5 Ways You're Accidentally Being Passive-Aggressive to Your Partner

You'd never knowingly be passive-aggressive, right? (Riiiight?) The problem is that sometimes you just don't know it. And you know who usually bears the brunt of that behavior? Our partners. Here are five signs to look out for (and how to start addressing the conflict head-on).

1. You Give Backhanded Compliments

“I love it when you shave.” “Wow, thanks for cleaning the kitchen!” Sounds nice, but you’re also subtly implying that a) your hubs is less attractive when he doesn’t tend to his scruff and b) he’s a bit of a slob. Let’s all just cut to the chase and say what we really mean: “Honey, your beard hurts my face,” and “Can you please help me keep the kitchen clean?”

2. You Keep Score

He bailed on date night last week because of work, and while you told him that it’s “totally fine” at the time, you bring it up at your next dinner to guilt him. Oops. The next time you’re feeling disappointed about something, talk about it then and there (or at least the next day) so you resolve any issues as they happen.

3. Saying “Yes” When You Don’t Actually Mean It

This is particularly common if you’ve been together for a long time. One side asks for something and the other verbally complies (even though they don’t actually agree or have plans of following through). Bottom line: If you don’t want to do something, explain why. Don’t just agree to avoid confrontation in the moment.

4. You Procrastinate

Similar to always saying “yes,” dragging your feet or conveniently forgetting whatever thing your spouse asked you to help with (a month ago) is usually indicative of something more. Pinpoint what’s giving you pause and either decide to do what you’ve been asked in a timely manner—or say no altogether.

5. You Give the Silent Treatment

Better to keep it to yourself than let things blow up into a fight, right? Not necessarily. We’re not saying that you can’t have a moment to process whatever it is that’s bothering you first. But just say that outright to your partner instead of silently sulking (and making them worry).

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Jenny Jin

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...
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