How Long Does It Take A Passive Aggressive…

Oh Boy

Oh Boy!

To give in? This is kind of like “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one but the lightbulb has to really want to change”. LOL.

The passive aggressive BF and I have little rituals that have been going on since we first started seeing each other and then living together over 10 years ago. I’m sure many of you do also. We never leave the house without giving the other one a kiss good-bye. We never hang up the phone without saying “I love you”, etc.  At least that’s how it usually is.

As you know when the passive aggressive is upset with you about something they have their little subtle ways of letting us know without coming right out and discussing it. My passive aggressive boyfriend starts barely kissing me when we kiss goodbye. This is so lite, any lighter you wouldn’t even be touching lips. That’s usually my first clue. I’ve decided over the last year or so when that happens, I don’t need a kiss at all, so I quit. I don’t have the energy for that crap anymore. It doesn’t take him too long to get the clue that I’m not into that game, and he comes looking for the kiss goodbye, and starts putting some feeling back in it.

Also as many of you know who have been reading here for awhile, it’s been a long time (really long time) since there’s been any intimacy between us. That’s right. Absolutely no sex. So I decided I could live without that too. I don’t know if it’s because I’m post menopausal, although to tell you the truth I think it’s more because women need an emotional connection most of the time to have sex, and if you’re with a passive aggressive partner or spouse, this element tends to be lacking, which is our case.  I started emotionally backing away from him a few years ago out of self-defense. I find things don’t bother me so badly that way.

I don’t know what happened and I don’t pretend to know what caused it, but the passive aggressive boyfriend ‘caved’. That’s right. I can’t believe it!

It started a couple of days ago when we were on the phone. I was getting ready to hang up, said the usual goodbyes, and he rushes in this fast “I love you”. I told him I loved him too.

Then last night as he was getting ready to go to the store, I was sitting at my desk and he came over and kissed me goodbye. He really kissed me. I was shocked to say the least. I always try to reward him when he does something I like with a “thank you” or “that was really nice”.  You know, kind of like you reward a child for good behavior to encourage that kind of behavior in the future. All these years I haven’t been so sure it’s taken, but I keep doing it anyways. I think because I never want him saying he doesn’t do something because I reject him or don’t respond well. That’s the usual excuse. He says the reason he doesn’t reach out for me is because he was rejected and called an animal in the past. Personally I think that’s a lot of BS and just a lame excuse, but who knows?

And then comes the “piece de resistance”. He’s actually been sort of cuddling me at night for about a week. According to him the part he didn’t like when we were sleeping apart for the months in the motel was not being able to feel at least my feet touching him. Yet when we moved into our new place it seemed like he was very careful to stay way over on the edge of his side of the bed. When I mentioned it he said he had actually cuddled with me most of the night. I told him he was full of it because when he touches me I usually jump and it wakes me up. Last night after we went to bed, we both woke up about the same time an hour or so later and he starts rubbing my back, etc. Last night for the first time in at least a few years, he actually initiated love-making! Like I said, I don’t know what brought it on, and considering what’s happened over the last week it’s taken him that long to go ahead and give it a shot, but I certainly hope that wasn’t enough to last another few years or so. LOL. I guess we’ll see.


11 Responses

  1. Lauri, this is one of your absolute best! Not only is it terrific news that something positive has happened for you but it gives the rest of us reason to hope. That’s like a drink to water to someone stranded in the desert. Now if only you could figure out what triggered this change in him. I know you van do it and then you can write that book and land a huge book deal with Simon&Shuster. I’m so happy for you. You deserve all the love he can possibly resurrect.

  2. Unfortunately, the reason he became more emotionally bonded to you is because you became emotionally unavailable. I notice thats what attracts my passive aggressive bf back to me. Once you become emotionally available again he will be back to the usual passive aggressive behavior. Good luck with this crazy-making cycle. Its probably best to just cut your losses and move on with someone who you can have a healthy life with not manipulative one.

    • Valencia- Thanks for your comment and your probably very wise advice. You’re right as far as him backing off again. He started to get back on the kick of just saying ‘good bye’ at the end of the phone calls, but he caught himself, so at least that much he’s aware of.

      I probably would move on except I’m “comfortable” here for now. I’ve been with him long enough that it doesn’t make or break me if he withholds from me anymore like it used to. I have other things going on as far as work etc., so I’m not really looking for anything else. We’re pretty good friends and he’s a pretty good guy to just have someone else in the house, so I’ll probably stick it out. If I ever get caught up though and life is good again, the story might change. LOL. Then watch out all single, wealthy, emotionally available men. I might even be a cougar, who knows? LOL

      Thanks again, and please stop by anytime.

    • I almost totally agree with this. He is coming back to you because you have managed to pull away from him and that has crateda distance. A bit like the saying “treat them mean, keep them keen”. However, this is really hard to do and maintain, but I think if you manage to maintain this distance he will come back like a boomerang.

      This is his confort zone and you have got the distance exactly right. I tend to be clingy, overbearing or distant, in other words, I lack balance. This is because I was mentally abused and so have soft boundaries and this is something I am working on.

      However, on the rare occassion I manage to be the confiden, independent, assertive myself, I manage to create this distance with people, I am happy and so they are with me.

      This is hard for me to maintain though.

      I also think PAs attract naive, nice and giving people with low self esteem, in other words, people who will not be able to give them the kind of stability and independence they would ideally want in a partner.

      And I guess the independent, confident people are confident, partly because they do not allow anyone to drag them down and will get out of that dynamics early on.

      This is definitely an interesting post and it does give me hope, maybe not so much with my ex, but my life and finding balance in general.


  3. That is such great news. You know it seems that passive aggressive behavior is a manipulative type of behavior and that maybe you just have to out manipulate the manipulator. My son came home last weekend and we actually had our day shopping. He moved back home with his Dad when his roommates relocated into a dangerous neighborhood. I can tell it is kind of stressful because my husband is such a disorganized pack rat. This is one of the reasons why I felt I had to leave.I was so overwhelmed by the inability to organize his life and his dependence on me to do it. I told my son to just bring boxes of things to me and I will go through them and get rid of them. He liked that idea a lot. We had a great visit and his brothers were at home and he enjoyed them. We talked about returning to school. I think it is a little overwhelming trying to figure out how to get back in since he made such bad grades and he is interested in transferring. I told him whatever he wanted to do I would support. I am hopeful. I hope that the stress of your situation is easing and maybe your boyfriend is relaxing as well. I know relationships are up and down so hopefully you are entering into the upside.

    • Hi PA’s Mom- So happy to hear from you again. It sounds like things are going well. Really a grown up choice your son made not to go with his friends into a bad area. I can’t get over how well your son is doing and how wonderful it must be for you that all your children are getting along so great! It’s also very good that your son wants to go back to school even if he did get bad grades the first time around. Maybe, like my son he would do better in less traditional classes. My son, even though they have to take some general ed requirements, is really excited about getting certified to do heating and air conditioning through the city college down there. It’s the first time in his life I’ve heard him have a plan and be excited about it. He figures it will only take him a year and a half and then he’ll have a lifetime career. I had to pull him by the teeth to get him to graduate from high school, but I think with having all this to look forward to, if he can keep his “eye on the prize” he’ll do well. Also the school he’s going to is pretty small so it’s not so overwhelming as it can be. What is your son interested in? It’s good that he knows, and that you’ve let him know that just because he got bad grades the first time taking a stab at it, doesn’t mean he’s damned for life. You’re a good mom, PA’s Mom. It’s been so wonderful watching your relationship with your son progress. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      How are you doing since the kids are all gone? You don’t sound too down in the dumps. LOL

  4. Thanks for the encouraging words. Again, if I hadn’t found your website, I would not have had a clue as to how to work with and relate to my son. (And I have always felt myself to have had insight into what makes people tick.) I just didn’t understand passive agressive behavior. It is very bewildering. My house has been pretty much of a revolving door with kids in and out so I haven’t had much chance of experiencing the down side of the empty nest. I will let you know when it’s really crunch time. I hope you are enjoying your new home. It sounds like you have a handle on all the PAs in your life. In thinking about it, understanding PA behavior was the greatest stress reliever in my life when it came to my son. I am a fix the problem kind of person and the God awful truth about PAs is the more your try and help them the worse they become. Dealing with a PA is really a hands-off process. The quicker I left him alone the more progress he made. But that is so different from living in a relationship. I just don’t know about that one. I obviously didn’t handle that one well. But as you know, as I look back, I could see I had a lot of need for control in my life due to lack of certainty and security that I experienced early in life. I matched up with someone who was more than willing to let me make the major decisions, organize vacations, organize the house, do the housework, manage the kids, and just organize our lives in general. I was very tired of carrying the load. I was tired of the complaints against what was wrong with his job, what was wrong with his boss, what was wrong with the motor vehicle devision, the grocery store, etc. And I was amazed at the amount of time and energy he devoted to all the rantings. Just don’t shop there, change jobs, etc. I would say. But no action. At one small point in time I thought it would benefit my son if we reconciled. That was about a year ago. I knew it wouldn’t work within a short period of time when we spent some time together. I realized I didn’t have any love for him and really only anger which I can’t really figure out why. Maybe I will understand that in time. When my daughter married it was the most uncomfortable time I had experienced. I wanted to be so far from him I could hardly enjoy myself. I wanted him to be quiet when he toasted the couple because he sounded like an idiot. He has let his appearance go and he is an embarrassment. And then I feel guilty because I didn’t keep him up. But I was tired of telling him what to wear, etc. I hope people understand. At my stage of life, I just can’t keep up with anyone who should be able to see after himself.

    • Hi PA’s Mom- I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, but still trying to get my office organized, etc. I am such a mess. LOL.

      First off, you are not his mother. Don’t feel bad that you didn’t “teach him more better” about his appearance, etc. He’s a grown man and you are absolutely correct in it’s not your job to “dress him properly” or anything else. You are also right in the fact that you’ve grown your children. It’s like my sister that refuses to babysit. She feels she did her job, now it’s her kids turn. If she would like to have the grandchildren she will, but don’t depend on her if you want a night out or anything else unless she wants to.

      He’s obviously going through a self-esteem issue and probably a little mid-life depression. You might suggest he talk to his doctor about mood elevators, but what he’s going through was around way before you. You are not responsible and you need to work on not beating yourself up because he’s let himself go to hell. There again, they can be very conniving, especially if he knows how picky you were concerning his appearance. It wouldn’t surprise me if he dressed, etc. , like he did as a manipulative gesture to get you back, to see how “bad” he’s doing without you. Think about it. Nothing else has worked.

      You’re ok, Sweetheart. It’s just a little different day and a little different tactic. You cannot save the world, so save yourself and those that you can. I’m so glad things are working out with your son. I appreciate the input. Like you said, the more attention you pay to them the worse they get. That’s because that is exactly what they are looking for. All it ends up doing is reinforcing the behavior.

      Glad to hear you doing so well. Once again, thank you for the compliment, but it’s you who made the difference. Congratulate yourself on how smart you are!
      Love ya

  5. i know this is kind of old but i just want to let you know, i kinna did the same thing with my boyfriend. we’ve been together for over a year now.. we’re still kind of young. im 18 and hes 20.

    i noticed his passive-aggressive behavior QUICKLY. within 2 weeks of our relationship he was pulling that stuff on me. for a LONG time, i was confused.. always fighting, blaming myself. he made me feel guilty all the time and for the longest time in our realtionship, i focused on changing MYSELF. then, i realized it was bull. once i started to figure out his intentions, i stopped blaming myself and started looking at HIM for our problems. thats when i slowly stopped playing his game. when he ignored me, i ignored him back. when he would ‘joke’ around with me, i would ‘joke’ back (his most OBVIOUS passive-aggressive sign is when he makes jokes about a situation. if i talk about a guy from work, he’ll say “have you slept with him yet?” “why are you late from work? did you chat with your boyfriend??” in a sarcastic tone. so in my defense, i would ‘joke’ back and say “yeah, you know, me and him have plans after work tomorow” in a more sarcastic tone.)

    when we would fight, he would disappear for days.. and i’d be calling him constantly begging him to come see me and he would always say “no, im mad at you. its your fault, you shouldnt have argued with me!”
    so now whenever we fight, i disappear and wait for HIM to call ME and he realizes this so he usually calls me within a day to apologize and fix things.

    i broke up with him for 2 weeks and i think that was the kicker for him to change. he expected me to come back to him within 3 days (he texted me saying “did you break up with me?? okay, ill give it a few days”) but i held my guard and told myself that if he didnt come up with some helluva good speech for me to take him back within a MONTH, i was gonna give up on him. within two weeks, he had called me and gave a DAMN good speech.

    i was still kind of ‘iffy’ if i should take him back but i decided this would be the last chance. so far, its been about 5 months and hes seriously CHANGED. idk what it is.. he hasnt gone back to his ‘old ways’ yet. im still waiting for it, though, but i know ill be ready.
    he wants to play games? i know the rules and i know ill always win 🙂

    my passive-aggressive boyfriend is someone i dont think i can live without. he drives me crazy yet, hes my best friend and i know he’ll make the right decisions.

    and i found out later on.. the reason he started being that way towards me quickly in our realtionship is because i had just gotten out of a long-distance relationship with someone else that i had been with for 2 1/2 years. my boyfriend knew my ex would be moving back here so he thought that as soon as my ex came back, i’d leave him and go running back to him. i NEVER knew he thought that way. he distanced himself from me on purpose because he didnt think i was serious about him. he NEVER told me until 7 months later and thats when it clicked. i realized he chilled out and stopped treating me SO bad when my ex DID come back and i never once spoke to him, about him, or anything. and thats when my current boyfriend, i believe, started to trust me and actually believe me when i would tell him i loved him and so and so.

    so thanks for reading my story 🙂 hope it helped.

    DONT PLAY THE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE GAME. TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. TREAT OTHERS THE WAY THEY TREAT YOU (so they can realize how much they’re hurting you and how much THEY dont like being treated that way) 😉

    • Michelle- Thank you so much for sharing with us. Sounds like you may actually have one of the few “exceptions to the rule”. Congratulations! Usually they don’t change unless they are just doing it temporarily to “reel you back in”. Usually a PA is so emotionally disconnected that if you went any time at all without paying attention to them, they just walk away.

      I sincerely wish you all the luck in the world. It sounds like you two may be back on track, aye? Hopefully the nasty jokes about co-workers, etc. will cease also. Anymore, anytime I see anyone who is extremely jealous, I have found it’s usually because they themselves are hiding something. With your guy maybe he was just feeling very insecure over your ex. Maybe he just didn’t know you well enough to realize how loyal you were. Looks like all is well now.

      Feel free to stop back by anytime and let us know how it’s going. Take care of yourself.

    • Well. I have tried to beat him at his game. but it became really intense and was dragging both of us down badly.

      What I should have done was distancing myself and letting HIM come to me but I was dragged down already by the time I’ve got to the point that I could actually read him and we had this PA fight to the point that I wanted to fight him instead of fixing it, so we have broken up.

      He hated it when I was PA with him and was asking me to stop doing it.
      I just kept doing it though, because at that point I just wanted to hurt him the way he hurt me.

      Good thing though I have learnt a lot from this. An awful lot!

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