Sometimes married women write to me asking for advice for desperate situations...
Hubby's silence and lack of decision-making drive them into a wall.
There is a difference between doing silence as a unique way of dealing with a challenging situation and doing passive aggression as a way to stop and control the normal life in a marriage.
Healthy couples plan their future, and the future of their children as a shared project; passive-aggressive marriages are mired in an eternal limbo of confusion and resistance to change.
A passive-aggressive man shrouds himself in resistance and lets the passing of time destroy the growth opportunities his wife aspires to. Normal steps in a couple, like having children, buying a house, planning for the future get forever frozen in the amber of this mindset.
I will give you one example of a wife's frustration at this point:
"We have a little girl in elementary school who we both adore. She is lonely at times and she has friends to have play dates with, but not much family around her age. So I have been talking about this with my husband and we both realized that it would be great for her to have a sibling. I am much younger than my husband so there is some time but not much to wait. Also, last year we decided to look for a bigger house for us to live. And because our daughter is in school, it would be better if we do it sooner. So both decisions are related...
The problem is that every other month his decision changes from "yes, we will move forward with our decisions" and then nothing happens again.
He would stop looking at new listings, avoid intimacy for a long time, and then further avoid this conversation as much as possible. She gets desperate, feels her world collapsing around her, and pushes the issue to his attention again:
"What are we doing, staying in this house, and having an only child?"
Now, he is cornered, and resorts to the mean response that shakes all her world: "I don't believe that we have the best relationship for me to go deeper into new things with you."
Oh course, this is the equivalent of an atomic bomb being dropped on her marriage! But, nothing is normal here, and what could be the final point of this wrecked marriage, (getting to the decision to end this "marriage") gets ensnared again in confusion:
"This makes me feel very insecure and I ask him to make a decision, what he wants to do. Stay with me and work on the relationship or move on. A day or two passes by and everything is back to the same thing. But nothing is moving forward. It's like he wants to be here with me and not at the same time. He is so scared to live a full life. Sometimes I feel sorry for him. I am the most dedicated wife, always there and willing."
Of course, you can see now how she gets trapped again, this time by her willingness to yield to his decision. A passive-aggressive husband very rarely divorces...he will sit there confusing her once more. So, he will not decide to divorce any time soon, while expressing that he is not happy with her!
She will not press the point (as she should to preserve the little sanity she has left), or start any changes that could shake his complacency with this absurd and hurtful situation (getting a job, moving out, booking a six-month cruise, (you get the point).
What's the solution? we here only try to have a clear picture of the situation...clarity is the first step. Women in this place have to ask themselves: what is the plan for my life? what do I want for my future? and transcend the fog of being in love with a more clear view of their whole lives. Sustaining your own life mission with purpose and clarity is the only way to have a great life!
Want some hints just now? My book: The Silent Marriage, how passive aggression steals your happiness is available here!