Relationships are hard. They take time, effort, and a whole lot of self-work. One surefire way to doom a partnership is by taking your significant other’s moods too personally.
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of being an emotion-sponge!
I see you, and I feel for you, so here are some quick tips on how to stay positive when your partner’s in a stinky mood.
The most important thing you need to do is become radically honest with yourself about how your partner’s moods are affect your emotional life.
The saying goes that admitting is the first step, so relationships are no exception. When your partner snaps or lashes out at you, immediately take a moment to pause and reflect.
How did that moment make you feel?
Pay attention to physical cues, like tightening your jaw, clenching your fists, or feeling a wave of tension fill you in general.
Once you acknowledge how you’re feeling, you can start the work on untangling your mood from your partner’s.
Remember that your partner experiencing something doesn’t mean that you have to go along for the ride with them, especially if it has nothing to do with you.
Dissociating yourself in this way might seem cruel, but it’s actually the best thing that you can do for them.
Only when you’re in control of your emotional life will you be able to help them with their own.
Also, always keep in mind that it’s possible to support your partner without completely absorbing every little thing that they’re feeling.
Emotional enmeshment can feel like love, but it’s actually detrimental to any kind of problem-solving.
Here’s what social neurologist Tania Singer has to say about being a little too empathetic towards your partner’s feelings:
“This can become so intense that it produces empathic distress in [you] and in the long run could lead to burnout and withdrawal.”
Now, no relationship ever benefited from having two people totally freak out at once. If you feel your partner start to lose it, don’t dive headfirst into that rabbit hole with them. Take the time to stop, think, and breathe. These are really the three key actions to saving any faltering relationship. They promote healthy communication, which is the bedrock of all good partnerships.
Have you accidentally absorbed a partner’s bad mood before? What did you do to combat it? Share your story with us in the comments!