A passive aggressive spouse is proving to themselves that they are not dependent on their mate because they do not need the intimate connection that sex provides. Most people have sex to create a deeper connection with the person that they love. Trying to get a passive aggressive spouse to admit that they are withholding sex is difficult.
The number one, and only, reason that a passive aggressive spouse withholds sex is because they do not know any other way to deal with their anger. They are using sex as a weapon instead of using it as a way to connecting with their spouse and making their bond stronger.
The passive aggressive spouse is not able to be open and honest. They keep their “Good Guy” status and at the same time they are able to make the other spouse feel bad for not being able to read their mind.
Naturally, if your spouse does not want to have sex with you, you begin to internalize it. Maybe I need to be a better spouse, maybe I need to be thinner, maybe they are not attracted to me anymore, etc…
You start to doubt yourself and you start to feed into their excuses, “I’m too tired”, “I don’t feel good”, “I have too much on my mind with work”. When you are being punished like that, you start to punish yourself.
Just remember that it is not about you, it is about the passive aggressive spouse not being able to express their anger and fear.
You can try confronting them about their behavior. Tell the passive aggressive spouse that you deserve to know what is wrong and not punished like a little child.
Try couples therapy. If the spouse has motivation and wants to work on their marriage then they can change if taught the right way to deal with their fear and anger.
The passive aggressive spouse needs reassurance that you love them and will be by their side while working through these issues.
If the spouse is not willing to work on these problems then you will need to decide whether to accept this behavior or walk away from the marriage.