Passive-Aggressive Behaviors You Might Be Guilty Of Using Against Partners

No one likes to admit that they can be really passive-aggressive, but the reality is that we all tend to be a little guilty of using passive-aggressive tactics from time to time.

These are some passive-aggressive behaviors you might not even realize you’re guilty of using in your dating life.

Taking A Long Time To Text Back

A woman uses her smartphone
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Robert Alexander / Getty Images

You might not think it’s a big deal, but waiting to text back and playing similar games is a passive-aggressive way to try to make your partner feel insecure about where they stand with you.

Bottling Up Your Feelings

bottle of water
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Laura Mitulla
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Laura Mitulla

Rather than healthily bringing up things when you feel upset or hurt, you let them fester beneath the surface, waiting for your partner to notice. Unfortunately, this passive-aggressive behavior will only lead to a huge explosion of anger in the future.

Purposely “Forgetting” To Do Things

dirty pans on stov
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Nathan Dumlao
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Nathan Dumlao

Your partner might ask you to do something, like washing the dishes, ordering a specific type of takeout, or picking up dry cleaning, but you purposely don’t do it out of spite and then pretend you forgot. Instead, you should let them know you’re annoyed or upset with them directly.

Giving Backhanded Compliments

man and woman walking, his arm on her shoulder
Photo Credit: Pexels / Trinity Kubassek
Photo Credit: Pexels / Trinity Kubassek

When you deliver the compliment, you slip a secondary, negative meaning in there with the purpose of being hurtful while pretending to be flattering. It’s a passive-aggressive move that only increases tension in your relationship without solving anything.

Trying To “Get Even” With Your Partner

person moving chess piece
Photo Credit: Julian Finney / Getty Images for DAGOC
Photo Credit: Julian Finney / Getty Images for DAGOC

You treat your relationship like a game and consider there to be winners and losers in each situation. When you feel slighted by your significant other, you don’t address the issue with them, but instead, try to hurt them in a similar way.

Saying You’re “Fine” When You’re Clearly Not

woman looking unhappy
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jim Flores
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jim Flores

This might seem like a harmless response in the moment, but you clearly aren’t fine and want your partner to notice it. Your significant other is left trying to translate between what you say and what you mean.

Expecting Your Partner To Read Your Mind

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3755755
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Similarly to the last point, you won’t outwardly say how you feel or what’s bothering you, but you’ll expect your partner to figure out your mindset without help. Instead, talk to them directly about what’s bothering you so you can resolve things faster.

Making “Jokes” That Aren’t Really Funny

Couple sitting by the tree staring at each other
Photo Credit: Scopio / Hara Yi
Photo Credit: Scopio / Hara Yi

Rather than genuinely discussing something that your partner does that bothers you, you say it in a “joking” or sarcastic way as if it’s funny, even though it clearly isn’t. This is an immature way to address an issue and is more likely to start a fight than to change the behavior.

Trying Too Hard To Please Your Partner

man kissing woman's forehead
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Nathan McBride
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Nathan McBride

It might sound counter-intuitive, but being too positive with your partner can be a passive-aggressive behavior all on its own. You end up being dishonest about your differing opinions because you don’t want to have an argument.

Purposely Failing At Things

person holding cleaning spray bottle
Photo Credit: Unsplash / JESHOOTS.com
Photo Credit: Unsplash / JESHOOTS.com

You don’t like doing a specific thing, so you purposely do the job horribly so that they assume you’re incompetent and you’re never expected to do it again. Not only is this manipulative, but it’s also a passive-aggressive way to avoid conflict. Instead, try to be honest about how you feel.

Flirting With Other People To Make Them Jealous

man carrying woman on back, smiling
Photo Credit: Pexels / Gustavo Fring
Photo Credit: Pexels / Gustavo Fring

You feel like your partner hasn’t been giving you enough attention or admiration, so instead of telling them how you feel, you’ll flirt with someone else while you’re out to try and make them notice you more. It’s an immature habit you need to cut out.

Talking About Your Partner Behind Their Back

women laughing together
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Priscilla Du Preez

While I can understand venting on occasion, this is different: you dump all the negative things you feel about your partner on all your friends (even mutual ones) without ever directly addressing your grievances with your significant other. It’s unhealthy and passive-aggressive since you know some of the information will get back to your partner.

Giving The Silent Treatment

woman on dirt road looking away from camera
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Sandra Seitamaa
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Sandra Seitamaa

Just because the silent treatment is a well-known tactic doesn’t make it a good one. Rather than being direct about what’s upsetting you, you leave your partner to worry and wonder where they went wrong.

Sending Ambiguous Text Messages

A man uses his smartphone
Photo Credit: Maciej Luczniewski / NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Maciej Luczniewski / NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a similar vein, sending ambiguous texts to your partner to specifically confuse them about how you’re feeling is extremely passive-aggressive and puts unnecessary stress on them as they try to read through the lines for your meaning.

Pointing Out A Feature On Someone Else You Like That Your Partner Doesn’t Have

hot guy
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christopher Campbell
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christopher Campbell

For example, you wish that your significant other was more laidback, so you brag about how incredible and laidback your friend’s significant other is to try and manipulate your partner into taking on that trait. Instead, just be honest with them.

Making Clearly Fake Excuses

woman with fingers crossed behind back
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba

Your partner will be talking to you when something is upsetting you so instead, you tell them “goodnight” even though it’s three in the afternoon. Passive-aggressive games like this only add more fuel to the fire and create a bigger conflict.

Being Dismissive

silhouette of man and woman apart
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Eric Ward
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Eric Ward

When your partner does try to bring up something you’ve done that bothers them, you are dismissive of their feelings or make a joke out of the situation to avoid directly dealing with the conflict.

Rigidly Refusing To Compromise

woman with hand stretched out blocking camera
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Isaiah Rustad
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Isaiah Rustad

If you want a relationship to work in the long term, you have to be ready to compromise on some issues. However, rigidly refusing to even entertain the idea of a compromise until your partner caves in is passive-aggressive behavior.

Bringing Up Exes A Lot

couple lying down and holding hands
Photo Credit: Pexels / Leah Kelley
Photo Credit: Pexels / Leah Kelley

Whether you’re bringing up something an ex did that you liked because you want to encourage your new partner to do it or, oppositely, bringing up something you disliked about an ex to prompt your partner to change, it’s passive-aggressive and needs to stop.

Making Every Fight A Personal Attack

woman giving a man
Photo Credit: Pexels / Vera Arsic
Photo Credit: Pexels / Vera Arsic

You’re unable to accept criticism from your partner or work through issues together. Instead, you weaponize their words against you by calling it an attack on your personality or something similar to manipulate them into dropping the issue. Do this long enough and you’ll find yourself alone.