Everyone has their fair share of good days and bad. But when your partner is in a bad mood, it can have a way of affecting you in a way your own moods don't. For instance, it's hard not take it personally when your partner shuts down, even if their mood has absolutely nothing to do with you. After all, if you love someone, it's only natural to want to help. According to experts, there are ways to help your partner out of a bad mood, that won't leave you feeling bad for trying.
People react to challenges the day may bring them differently. If your partner is the type to hibernate and shut down on you, don't worry. As Dr. Kate Dow, psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle, it's common. "Often times, people shut down during bad moods because they don't know what they can do for themselves," Dow says. "We can't easily think our way out of a bad mood."
Therefore in some cases, when you ask your partner how you can help, it can be frustrating for them because they really don't know what to tell you. Trying to deal on their own may seem like the easiest option for them. According to experts, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.
"Helping your partner get out of a' funk' is situational and you'll want to take into consideration things like what put them in the bad mood and how they typically handle stress or intense emotion," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony's Chief of Advice, tells Bustle. Although it does vary from person to person, there are still general things to keep in mind if you want to help pull your partner out of a bad mood. Here's how to do it, according to experts.
1. Keep It All About Them
This may seem like an obvious tip, but don't make your partner feel guilty for being in a bad mood. You may not be doing it intentionally, but it can come off that way. For example, don't say something like, "Give me a smile, it'll make you feel happy" or "When you feel down, I feel down." As Assimos says, "Don't make it about you. Make it about them." If you make it seem like you're trying to cheer them up for the benefit of you or the two of you, it can have a way of making them feel worse. So keep yourself out of it, and listen to what your partner may need of you instead.
2. Let Them Be
When your partner is in a bad mood, you may have the urge to hug them and love them until they feel better. But for some, all that affection may have the opposite effect. That's why Assimos says, giving your partner space if they need it is really important. More often than not, they will likely appreciate it. "Make sure your partner knows you are there for them if they choose to not talk about it," she says. "Don't interrogate them and amplify their mood. Just be there for them and don't smother."
3. Divert And Distract
As Assimos says, sometimes a little distraction can help. You don't need to go out and do anything big. You can take a walk around the neighborhood or put on your partner's favorite show. Assimos even suggests taking a quick trip to the local animal shelter to play with puppies if that's your thing. "It can be an effective mood booster and an easy way to take their minds off of things," she says. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it's something positive that can help temporarily distract your partner from their troubles.
4. Be Thoughtful
"Just being with your partner to show them you’re there and that their bad mood isn’t going to scare you away can be helpful," licensed marriage and family therapist, Heidi McBain, MA, tells Bustle. Ask yourself, what makes your partner feel loved and cared for? It can be sitting next to them in silence while holding their hand, making a sly joke about how mean people are the worst, or even bringing them a cup of tea "to help warm them up from the inside out." According to McBain, it's all about finding those little thoughtful things that make your partner feel unconditionally loved.
5. Send Them Good Vibes
Sending your partner "good, loving vibes" to help them get out of a bad mood might help that energy rub off on them. According to Dow, it's super easy. Take a few minutes to meditate and get yourself into a positive space. Once you do that, imagine your partner surrounded in a cloud of positivity and good vibes. You can even send them a quick message about how much you love and care for them. Keep it short and sweet. "This is both subtle and powerful," Dr. Dow says. Although it may not work for everyone, it may work for you. It never hurts to try.
6. Maintain Your Good Mood
In every relationship it's important to have boundaries. When your partner is in a bad mood, it can affect yours as well. But according to Dr. Dow, don't let your partner's mood drag you down. You can empathize, but don't allow it to ruin your own day. "Have boundaries so you can stay neutral towards them," she says. "This will help allow them to feel accepted."
7. Take Notes For Next Time
If you notice that your partner likes space when they're in a mood, give them space. If they like hugs, give them hugs. "Keep in mind how your partner reacts so the next time they get in a funk, you'll know what works and what just makes them feel worse," Assimos says.
Bad moods happen to everyone. For the most part, there isn't really anything to worry about. According to Dr. Dow, it can become a problem if it happens regularly. "In that case, it may indicate bigger issues like depression," she says. And if you think your partner may be suffering from depression, encouraging them to seek help from a loved one or a therapist could help with their symptoms.
But if you take the time to really know your partner and how they react to things, both good and bad, it can make dealing with problems that may arise so much easier.