits as a result of this guy’s influence. So she is something I enjoy at home. For the first time. The children are older, my son i s 14, she is 19. Their relationships are wonderful. Yet, I am like the anti-christ to him. He isn’t attracted to anything about me, yet, he has benefited from me for a long time. When I met him I was a zero, I am now a 10. Hearing that I am not worth having sex with, hearing such cruel comments for so long, and just totally unloved. I give him a lot of money so he can feel like something. Yet, he then tells me he loves me and I should see evidence of that. Because sometimes he gives me a kiss and rubs my face? I think that there really is no help for that depth of sadist behavior. Especially when you guilt trip people into staying with you. (Yes, I cheated a couple times. Really?) I guess I didnt understand that I needed to be free to truly understand that I will be okay. Yet, I am struggling with the family relationships that have been established. In addition, its almost like I feel like he will just destroy more women in his path, and I should just deal with it, until he leaves. Dont think I am not pushing that path along. I am having some severe conflicts though in regards to everything. I know I am explosive and destructive myself. Hard for me to throw stones. Yet, my self esteem is so low due to his behavior, and he tells me thats a personal problem. Yes, but it affects both of us.

    I would be interested in finding programs that will allow me to heal, and if there are any programs that could give me the strength to get out of this mess. I dont deserve to be treated this way. Yet, who can you be more mad at: him for doing or you for even allowing it? That’s what I struggle with everyday. My sense of joy goes away when I look at him. I am no longer attracted to him anymore. Oh, forgot to leave out, that I do give oral services to him. Just nothing for me. He feels that is okay. At any rate, I think that I am so emotional after reading all of this, that I need some to process this. I am not making a decision today, though I feel, everyone will understand that my decision will probably be the same later. I don’t need to be stupid to prove love. What I need to be is okay with the fact that he doesnt want someone to love him, so he makes sure it doesnt happen. He turns love into hate quickly. I orchestrate the greatest pain in my life. Why havent I left? Just because he has needs doesnt mean I have to be the one to solve them. Anyway, thanks for listening. I needed an outlet so bad.

  78. I`m reading all these posts and tears are falling down my cheeks 😦 I relate to all of what is written and it hurts me to realize that my soon to be ex-husband is PA 😦
    For years I`ve tried to put my finger on it but quite couldn`t do it, even though I always knew there was a problem.
    My husband of 12 years has very frequently rejected me sexually, mostly as a punishment and also as a form of control. He gets his kick out of me approaching him and him turning me down 😦 He calls me an “animal” 😦 and it hurts so much. I told him that I never knew that to love and desire my own husband is a crime and that it would be bad. He always tried to instill some type of inadequacy in me by saying that I`m the one with the problem because I don`t approach him properly, or I want too much loving, etc. 😦 I don`t want to brag but I`m not ugly (long blond hair and blue eyes), I`m not fat (5 feet 4 inches and 118 lbs and DD bra size), I`m not cold as a fish in bed, I`m not unapproachable, I cook good food, house is clean, kids are happy, I go to university and have a job, etc. I love making love, I have high sex drive and I`m open minded sexually by encouraging to try new things with me but he always have some excuse 😦 For years I have tried everything – sexy lingerie, new sex ideas, spontaneous things, kinky stuff, I even walked naked around the house so he pays attention, etc but ir doesn`t really work for him, and if it does it lasts a day or so. Oh, and the worst is that few time she pushed me when he was rejecting me. I`m tired of burning with desire for my husband 😦
    But now I know that he is the problem because any other guy would appreciate me as a woman but not my husband. And when he became a police officer he started cheating on me, when I found out I filed for divorce. We have 2 small kids.
    It breaks my heart but I think that he will never change. And all because of his childhood trauma – his parent sgetting divorced when he was 6 and his mom abandoning him but taking his brther in when he was 16. So because of all that he is bitter at her, me and the rest of the world. He makes me suffer for his trauma and its not fair.
    I gave him everything I had, I gave up my career as a lawyer, I moved to a different country, etc. and all because I loved him but all I get in return is just crumbs and on these crumbs I`ve lived for 12 yrs. Even though he says he loves me, it doesn`t really translate into action much, I think he doesn`t even know what reall love is and how to take good care of a woman. I like the analogy of a tic – he sucked me dry and when teher was nothing more to get for his ego, he moved to the next target.
    All I wanted is just wanted to be loved but it`s my fault, I shoudl have realized it sooner that he is the one with the problem.

    • If this is not the life you want to live, change it. I wish I had gotten out of my marriage many many years ago. I wasted precious time trying to make it better. Trying and trying and not knowing what the real problem was or when to give up. I should have let go while I was still young. We are still friends but the words I speak to him are just words with no emotion behind them anymore and I expect no emotional response from him. He is not capable. He is emotionally crippled.

      My youngest is out of grad school and in a great job and out of the house now so I am looking to downsize soon. My husband who was suddenly out of a job a few years ago is now retired and is renovating our houses .. we are separated .he owns two and a forth and I own 3 and three fourths.
      I plan to sell at least 2 and he just rented the one that is ours together yesterday.

      It keeps him busy and after years of computer and business endeavors, he now has learned to tile and put in wood flooring, paint etc. I actually think that he is happier. His relationship with his mother is still strange. He is still trying to get her love, approval, attention even though he says that he knows that she is not going to change.
      He says he realizes that her abandonment, rejection, betrayal screwed him and his brother up but cannot seem to totally let go of it.
      His mother does not know that we are not together (maybe he thinks she would disapprove?) and after years of not even knowing where she was, she now thinks she is setting the ground work to move in with us in her old age and have me take care of her. Not going to happen. She has 2 daughters who can do it. I took care of both of my parents and an Uncle and I am done.

      Here is what I have learned: I cannot change him and if he does not admit that there is a problem then he will never change. Even if he sees that a problem exists but does not see a need to step into the present, I can not make him do it. At some point he must acknowledge the problem, the cause of the problem, work through his feelings, decide what he wants and step into the present and let go of the past. If your significant other refuses to go through all of the steps and he fails to let go of the past, you can not help him. My ex is to the point that he acknowledges the problem, what caused the problem, how he feels, he even tried to have a frank discussion with his mother but she just had excuses and never apologized. He talked to his brother and discovered that they both feel the same way about her. He acknowledged that she will never change and never admit that she was wrong. But still he can not seem to work through it all and let it go and step into the present. He says that he understands but still he is trying to win her attention/approval/love.

      While he is definitely better in his treatment toward me…. he has realized what his feelings of betrayal are about the past and can voice them aloud but I do not really think that he sees how his past manifests itself in his behaviors towards me. I don’t see as many PA behaviors but then I don’t care anymore. I have better things to do and not having sex with me does not hurt me anymore. I don’t ask, don’t want and would not if he asked.

      I have learned that I am a good person, with talents and achievements, a good friend, I like myself, am motivated to achieve, and I am perfectly happy without him.

  79. Oh, and I have talked to him numerous times about the issue but he seems to dismiss it by blaming me for everything and not realizing that he is the one with the problem. He has this stance on things that the world owes him because of his childhood trauma. Well, no, no one owes him nothing because there are people with more severe taruma`s but they overcome them and move on, only he holds the endless grudge. He doesn`t communicate about problems, instead he quietly resents, he only blows up when his resentment has reached dangerous levels, in fact, he doesn`t even know how to communicate normally about issues. If he sees that I`m not taking blame, he becomes rude and attacks me verbally, etc. He can only be sweet when he needs something or it serves some purpose for him, other than that he is a monster very freaquently.
    Years of periodic rejection has damaged my self-esteem very much, especially his affair about which I found out 1 month after he started it. I couldn`t cope with betrayal even though he wanted to come home, so I filed for divoce instead.
    I want to know if anyone has any practical advice how to get self -esteem and self-love back because I feel terrible inside? How to get rid of PA damage?

  80. Hello there Happy Soon…and you def will be Happy Soon too!!
    I’m now 27 months down line having taken the decision to “wave the white flag” and cut the PA husband out of my life. The only advice I can give you is that it takes time to get over the hurt,damage and hold these people haveon us and have caused us. You need to try to keep any contact you have with your soon to be ex to a minimum. Try not to talk to him on the phone, just email and text and stick to the point. Don’t get dragged in to the “blame game” they like to dish out. You’ve got to get some distance between you and him. You see it’s the “distance” that helps heel you and gives you the time and space to regain your confidence. Slowly but surely you will start to love yourself again but it will take time so don’t expect to be back to “you” again for at least a year or more. Just stay focused on your future and don’t look back. Let the anger go ( you are going to feel angry) and accept that he can’t and won’t change and it’s NOT YOU its’s him. PA’s do what they do because they don’t know how to do anything else and nothing you can do will save them from themselves. Please try to let go of the past, yes learn from it but don’t let the person that has made your life so unhappy for so long have a negative impact on your future. YOU are in control now and YOU CAN and WILL move on from this emotionally and practically. I can promise that if you stay true to you, keep your distance from the PA and focus on the future you will look back in a couple of years and think….I DID IT!! YIPPEE!!
    Good luck and sending you positive vibes.

    • Thank you, Arborgreen and Andrea.
      Logically I realize it all but emotionally it`s hard because he doesn`t make it easy. Whenever he realizes what he has done to me and kids (or maybe exhibits potential glipmse of conscience) or whenever he has hard times with his new (soon to be ex and one of many) woman (baby mama), he reaches out to me and then it goes again (sms, constant calls, harassment, bribes with gifts, etc.). He manipulates with me, does the blame shifting, gaslighting, etc. I`m just tired of it all. It`s a little too late to be honest, I don`t believe that he is genuine. He just does it so he does not have to pay support payments (like he once said to me by mistake). After all that he has done, I don`t believe any moral motivation coming from him, except the material gains and he has proved it. Recently he has started to harass me because I maintain NO CONTACT and because I have shown him that I have moved on. He goes crazy. His new girlfriend harasses me too which I have addressed with my lawyer. It seems like after all, he is the one who has hard time of letting me go, but his girlfirend just revenges me for God knows what reason (even though I have never contacted her, never spoken to her, etc.). Maybe it is because after we separated he told his soon to be ex-girlfriend a bunch of lies about me and because he conceived a child with her while under influence (like he disclosed to me on the phone conversation stating that he never wanted a child with her and it was an “accident”, etc,). I don`t know and I really don`t care about their dynamics. I want to live a happy life, “ex free” so to say (except his visitations of our kids). I just want him to leave me alone and let me live my life like I asked him on numerous occasions. He even violates court orders. I`m just tired to “fight” with him. Lawyers cost an arm and a leg. I want to be me without his shadow creeping around. He makes it hard for me to have a decent life.
      Anyone has any ideas because NO CONTACT does not seem to help and courts either (he is a cop, so he knows how to work the system)? I collected as much evidence as I could against him but he is smart by exhibiting his harassment in covert ways,( e.g., calling from blocked (private/unknown number, etc.)?

  81. […] that you can’t work anymore and he’s the bread winner. He feels “put upon.” You confront him about the no sex. He looks at you like a deer in headlights. You ask repeatedly wha…If it wasn’t for your kids you’d want to die. You can’t work anymore and now you […]

  82. Having been “best” friends for 10 years before getting involved, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I fell in love with my friend, all I’d ever wanted.

    Once we went ahead and decided to finally dive in and take it to the next level for which both of us felt desire and ready, he wooed & courted & pursued me like any woman would appreciate. I was his princess, and he was my knight. He couldn’t keep his hands off of me to save his life, both sexually and romantically… till about two months after we consummated our relationship, when I made the “mistake” of initiating sex with him. Suddenly he was “too tired” for it. That was the beginning of the end of his desire for me.

    Literally our first night in our home together, he was “too tired” to even simply cuddle, much less make love… but he wasn’t too tired to watch two entire “Family Guy” DVDs, right next to me (knowing full well how much I HATE that show), completely ignoring my presence next to him in our bed. I was crushed.

    I was “lucky” to get laid once every few weeks from the day we moved in together… and HE was the one who had pursued cohabiting. The more I wanted it, the less I got. I honestly cannot recall ever having had sex with him when I initiated. It always has to be HIS idea, on HIS terms.

    I am chronically ill, have been at least since I was 2 years old, so this has never been a surprise to him. In 2006, I ended up 100% bedridden from constant pancreatitis for almost a year. One day, moments after yet another severe pancreatic attack subsided barely enough for me to breathe without extreme effort, he coldly & childishly blurted to me, “I want to have a sex life.” (Yeah, good timing, babe!) My reply was, “So do I, but you only seem to want it when I am in severe pain. How about broaching the subject when I am not in a fetal position, too disabled to even cry about the pain?” Of course that didn’t happen.

    Five years ago, he was deployed to Iraq. When he came home a year later, he withheld sex and affection more than ever. I am now “lucky” to get sex more than once every four months! The most recent brief encounter was after a five month drought! His excuse is still “too tired” and then he added that he had “lost his libido”… and of course *I* was to blame, because he had had sex so infrequently that he simply came to need or want it less. WTF?! HE turned ME down constantly, and he had the nerve to suggest it was MY fault that we had an asexual relationship?!

    So I came on to him frequently, seducing him in ways that no man before him had ever been able to resist… to no avail, of course. All it got me was more horny, more attention starved, more insecure, and DAMN PISSED OFF!

    We rarely kiss, aside from chaste smooches that are less affectionate (forget romantic or sexy) than a platonic friend would give. When I try to kiss him intimately, he feigns ignorance and doesn’t respond. (He does the same thing when I attempt to initiate sex. One would think he is clueless, yet he is an intelligent and observant man.) But once in a blue moon, literally at best once every few months, he will suddenly decide out of fhe blue to passionately kiss me, so agressively that it borders forceful… and then he sits back, grins at me, self-satisfied, and will say things like, “What do you think of THAT?” as if I am supposed to fall to my knees and grovel at his feet for the GIFT he just bestowed upon me… oh, look, he tossed me a crumb! Then he goes right back to whatever TV show or video he is watching, and I am once again right next to him yet all alone.

    To be honest, sex with him has never been good, not even satisfactory. In 8 years together, I have had ONE orgasm with him. That was the night before he left for Iraq, and it was 100% an orgasm derived from the intense emotion I was feeling about his leaving and heading straight for danger. I have come close a few other times, but not close enough. He is the poster example for premature ejaculation (which I have read several times is typical of PA), and I cannot display any hint of the slightest pleasureor he will “lose it” and then it is done for several more months. Anyone who has had to hide whatever pleasure she is feeling in order to delay her partner’s orgasm just a moment longer knows what a turn-off that is!

    The other reason for lack of orgasm all these years is because he simply does not have a clue about a woman’s body, though he of course thinks he does. This is not for lack of me showing him not just what I don’t like, but also showing him what I do like. I had teenage fumblings that were more pleasurable than encounters with him, and we are 42 & 45… far from clumsy teenagers! I long ago gave up trying to get him to do what I like; I can’t even get him to pay attention to touches that hurt me, much less turn me off! (He isn’t sadistic or intentionally inflicting pain on me; I am hypersensitive, and he is clumsy with no attention span.)

    And EVERY time we actually do have sex, he ALWAYS has to ask the same old, “So, did you?” I end up lying to him (boy, have I ever gotten SO good at faking it!), because if I tell him no, he immediately gets all pouty, carries on about it, and makes it HIS problem… “Oh, poor me, I failed to please you! I am not a sex god after all! I am so wounded!” My orgasms, and lack thereof, are all about HIM. It feels like I need to have orgams to make HIM feel good. ME feeling good just isn’t an issue, so long as HE feels good.

    Whenever we DO have sex, it is for his ego, pure and simple.

    So why do I even want a sex life with him? Because I am a very sexual being, I am in a committed relationship, getting it elsewhere is not who or what I am, do where else would I turn?

    Mind you, I am in severe, unrelenting pain from head to toe every moment of my life and am constantly exhausted because of all the pain, and yet *I* am the one who wants sex, and HE is the one who is “too tired” for it. Once, about 2 years ago, I ended up crying from the frustration and rejection, and suddenly he was all over me. PITY SEX. Sure, I know that I could turn on the tears and it would result in sex like that night, but I would rather never have sex again as long as I live than to have sex given to me out of pity or obligation. I want, and need, to be WANTED. I will not be anyone’s charity case!

    To add insult to injury, he will cuddle and pet our dogs extensively, while giving me brief hugs that are less affectionate than acquaintances give each other nowadays. He constantly gives me promises of snuggling, and he constantly reneges. But the dogs get his fervent affection, right next to me IN OUR BED. I never thought I would ever be jealous of my DOGS!!!

    He is a good provider, a hard worker, empathetic to my health issues, intelligent, talented, funny, still my best friend, and I know he does love me… but he is also a classic PA, both in and out of the bedroom. I have left much better romantic relationships for less neglect than I have ever had with him.

    I can honestly say that part of the reason I stay is because I am disabled from autoimmune disease, with nothing but SSI income, no family able or willing to help me in day-to-day living… the one thing he is most often attentive about.

    I know that I COULD play the I Am I So Much Pain Card, and I could get fairly frequent Sympathy Lays from him… but I am not that kind of person (i.e., manipulative), nor do I want sympathy sex. As a matter of fact, I wear my mask most of the time, smiling when I want to cry and moan about the pain, because I don’t like being a downer to anyone… and also because I am tired of his other excuse for no sex: “I don’t want to hurt you,” even though I have told him literally countless times that sex *helps* my pain! (Even BAD sex helps relieve some of the pain, thanks to altered state of mind and the natural pain-relieving chemicals our brains release during even the slightest arrousal.)

    Plus, I am human, and need to feel the physical closeness that sex with a loved one provides. I need more than words. I need to be touched, caressed, to give and receive pleasure… I need to be SHOWN what I am told, more than three times a year!

    I get approached by men on a fairly regular basis, plenty of opportunities to get affection elsewhere, and I *always* turn it down. I do feel temptation, but I know that I wouldn’t be able to live myself if I were to cheat… never mind that HE had an affair 3 years ago (yep, he hadn’t “lost his libido” for his parawhore!), never mind that he has sought and eaten up attention from other women while completely oblivious to all the attention he could and would get from ME, the woman he loves, because my attention doesn’t seem to validate his existence like anyone else’s would! He has remained faithful since I found out about the affair… trust me, he now does nothing without my knowledge, and he *knows* that he got only one “do-over” (I told him when he begged me not to leave him, “This isn’t baseball; you only get one strike!”).

    Point being, I know logically that I am still desirable or I wouldn’t be approached by other men… yet I feel so very undesirable because the ONE man I want shows no carnal or romantic interest in me. And though he is faithful to me NOW, and though I know logically that the affair he had was due to HIS inadequacies and not mine (no one *made* him cheat, he made a conscious & deliberate choice), I still find myself trying to be MORE than I am in the hopes of him finally NOTICING me as a WOMAN again. Sick or not, I *am* woman enough for him or just about any other man, yet he has quite a knack for making me feel like I am LESS THAN… ignore someone enough, and she will feel nonexistant.

    I will never understand how someone can love you so much, and simultaneously treat you like you are the enemy. My childhood was more rotten and traumatizing than his was (though very similar dynamics and types of abuse), but I don’t punish him for my parents’ screw-ups! We are supposed to be each other’s sanctuaries, not emotional punching bags!

    I long ago gave up trying to “fix” him. Rather, the longer I live like this, the more apathetic I become, and the less romantic I feel toward him. I have become resigned to this so-called life. I am truly content most of he time with our friendly companionship, and I am thankful for his willingness and even desire to help make my physical condition more bearable… but what I truly want from him he deprives me of: an intimate relationship with an emotionally available man. And my resentment and apathy are just as strong as any content I feel with him. I have been becoming more and more withdrawn; more and more like him. And the more I instnctively I shut down, he eventually suddenly notices and “throws me a bone” so that HE can feel wanted… then, as soon as he gets his, it’s immediately back to the same old routine for another four or five months.

    The glass slipper fit, and then it broke.

    (This is why I never comment to this blog… because I have so much pent up inside me, I go on a long tangent when I finally do comment! There are no support groups nearby, my only friend that bothered to visit me died three years ago, and all of my other “friends” are really his friends whom I barely know. Disability, especially when housebound, makes it difficult, nearly impossible, to make and retain friendships. And even browing the ‘net and typing can be painful and exhausting. So I have no outlet.)

    Oh yeah, top all the withholding of sex with the fact that my pain medication is a *potent* aphrodisiac, and I have to medicate several times a day… and then lie in bed next to a man who doesn’t care about sex! AAAAAAARRRRRRRGG!!!

    • Wow, lots of typos in my post! lol

      But I feel some release after finally saying “out loud” what I have been silently suffering! Thank you for this Safe Haven!

  83. Um. I’m a female in a relationship with (yet another) PA male. reading this thread makes me see all the parallels, but I wonder if anyone out there has any experience using gender expression as a tool to flip the script of the female/mother stimulus.

    I’ve been like this for a while, where all my life I never got rewarded for being a woman, I got shamed about clothes and makeup from all directions. I’ll do anything to stop feeling ashamed about myself.

    coming up, I dove into gender experimentation, but my desires to transition were thwarted by finances, and then bigger life experiences came in and overruled everything.

    my life is stable now and I’m with this man who i love overmuch and see it all playing out just like the patterns with these other women. I’ve lost weight. been trying to spice things up. bettered some techniques. I’ve pretty much got it all on the line from me…and he’s giving just his 40%

    the thing I wonder is: If I come out to him for identifying sexually receptive male, would that change things at all? He’s been batting equality philosophy around with his newsfeed, i think partly because I’m “bi” but really I feel like dresses and jewlery and stuff is just a put-on and It doesn’t feel real to me.

    I’m perfectly willing to butch it up and call me Sam, if you know what I mean, I’m perfectly willing to step out of embodying the “mother.”

    any thoughts?

  84. Jeez, is sex all you ladies think about? Don’t you know how that makes men feel? We feel like objects, and that you only want us for our bodies. I don’t like being used for your physical pleasure. Has it ever occured to you that I might be tired after working all day, taking care of the kids, doing all the housework, yardwork, cooking and laundry? You contribute nothing to this family, and then you demand sex from me. Who do you think you are? Just go get a vibrator and leave me alone.

  85. This article is almost verbatim my marriage. I have been married 19 years, together 22 years. I have tried to tell myself to stay until all my kids have left the home. My youngest, and smartest, is 14. I should have left long ago, I see now. But the stress has made me ill. I have Lupus, with Rhumatoid Arthritis. I can no longer work, and I am declining more and more. My husband, for over a decade, does not initiate sex. I am an ex model. I have been a professional horse trainer, cyclist, athletic. I’m 5ft. 10in. Blonde hair, green, hazel eyes. My point, I know I am attractive. Yet, now, I am sick, sullen, withdrawn. I have no friends, I am isolated, feel ugly. When I do try to stand my ground, it costs me dearly. Once, we did not speak for almost 2 years, because I resolved that I would NOT be the one to “fix” things, which I had not started to begin with. I told myself over a decade and a half ago, that I had to face facts that it was my responsibility and my lot in life, to initiate our sex life. However, about 5 or more years ago, he became more and more impotent. I urged him to get medication, but he became angry and said he didn’t want to get ill from the meds. I tried to demand therapy, but he lied so terribly during sessions, it scared me. He has threatened me so much over the years, that I am now one who needs a rescuer. I am weak, but yet, I used to be so strong, so happy, so funny. People used to say I was the nicest person they knew. I have no money, im not allowed to go to the grocery store… about all I can do is stay alive and here to intercede and erupt to protect my youngest daughter. I have 3 children. My oldest, 23 year old daughter, has flown the coop (barely intact), my son, now 17, has fairly been left alone by my husband, and my youngest daughter, 14 years old, and the most intelligent. She is 153 iq level; yes, genius. I have made my life mission to be here at all times to protect her, come what may. When they both have left home, I have told myself, then I may leave. What was I thinking, one may ask? I don’t know anymore. But im weak, and I need help. Please tell me something. Beth Bird-DeLaRue, my name on Facebook. 352-206-4739. Thanks.

    • ❤ heart goes out to you hun. I would say hi on facebook but I avoided it as I saw so many others having issues. I have posted on here as unhappy guy , paul.
      email whitepaulnicky@yahoo.com
      Eveyone on the planet deserves love and affection , your kids know your great , strength can come from within. Paul .

    • Hi Beth, I’m so sorry to hear all you’re going through. It’s so hard when we are up-to-snuff,. but when we are down health-wise, it’s really tough.

      I am curious. What do you mean you’re “not allowed to go to the grocery store”? Are you “allowed” to go anywhere? And do you have the ability without him?

      I would say you need to get a support system right away. Old friends, family, church, any therapist that you actually thought was good. Going through all this alone is going to take an even bigger toll on your health. It’s time to pull whatever strength you do have to make life better for you and your daughter. I know that’s easier said than done, but so is protecting her, I’m sure.

      Good luck and I will keep you in my prayers for healing and help.

  86. wow… sadly I do not have time to write anything more than THANKYOU.. so many folks here mentioning 5 yrs , 8 yrs etc.. try 24 yrs of sex being used as a weapon only to be told , eventualy , “I didn’t feel loved ” ….ie my fault. Sorry to be brief but I am actualy crying now… thought I had run out of tears but hey !. I have tried to do everything asked … and still no change. “Things will improve and get back to normal when ….” I have heard every excuse , been out talked for years and I am convinced , now , it has been done on purpose.
    I will post properly at a later point but .Thanks for all your inputs
    Unhappy guy 😦

    • Paul- Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately passive aggressive is not restricted to just one gender.

      • never really been on blogs much so not sure how to initiate a new post without hitting reply? as with the rest of you, I am with a PA. Together 12+ years, married 9. classic so very much like the rest of you, similar stories. in the past i have looked up the passive aggressive thing but did not think in the couple of small things i looked at it fit. today i have had it for the umpteenth millionth time at this awful barren relationship and looked further and longer and eventually came on this site. i have spent all day reading this page and posts and others before this page and he is classic. i never knew withholding sex was PART of a passive aggressive and withholding ANYTHING he thinks i need or want is what he does. so sorry to all of you as we all know what it is like to live in this lack of intimacy and more. i am wife number 3 and i now believe i know why. also believe he cheats and always has and some of you who don’t think your PAs do, are you SURE? it being all about insecure egos etc. i don’t want to dump at this point–i have not quite come to where i cannot care yet but am at point i know it will not change and it is time to get to that point of building a wall to protect . i lost both my brothers in the past year and he used the pain i was in to make sure i felt totally isolated, i have to date had no chance to grieve with anyone or be even hugged. i am in real need of someone to talk to and while i will stay connected on here too, if anyone is willing to talk one on one, i would appreciate it and i need that i feel. and i am a good listener and support in return as i suspect most of us who have lived with PAs are lol. one thing i did not see mentioned too much that i want to ask is: mine is like my enemy and everything is like a competition to him and he has to be over me, i do see that on here, but with regard to pets–he has to be preferred by the pets to me, it is like nothing is shared or both can’t love them or be loved evenly by the pets. it drives me crazy. and if a pet actually prefers me, which until now it has been the other way as he will do anything to win at it, it drives him crazy–i have two ducks just this year i got who love me and think i am mom. he tries to act normal about it but he does not like it, he has to have it just the opposite. i thought the bit we have talked about childhoods he had a good one probably better than mine in ways but his parents did divorce but he was out of school by that time and his mom died and i always got the impression they divorced and he lost her when he was a child but found out later not so. his mom died when he was maybe 30. since then his dad has died, mine did and now both my brothers. we have a lot of stress these past years but he was like this just like the rest of you say since right after we tied the knot, and somewhat before, and it has nothing to do with these issues as it appeared before such things.

        to add to what others have said, i endorse all of those who tell those of you who do not have children, are not married or have not moved in together, do NOT DO THOSE THINGS, LEAVE NOW. i know you love them, hope it will change and it is hard to leave even before marriage and kids but DO IT. go through the hurt now, don’t suffer the many more years and worse things to come and watching possibly children you don’t have yet then go through it as well.

        • Hi “married-to-a-55yrold-little-boy”- I am so sorry to hear about your losses and that you do not have the companionship to be able to comfortably share and grieve appropriately. Passive aggressives basically do not get emotionally attached, thus are not very good at showing empathy or anything else if it scratches below the surface. Even though his childhood may sound good, he may have missed the nurturing from his mother, even though she was there, which is
          what often causes passive aggressiveness.

          One thing you need to do is guard your child from becoming like his/her father. That is the one thing about staying with a passive aggressive when you have children. Many times they do pick up passive aggressive traits from the passive aggressive parent. Your child will need you to point out that relationships are supposed to be loving and supporting. As your child gets older, your husband will probably become more passive aggressive toward the child. They do pretty good while the child is too young to make any demands on them, but once they have any responsibilities for the child, often their attitude changes.

          You say about how your husband is about your pets. It reminded me of how my children’s father was about them. It was a constant competition on which parent the child loved most. Terrible. When my middle daughter took to me because I was home with her all the time, and because I’m her mother, he made sure the next child that came along was attached to him like life support.

          I would suggest getting involved in something you love, your church, anything to start making friends and a life for yourself outside of him. Unfortunately, they are notorious for cutting us off from family and friends.

  87. Hi All, I hope this blog is still active. I am in desperate need of venting and help.
    I have been married 16 years to a man who almost as soon as we got married and got home from the Honeymoon, has withheld affection, kissing, and sex from me. We were in our mid forties when we married and kids were out of the house. I thought that since no kids were in the home, we’d be making love all the time….HA! Jokes on me.
    Soon after the honeymoon I find out he’s heavily involved in internet Porn and masturbates rather than have sex with me. He promises it won’t happen again….right, again joke is on me.
    Fast forward to today, We have gone to several counselors. His counselor labels him a co-dependent. He attends 12 step meeting for his porn addiction for about 6 months and stops saying he doesn’t need them anymore. He insists he doesn’t dabble in Porn…not sure if it’s true. He only has sex w/me every 2 or 3 weeks and only after he knows I’m upset about the lack of intimacy. All he does is watch TV. He rarely spends any quality time with me, and usually only when I say something. He would be content to watch TV the rest of his life and barely talk to me. I have asked sooooo many times for him to please kiss me, I mean really kiss me, not just a peck. I want to neck (is that a phrase anymore), I love passionate kissing, He says he doesn’t like to kiss, only when we have sex… I took the counselors advice about 2 months ago and tried “necking” with him on the sofa….the bastard FELL ASLEEP! I was so insulted! He doesn’t have a hard job, he’s very sedentary, so he isn’t worn out from work. He does this odd thing in the morning when I’m getting ready for work. He comes and gives my a nice kiss and hug and things can get a bit hot and then it stops because we have to go to work, but he will NOT do it in the evening when we could actually do anything, He won’t do that on the weekends either, I think because he knows it would lead to sex. I think he does it only on the days we’re going to work because he knows it cannot lead any where. But when I mention that he never kisses me, he points to these morning kisses and says I’m wrong to say that….
    He is very PA and not sure if he does it on purpose or not. He used to be aggressive too and insisted he take Anger Mngmt and he did. It’s helped. He says he’s afraid to speak his mind, but I don’t buy it, because he’s been quite aggressive in the past and can yell about things.
    Another weird thing is that when we go out with friends he’s happy, very talkative, laughs, life of the party type, etc. Everyone thinks he’s just the nicest guy, but when he’s at home he is quiet and no laughter, he’s like 2 different people. No one would believe if I tell that he’s not like Mr. Friendly at home. He’s not mean to me most of the time and a good provider, we are just good friends and not much more.
    Over the years I have begged, cried, pleaded, yelled, threatened to leave, had him move out….etc. But he thinks everything is fine and that I expect too much. He’s quite happy! I am miserable and am heart broken. It’s gotten to the point where I have asked him to move into the guest room and I can’t talk to him anymore….I must becoming PA too. I feel like I hate him and all I would have to say is hateful, hurtful things. I feel so stuck at 56 I and am not in a financial position to leave and support myself.
    Thanks for listening.

  88. OK, as a self recognized PA male. More like told that I’m PA I would call how I feel as a mental disorder. I…. Don’t mean to be this way to people around me in any way. I’ve come to the point that I should be alone and not express/expose myself. I don’t know how to be what other people think of me. I had a mother that was very aggressive towards me, and I was not allowed to converse back. And now I find myself without the ability to express myself or argue with people. I am PA and this is not accepted as a mental disorder. What’s funny/sad (PA) to me is that I understand how other people feel because I don’t like dealing with people that are PA. Sexually.. I would like to be allot more sexually aggressive with my wife but I have been shot down with so many rules and corrections that I don’t know what is right or wrong anymore. My wife of 13 years is still very attractive to me but I find myself shivering with the anxiety with the thought shear though of being pushed away that I can’t even initiate sexual contact anymore. Even though she never does.
    I hope more than anything that she doesn’t leave me, but shrinks and pills haven’t helped. According to most of the posts she should leave for the betterment herself and our family.

    Non physical neurotic Passive Aggressive Guy

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