You are asking: if a husband is using passive-aggressive behaviors to control the relationship, is it possible that he would by himself, decide to leave?
This is a complex question...it assumes that there has been a long term situation, in which he behaved in his "normal way", the wife complained and asserted her needs, husband grew even more despondent and isolated...
At the end of this vicious circle, you are desperate for a solution...and watching how other people divorce, you ask: how this passive-aggressive man would leave this marriage?
I found three models of behavior:
A) I have the first example, that happened very near me: They just leave...They walk away, with no explanations, no try to fix the marriage, no plan for the future (how are we going to legally divorce? who is paying the mortgage until then, what to say to our friends? etc) Even when this person looked somewhat appreciative of having a shared connection and intimacy with you when the moment arrived, he loaded his belongings in a rented truck and left. He did not offer any explanation, any offer to shoulder the inevitable spoils of a broken marriage...nothing. Just renting a truck and leaving with his share of furniture, clothes, and tools. He probably felt like the victim of the marital failure, ("she never accepted him completely and kept accusing him of "chronic passive-aggressiveness") and had to lick his wounds returning to his childhood home and of course, TO HIS MOM!. For you, the left wife, this extreme cold shoulder is devastating...and in this way, he can inflict greater punishment on the woman who dared to challenge his passive-aggressive ways.
B) Another variable is the hostile breakup: Once they are notified that their wife files for divorce or moves out, they can explode in a cloud of anger...You are the bitch, the demanding wife never satisfied and always critical, that has to shoulder the whole responsibility for a relationship gone sour. Everything that is gone wrong is the wife's fault: even if he cheated, is because she somehow defaulted on giving him endless love and support, so she pushed him to look elsewhere for sex and attention. He is so frustrated and angry, that he will resist cooperating with the process of divorce. He will fight about each piece of furniture, each house trinket, in order to make the separation even more painful. You will have to decide that yes, you are the bad person, while you walk out empty-handed and imagine a better future without him.
C) Probably you could encounter the third variable: "The (fake) threat of moving out." When you notify him of your permanent distress in this marriage, he can offer to leave immediately. It looks like a great offer, right? finally, something will change! He is so sorry, he now understands how serious is your claim and wants to withdraw from your life. He will divorce if you want, just give him the list of changes you need. If answering his questions takes a lot of time, so be it...His purpose is to continue in your life, one way or another...Meanwhile, he delays moving out, or if he left to stay in transitory accommodations, he wants back in. If you wanted him to do therapy or coaching in the past, well, now he is ready to do that too. At least, he will attend the two first sessions...meanwhile he is back home and living his life as usual. Now, all the promises he did are worthless, and his changes dissolve like snow under the sun. You are back to ground zero, trapped in the same situation as before. You begin to think that he will never move out but only use this threat in order to manage you and your frustration.
If you are in this grey area, feeling that you are done with this marriage, but still unclear about what is the best way to separate from him, you need some external help to do the process....It is a mess of emotional, financial, practical issues all entangled. Also, under his accusations, you will have to process some amount of unnecessary guilt for the ending of this marriage.
Just in case you think a complimentary talk with Coach Nora can help you get a clearer vision of your options, and feel supported and energized about your future, get your sessi9on scheduled.
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