Does your partner withhold sex and non-physical intimacy from you? Does your partner seem emotionally distant from you at times when it feels like you need them most? It could be that your partner is passive-aggressive. Check out this factoid to find out if passive aggressive tendencies are ruining your marriage or relationship.
You've just spent a whole day out and about, having a great time with your partner. You went out to eat for lunch and dinner, at two very nice restaraunts. You sang along to some music in the car (corny but romantic), and made sure to stop at your favorite shopping spot. You both spent a fair bit of money, though you didn't care. It was worth it to have fun for a day with your mate. Your partner seemed really happy about it too, which gave you the impression that the rest of the evening would be great too.
Then, after you've both settled down for a cozy movie on the couch, you make your move to get a little closer.... Only to find your hands pushed away and your partner seeming to quickly distance themselves from you physically. This isn't the first time this has happened, which only confuses and frustrates you even more then the first hundred times or more. So, being as emotionally unnerved as you are, you try to ask what's wrong. "Nothing" or "I'm watching the movie", is the answer you get. Excuses just like before. You give in and let your partner get back in the movie. Though you're mind is on more romantic matters, so you try to keep things going in the right direction.
You make them as comfortable as possible on the couch, then take the last bit of remaining room at the opposite end, and rub their feet for a while as the movie goes on. The movie moves towards the end, with most of the climactic scenes having fizzled. At which time, you try again to initiate some romantic gestures. This time you are met by the "I'm tired" or "I have to be up early" excuse.
If this scenario is remotely familiar, then there is really no need for me to continue the story. Again and again, these types of things happen. You spend a great day with your spouse, you both seem to be really feeling your obvious attraction to each other, then something happens right before any healthy couple would take the opportunity to enjoy passionate pleasures together. You end up frustrated and unsure of where to turn. If everything else in your relationship seems to be reasonable healthy, you'll be in even more of a difficult place, because aside from loving them, you two do work well together. That came bring up guilt issues, and make you wonder if you should even be complaining about such issues.
If you're in this situation, it might be helpful to know you are not alone. Many relationships experience intimacy issues. They can be small or large issues, that have gone on for months or years. The most important thing to know, is that your feelings MATTER. Just because everything else is great in your relationship, doesn't mean that you should sacrifice a part of what you love about your relationship with your partner. After all, a relationship without sex is called a friendship.
Since you're still reading along, I'll take that to mean that you're in or have been in a situation similar to the above scenario that leads to a serious lack of intimacy in your relationship (which can effect all levels of intimacy including non-physical). In which case, you should understand that the problem is not likely to be you. Sure, you've probably contributed to the issue out of times when you couldn't hold your frustration back, and it's true that you'll have to help be a part of the solution. Though that doesn't mean that you need to make over your personality, lifestyle or identity to make it happen. You're partner shouldn't have to do those things either, which is why, in a situation like this, focusing on behavoirs is the best solution.
Now, before we can really focus on behaviors, it's important to understand what is triggering these events. In basic terms, it's known as Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder, and guess what? You're partner probably has it. Now, a person can't always help being passive-aggressive, though they can work towards less passive-aggressive behaviors in their life by admitting there is a problem (which they rarely want to do) and then working on correcting behaviors that aren't beneficial to them or their relationship.
Though before you can get all gung ho about labeling your partner as "Passive Agressive", let's do a rewind and make sure that your mate matches the description of a Passive-Aggressive partner who is allowing their thought patterns and passive-aggressive behaviors to effect your relationship together.
Signs of a Partner who is Sexually Passive-Aggressive:
- Your relationship seems really good, aside from intimacy issues.
- You really don't fight to often, and neither of you critisize each other much, though it seems that your partner rarely compliments you, acknowledges your accomplishments or supports you emotionally, even if you've done all of the above for them.
- When you try to initiate any non-physical or physical intimacy, you are met with such excuses as "I'm tried", "I'm stressed out", "I don't feel good", "I have to be up early" or something similar.
- When you try to talk about your intimacy issues, your partner makes your feelings seem worthless, less valuable then more important problems or they completely ignore the problem.
- Regardless of how you may try to improve yourself or your own behaviors, nothing seems to help the lack of intimacy in your relationship.
- Regardless of how well or poor you met your partners needs (help them relax, clean the house more, give them more space, let them vent.. etc.. etc..), nothing seems to change the lack of intimacy in your relationship.
- When you give up and try to allow your partner time, sleep, space and relaxation to make the move, you just end up not having any sex for weeks, months or years at a time.
- You've felt so crazy that you've even spied on your partner to see if they're cheating, and you've confronted them about the possibility, yet there doesn't seem to be any evidence of them meeting their intimacy needs outside of the relationship.
- The rare occassions when you've gotten them to admit that you two have a serious lack of intimacy in the relationship, and that they need to be a part of the solution, they find a way to make the problem all yours, removing the blame and responsibility from themselves.
- When you ask why your partner rarely intiates physical intimacy with you, they use such excuses as "You were busy", "You're always busy", "I didn't want to wake you", "It was too early in the morning", "You looked so comfortable" or somthing similar.
There can be more signs, which all lead to the same conclusion. Though it's also important to understand, that these same symptoms could be a signal of a physical health problem or signs of depression. So don't tag anyone with any labels until you've done more research them just reading this factoid. That being said, the "signs" above, are the behaviors in question, that need to change. Though in order to get there, there are two things that need to happen:
- Your partner needs to admit that there is a large and important intimacy problem in the relationship, and that their behaviors are a big part of the problem.
- Your partner has to start to consciously recognize when they are passive-aggressively punishing you.
These steps are very important. If you're partner truly is passive-aggressive, even just a little bit, then the likelihood that they even truly realize that the problem you see is there, is high. They definitely see there are problems in the relationship, though the Passive-Aggressive Goggles rarely show reality, and it's likely that they are blowing their issues out of proportion. That isn't to say that their needs are any less important than your own, though when they use these passive-aggresive behaviors, regardless of any perceived positive intention, they are not loving unconditionally, and what they fail to realize is that their behavior will only bring about the fears that are truly at the root of their behaviors.
This is important for you to realize: Your partner probably does love you deeply. The issue isn't a lack of love, or even a lack of need for intimacy for that matter. The problem is that they have a deep-seated fear or insecurity that they aren't able to shake. So instead of dealing with the problem head on and finding a solution, they are going with what they feel is the safe route, blaming you. They think that blaming you is safer than recognizing their own issues, because you have loved them unconditionally. Put up with their quirks, gained and lost weight, give more - given less, etc... etc...
You've sought help to change your less valuable behaviors and done everything you can not to blame your partner or try to change them. You are the perfect refuge for your partners denial that their fears and insecurities are ruining your relationship. And if you never read an article like this one, or never figure out what the real problem is, the probability is that you will do the healthy thing and leave the relationship, which is a common fear that the passive agressive partner has - that you will abandon them. And when you do leave, they will just continue to blame you for the relationship going sour, because it's just one more way to admit they never had a problem in the first place.
Keep in mind, that even if your partner is the perfect peg, even if you have piles of evidence that shows they are passive-aggressive and that they are contributing to your intimacy problems the most. Even if you've been more compassionate about the problem then Mother Theresa, even if you've said it in the most non-offensive ways, they will still take a large offense to your suggestion that they have such a problem, that they are punishing you by withholding intimacy or that there is any reason for them to change.
So keeping that in mind, you have some choices ahead of you. You can either:
- Take a risk and leave the situation to find a healthier relationship
- You can decide that sex isn't really all that important, if the rest of the relationship is well enough off.
- You can do the bold and courageous thing, and try to repair the issues in your relationship with your partner. Trying out such options as at-home exercises, couples councling, sex therapy, nlp or hypnotherapy.
Regardless of your choice, if you've been coinhabiting with a passive-aggressive partner who has been using their power to withhold intimacy to punish you for reasons they either can't or refuse to admit to, then you need to take some time to regain your sense of identity. Regardless of how confident or secure a person may be, we all feel the effects of being with a passive aggressive partner. Effects that can be carried on into attempts to fix the relationship or into future relationships. Make sure you have friends around, and don't be ashamed to share your problems with them or your family. If you don't have a "circle" of support, seek some individual counsling for yourself as well. Sexual problems in a relationship with someone you sincerely love, can effect you more than you think, and are more worth talking about then you think.
If you've read this factoid and would like someone to talk to, feel free to contact me.