ASERI asks: How should I treat my boyfriend when he’s in a bad mood?
Hi Aseri –
Like all dogs, I am extremely sensitive to the moods of those I’m close to. I’ll sense that someone I love is sad, and put my head in their lap, or pick up that someone is tense, and avoid them. So I understand your wish to treat your boyfriend in the right way when he’s in a bad mood.
What I don’t know, though, is what sort of bad mood you mean. Is he feeling sad, depressed, hopeless, tense, frustrated, angry, or something else?
Regardless, of course the first thing I’ll say to you is to make sure you stay safe. If your boyfriend gets in a bad mood that results in him lashing out in angry violence, I want you to not be within his reach. Even if he has very good reasons for his anger, your protection is a higher priority.
Now as long as you’re safe, though, the best thing for anyone in any sort of negative mood is to feel that they’re recognized. In other words, it’s really humiliating to be feeling depressed and have people think you’re doing just fine. So first tell him you see his feelings, “Wow, it looks like you’re having a rough day,” or “Hey you look tense, do you want company?” And when you do this, make sure not to Shame him! It’s one thing for someone to point out your lousy day, and another to be ‘accused’ of it, like “Hey what’s up with you? What reason do you have to be angry today?” or “You look upset. You’re always so oversensitive!” These will make him feel worse, and will take away his trust for you.
Then, he might refuse to admit his feelings. Perhaps you’re reading him wrong, or maybe he just doesn’t want to talk about his mood. In either of those cases, I’d say to let it slide. He’ll talk about it when he feels ready.
But if he does agree with you, that he’s in a bad mood, then comes your chance to be a really great friend. Ask him if he wants to talk about it, and if not, ask if he’d like some time alone. Maybe he will, and maybe he’ll want you around, but just not to talk about that issue. And that’s fine too.
And if he does want to talk about it, then you get to be the very best of friends, and give him a chance to vent about it all he wants.
And this will work, very well… as long as you can stand it. If he’s always getting in bad moods, you might find yourself getting bored. If that’s the case, write me or have him write me, and we can discuss what’s bothering him, and try to get that worked out.
But until that point, this is really a great way to show him how much you care. He’s a lucky guy to have someone like you this concerned. I just hope he knows it!