When You Live With a Moody Husband – Loving What Is

If your husband’s mood swings are unpredictable and confusing, you might not know how to talk to him. You feel judged and criticized; maybe you’re starting to lose yourself in your marriage. How do you live a happy life when you’re married to a moody man? Here’s what on reader said about her anxious husband…

“My husband is a nervous, worry wort pain in the backside,” says Tessa on 5 Tips for Coping With a Critical Husband. “His motto is ‘If I don’t worry about it, no one will.’ He is getting more controlling and critical everyday. I hate being told what to do, because I was raised by two controlling jerks. Add a bullying sister to that. I’m tired of living with a moody and distant husband. I don’t want to leave him or get a divorce. I just want to be happy.”

Of course she wants to be happy in her marriage! So do you, and so do I. I’ve been trying all sorts of ways to be happy no matter what circumstances I face — and I finally found something that works. I found emotional freedom, peace, and happiness. My husband isn’t moody, but he can be stoic and distant. When we first got married I often said “I can’t be myself around my husband” and “I feel uncomfortable and awkward in my marriage.” 

My husband was just being himself. He had no problem being who he is. In our marriage, I was the one who had the problem. I didn’t know how to hold on to my self-identity and be happy with my husband. I didn’t know how to be myself. 

If you’re struggling with a similar situation, you might be interested to learn how I finally broke free. I am living happily and freely no matter how distant or stone faced my husband is.

Loving What Is – When You Live With a Moody and Distant Husband

I’ve been listening to Byron Katie’s podcasts and videos on YouTube. In Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life Katie describes how to stop living under the control of your thoughts and beliefs, and how to live happily with reality as it is. 

How to Calm Anxiety and Protect Your Relationship
Loving What Is

Katie calls it “The Work.” Below is what I wrote in my journal, it’s a transcript of how I did the work after a negative interaction with my husband. I simply answered Katie’s questions — including The Turnaround. I couldn’t believe the depth of peace, joy and freedom I found after a simple 15 minute exercise!

The first six questions are from Katie’s “Judge Your Neighbor” Worksheet. 

1. How does your husband make you feel, and why? 

I am angry and frustrated with my husband because he is easily irritated and defensive. I feel like I can’t be myself around my husband because he is moody and distant.

2. How do you want your husband to change? What do you want him to do? 

I want my husband to respond the way I think he should. I want him to be flexible, easy going, light, happy, and accepting.

3. What advice would you give your husband? 

My husband should stop being so moody, distant, reactive, grumpy, overbearing, suffocating, and a wet blanket.

4. To be happy with your husband, what do you need him to think, say, feel, or do? 

I need my husband to stop tamping me down! I need him to be more accepting, encouraging, and adaptable to me and life. I need my husband to let me be me. I need him to say and do things that shows that he supports and loves me.

5. What do you think of your husband when he is moody and distant?

My husband is like a heavy chain that shackles me, ruins my mood, wrecks my day. My husband is heavy, dark, moody, negative, and oppressive. doesn’t let me be me. I want my husband to change so can have a happy life and marriage.

6. What in this situation do you never want to experience again?

I don’t ever want my husband to smother or oppress me again. I don’t ever want my husband to have power or control over me, my thoughts, moods, attitude, perceptions, or life!

That’s how I feel about living with my (moody and distant) husband. I was being as petty, honest, and judgmental as I could. The idea is to let my true feelings and thoughts out — and to let my ego and the worst side of me be free.

For each of the six statements above, The Work asks me four questions.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

And then I do a turnaround.

1. My husband angers and frustrates me.

I am angry and frustrated with my husband because he is easily irritated and defensive. I feel like I can’t be myself around my husband because he is moody and distant.

  1. Is it true? Sometimes! (But Katie requires a “yes” or “no” answer, otherwise we go off tangent into defending and describing the situation). So…
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? It is not always true that my husband angers and frustrates me. My husband is not always moody or distant! So the answer is no.
  3. How do you react when you believe that thought? When I believe the thought that my husband angers and frustrates me, I act the way he does. I become irritated, angry, frustrated. I see his stone cold face…and I get scared. I feel alone, vulnerable, and afraid. I feel anxious that I made him mad. And I feel bad and wrong.
  4. Who would you be without the thought? I would be free to be joyful, to be me without worrying about making mistakes! I’d be light and twirly, with stars and moonbeams shooting out from my fingertips. I’d have no fear, just light hearted curiosity. Freedom — and definitely not like I’m walking on eggshells in my marriage.

2. How do you want your husband to change? 

I want my husband to respond the way I think he should. I want him to be flexible, easy going, light, happy, and accepting.

  1. Is it true? No. I don’t want my husband to always respond the way I think he should.
  2. How do you react when you believe that thought? When I believe the thought that my husband should respond the way I think he should, I feel controlling, dictatorial, and like a puppeteer. I don’t want my husband to control me, and I don’t want to control him! I don’t care how moody or distant my husband is…I want him to be who he is.
  3. Who would you be without the thought? I would an accepting, happy wife. I’d teaching other wives how to live happily with their moody and distant husbands. I’d be able to respond the way as my true self, not a critical or negative wife.

3. What advice would you give your husband? 

My husband should stop being so moody, distant, reactive, grumpy, overbearing, suffocating, and a wet blanket.

  1. Is it true? No. My husband shouldn’t stop being who he is. Who am I to say what my husband should do, say, think or believe? 
  2. How do you react when you believe that thought? When I believe the thought that my husband shouldn’t be who he is, I feel like I’m wasting my time and energy. I’m deciding how my husband should act and feel instead of respond to my own needs! When I’m taking care of my husband’s moods, who is taking care of me? When I get in my husband’s business, who is taking care of my business? My inner child is abandoned, alone, and neglected again. She can’t even trust me to take care of her, love, or attend to her. I know what she needs, and I leave her to go mess about in my husband’s business. That makes me very, very sad.
  3. Who would you be without the thought? I would be in tune with my true self, my inner girl! I’d be free to twirl and bounce, dance and shine moonbeams from my fingertips. I’d be happy in my life, no matter what my husband feels, says, or does. Free.

4. In order for you to be happy with your husband, what do you need him to think, say, feel, or do? 

I need my husband to stop tamping me down. I need him to be more accepting, encouraging, and adaptable to me and life. I need my husband to let me be me. I need him to say and do things that shows that he supports and loves me.

  1. Is it true? No. I don’t need my husband to stop or start doing anything.
  2. How do you react when you believe that thought? I feel self-righteous, frustrated, and controlled.
  3. Who would you be without the thought? I feel love, compassion, and acceptance — of both my husband and myself! 

5. What do you think of your husband when he is moody and distant?

My husband is like a heavy chain that shackles me, ruins my mood, wrecks my day. My husband is heavy, dark, moody, negative, and oppressive. doesn’t let me be me. I want my husband to change so can have a happy life and marriage.

  1. Is it true? No. I truly do not think those things about my husband anymore. He doesn’t have that kind of power over me, my happiness, or my life.
  2. How do you react when you believe that thought? I feel like I’m not letting me be me with my husband or myself in my marriage. I feel like I’m destroying me by letting myself wither and die because I’m in my husband’s business instead of taking care of me. I feel sad, and like I’m abandoning myself for some stupid self-righteous mission that is a waste of time and energy.
  3. Who would you be without the thought? I’d feel in control of my own life, happiness, and part in my marriage! I feel joy, peace, freedom and love for myself and my husband. He can be as moody and distant as he wants; I’m very happy with myself. Love! Bliss! Peace.
When You Live With a Moody Husband Loving What Is
When You Live With a Moody and Distant Husband

How Do You Help an Unhappy Husband? You learn how to live happily with him…and with yourself.

Now for the turnarounds…

The turnarounds rest on the idea that an idea, or a thought, however true it may sound to you, could be at least as true — or even more true — if you consider the exact opposite thought. The turnarounds include Self, Other, and Opposite.

1. Who angers, confuses, or disappoints you, and why? 

Turnaround: I am angry and frustrated with myself because I am easily irritated and defensive. I feel like I can’t be myself around me because I am moody and distant.

2. How do you want to change? What do you need to do? 

Turnaround: I want me to respond the way I think I should. I want me to be flexible, easy going, light, happy, and accepting.

3. What advice would you give yourself

Turnaround: I should stop being so moody, distant, reactive, grumpy, overbearing, suffocating, and a wet blanket!

4. In order for you to be happy in your marriage, what do you need to think, say, feel, or do? 

Turnaround: I need myself to stop tamping me down! I need myself to be more accepting, encouraging, and adaptable to me and life. I need myself to let me be me. I need me to say and do things that shows that I support and love me.

5. What do you think of yourself when you are moody and distant?

Turnaround: I am like a heavy chain that shackles me, ruins my mood, wrecks my day. I am heavy, dark, moody, negative, and oppressive. I don’t let me be me. I want myself to change so I can have a happy life and marriage.

What I learned about living happily with a moody and distant husband

Asking Katie’s questions and turning them around showed me that I have become too entangled with my husband. My identity is wrapped up in him. I want my husband to change because I think that if he changes, I will be happy. This is not true.

I was believing the thought that I need my husband to change in order for me to be happy. This is a lie. I do not need him to change; I can live happily no matter how distant, moody, stoic or stone faced he is.

My husband is not shackling me to him or his moods. I am doing that. My husband is not trying to oppress or control me. I am doing that. 

Your turn

What do you think? Try Byron Katie’s “Judge Your Neighbor” Worksheet. Explore how your thoughts and beliefs about your husband’s mood swings affect you. 

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