Are your partner's bad moods starting to get you down? (2022)

It's normal for our moods and emotions to fluctuate throughout the day in response to what's going on around us. Emotions are intended to function as in-the-moment signals, to help us respond to what's happening in our environment. This was a beneficial system for our hunter-gatherer forefathers, who had to respond quickly to the physical threats in their environment in order to survive. In our modern world, however, threats are more commonly of a psychological nature and, for many, experiencing strong emotions can therefore feel out of place and confusing.

Many of us have been brought up to ignore our emotional responses and, as a result, don't know how to manage strong emotions when they arise. Moodiness, such as frequently changing moods or gloominess, can arise when we avoid or are unable to work through issues we are struggling with. If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions without doing anything to stop them, they will usually pass. But if we try to block our emotions, they can get stuck and the negative feelings continue, creating further stress which can affect how we interact with those around us.

But what if it's your other half who is plagued by bad moods? And what happens when these moods start to affect you? Spending time with a partner who is frequently moody can be extremely wearisome and difficult to deal with. Bad moods can feel like they rub off on us, and most people have a tendency to take responsibility and blame themselves for how those around them are feeling. So, what can we do to support our loved ones when they are struggling, while simultaneously managing the effect our partner's moods have on us? And how do we know when it's time to move on?

First, let’s look at why your partner may be more moody than usual:

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Why is your partner moody?

There are lots of reasons why someone might have frequent, unpredictable or seemingly unexplainable moods. If it's out of character, it may be that your partner is simply going through a difficult time, such as a hard week at work or dealing with a health scare. If this is the case, their moodiness will likely pass as the issue is resolved.

However, if there doesn't seem to be any specific reason for your partner’s moodiness, they may be struggling with a deeper issue, such as depression. Despite how their life might seem to others, if your partner is plagued by negative thoughts about themselves or their life, they will feel down.

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Having little energy and motivation to do things they previously enjoyed.
  • Spending more time than usual by themselves, and avoiding their friends, commitments and hobbies.
  • Stopping exercising, avoiding housework, calling in sick at work, and showing less interest in the children.
  • Other causes for apparent moodiness might stem from ongoing anxiety or unresolved issues with self-worth and low self-esteem.

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    How to support your moody partner

    If your partner usually has a sunny disposition and their bad moods are a new development, what can you do to support them? If they're going through a particularly hard time and are clearly struggling, offering a listening ear, empathising with how they're feeling and asking them what support they need can all help. But remember: what you or I might need when we're struggling might not be what someone else wants or needs, so communication is key.

    If your partner's moods are impacting on the relationship it's important to talk about this, too. This will allow your partner to understand the effect their moods are having on you, as well as giving you a chance to express what you need from the relationship. It may also motivate them to work on how they are feeling. Find a time to talk when you're both in a better frame of mind, as it may be a difficult conversation to have.

    If your partner's moods are impacting on the relationship it is important to talk about this.

    Don't be surprised if your partner is defensive or wants to avoid the issue at first; it may take more than one conversation. Although a partner's bad moods can often exacerbate any relationship tension and discord, remaining compassionate may not only have a positive impact on them, but it will activate pleasure circuits in your brain, helping you to feel better too.

    If your partner's moodiness continues or does not improve after you have communicated how it affects you, it may be time to suggest they seek professional help. You can speak to the Samaritans for advice or your GP to discuss treatment options. A short course of cognitive behaviour therapy with an accredited therapist can help them to manage their mood better or work through any deeper issues.

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    Managing the effect of bad moods

    While being mindful of your partner and their needs is important, looking after yourself and your own needs is essential. The following tips can help you take care of yourself and manage the way you feel when times are difficult:

    ✔️ Understand how your partner's moods affect you

    Understanding why your partner's moods affects you in the way they do will help you to take back some control over how you feel. The next time you're affected by their moodiness, try to recognise what thoughts are going through your mind and how these thoughts are making you feel.

    Memories can be unreliable, so writing this down can help you remember and start to see patterns in your own thinking. For example, for some people, moodiness can trigger self-doubt, with thoughts such as, “I must have done something wrong to make them feel this way”, leading to feelings of guilt or anxiety. In others, a partner's moodiness may trigger insecurity, with thoughts such as, “they wouldn't act like this if they loved me”, leading to feelings of sadness.

    Others may have thoughts such as, “they're acting like a child”, or, “they are making things so much harder for me” and feel angry as a result. Recognising the thoughts you're having can help you understand how your partner's moods are affecting you.

    ✔️ Make sure your thoughts are realistic

    We have thousands of thoughts every day, so it's important to remember that just because we have a thought, it doesn't mean it's necessarily true. The types of thoughts that you have about your partner will be shaped by your current mood, as well as your past experiences. Once you've become aware of the thoughts you're having, you can ask yourself whether these thoughts are a realistic interpretation of the situation. You can do this by focusing on the facts.

    For example, if you think your partner's moods are a result of your own worth or lovability, it's important to see that these are your beliefs, not facts. Our worth and lovability are not dependent on other people's actions; they are judgements we make about ourselves. Replacing negative beliefs with more realistic ones, like “I am worthy and lovable”, will help you feel more confident about yourself. If the negative beliefs you hold about yourself are long-standing and hard to shift, a short course of cognitive behaviour therapy can help you to understand how you developed these thoughts and teach you how to think more positively about yourself.

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    ✔️ Try to be compassionate and understanding

    It's understandable to feel angry or annoyed about your partner's moods if they are impacting on you and your family. However, if you're able to take a more compassionate view of their behaviour, such as, “it's the depression that's making it hard for them to help out at home; this is only temporary”, or reminding yourself of some of their more positive characteristics, it can help to alleviate these negative feelings.

    It can take some practice to be able to step back from your thoughts and form more realistic ones. Trying to see the situation from the perspective of a friend who you admire, or talking it through with them, may help to develop a different perspective.

    ✔️ Take responsibility for your own feelings

    The responsibility for how your partner feels is entirely theirs. We can't control how others feel (or how they will act towards us) and trying to fix how someone else feels is therefore an impossible task.

    When someone you love is struggling or being abusive or hurtful towards you, it can be especially hard to bear and can leave you feeling hopeless and worn out. At these times, it's important to focus on what you can control: how you think about yourself and your situation, and how you spend your time, which will both impact on how you feel.

    Exercising, eating well, spending time in nature and doing things that help you feel happy and relaxed can all help you to support yourself, which is especially important during challenging times. Seeing friends and talking about your problems can also help you to offload and get some distance from your problems.

    ✔️ Manage how you respond to your partner

    It can be tempting to lash out at a partner who is being moody, especially if their moods are placing a burden on you and your family. However, this can exacerbate an already tense situation and create a negative cycle of resentment. Recognising your own reactions and thinking through how you would ideally like to respond to your partner in advance can help you respond more helpfully in the moment.

    For example, if your partner seems most stressed and tense when getting home from work, try giving them time to unwind before starting a conversation. If their moodiness leads you to feel angry, make sure you take time out from them, so you can manage how you feel. This can help minimise the impact of your partner's moods on you, create a more harmonious relationship and help you feel better about yourself.

    ⚠️ If your partner makes personal attacks on your character or behaves aggressively, it's important to communicate clearly what your boundaries are and how you expect to be treated. If they continue to be emotionally and/or physically abusive, information about organisations that can support you can be found below.

    Is it time to move on?

    Over time, walking on eggshells around your partner, watching what you do and say, and continuously having to manage your own mood in response can become exhausting. In the long-run, this can reinforce negative patterns and lead to your needs not being met within the relationship, as well as creating feelings of anxiety and low mood.

    Walking on eggshells and continuously having to manage your own mood can become exhausting.

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    Every relationship will go through difficult times. If you have done your best to be loving, understanding and supportive, and have communicated the impact your partner's moods are having on you, tried relationship counselling and nothing has changed, then it may be time to consider whether this is the relationship for you. This is naturally a difficult decision, especially if children are involved.

    Only you can know if it's time to leave a relationship. Taking your time to consider your options, seeking the support and advice of friends, nurturing yourself and seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor can all help give you the support you need while working through this difficult decision.

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    Further help and support

    For additional relationship help and support, the following resources might help:

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      Navit Schechter - PGDip, BABCP (Accred), BSc (Hons)Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and SupervisorNavit Schechter is an experienced CBT therapist, having worked in the private and public sector for over 12 years.She specialises in helping people with common mental health problems including low self-esteem, depression, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, worry/generalised anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, phobias, health anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, body image issues, stress management, parenting issues, work-based issues and more.

      FAQs

      How do I deal with my partners bad moods? ›

      How Should You Handle Your Partner's Bad Moods?
      1. Don't Take Them On. "The best way to handle a partner's bad moods is by not taking them on," Gestalt life coach Nina Rubin tells Bustle. ...
      2. With Boundaries. ...
      3. Don't Take It Personally. ...
      4. Dig Deeper. ...
      5. Don't Do Anything. ...
      6. Open The Lines Of Communication. ...
      7. Be Patient. ...
      8. Give Them Time And Space.
      16 Sept 2016

      Why am I so affected by my partner's mood? ›

      Experts say such “spousal mood infections” are also caused by the bond the partners share. If two people care a lot about each other, they are quick to perceive the mood changes, the vibes and the feelings, and unconsciously start imitating them.

      Why does my partners mood change so quickly? ›

      Why is your partner moody? There are lots of reasons why someone might have frequent, unpredictable or seemingly unexplainable moods. If it's out of character, it may be that your partner is simply going through a difficult time, such as a hard week at work or dealing with a health scare.

      When someone else's bad mood affects yours? ›

      This is often referred to as emotional contagion and although it is powerful, it's also manageable. For example, if you're around someone who is anxious, without realizing it, you might start to feel fearful yourself.

      What should I text my boyfriend in a bad mood? ›

      Texts That Let Your Partner Vent About Their Day
      • All of this sounds so frustrating. ...
      • Please keep venting to me — I'm here for you.
      • Start at the beginning. ...
      • It sounds like things just keep getting worse and worse.
      • What do you think might happen tomorrow?
      • Have you talked to anyone else about what's going on?
      24 Nov 2019

      How do I not let my partner's negativity affect me? ›

      Here are some tips to deal with a negative partner in a relationship.
      1. Learn to not take things personally. ...
      2. Don't allow their negativity to get to you and dim your light. ...
      3. Try to bring positivity into their lives. ...
      4. Limit your cheerfulness. ...
      5. Learn to be a little patient and understand that these things take time.
      17 Mar 2020

      How do you know when it's the end of your relationship? ›

      There's No Emotional Connection

      One of the key signs your relationship is ending is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of happy, healthy ​relationships is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open to sharing thoughts and opinions with one another.

      How can I lift my partner's mood? ›

      Here's how to do it, according to experts.
      1. Keep It All About Them. Andrew Zaeh for Bustle. ...
      2. Let Them Be. Ashley Batz/Bustle. ...
      3. Divert And Distract. As Assimos says, sometimes a little distraction can help. ...
      4. Be Thoughtful. Ashley Batz/Bustle. ...
      5. Send Them Good Vibes. ...
      6. Maintain Your Good Mood. ...
      7. Take Notes For Next Time.
      2 Apr 2018

      What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

      Stonewalling is, well, what it sounds like. In a discussion or argument, the listener withdraws from the interaction, shutting down and closing themselves off from the speaker because they are feeling overwhelmed or physiologically flooded. Metaphorically speaking, they build a wall between them and their partner.

      Is it normal to be moody with partner? ›

      Everyone gets cranky or moody sometimes, but that doesn't mean that it is the end of the relationship. But sometimes it can be a real nightmare, especially when this is a frequent problem.

      Why do men get mood swings? ›

      Irritable Man Syndrome or Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS) is the term used to describe the mood swings in men. Irritability in men is often a result of high stress cortisol levels and low testosterone levels. Some men respond by acting out while others hold these feelings in and become depressed.

      How do you love a moody person? ›

      The best remedy is that when your partner gets moody, it is important to stay calm. Understand that they need their space at times. Of course be there, if they need you around, but let them work through their own frustrations. Don't get easily offended; show some affection, making sure you don't overdo it.

      What is toxic empathy? ›

      Toxic empathy is when a person over-identifies with someone else's feelings and directly takes them on as their own. For example, feeling anxious for a friend when they're facing stress at work can be normal.

      How do you not let someone ruin your mood? ›

      Here are five ways to not let difficult people ruin your day.
      1. Stop talking about how miserable they are. ...
      2. Stop creating fake scenarios in your mind. ...
      3. Find reasons to be thankful for the difficult person. ...
      4. Set boundaries. ...
      5. If you continually have a difficult time with people, consider the difficult person may be you.
      13 Jun 2017

      How do I cheer him up over text? ›

      How to Make Your Boyfriend Happy over Text
      1. Send him a pic.
      2. Compliment him.
      3. Tell him when something reminds you of him.
      4. Ask questions to get him to open up about himself.
      5. Ask him for a recommendation.
      6. Open with something interesting.
      7. Tell him something about your day.
      8. Laugh when he makes a joke.

      How do I comfort my boyfriend in chat? ›

      Motivating Texts Of Support
      1. Whatever happens in the coming week, just know that I'm already proud of you.
      2. I'm so proud of how you've been balancing everything lately under so much pressure. ...
      3. I know you've got a lot on your plate right now, but I can promise you this: It's going to get better.
      12 Nov 2019

      What is 1 thing that destroys a relationship? ›

      Relationship Destroyer #1: Keeping Your Attention on What's Wrong. Many people habitually keep their attention on everything negative that their partner does. By focusing on what's wrong, we create thinking habits that generate a sense of unrest and dissatisfaction within ourselves and the relationship.

      What causes a relationship to turn negative? ›

      You don't communicate effectively

      Just like communication is the very life of a healthy and positive relationship, the lack of it can lead the relationship to become harmful, unhealthy, and toxic. If communication is not improved, it can lead to the end of the relationship.

      Can negativity ruin a relationship? ›

      In some cases, negativity can ruin a relationship—but it doesn't always need to. With some honest communication and genuine effort, relationship dynamics can shift from negative to positive.

      When should you let a relationship go? ›

      Refusal to Communicate, Address Problems, or Invest

      Or perhaps they aren't invested enough in the connection to make an effort. Regardless of the reason, when there's only one person making an effort, it's not really a relationship. It's time to let them go.

      How do you know if it's time to break up? ›

      You Don't Like Or Recognize Yourself

      You give up your values, stop doing things you enjoy and just become a hollow shell of the person you used to be! Family members and friends no longer recognize you and, honestly, neither do you. If you're experiencing this, it may be time to consider ending the relationship.

      When should you stop trying in a relationship? ›

      One of the key signs that it's time to break up is if you're finding that you can't connect to your own emotions or feel strongly about your partner's actions. Emotional detachment can happen due to abuse but it can also happen when you're being ignored day in and day out.

      What do you say when someone is not in good mood? ›

      10 Things to Say to Someone with Depression
      1. “Do you want some space?” ...
      2. “I'm here for you” ...
      3. “I love you” ...
      4. “Take as long as you need” ...
      5. “You don't need to do anything that makes you uncomfortable” ...
      6. “Everything is going to be OK” ...
      7. “I don't think you're crazy” ...
      8. “You're a good person”

      What is gaslighting in a relationship? ›

      What is gaslighting in a relationship? It's a form of psychological manipulation in which one person makes the other partner doubt his or her perceptions, experiences, memories, or understanding of events that happened.

      What does contempt look like in a relationship? ›

      About Contempt

      It can take the form of verbal or non-verbal language, which can include sarcasm, mockery, and facial gestures. Often, partners are unaware of what they said or did, especially contemptuous gestures like an eye roll or chuckle that elicited their partner's wrath.

      What causes a person to shut down emotionally? ›

      These conditions might include depression, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder. Medication and therapy are often helpful for these conditions. If the emotional detachment symptoms result from trauma, your doctor may recommend psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy.

      What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

      Stonewalling is, well, what it sounds like. In a discussion or argument, the listener withdraws from the interaction, shutting down and closing themselves off from the speaker because they are feeling overwhelmed or physiologically flooded. Metaphorically speaking, they build a wall between them and their partner.

      How do you know when it's the end of your relationship? ›

      There's No Emotional Connection

      One of the key signs your relationship is ending is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of happy, healthy ​relationships is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open to sharing thoughts and opinions with one another.

      How do you love a moody person? ›

      The best remedy is that when your partner gets moody, it is important to stay calm. Understand that they need their space at times. Of course be there, if they need you around, but let them work through their own frustrations. Don't get easily offended; show some affection, making sure you don't overdo it.

      What do you do when your partner is in a funk? ›

      10 Rules Your Husband Wishes You'd Follow When He's in a Funk
      1. Let go of your expectations. ...
      2. Respect his silence. ...
      3. But let him know you're always there. ...
      4. Give him a distraction. ...
      5. Don't try to fix the situation. ...
      6. Trust him and your relationship. ...
      7. Be honest about your own needs. ...
      8. Do something special for yourself.
      9 Jul 2015

      What is gaslighting in a relationship? ›

      What is gaslighting in a relationship? It's a form of psychological manipulation in which one person makes the other partner doubt his or her perceptions, experiences, memories, or understanding of events that happened.

      What is emotional neglect in a relationship? ›

      In a relationship or marriage emotional neglect is when a partner consistently fails to notice, attend to, and respond in a timely manner to a partner or spouse's feelings. In both instances, it has far-reaching negative consequences for the relationship.

      What does contempt look like in a relationship? ›

      About Contempt

      It can take the form of verbal or non-verbal language, which can include sarcasm, mockery, and facial gestures. Often, partners are unaware of what they said or did, especially contemptuous gestures like an eye roll or chuckle that elicited their partner's wrath.

      When should you let a relationship go? ›

      Refusal to Communicate, Address Problems, or Invest

      Or perhaps they aren't invested enough in the connection to make an effort. Regardless of the reason, when there's only one person making an effort, it's not really a relationship. It's time to let them go.

      How do you know if it's time to break up? ›

      You Don't Like Or Recognize Yourself

      You give up your values, stop doing things you enjoy and just become a hollow shell of the person you used to be! Family members and friends no longer recognize you and, honestly, neither do you. If you're experiencing this, it may be time to consider ending the relationship.

      When should you stop trying in a relationship? ›

      One of the key signs that it's time to break up is if you're finding that you can't connect to your own emotions or feel strongly about your partner's actions. Emotional detachment can happen due to abuse but it can also happen when you're being ignored day in and day out.

      Why is my partner so grumpy? ›

      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.

      How can I make my girlfriend happy in mood? ›

      30 Things To Do To Make Your Girlfriend Happy
      1. Write Her A Good Morning Message. ...
      2. Quote Her Favorite Poem Or Book Or Movie. ...
      3. Cook Her Favorite Breakfast. ...
      4. Gift Her Flowers. ...
      5. Take Her On A Late-Night Drive. ...
      6. Gift Her Little Yet Meaningful Things. ...
      7. Hold Her Hand In Public. ...
      8. Surprise Her With A Weekend Getaway.
      10 Oct 2022

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