How to Deal with Moody Men
Men get into moods sometimes, don't they?!
And they say that women have PMS. Men don't even have a hormonal excuse for their moods. They just get grouchy, snippety, and antisocial for no good reason.
Whereas PMS is over in a week, men's moods can go on for AGES.
There's no medicating his moods, either. He'd rather purchase a case of Jim Beam than listen to a gentle suggestion that a doctor may help him feel better.
So what do you do when your man is in a mood? And how do you get him out of it?
I'm no expert, but here's what I think.
Tip #1: Don't Take It Personally
When men get into moods, they're not much fun to be around. They can pick an argument over the slightest thing. They say the cruelest things, things that no husband or boyfriend should say to their partner.
The most important thing to understand is:
It's not about you.
He's not acting that way because he hates you - no matter how it appears at the time.
He's acting that way because he can't help it. Something is "off" for him - maybe he's having problems at work, maybe he's hurting physically or emotionally, or maybe he's feeling insecure about his looks.
Whatever it is, he isn't feeling good about himself and the universe in general, and you just happen to be part of that universe.
He's hurting you because he wants everyone to feel as bad as he's feeling right now.
That's no excuse, mind you. That doesn't let him off the hook.
But it does let YOU off the hook.
You should NEVER feel responsible for your man's moods.
You didn't cause him to be in a mood (although he may try to pin it on you). You have nothing to do with his mood. So don't you dare feel guilty.
This isn't about you.
Tip #2: Give Him Lots of Space
Moody men, as I said before, aren't much fun to be around. So don't stay around!
If he can't be polite or civilized, give him a wide berth. Take your kids and get out of the house - and don't invite him along. Call up a friend and have a good long chat. Draw yourself a bubble bath and soak yourself into relaxation. Go for a long walk.
Whatever you do, don't put yourself in a mood just so you can join him in his general grouchiness. If being around him makes you feel uncomfortable and annoyed, put some space in between you.
Picking up his moods does not make you a "good partner." It just makes you co-dependent.
Let me assure you:
You have every right to be happy and have fun, regardless of whether he's able to join in.
If you have a family, it is your responsibility as a good parent to make sure that your kids learn healthy ways to deal with other people's feelings.
It is NOT healthy to have the whole family tip-toeing around just because your husband is in a mood.
It IS healthy to respect one another's right to express feelings - negative or positive - without taking on those feelings oneself.
In fact, one of the best ways of dealing with a moody family member is to allow that person to have the space they need, while at the same time going about your life as you normally would. This includes laughing, talking about your day, and enjoying one another's company.
Sometimes, having a good time will even encourage the moody family member to break out of his mood and join you in the fun.
Tip #3: Talk it Through
When your man is ready to communicate, he will let you know.
Wait for his signal. Most men need to get through their immediate mood before they're ready to look at what put them there. Even a gentle "Want to talk about it?" at the wrong time can push him deeper into his shell. He won't want to analyze his feelings until he feels able to cope with them.
It helps to assume that your man has a good reason for his mood. Believing that there's a reason he's acting this way will help you be compassionate and supportive.
Unfortunately, by the time a man is ready to talk, many women are no longer willing to listen. Instead, they've gotten fed up with their man's moods. They feel more inclined to punish him for bringing everyone down and making everyone upset.
But punishing a man for his moodiness is like punishing you for PMS. He feels the way he feels, and he probably feels like he can't help his bad mood.
It's your decision how you'll respond to his mood. Will you get moody and grumpy, too? If so, then that's your choice. If you don't like that choice, you can choose something else. You can give him a wide berth and do things to make you feel nurtured and positive until he's ready to return to the land of the living.
Remember: this isn't about you. This is about him and his issues. Don't take on his problems if you can possibly avoid it. Not only will you feel better if you focus on staying positive and centered, but you'll be more help to him that way.
The sobering fact is that there may be a serious issue underneath his seemingly petty and immature mood. Something may be going on for him, something that he hasn't told you about. You need to know what it is. Otherwise, these moods will continue.
So what is it? What's up?
Is it work? Is it his friends? Is it his health? Is it "us"?
He may be feeling some things that he doesn't want to tell you. He may be worried that his feelings will hurt you or wreck your family harmony.
But the longer those bad feelings stay inside him, the more they'll burst out in the form of moods.
When you finally get a man talking about the reason he's not feeling in the best of moods, it's important to remember that your job is to listen - not analyze or judge.
It doesn't matter whether or not his feelings are justified, or whether they relate to other bad experiences in his life.
All that matters is that he feels safe opening up and saying what needs to be said. All that matters is that he's able to vocalize his demons and feel like you've heard him.
Save the moralizing or criticism for later. It's not fair to strike a man when he's down.
Moods are Part of Life
I know it can be really uncomfortable for everyone when someone's in a bad mood.
But the fact is: moods are part of life.
Not all life is positive. Sometimes, we feel angry or upset or insecure, and we don't know why. If we don't let those feelings out, we'll explode.
Obviously, the best way to express emotions is by talking things out as and when they occur, but that assumes that we know what's bothering us.
Oftentimes, we'll just feel in a bad mood for no reason at all. Maybe we just "woke up on the wrong side of the bed." Maybe a car cut us off on the way to work. Maybe we're just having a "fat" day.
Ordinarily, we have emotional reserves that help us weather the small storms of daily life. But sometimes, those reserves get dried up. The littlest thing can set us off.
Having moods doesn't make your husband a bad person. Having moods doesn't make YOU a bad person, either.
It just means that both of you have something to learn.
Learning to express moods in a healthy way is something we ALL could learn to do better.