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How to Cope With a Moody Boyfriend

Here are several tips for coping with a boyfriend who is moody, unpredictable, and unhappy. They’re based on a comment I received from a woman who loves her boyfriend, but can’t make him happy.

how to cope with a moody boyfriendHow to Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman will help you decide if your relationship is worth saving. It’s important to remember that you aren’t the “problem” in your relationship. A moody, unpredictable boyfriend could be dealing with stress at work, unbalanced hormones in his body (which can cause mild or severe depression), or an unfulfilled life. Sometimes it’s not about you – it’s all about him. You can’t do anything to make him happy or healthy.

Should you keep moving forward and try to connect with your moody boyfriend, or let him go? It’s important to remember that at some level, it doesn’t matter what his problem is. If he isn’t letting you be part of the solution – or if he isn’t trying to figure out how to be happy and healthy – then there is nothing you can do. You have to think about your own health and happiness. You may find How to Break Up With Someone Who is Depressed helpful.

Tips for Coping With a Moody Boyfriend

These suggestions are based on a reader’s comment on Why Does Love Hurt? 6 Excuses for Abuse.

Offer your support – but don’t try to heal him

Both readers have tried and tried to cheer their boyfriends up, tried to make them happy, tried to boost their moods. Women are famous for nurturing, healing, loving, and caring for their loved ones! Women in general love to connect and take care of their partners and families. And, women often mistakenly believe they are responsible for their partner’s happiness.

Avoid trying to solve his problems

If your boyfriend doesn’t know what he wants from you or his life – or if he does, he can’t express it to you (or admit it to himself). There’s nothing you can do to help a man who is struggling with his own existential angst or life path. Or, it could be all chemical. Sometimes the hormones in our brain and body get out of wack, and our thoughts and behaviours don’t make sense. It’s a horrible feeling, to be depressed…but if your boyfriend refuses to get help, then there isn’t anything you can do. He is an adult who is responsible for his mood, career, relationships, and life. Do not mother him.

Stay connected with who you are

I think it’s not a good idea to invest EVERYTHING you have in your relationship.

I’ve been married for almost 8 years, and I know the dangers of letting my self get lost in my husband and marriage. There is a huge difference between loving a man wholeheartedly, and losing your identity in your relationship.  You can’t give your partner everything you have. It’s unhealthy, and doesn’t lead to a strong happy union.

You can’t push your boyfriend to be healthy or happy. Either you accept him for who he is right now – negative mood and all – or you give him and yourself time and space to breathe. Don’t fight who he is or how he feels. Accept and love, or let him go.

If you’re losing yourself in your partner, read How to Be Yourself in Your Relationship – Self-Identity and Love.

Give him some breathing space

If my boyfriend has been moody and unpredictable for longer than a couple of months, I’d take a break from the relationship.

boyfriend is moodySay something like, “you’re obviously unhappy, and it feels like there’s nothing we can do to increase your sense of well-being or satisfaction with his life. I feel helpless, insecure, lost, and scared – and that’s not how I want to feel. I love you, but I can’t be in this relationship the way it is right now. If you have any solutions or plans to improve our situation, I’d love to hear them – and I’ll support you in any way I can. But if we don’t have a goal or plan to work towards, I can’t stay. I need to take a few months to get my head together.”

Life is too short to spend with a boyfriend who is moody, unhappy, or depressed, and who won’t get help with it. I’m not saying women should jump ship the minute their partners are sad! But, there comes a time when enough is enough. And, only the woman in the relationship can make that decision.

I welcome your thoughts on coping with a moody boyfriend below. I can’t offer advice, but it may help just to write about what’s happening in your relationship.

May you find peace and joy in your relationship, and may your boyfriend’s moodiness lift. May you know where your boundaries are, and find your own source of peace and joy in your life.

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12 thoughts on “How to Cope With a Moody Boyfriend”

  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

    Wishing you strength, peace, and joy,

  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?

  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.

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