It’s women who have the rep for being the moody sex, but in reality, experts say, guys also have big swings. “Men act differently than women do in a funk, so it’s not always obvious what’s going on,” says Darlene Mininni, PhD, author of “The Emotional Toolkit.” We collected the best tactics for figuring out and dealing with his cranky frame of mind.
ID his temperamental type
Grumpy guys fall into two groups. The first is the sort who has the occasional bad day — he gets frustrated when his team loses a game or he has a crappy work experience. Then there’s the guy who rides an emotional roller coaster several times weekly.
This second breed regularly allows disappointing events to send him into a downward spiral. Clearly, he’s sensitive, which isn’t always a bad thing: “He may be able to pick up on cues when you’re upset,” says Terry Real, author of “I Don’t Want to Talk About It.”
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Learn to read him
While women readily tend to spill what’s bothering them, guys are more prone to withdrawing and displacing their feelings by having odd or inappropriate reactions to small things. “Your boyfriend is unlikely to admit he’s upset he didn’t get promoted,” says Real. “Instead, he’ll rant about misplacing his socks. What you see is his mysterious agitation; what he’s doing is refusing to show vulnerability.”
So whether he’s an occasional grump or a chronic crank, you’ll need to dig to find out what’s up. But guys aren’t going to let the floodgates open if you say “Do you want to talk about it?” Try asking a specific question, like “What did your boss do today?” to draw him out.
If he clams up or gets bratty though, be firm. “Explain you’re there to listen but you’re not willing to be his emotional punching bag,” says Patricia Covalt, PhD, author of “What Smart Couples Know.” Let him make the choice to talk about it or not. If his foul temperament shows no signs of cracking, tell him you’re going out with friends and he can call if he needs you.
Put it in perspective
“It’s important to realize you’re not responsible for your man’s mood,” Real says. When you spend lots of time with a guy, you can get used to his bad behavior. So step back and tally how often he’s grouchy, especially toward you. Perhaps it’s more than you’d consciously allow yourself to tolerate. You have to decide for yourself when enough is enough.