Dating A Passive Man: 20 Tips To Make It Work

Everything in life aims for balance, and as women get more assertive and empowered, men seem to be getting more passive.

This is not to say that passive men never existed before or that it’s women’s fault that many men today are passive.

However, it’s noticeable that a lot more men have become passive—alpha males almost seem to be going extinct.

Perhaps you are dating a passive man. What now? Should you give up on your relationship and look for a leader, or can you be the one who takes charge most of the time?

Both options are fine, so you decide which one works best for you. We will offer some advice on that too, but let’s first look at the signs of a passive male, and later we’ll discuss what you can do if you are dating one.

Speak to a certified and experienced relationship coach to help you deal with a passive man and figure out whether you really want to date him. You may want to try speaking to someone via for empathetic, specific, and genuinely insightful relationship advice at its most convenient.

23 Traits Of A Passive Man

1. He’s a follower, not a leader.

Not everyone is a born leader; some people are meant to follow, not lead. You’ll never see a passive man leading a group of people, taking charge, or planning the day. He would rather leave the decision-making to someone else, and he doesn’t mind not being the alpha male.

He either doesn’t think that his input matters or he doesn’t care much about the outcome, so he will gladly follow the opinions of those who are willing to take charge.

2. He has self-esteem issues.

A passive man doesn’t think he’s worthy of anything great. He has self-esteem issues and doesn’t think highly of himself.

When people don’t treat him right, he isn’t surprised. After all, he doesn’t deserve anything better—or at least that’s what he makes himself think. He doesn’t think that he’s special in any way and finds it hard to love himself. This can make it difficult for anyone else to love him too.

3. He is too selfless.

Some people are selfish and egotistical. A passive man is exactly the opposite of this. He will never put himself first and will gladly make anyone else a priority instead of himself.

Being selfless is usually a positive trait, but when it reaches the point that a man would gladly be the victim and sacrifice himself for the sake of anyone or anything else, that’s not healthy.

4. He doesn’t trust his own words.

Passive men have trouble communicating since they don’t trust that their words are worth saying. They don’t think that they’re right about anything; they’d rather stay quiet or ask you for your opinion.

This often comes from the previously mentioned lack of self-esteem and lack of confidence. Obviously, a person who isn’t a leader isn’t that great at motivating others to do something. Instead, he’ll ask you what you think.

5. He doesn’t value his own opinions.

When someone is passive, they don’t think anyone would be interested in what they have to say, so they don’t voice their opinions.

People rarely take a passive man seriously since he often emphasizes that he might be wrong before voicing his opinion, no matter how well he is informed about the topic in question.

Again, due to low self-esteem, he thinks that no one cares what he thinks and finds it hard to value his own thoughts on any subject.

6. He needs approval from others before taking action.

Since passive people usually think they’re wrong, they’ll need approval from others before taking action. After all, what if it’s the wrong action to take?

A passive man will always look for a leader to follow. Some women would relish the thought of being in charge, but others may not like being placed in such a position of responsibility.

This is especially true if she’s not that into taking charge either. However, a passive man will always look for approval before deciding anything, be it a big or small decision or action.

7. He talks about what others say and mirrors them.

Since he isn’t confident and doesn’t trust his own opinions, a passive man will usually just say the things that others have told him. After all, they know better, right? That’s how this type of man thinks, and it can be a big problem in a relationship because it prevents you from really getting to know him.

Since he talks about other people’s opinions instead of his own, you’re learning about people he knows rather than getting to know him. In his attempt to follow their lead, he might even mirror their behavior in the hopes of becoming better.

8. He doesn’t stand up (or speak up) for himself.

When confronted, a passive man withdraws. Even when there’s no confrontation, he is not going to stand up for himself and defend his views.

He’s not going to complain or even say a word if he’s being treated poorly. He might even agree with the person mocking him because he thinks so little of himself.

9. He’s afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone.

New experiences scare him, and he would rather stay comfortably tucked in his comfort zone than pursue excitement.

He is not adventurous and spontaneous and would much rather just leave things up to fate and go with the flow. He’s not looking for a rush of adrenaline.

10. He needs a quiet, calm life.

A passive man isn’t the kind of man who takes risks, and ambition doesn’t interest him. He would rather take the easy way out and live a simple, calm, and quiet life somewhere away from all the racket that a modern world can bring.

He’s probably not the kind that would enjoy traveling a lot or living in a big city and might even enjoy spending his entire life in his parents’ house because it’s safe, cozy, and familiar. In addition, with the family being there, he doesn’t have to decide anything or take charge in any way. They’ll do it for him, and he prefers it that way.

11. He’s a quitter.

This type of man sees no point in trying hard for something. He believes that luck and fate will take care of things, so what’s the point of trying?

Even if he dares to try something, he is likely to quit when the first obstacle occurs. It just wasn’t meant to be! That’s all that he’ll conclude from it and give up on the whole thing. Obviously, this is a big problem when dating.

12. He can’t say “no.”

A passive man is a yes man. He will agree to anything if it makes others happy, even if it has a negative effect on him. He would rather sacrifice himself for the sake of others than say “no” to something that was asked of him.

He makes other people a priority and couldn’t care less about his own happiness. So, he’ll agree to anything you ask of him, even if he doesn’t really want to do it.

13. He’s afraid of confrontation.

Confronting someone would require him to voice his opinions and stand up for himself, and we already learned that he can’t do that. So, he avoids confrontation.

He would much rather just go with the flow and say “yes” to things he’s not interested in than disagree with anyone.

He’s scared of arguments, so he will withdraw when you have problems in your relationships or just nod along to anything you’re saying.

Even if he knows that he’s right, he’ll agree with you to avoid getting into an argument. To him, exchanging opinions isn’t worth the struggle and this makes it difficult to resolve conflicts in a relationship.

“What do you think?” is a question that you’ll often hear from him even if you’re asking him about what HE thinks.

14. He hesitates to commit.

Committing requires a person to take charge, and a man that can’t take charge will wait for you to get him to commit to a relationship. You’ll have to make all the moves in terms of having the conversation about becoming exclusive. You’ll have to be the one driving decisions such as when to move in together. You may even need to propose to him, if things ever get that far.

15. He leaves decision-making to others.

What if he makes the wrong decision? He is not ready to take that risk. So, when offered a choice, he will let someone else decide and follow their lead. This can be difficult in a relationship if you don’t enjoy being the leader that he can blindly follow when he feels like it.

When he communicates, he will beat around the bush and talk quietly—discussing big decisions is too much for him. He’ll just let you make the choice for him or go back to his comfort zone.

16. He waits for things to happen on their own and goes with the flow.

If there is no leader in a situation, a follower will wait for things to happen on their own and go with the flow. Taking charge doesn’t come easy to everyone, and when no one takes charge, passive men just do whatever feels natural at the moment or mirror what other people are doing.

17. He believes in fate and luck instead of taking charge and action.

When there’s no one to decide what to do, let fate and luck decide it! Passive men usually believe in fate and luck and leave things up to them. If it’s meant to be, it will happen on its own, and if it doesn’t, well, it either wasn’t meant to be or it’s bad luck. Trying to influence their destiny by taking charge and action seems pointless to them.

18. He lets his partner dictate the dynamic of the relationship.

A relationship with a passive man will be the way you want it to be. While this might sound like a good thing, it’s usually not that great, unless you’re an alpha female that’s perfectly fine with leading a passive male. The point is, whether you like it or not, you will dictate the dynamic of the relationship.

19. He is afraid of being put on the spot.

Don’t put a passive man on the spot, especially not in front of other people. They hate this and will run back into their comfort zone as soon as the opportunity occurs.

20. He holds it all in.

These men usually bottle it all up and find it hard to express their feelings. Maybe they assume that no one cares about how they feel, or they simply don’t know how to vocalize their emotions.

Either way, they’ll keep their feelings inside and rarely express themselves in any way.

21. He is too open to criticism.

Being open to criticism sounds like a good thing, but being too open to it leads to being humiliated and even abused.

A passive man won’t mind being constantly criticized, and he might end up with a toxic girlfriend because of it. The criticism won’t help him improve, but he will gladly nod along to everything pointed out to him.

22. He doesn’t initiate things.

If you’re dating a passive person, you must accept that you’ll need to initiate everything. They’re not going to text you first, ask you out on a date, or even initiate sex. They’ll just leave it all up to you, and you might even have to put some effort into getting them to follow your lead.

23. He is afraid of approaching women.

Not initiating things also means being afraid of approaching women. So, even if this guy likes you, don’t expect him to make the first move. He isn’t going to try to seduce you, even if he’s crazy about you. So, if you want to get into a relationship with him, you’ll need to look for subtle signs he likes you but is hiding it.

Should you date a passive man?

Now that you know all the traits of a passive man, should you date him? The answer really depends on you, your own personality, and your expectations of a man in a relationship.

Are you fine with being the dominant one?

Do you like being in charge, or are you looking for an alpha male?

Are you a passive woman who would gladly lead a quiet calm life with a passive man?

Are you a leader who’s looking for a follower or an alpha female looking for someone just like you?

Only you know the answer.

Let’s see what you can do if you’re considering dating a passive man or are already involved with a man like this.

20 Tips For Dating A Passive Man

1. Consider whether he’s really passive or you’re too dominant.

Some men aren’t really passive when it comes to their true personality; it’s just that their women overpower them since they are more dominant in the relationship.

For instance, maybe your man would gladly take charge given the opportunity, but you always beat him to it and enjoy making the decisions for him. Some men are passive only because their women are the opposite.

2. Remind yourself of his positive qualities.

While you were reading about the traits of this man, you probably noticed a lot of things that don’t work in his favor. However, don’t assume that he’s just a passive person and nothing more. Remind yourself of all his positive qualities and even consider the positive side to him being passive.

3. Understand how it affects your relationship.

Based on what you have read so far, you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect when it comes to the problems that are likely to occur in your relationship.

He’s not going to initiate things, and it will be hard to resolve conflicts. (And that’s just a small part of it!)

So, understand how his passive behavior can affect your relationship based on the traits you’ve read so far, and consider whether you are okay with it.

4. Don’t make him feel bad about not being an alpha male.

Don’t ever tell a passive man that he “isn’t a real man” just because he’s passive or submissive.

Not all men are born to be leaders, and there’s nothing wrong with a man being passive. It’s not something that makes him less of a man.

Don’t make him feel bad about who he is. If you can’t love him the way he is, you should let him go.

5. Talk about his passive behavior.

While you should accept him for who he is, you should also talk to him about how some of his traits might be damaging to him and your relationship. For instance, you could suggest that he work on his self-esteem issues and encourage him to voice his opinions.

Don’t force him to be someone he’s not, but make him aware of how some of his traits might be negative and can cause him harm while also damaging your relationship.

6. Understand that you’ll need to take the lead.

There are no gender rules for who should follow and who should lead. But, typically, there is one person in charge and the other is more submissive. It is also possible to work as a team and switch roles back and forth depending on the circumstances.

Ultimately, with a passive man, you will likely need to take the lead most of the time. Are you okay with that?

7. Speak up and encourage him to do the same.

Speak up about what’s bothering you when something happens, and encourage him to stand up for himself too. You should both be able to voice your concerns, at least to each other.

So, even if his passive behavior reflects on other areas of his life, start by encouraging him to step out of his comfort zone when he’s with you and stand up for himself as often as possible.

8. Encourage him to take charge sometimes.

As already mentioned, the best-case scenario is that you switch between a leader and a follower every now and then. Encourage him to take charge sometimes, plan your dates, and initiate intimacy.

Let him know that you value his opinions and want to see what he would plan if he dared to be a bit more adventurous and a risk-taker.

9. Don’t let him be lazy.

Being passive is no excuse for laziness. Maybe your boyfriend has no ambition but you do. Well, perhaps he won’t bring home the big bucks, but he could help around the house. Don’t let him be a couch potato. Help him find something that works for him and also contributes to your relationship.

10. Help him communicate better.

He is probably quiet and finds it hard to get to the point during a conversation. Help him overcome this and encourage him to seek help in perfecting his communication skills. Remind him that this will come in handy in all areas of his life, not just his love life.

11. Give him a heads up when planning things.

Since it’s hard for him to commit to anything, give him a heads up when planning things. Don’t ask him out at the last minute; schedule your date a week ahead instead. This will give him enough time to prepare and make it easier for him to follow through with the plan.

12. Support expressing emotions.

Men are often taught that they should keep quiet about how they feel, but remind him that it’s not the 19th century anymore. Let him open up to you while he shares his thoughts and feelings, and suggest that he find a creative hobby that allows him to express himself.

13. Ask for his opinions.

He doesn’t value his own opinions, but this might be because no one has valued them before. So, show him that his insights matter to you and ask for his opinions, even if it’s hard for him to give them to you. Be calm and patient, and let him try to better explain his point of view in order for your relationship to work.

14. Encourage him to make plans and decisions.

What’s his idea of a perfect date? Maybe he’d just like to sit in front of the TV and eat pizza. Let him know that that’s fine with you! The point is to get him to make plans and make decisions, even if they aren’t that awesome at first. Support his efforts, and he might get more creative with his plans and more determined to trust his gut when making choices.

15. Encourage him to stand up for himself.

Stop him from being a pushover! Don’t do this in public, but when you’re communicating in private, talk to him about how to handle confrontation and the importance of standing up for himself.

Let him know that it doesn’t all depend on fate and luck but on his skills, efforts, ambitions, and determination.

16. Don’t blame yourself for his passive behavior.

Even if you are a dominant woman who likes to take charge, don’t blame yourself for your man being more on the passive side. Try to lay low a bit and let him run things, but don’t think that it’s your fault that he finds it hard to believe in himself.

Believe in him, and let him take charge sometimes.

17. Suggest couples therapy.

With the help of a therapist, your man could become more ambitious and learn some skills that leaders have perfected. He would probably be interested in that if you gave him enough support and explained that there’s nothing wrong with asking for some guidance in getting there.

18. Decide whether you can be with a passive person.

In the end, it’s your choice whether you date a passive man or look for someone more assertive. As already mentioned, this depends on your personality, your expectations of a man, and your personal preferences.

If nothing changes, can you be happy with him as he is now? Think of it in the long run if you have serious intentions with him.

19. Be okay with taking charge.

If you want to date him, learn to be okay with taking charge most of the time, because you’ll probably have to. Even if you are a passive woman, someone will have to run things, so if it’s not going to be him, it will have to be you. Can you do that?

20. Accept that he’s not going to change.

There is a chance that your man will change, but you can’t rely on that. You should also accept him for who he is instead of forcing him to be someone he might not want to be.

Sure, encourage him to work on his issues, but don’t push him to be someone he is not and doesn’t want to be. If you have the need to do that, you might be better off with someone less passive.

Give this man a chance though, because you might discover that being with a passive man has its benefits. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ll have a better idea of what type of man you are looking for.

Still not sure whether you want to have a relationship with a passive guy?

We really recommend you speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can listen to you and help you to work through your thoughts and feelings about this man and about your relationship.

A good place to get help is the website Relationship Hero – here, you’ll be able to connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

While you can try to work through this situation yourself or as a couple, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your relationship and mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through in relationships without really asking whether they are right for them. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

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About Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.