Is your boyfriend often angry, withdrawn, or moody? One day he’s up, the next day he’s down. Maybe your boyfriend’s moods are negatively affecting your relationship, or even changing how you feel about him. How do you live with and love a moody boyfriend?
After I wrote How to Stop PMS From Ruining Your Relationship I realized that women aren’t the only people whose mood swings can be unpredictable and frustrating! Men, too, get moody and irritable. Grumpy sometimes, even angry or completely withdrawn. One difference between men and women is that monthly hormones are the most likely cause of a woman’s mood swings.
What causes moodiness in men? It could be hormones; men, too, have monthly fluctuations (but a man’s hormone fluctuations aren’t nearly as severe as a woman’s). It could also be depression, unresolved grief, anger, or boredom. If your boyfriend isn’t happy with his life or work, he’s more likely to be moody and irritable.
These tips for coping with a boyfriend who is moody, unpredictable, and unhappy are inspired by a reader’s comment on 7 Reasons Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Talk to You. She loves her boyfriend, but she can’t make him happy. Nothing is every good enough for him, and he won’t communicate with her. She’s wondering if she should leave the relationship because she doesn’t feel good about herself or him. How, she asked, can she support her moody boyfriend when he bites her head off or refuses to talk to her?
3 Tips for Coping With Your Boyfriend’s Mood Swings
It’s important to remember that you aren’t the problem in your relationship. You aren’t the cause of your boyfriend’s moodiness – nor is your behavior “making” him moody. You may feel like you’re upsetting or irritating him because you seem to trigger outbursts or grumpiness. Maybe your boyfriend even tells you that you’re making him moody, or his moods are your fault.
If your boyfriend blames you for “making” him act the way he does, he is being emotionally abusive. This is a serious problem in a relationship, and requires you to think long and hard about staying with him. An abusive boyfriend isn’t just moody, he is destructive and damaging, and will destroy you self-identity. Read What to Do About Verbal Abuse in Your Relationship.
1. Separate your identity from his moodiness
When I got married 15 years ago, I thought I was the reason my husband was sometimes grumpy and irritable. If he snapped at me I’d immediately wonder what I did or said wrong! My husband never blamed or accused me of anything; I just assumed everything was about me. Now, after being married so long, I realize that sometimes people are grumpy and irritable. Sometimes they’re moody. An occasional bad or sad mood is a normal part of being human.
If you’re searching for help or advice coping with a moody boyfriend, you probably aren’t in a relationship with a guy who is prone to occasional spells of moodiness. If your boyfriend’s moods are hurting you or your relationship, they aren’t a normal part of being human. His moodiness is noticeable enough to be a problem. It’s important to try to separate yourself (your self-identity) from the problem (your boyfriend’s bad or grumpy moods). His moodiness is not your fault and you can’t walk on eggshells with him.
2. Decide if you can happily live with your boyfriend’s moods
Is this a stage your boyfriend is going through? A moody, unpredictable boyfriend could be dealing with stress at work or school, family problems, unbalanced hormones (which can cause mild or severe depression), grief over a recent loss, or even an unfulfilled life. If your boyfriend actually knows why he’s moody and sees a light at the end of the tunnel, then it’s just a question of giving him time and space.
This doesn’t mean your boyfriend has permission to insult or criticize you! If he’s in a bad mood, walk away. Leave the room. Don’t respond to his anger or frustration. Removing yourself from the situation is the best way to deal with a moody boyfriend. Also, remember that you should never try to change who you are to please your boyfriend. You can’t change him. You want your boyfriend to be healthy and happy, but you can’t make him either healthy or happy. He has to find emotional health and happiness within himself; it can’t come from you, or money, or cars, or stuff, or other external sources.
3. Avoid trying to solve your boyfriend’s problems
In her comment, my reader said she’s done everything she can to cheer her boyfriend up. She tries to make him happy and boost his mood because she loves him. When her boyfriend lost his job, she wrote his resume and even looked for work for him. Women are often prone to trying to make people happy. Women seem to naturally want to nurture, love, heal and care for their loved ones. Women in love are even more likely to want to care for their men. Unfortunately, they sometimes also mistakenly believe they are responsible for their boyfriend’s or husband’s happiness.
You can’t solve your boyfriend’s problems, and you aren’t responsible for making him happy. You can support and love him as he grows towards health and happiness…and this involves accepting your boyfriend for who he is today (including moodiness and unpredictable mood swings).
If you want to try to talk to your boyfriend about his moodiness is affecting you and your relationship, you might say something like:
“You’re obviously unhappy, and I feel helpless and worried about you. I love you, but I don’t feel good about continuing this relationship the way it is right now. If you have any solutions or plans to improve our relationship and your outlook on life), I’d love to hear them! I’ll support you in any way I can. But if we don’t have a goal or plan to work towards, I’m not sure about our future together.”
What do you think? You’re welcome to share your story below. I don’t give advice but you may find it helpful to write about your relationship. Writing can help you see things more clearly – and even discover a path forward.
If your boyfriend criticizes or even insults you when he’s moody, read How to Deal With a Husband Who Complains About You.
In peace and passion,