When two people get married, they don’t just share space, finances, lives and thoughts, but moods as well. When we look closely at the intimate relationship that a marriage is, people are bound to be affected by the moods of one another. It’s almost as natural to catch one another’s moods as germs. Spending time and space with the other makes us vulnerable to involuntarily imitate how the other person is feeling and behaving.
If the partner is grumpy or melancholy, we are more likely to find ourselves imitating the sentiment, regardless of what our feelings might be.
This is what Aditi felt when her husband Kunal was battling depression after he lost his job.
“I tried my best to stay pleasant and normal, because all said and done at least I had a decent job and the finances were being taken care of. But every time I sat with Kunal and he went on and on about how difficult living was, I felt myself being pulled into that quagmire of depression myself,” she said.
Counsellors say contagious nature of moods often influences the relationship between the couples. “I started dreading coming home to that environment of negativity because I started feeling equally depressed myself. I knew he was going through a bad time but the impact of his melancholic moods got to me,” adds Aditi.
Experts say such “spousal mood infections” are also caused by the bond the partners share. If two people care a lot about each other, they are quick to perceive the mood changes, the vibes and the feelings, and unconsciously start imitating them.
Experts say that just because two people relate to each other at an intimate level, one ends up feeling the same as the other partner. Sometimes, it may also work out positively, they add. “When our plans of a vacation went out of the window because I had to be at work for an important meeting, I felt miserable and livid. But when my husband started underplaying it and working out ways where we could have a good time without going out of town, I started feeling less depressed. I realised his happy-go-lucky attitude was rubbing off on me and we ended up not spoiling our time together,” says Kritika, who works in an advertising firm.
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Experts say such “spousal mood infections” are also caused by the bond the partners share. In order to safeguard oneself against mood infections by your partner, one needs to keep a few things in mind.
Detach yourself a little: While it is not easy to keep distance from your partner’s emotions, it is not impossible. Every time one feels that the partner’s moods may have an impact on your well-being, try and take some time away from your partner – like taking the dog out, going for a walk or even just walking to a local grocery store to keep the “infection” at bay.
Identity mood triggers: Try and identity the reasons that puts either you or your partner in a bad mood and share that with the partner. This helps not just in minimising the chances of “bad moods” but also helps the partners understand when and why the other is in a bad mood.
Be sensitive to your partner: If your partner is vulnerable to mood swings, don’t be harsh and start a fight. It’s not easy to be calm but it’s definitely a better option than to break into a nasty fight and jeopardise your marriage. Communicate to your partner how the mood is often infectious. At such time, communication and awareness can do wonders.