How to Handle Your Boyfriend’s Mood Swings

Is your boyfriend often angry, withdrawn, or moody?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 Grumpy sometimes, even angry or completely withdrawn.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.

boyfriend is moody
Living With a Moody Boyfriend

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,

Laurie

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12 thoughts on “How to Handle Your Boyfriend’s Mood Swings”

  1. My boyfriend loves me. But there are things that keep me hurt. Things like his moody behaviour. He is very bubbly charming once and then all of a sudden turns into somebody I do not know. He is very sweet and loving at times and then whenever we have a fight he pushes me away like I am nobody to him. This hurts because it makes me feel like I am only the one putting an effort.. I am only the one trying to save the relationship. I love him but sometimes I become helplessly confused. I can’t let go either. Please help

  2. My boyfriend has been having epic mood swings since I met him. Jekyll and Hyde I call him. He has used all the excuses you can think of to I’m not feeling well, I was drunk, I’m stressed, I’ve got a lot going on…blah blah I’ve heard it all! I have been supportive and tried to help him in his constant array of issues but in the end it’s not acceptable to name call and, manipulate a situation and be passive aggressive to me. My Boyf gets moody if I don’t do what he expects me to do which results in me bring hurt. Last night my (soon to be ex) partner went in a massive mood because I wouldn’t make the bed. I suggested we both do it as it would be quicker but he stormed off saying forget it! I’ll do it! Ok I thought here we go! so I left him to do it and ignored his moody behaviour. Well he huffed and puffed and made all the negative noises while I ignored him. He came through a while later with a face like thunder saying I’m off to bed I’m tired night, and he walked away. I noticed about 40 mins later he was on fb so I went through to see if he was ok and give him a kiss goodnight…” what are you doing” was his response when I went into the bedroom…I’m coming to see if you’re ok and kiss you goodnight I said…I went to kiss him and he turned away from me said he was too tired to kiss me…..I left the room hurt and confused yet again….why am I with this arsehole???
    I asked him what that was all about a few hours later (so much for being tired) it was all because he thought that I should have made the bed!! I told him his behaviour was out of order he didn’t reply.
    I’ve had enough now no more treating me like that…I wouldn’t do that to my family or friends so why would anyone who loved me do that to me…my advise?? Try to fix the relationship as best you can but don’t be a door mat put a limit on what you will take and stick to it. Actions speak louder than words!
    I’m done and I’m planning my leave it won’t be easy as he’ll be messaging and pestering to see me but I’m strong now good luck to everyone xx

  3. First off, you Both Have Got To Stay Away From Counselors Who Tell You To Think About Yourself! (If you want to spend the rest of your life away from each other that’s all they will lead you to!) If the relationship counselor does Not help bring you both together then how do you think you will come together? Teaching people to go on ignoring what brought you together ends the strongest gift you have together! Think about it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
    Secondly, stop thinking individually even if you’re coping with a moody boyfriend! Each time you do that you hurt the relationship. You both have to think about the “we” in your relationship! If you learn to quit individualizing the relationship and learn to look at the relationship as it’s own kind of person, you both will come together and give the relationship what it needs. That way you don’t blame each other for reasons that hurt the other person’s needs or desires. The more you get hurt the further it drives the ither away. Ask yourself if that is what you really want.
    Paramount to anything else, pray to what you understand as your creator and respect each other’s views of how you define that. The grander wisdom of life should bring love, acceptance and peace. Don’t let a night go into another day that you are hurt. Love should always be your answer if that’s what you truly want and need.

  4. You don’t have to break up with a moody and unpredictable boyfriend, but you do have to accept him for who he is. He won’t change. The only thing that might change is your response to your boyfriend’s mood swings.

    If you find your boyfriend’s mood swings to be disruptive, you might want to read:

    How to Stop Walking on Eggshells in Your Relationship
    http://theadventurouswriter.com/quipstipsrelationships/how-to-stop-walking-on-eggshells/

    Wishing you strength, peace, and joy,
    Laurie

  5. It’s been a year that im in this relationship. Since then my boyfriend is unpredictable easily get mad.. He doesnt even a single centavo with me. Do i have to let him go?

  6. Im in a relationship for 3 years , my boyfriend has an unpredictable mood , he can so easly be unhappy and angry , and the problem is he ignores me and leave me for weeks till he feels ok , i broke up with him 2 times and everytime we break up he comes and promises me to become a better person , no we are back again and he is currently in a bad mood that i texted him (i love you) and no reply was there , i dont know what to do , but all i know is im better with him

  7. I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 3 months now & in the first month it was amazing we connected so quickly. The past 2 months he’s told me he’s had depression for years and I told him I think he needs to get some help so we spoke to his mum who had the exact same thoughts and depression as he had when she was his age and we went to see his GP who prescribed him anti-depressants. He has his good days and bad but the only thing that’s making him have his bad days is me, if I have a bad day myself he will think its because of him and he will get really down and cry, he always worries that I’m going to leave him or I’m being off with him or I don’t want to talk to him but it’s never the case, I reassure him every single day that I do want to be with him and so on. We see eachother at least 4-5 days/nights a week so quite a bit but we both want to see eachother all of the time. I don’t really go out with my friends down the pub anymore as I am only 19 and I am starting to realise that they are being very distant with me because of how close me and my boyfriend are, but I don’t want to go out anymore, I have recently been made redundant and am trying to find a new job so i don’t have the money to waste every weekend like I used too but they don’t understand that they just say you can come out and not drink or whatever but I never really want to. we have our downs but when I’m happy he is okay but when I’m down he is definitely depressed. Part of me feels like he’s more depressed because of me and how I act with him & he is starting to lose his friends as well due to him seeing me all of the time and not wanting to go out drinking and clubbing with them etc. I won’t leave him because I love him but I don’t know what to do :(

  8. my boyfriend didn’t have a pleasant childhood so i think it contributes to his mood swings and irritable behaviour. he’s always quick to anger and snaps at me most times. he’s like that with other people as well but besides this, he’s a really good guy.i love him to bits and i wish he could just see how much. i’ve thought about leaving him but i’ve weaved my web around him so much that i would fall apart without him. so i’m basically stuck in a semi unhappy relationship. what do i do?

  9. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    If you’re coping with a moody and unpredictable boyfriend, it’s important to know that he won’t change. He is who he is, and you can’t convince him or talk him out of his moodiness.

    So, to decide if you want to stay in this relationship, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to live with a moody boyfriend for the rest of your life. If you want to stay with him then you need to find ways to cope with his moodiness – and not let his perspective bring you down.

  10. Hi Charity,
    After reading your post this is exactly the situation i am in now, i have been with my boyfriend for 10 months and at first he really was this nice happy guy now he has mood swings that can last days and really strains our relationship. When i try to speak to him about it he either gets even moodier or upset thinking im going to leave him. Im at the point now as do i just walk away or stand by him?
    Emily

  11. I dnt know dear….my bf is the same way…I love him to death…he have shown me so much. But his moodiness I can’t handle… He goes weeks without talking to me sometimes…. When he said he in mood he be in a mood….I’ve been thinking about breaking up with him…cuz I deserves better because if I’m not the problem… Why is he moody toward me and ignoring me…. I say do what’s best for you til he changes…. I did look up irritable male syndrome…. They need help….

  12. This is the best writing I’ve seen on the subject, thank you! I have been dealing with a moody boyfriend for almost 3 years, and his shadow has been darker than usual the last 3 months. His career and family stresses are really adding up, and since I’m a classic caretaker/insecure perfectionist, it took me a about a month to even figure out it was his depression and not something wrong with me. Now that its clear he has emotional issues… the paragraph you wrote about “If your boyfriend doesn’t know what he wants from you or his life ” really spoke to me. That is exactly the issue. Every time I bring up what I think is a problem in our relationship, like him being grumpy and hard to be around, it ends up being about what is wrong with his life and not what is wrong with me or us. He dislikes his career and he is really worried about his younger brothers. Both these issues seem unsolvable for him, so if I ask him to come up with some kind of goals to fix his emotions… what would it be? Counseling? (seems like that would mean very slow progress). I tried more time apart, changing our routine, ignoring his moods, coddling, new hobbies, losing weight, new sports, new friends, weekends on my own … I’m almost at the point where I need to date other men just as a sort of reality check. He says that being around me helps balance him out, but its hard on me and my own weak self esteem. I can only handle moody Mr. Distant and snarls for about 5 days before I speak up and get really upset and then nobody is happy. I’d like our relationship to grow and he does want to fix what he can but neither of us have any more concrete ideas for how to do that.