How to deal with mood swings in a relationship

October 15, 2018 - 10 minutes read

Whether you live with a partner or not, mood swings can affect relationships and drive people apart.

The great thing about them is that they’re over almost as soon as they start. However, if a girlfriend’s mood swing has had an impact on your own mood, you may not “swing” out of it quite as quickly and it could create tensions further down the road.

Mood swings can occur for a number of reasons: Stress, depression, hormones in the menstrual cycle, or even just basic personality traits can set them off.

Not all of them are preventable, but there are many ways to make her feel more comfortable and diffuse the situation during times of high tension and sharp mood turns and deal with the aftermath in a productive way.

Be helpful 

Clutter, chores, and a mounting to-do are factors in life that can compound the speed and frequency of mood swings.

It’s not only for the sheer mundaneness of the tasks themselves. Time spent embroiled in cleaning and organising other people is time not invested in your hopes, dreams, and development, however important it is to keep a clean home.

Bear these in mind and remove stress from her plate:

  • If you live together, make sure you hold your weight around the house. Tidy up after yourself, notice chores that need doing, and buy groceries and essentials without being prompted.
  • If you still live apart, make sure you step up as a partner and that you’re reliable, honest, and proactive in offering support and assistance.
  • Make sure you plan regular holidays and breaks for the pair of you, and take the lead on planning travel and setting up itineraries. Relaxation time is crucial for levelling out emotional baggage.

You won’t win any medals; you may not even receive all that much in gratitude. It’s not about that. By being a rock and , you stand a far greater chance of keeping her mood an even keel. 

Be reliable 

Lateness to dates is only one side of the coin when it comes to being reliable.

One frustrating element of any kind of relationship in which someone continually fails to do what they say they will – however small. It could be as simple as saying you’ll get something from the shops or forgetting to take out the rubbish.

If you keep letting her down in small ways, it will take less and less to make her agitated. What you think is a mood swing might be her communicating to you that there are underlying frustrations that need to be addressed.

Here are a few tips for boosting your reliability in a relationship:

  • Don’t overreach: Some guys like to promise their girlfriends the moon on a stick, but don’t promise what you can’t provide. Be generous, but don’t say you’ll do or be happy with a decision that you might not be. For example, don’t buy a pet together and leave her to do the running around.
  • Keep a list: To-do lists are basic but powerful tools for boosting integrity. If you say you’re going to run an errand for her or meet her somewhere, stick it on the list. Or set calendar and schedule reminders for yourself on your phone. Train yourself to be diligent.
  • Stay on top of admin: Unresolved paperwork and planning can weigh on your partner’s shoulders. If she’s feeling that burden, remove some of it. Make sure you share responsibilities.
  • Put aside admin time as a couple: Sit down and have dedicated “meetings” in which you sort out bills, taxes, and necessities. Working through it together will mean that you are actively sharing the burden and levelling out potential stresses.

Take care of her 

Mood swings will become far less of a feature when you invest time and effort into giving your girlfriend TLC. That means showing her that you care when nothing’s wrong, and caring for her when she’s sick or sad.

If your girlfriend is feeling under the weather, take care of her. Make sure you’ve got dinner sorted and a bath running so she can rest up. Stick on episodes of her favourite TV show. Your partner will feel less need to snap if she feels attended to.

It’s also a biological reality that if you live with or spend a lot of time with a woman, once a month her hormones might leave her emotions on shakier ground than usual.

Every woman experiences the menstrual cycle. During it, she is not a bogeyman to be feared or a specimen to be objectified and reminded of it. This is not your challenge, it’s hers. Be there for her.

It’s not just “hormones” giving her mood swings while she’s on her period. Stomach cramps, bloating, and other symptoms are going to be ganging up on her and they would put anyone in a foul mood. Be conscious of this, and take steps to make her feel comfortable. 

Communicate your feelings 

Pent up frustrations can lead to tiny, unconscious displays of irritation that can seem to be causing erratic behaviour, when they are, in fact, expressions of deeper problems. 

Talk to her 

A superb way to avoid mood swings in a relationship is just to have fun talking to each other.

I don’t just mean in-depth, emotional connection. Fun is a massive connector in a relationship, and injecting it into your conversations will leave very little room for mood swings.

A cold, distant relationship is going to make her feel trapped. She might be going through other things in her life she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing if communication channels aren’t open. 

The following steps can help you maintain good vibes throughout the relationship:

  • Develop in-jokes: You will inevitably share experiences and moments together that are rooted in humour, and about which you laugh later. Cultivate them. They’re a great connector and point of relief in stressful times
  • Play games: Whether you’re into board games, computer games, or sports, make sure you and your other half get to playfully compete on a regular basis. They say “the family that plays together stays together,” and it applies equally to couples.
  • Talk about sex: Make sure sex enters the conversational arena. It will help maintain sexual tension, and pent up horniness can cause mood swings in both partners. Tell her when you’re thinking about her body during the day.
  • Have new experiences together: As I mentioned when talking about in-jokes, shared experiences are extremely powerful. It goes deeper than humour. Try new foods together. Visit new places. Share music and films you love. You might not love everything she loves, but the more you share, the less friction will factor into the relationship.

Give her space

Finally, there is sometimes simply nothing to do except let her breathe it out. Calmly explain you’re going to give her some space and leave the room. Give it twenty minutes, come back in, and sincerely ask if she’s okay and whether there’s anything she wants to talk about.

Trying to fix the situation can actually intensify the mood swing. Sometimes, it’s best to leave it and revisit the situation from a clearer headspace.

For support in your relationship, get in touch about my counselling services.