My boyfriend is so passive-aggressive

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Hi Meredith,

Long story short, I have a painfully passive-aggressive boyfriend. He has his good points, but then the other parts of him take over. He'll threaten to throw out stuff he owns because he's upset with me, guilt-trips me, and constantly tries to make me feel bad for him. What happened recently, though, was the worst of it all.

A few months ago, he offered to take me out to my favorite restaurant for my birthday (which was just the other day). I almost never get to go there so I was incredibly hyped. But days before the dinner, he told me he felt the dishes were too pricey per person (some plates are $12), so he decided he was going to just buy me food there and pick off my plate. At the same time, my parents offered to take me, so of course I preferred that option over someone else eating my food as a "birthday date." Naturally I told him I'd prefer to go with parents if he has such a big issue spending money, and this angered him. He began telling me how I was making him feel bad, pushing him aside, etc. I flat-out told him it's impolite to promise to take me out for my birthday and then just "pick off my plate," and my family offered, so he doesn't need to spend money he doesn't feel like spending. He refused to talk to me.

Fast forward to my birthday, and he ignored me. Not a word. He didn't message me. Is this relationship even worth trying to save? As I said, he has good points, we have similar interests, and he's really smart. But he acts like we're in a bad 20-plus year marriage, not a 7-month relationship.

– P/A

You've only been together seven months? And you're complaining about guilt trips, threats, and passive-aggressive behavior? I did jump to the conclusion in your first paragraph that there was a lot of history here. If after seven months it's already this contentious, you're probably not compatible.

Please think about those "good points" and how much you really see them. You were pretty general about his qualities (which reveals plenty), but if they don't outweigh the bad stuff, it is time to go.

For the record, there was weird behavior on both sides of this dinner disagreement. He shouldn’t have offered and then made you feel like your happiness was his burden. But perhaps having your parents take you to the same dinner did feel like a rejection – and a judgement. He might have seen your choice as the passive-aggressive one.

Still, there were better ways for him to respond. And on your birthday, he should have responded with ... something.

– Meredith

Readers? Is there a fix for this or is it incompatibility?