I Can’t Take My Wife’s Mood Swings

Unpredictable and inconsistent behavior is difficult to deal with, especially in a romantic relationship. It feels like an emotional rollercoaster, where you never know how your words will be taken or what might upset your spouse, and can make you feel like you’re having mood swings of your own – where conversations turn hostile on a dime.

Drastic mood swings can be caused by many, many factors, some of them more easily diagnosed than others. The main biological components behind mood swings are hormones and neurotransmitters (and the two are often related). The triggers for these hormonal or neurological “imbalances,” however, can come from a broad range of sources.

For some women, menopause can bring on mood swings because of the hormonal changes involved. The chemical changes happening in a woman’s body can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, and aggression – as well as unpredictable and sometimes unprovoked changes from one of those emotions to the next. Many menopausal women will experience these problems to some degree, but for some, the affect on emotional state and mood will be very drastic.

Other fairly common causes also include stress, substance abuse, and lack of sleep.

For menopause induced mood swings, a healthy diet and exercise can help minimize symptoms, as well as seeking the comfort and support of others, practicing calming and relaxation exercises, and avoiding intoxicants that may further alter mood.

For the other common causes, the solutions are fairly self-explanatory – if stress is the issue (or seems to be), finding coping mechanisms or ways to reduce stress will help. Obviously the solution for substance abuse is trying to get clean, whether through personal abstinence or with the help of a counselor or rehabilitation program, and getting more sleep will happen as a combination of better habits, diet, exercise, and in some cases, employing techniques and treatments for sleep difficulty and insomnia.

Now, the mood swing causes we’ve been talking about are fairly common, and “mood swings” is an awfully broad term that describes some emotional ups and downs, all the way to full-blown unpredictability and sometimes even threatening behavior.

But there are other causes of severe mood changes that need to be addressed in a very different way: psychological disorders.

First and foremost, it’s critical to understand that many people use the names of serious mental health problems as passing adjectives. Terms like bipolar, depression, anxiety, and names of other psychological conditions are sometimes used to describe people who have not been diagnosed, and this can minimize the weight we give the real thing. It’s easy to ascribe a term to someone’s behavior – it’s much more difficult to determine a true clinical diagnosis.

With that in mind, though, psychological disorders are a major cause of severe mood swings. You don’t want to jump to conclusions and assume that your spouse may have a mental health issue, but if you think they are displaying symptoms (mood swings included), it may be time to talk to them about seeking out medical or psychiatric help.

All of these potential reasons aside, it’s also possible that the drastic changes in mood are not the product of an outside reason, but a product of the stress of the marriage itself! If this is the case, then now is the perfect time to start getting your marriage back on track, and asking that your spouse make an effort to keep their anger and irritability in check so the two of you can focus on how to make the relationship better.

Minor or severe, unwarranted or unexpected changes in mood do have a root cause, and getting to the source of the issue is the way to resolve the problem. It may be difficult, but try to approach your spouse about the problem calmly. Let them know that you are on their side, and that while the mood swings may be hard on you, you also understand how hard it must be on them.

The two of you can look for the source together, seek help together, and with each other’s support, find ways to reduce the mood swings and better deal with the tensions they cause.

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4 comments

helen 8 years ago

My husband and I have had a shaky marriage since my daughter was born, and I have kind of let him lead since he was uncertain of me and our relationship. But now I don't know if it is because I am feeling better on the antidepressant that I realize that this is not how I want my marriage to be, or if maybe my mind is going a little nutso on the antidepressant.

Leonard 8 years ago

I have been married for 7 years and my wife has BPD. She routinely speaks with a therapist and psychiatrist. I have been extremely patient and compromising, but it certainly wears me thin! We have a 4 year old son, who at times, can be very taxing on my nerves as well. To be quite honest, I think my wife is worse than my 4 year old most of the time.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 8 years ago

Hi Helen - it may be a good idea to involve your doctor or a counselor. Let them help you valid if you feelings are due to the medication. It may just be you coming back to yourself, and that you do need a change to be happy. Children change a marriage in very drastic ways.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 8 years ago

Hi Leonard - BPD can be a very trying illness for you both, It might be a good idea for you to have someone to talk to as well, to help you cope with the challenges. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/health-issues-harming-marriage/