Identify him and run for the hills.
Who are passive-aggressive men? These are the types of men who avoid responsibility and conflict through passivity and withdrawal. They are the “Nice Guys” who reel you in with their adoration, and once you're in the game, they turn the tables so quickly your head will swim until you decide to take a hike.
In our own relationships, we can also fall victim to controlling behavior like this. But instead of wondering if you're caught in this situation, here are a few signs to easily identify passive-aggressive men.
1. He says one thing but means another.
Sure, he wants to go to a movie. He even appears to enjoy himself, until later that night when he rejects you sexually. You see, he didn’t want to go to a movie but his passivity wouldn't allow him to own it.
His fear of conflict means punishing you in covert ways for something you “made” him do. What better way to punish than withhold something he knows you want?
2. He has a huge fear of conflict.
He will do anything to keep from arguing with you. He's been taught that anger is unacceptable. Well, expressing anger in an open, honest way is unacceptable and not something you will get from this guy.
What you will get is a relationship with a man who avoids solving problems, avoids taking responsibility for problems in the relationship, and avoids making an intimate connection with you.
3. He frequently plays the victim.
This poor guy can’t win for losing. He won't show for a dinner date, but finds it unreasonable that you're upset. He could have picked his cell phone up and called, but calling isn’t nearly as pleasurable as letting you sit and wait.
You waiting on him makes him angry, too. He gets to punish and blame you. He's a “good guy” who's the victim of an unreasonable woman who expects too much from him.
4. He's forgetful.
He forgets birthdays, anniversaries — anything important to you will be forgotten by him. My ex used to forget he needed something from me until the last minute. If there was a social event related to his work, I would get notice the day before.
I spent a lot of time running around trying to prepare for something in a few hours that would normally take days.
5. He's secretly afraid of you.
They want you but they don’t want to become attached to you. He's in a constant battle with himself to pursue and then distance himself.
According to Scott Wetlzer, author of Living With The Passive-Aggressive Man, the passive-aggressive man is “unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone. He fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn’t depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit."
You probably have a lot of anger toward passive-aggressive men you've been involved with. You just can’t figure out exactly what you're angry about. He's sweet, kind and loving. There must be something wrong with you; a good man would want to have sex with you, remember your birthday, put effort into solving the problems, or just show up on time every once in a while.
And that's the trap women fall into — they become responsible for all that's wrong in the relationship. He keeps you hanging by doing things for you that he doesn't want, never arguing, and being such a nice guy. All those puzzling behaviors send the opposite message.
That is why they call it “crazy-making” behavior. The passive-aggressive man is very good at appearing to be calm, cool and collected while you're going off the deep end. It isn’t his intent to frustrate, offend or cause you to feel guilty; he truly does only want to help.
The issue is that the kind of help he has to offer comes with a price. He has expectations he's unable to openly express, and when you don’t meet those expectations, you get resentment and punishment in return.
Divorced Women Online is an online magazine written by divorced women, for divorced women. Whatever stage women are at, DWO offers support, information, and expert advice every step of the way.