How Big Mood Swings Can Affect Your Relationships

By: Aaron Smith

Updated August 02, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Robin Brock

Being in a relationship is an emotional thing. Beyond the initial infatuation, having interactions with a significant other can cause all sorts of emotions. Anger, jealousy, happiness, confusion, and satisfaction are examples of some of your feelings in a relationship.

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Sometimes, the expression of emotions in particular ways can lead to miscommunications and unspoken expectations. When this happens, it can create friction in the relationship. It is best to sit down with the other person in times like this, clarify, ask questions, and have an honest conversation about what you're feeling. This way, nothing could be secret and possibly blow up later.

You can also do this when things are going well. It's nice to hear when you are bringing someone joy, laughter, and general happiness. Be sure to tell your partner the good emotions, as well as addressing the potential negative emotions.

More Than Emotions

While emotions are an essential part of a relationship, something else can affect the tone of the interactions between you and your significant other. Moods are more than emotions. Being in a specific mood affects what emotions you are likely to feel. If you are in a bad mood, you're more likely to be angry, grumpy, irritable, or sad. A good mood, conversely, can bring about humor, joy, happiness, and satisfaction.

Sometimes, moods catch us by surprise. We may not know why we are in a grumpy mood or why we are happy. Sometimes they seem to happen out of nowhere. Other times, we can link our moods to events that have happened. Did you have a hard day at work? You may be more likely to be in a foul mood afterward. Did you receive some great news? In that case, happiness is most likely going to be your mood.

Moods affect how you treat people, especially when you aren't exactly sure of the mood affecting you. Sometimes you need someone to tell you, "You're in a bad mood today," before realizing that you are irritable and grumpy. Your partner is a great person to tell you that because they tend to know you reasonably well. Your interactions with the other person in the relationship often can reveal the kind of mood you are feeling at the time.

Mood Swings

Sometimes, events in our lives may cause a mood swing. Mood swings can affect your relationship in significant ways. Typically, a small mood swing creates a small ripple in the relationship. Big mood swings, however, can cause a big splash, disrupting the relationship in significant ways.


When you have been in a relatively good mood for a while, your partner comes to expect you to act in a specific way, believing everything is ok both in your life and as well as the relationship. When there is a sudden shift in your mood, changing without warning from feeling good and happy to angry and sad, it can create an emotional whiplash of sorts in the other person, and vice versa.

Big mood swings can create significant effects on the relationship. You may go from being romantic and warm to cold and distant. Changing moods in this way can lead the other person to believe they have done something wrong or possibly that you are no longer interested or invested in the relationship.

Dealing With A Big Mood Swing

Navigating around a big mood swing can be tricky for both you and your partner. Since moods affect your emotions, you may find yourself quicker to cry or snap to anger. All these emotions associated with your moods are swirling around inside you, waiting to be expressed. Sometimes, you may not intend to react to your partner in a negative way when you experience a moment of frustration or anger that may have nothing to do with them, and they're caught off-guard in your seemingly out-of-nowhere reaction.

So how do you deal with a big mood swing in a relationship?

Listen To Your Partner

Any big mood swings will affect the people close to you, including the other person in your relationship. Listen to them if they tell you that you've shifted in your mood. Listen to what they are telling you about your actions, your demeanor, and your words. They have an outside perspective that may be very valuable to you. Sometimes we are too close to the mood to recognize that anything has changed.

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It would help if you also listened to how your big mood swing is affecting your partner. Is your irritability causing the other person to feel that you are mad at them all the time? Are you distant and cold, making your partner feel insecure in the relationship, worrying that you are losing interest? The way your moods affect your partner matters. While you may not mean to take out your mood on them when you do, you need to hear what is happening, take responsibility, and work to change the behavior.

Figure Out Why

Life circumstances cause some mood swings. It is essential to be self-aware and take stock of the goings-on of your life. If you look back and realize that something triggered your mood swings, such as bad news, a hard day at work, or an argument with your significant other, it is essential to recognize it to deal with any underlying emotions that are causing your moods to swing.

If you find yourself with a big mood swing for no reason, know that sometimes that happens. Sometimes you may "wake up on the wrong side of the bed" and be in a bad mood, whereas yesterday, you were in a great mood. If for whatever reason, you are concerned about the frequency and intensity of your mood swings, talking with a therapist can help you work out any underlying reasons for your mood swings.

Change Your Routine

Often, when we feel stuck in a rut, a good mood can drop quickly. So, do something out of the ordinary. See a movie. Go out to dinner at a new restaurant. Take a walk in a park. It can be something simple or extravagant. Breaking the cycle of sameness can do wonders to uplift your mood.

Include your partner in your routine-changing behavior. After all, their mood affects you, as well. You are doing something that lifts both your spirits. It can be useful for each of you individually and as a couple. A bonus is that you can turn it into a special date, creating memories that strengthen the bond between you.

When There Is Friction

Big mood swings can create friction and conflict in a relationship. Your partner may feel blindsided by it, thinking that you were feeling one way and then finding out your feelings seem to be the complete opposite instead. That can create hurt and maybe even resentment. Dealing with these feelings can lead to conflict and confrontation.

When there is friction in the relationship, there are two things you should remember. First, moods change. You won't feel like this forever, and your mood can improve. Second, remember that the other person has legitimate feelings, as well. You are not the only one with a mood or emotions. It's easy to get so wrapped up in what is going on internally with ourselves that we often fail to see the other person's point of view. Take some time and listen to each other. Open communication about what and why you feel what you are feeling can go a long way towards resolving conflict in your relationship.

When It's Too Much

Sometimes, the conflict can escalate and get out of hand. Fights like this do happen and sometimes go on for days. Unresolved conflict can create a rift in your relationship, which may hurt you both in the long run. If you value the relationship, feelings like these need to be addressed and dealt with in healthy ways.

You may need help navigating the challenges of big mood swings and your relationship. The trained, licensed online therapists at ReGain can help you and your partner conquer conflict and grow your relationship as a healthy, viable, long-term partnership. With the help of a therapist, you can identify the reasons for your mood swings, how they affect your partner and develop a plan for dealing with them in the future. With these tools, you can manage your moods and emotions and not have them affect your relationship.

What Do Mood Swings Mean For The Relationship?

Ultimately, mood swings don't have to mean anything for the relationship necessarily. The effects of the mood swings are what need to be dealt with, navigated, and resolved. Remember, you both have moods and emotions. Mood swings are rarely a one-sided coin. Understanding that your partner is complex can go a long way towards navigating emotions and moods to have a healthy, fulfilling, long-term relationship.

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