Is Your Partner Being Passive Aggressive? Speak Up!

Passive aggressiveness sucks—even more so when it's coming from your significant other. Here's how to handle those brush offs and jokes at your expense (hint: don't take their daily dose of bullshit)

Dear Carolyn,


My wife and I have been married for about three years—well past the honeymoon period, but I'd like to think we're still a young, vibrant couple (I'm 38, she's 40). We're very busy. We both run successful businesses, but we also go out to dinner regularly, go on vacations, etc. We make a point to spend time together.


I've noticed over the past year, a change in the way she communicates with me. She'll answer the phone exasperated and ask me what I want, brush off my opinion even in front of others, and make jokes at my expense. It's always more frequent and noticeable when she's around her friends. It didn't bother me at first—seemed we were just more used to one another—but now our marriage feels more like a sitcom than a relationship. I'm a guy, so I don't want to sound overly sensitive. Any advice? 




Hi Warren,


Dude, it sure doesn’t sound like you’re not being overly sensitive. It sounds like your wife is slinging you under the bus every chance she gets. What you’re describing seems passive aggressive and disrespectful and I can tell you that in a marriage, that’s not okay.


It sounds to me like your wife is really angry about something. You can’t fix that for her, but you can inquire as to her wellbeing before clearly stating what you’re not willing to put up with. You don’t sound too bitter yet, but trust me, you will be if you allow this behavior to continue. You’ll get surly and your anger will likely erupt in some inappropriate way—that’s just what happens when you quietly gobble up a daily dose of bullshit. You’ve got to say what is so, man. And if you can’t, then find a good therapist to help you find your voice. Find your voice—that’s such a predictable thing for a therapist to say, but it’s just the truth. Good luck and happy hunting.