How to handle your girlfriend's mood swings

Is your girlfriend happy one minute and upset the next? Should you try to change her?

Would you describe your girlfriend as moody? Is she up one minute and down the next? Does she sometimes confuse you by being happy about something you’ve said or done one day, only to be unhappy about it when you repeat the same gesture another day?

Is it possible that her moodiness could all be down to simple emotional differences between men and women, or could it be that your girlfriend is not so much moody as misunderstood? Let’s take a look and see…

Mars vs. Venus
Way back in 1993, a book titled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D. became an instant best-seller and it remains the most popular relationship book of all time with over 7 million copies sold to date. The contents of the book explore the fundamental differences between men and women and how they react to everyday life and relationship situations. One of Gray’s key observations is that men like to be left alone to find solutions to their problems in their own way and in their own good time, whereas women like to instantly share and discuss their problems with others, not necessarily as a means of finding a solution, but simply as a means of being understood.

It seems weird to us men that a woman wants to talk about her problems, but doesn’t want us to help her come up with solutions. Instead, she just wants to talk about it and for you to understand that she is feeling emotional. That’s just the way most women are.

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Communication Breakdown
If your girlfriend’s mood swings are frequent, you might view it as a signal that your relationship is breaking down. However, it may in fact be a simple breakdown in communication that has led to the moodiness she’s displaying. The premise of Gray’s book is that men and woman are from “different planets” (metaphorically of course) and speak different languages, but it is possible to learn each other’s language and avoid the intention or meaning behind words, actions and behaviors being lost in translation.

For example, she may want to talk to you about a problem she’s having at work. If you instantly offer her a solution to the problem, it will usually add fuel to her mood and annoy her further. Why? As you see it, her behavior is irrational and unnecessary; she should just find a solution and get over it. That’s where you’ll have problems, because most women just don’t want to be men! You offered her a solution with good intentions, but that wasn’t what she was looking for from you; she was looking for understanding and that understanding can only come from listening to her.

You might think you’re being supportive by providing her with a perfect solution, but she thinks you’re being unsupportive for not giving her the opportunity to talk about it. That’s just how most women are and if you want to learn to communicate with a woman so she feels you’re a good listener and you “understand her”, try to speak to her in her language. Don’t try to fix her problems unless she flat out asks you “how” she should fix it.  Even then, you should always ask your girlfriend first, “What are some of your ideas on how to fix it?” When she has said her ideas or told you she doesn’t have any but wants to hear yours, give her your opinion and then say, “Well, I know you can make the right decision and I’ll support you on whatever you decide to do. I think you should do (whatever your opinion is), but you go with what you feel is right” If you talk to a woman that way, she will love you more than you can imagine. It is like music to her ears.

Moody by Nature
The bottom-line is that by nature, women are governed by hormonal cycles that can lead to mood swings. Getting to grips with your girlfriend’s moodiness is absolutely not about trying to understand her by getting more in touch with your feminine side, it’s about accepting the fact that she’s a woman and you’re a man! She experiences life differently to you, but you don’t need to understand her every single thought to be able to “understand” her. Understanding her moods means simply accepting that she will not always, if ever, respond to everyday challenges in the same way that you do - and that’s okay. She is a woman and you are a man – accept that and love her for it.

Mood Swings Will Come and Go
Mood swings are often the result of hormonal shifts but other common mood triggers include stress, worry and anxiety. Most mood swings only last for an hour or two before things return to normal, so the best way to deal with a moody girlfriend is often to just to let nature take its course. If her irritable mood is down to stress, unless there is a practical way that you can help to take some of it from her (e.g. sex, take her out, tickle her, get her laughing) staying out of her way is usually the best way to let her get on top of it herself.

Telling her she’s stressed out or telling her not to worry won’t help to lower her stress levels and any attempt to tell her how she should be feeling instead of how she is feeling will be counter-productive! However, this doesn’t mean that you should put up with whatever she throws at you. No matter how stressed she’s feeling, there’s absolutely no excuse for her ever taking it out on you. If she does, withdraw your attention from her and then expect an apology before you start paying attention to her again.

Moody Habit?
Everyone experiences mood changes and no one is happy every hour of every day for their entire life. However, if your girlfriend’s moods are beginning to take over your relationship and you find that the majority of your time together is spent listening to her problems, it’s time to stop listening. Your role in the relationship is to be her boyfriend, not her therapist! It might be that she genuinely doesn’t realize what’s happening and she may even have unintentionally slipped into a habit of being moody to get your attention, but having you point it out should be enough to prompt her to change her ways. If not, it’s time to question whether she’s the right woman for you, unless it was her moodiness that you fell in love with in the first place of course!