I have been considering how my relationships have been affected over the years by mood swings, and I have come to a hopeful hypothesis: as you get older, your mood swings tend to have less and less impact on your relationship. I suspect that this has more to do with personal growth than with actual changes in the mood swings themselves.
During a recent mood swing, tears streamed down my face as I explained to my husband all the horrors of my day. My world was falling apart, and I just couldn’t deal with my life anymore. My husband, being a caring person, was very concerned, and tried to comfort me. Feeling his worry, I paused long enough to say, “Don’t worry. This seems like a big deal right now, but I’ll feel better tomorrow.” Then I continued with my diatribe against the world and its horrors.
This incident shows a change from my attitude in younger years. When I was younger, my attitude during mood swings was that the world really had become horrible, my job actually was the worst ever, and my partner was suddenly treating me terribly. Today, on the other hand, I usually know in the back of my mind that what has changed is the feeling, not the reality. This awareness helps me to hold myself back from words and actions that would change things toward the negative in reality, like directing my temper at my husband.
Another change that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is that my capacity for self-control has grown. As I’ve indicated already, one of the effects of awareness is that it reminds me that I need to control myself. It’s one thing to know that you need to control yourself, and it’s another thing to actually control yourself. Fortunately, getting older has helped me develop more perspective, self-comforting skills, and healthier ways to address frustrations. I will not pretend for a second that my mood swings never get directed at my husband, but every single time that I resist bad behaviors prevents a negative interaction in my relationship.
Having a Growing Partner
Finally, the fact that my husband is also maturing as we age has helped reduce the impact of hormonal mood swings on our relationship. When we started dating, I quickly figured out that my husband had a natural knack for making me feel better, a happy by-product of him being an only boy with two sisters. And he has only gotten better over the years. He’s learned when to comfort me and when to let me know that I’m crossing the line, when to talk things out with me and when to give me space to calm myself.
Looking to the Future
I’m grateful for the growth that has enabled my husband and me to minimize the effect of my hormone changes on our relationship. Because, let’s face it, we’re going to need those skills! As I look forward into our lives together, I see the mood swings of pregnancy, and (eventually) menopause coming my way, and I know that we will need all the psychological skills that we can muster to deal with those in a healthy way! Here’s hoping that you have seen similar growth in your relationship over the years, and that we all continue to grow together in this area!