When you started dating, she didn’t have a mean bone in her body.
But now, months and years later, she’s become a meanie who would hurl harsh words your way as if her life goal is to make you suffer.
If your girlfriend has become so mean that it’s starting to affect you and your relationship, it’s important to know the possible reasons before you have your next serious talk.
Here are 15 possible reasons why a woman becomes mean and what you can do about it.
15 possible reasons why she is mean to you
1) She’s just having a bad day
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re worried because she’s becoming a mean person right before your eyes. But is she really?
Maybe she’s just mean today and occasionally on Fridays, and her bad mood is just something that just comes and goes away like a flu. She could just be having a bad day and she can’t help but spill over her negative feelings towards you.
As difficult as it may be, try to look at her with a loving lens. That means to say, instead of thinking “she’s a mean person”, think “she’s my loving girlfriend who’s just having a bad day today.”
Of course, you should be careful that you aren’t deceiving yourself. A bad day now and then is excusable, but if almost every day is a “bad day”, you might just be facing a way bigger issue together with her.
2) She’s comfortable with you
It may seem like you’re condoning her bad behavior, but let’s just look at the bright side of the situation because it’s actually not all bad.
As a matter of fact, her mean behavior towards you could actually be a sign of a healthy relationship.
It’s like this. If she gets grumpy and mean towards you, that just means she feels safe to reveal what she truly feels. We don’t do this to our bosses and neighbors—we don’t get real—because we are required to be polite.
This is one of the reasons why we are mean towards the people we love.
And unlike the first few months of your relationship when you’re still trying to put your best foot forward, now she’s not pretending to be nice anymore, which is great if you’re interested in having a long-term relationship with her.
A healthy relationship should definitely have respect but it should feel safe enough for both of you to be grumpy and mean from time to time.
3) She’s accumulated bad vibes
As mentioned above, we’re required to be nice to people because they are not committed to understanding us in our worst behavior—they can judge us and hate us in a heartbeat. They can even fire us or stop supporting our business.
She’s probably accumulated her frustrations all throughout the day or week especially if she’s always around people like if she works in sales, for example.
If she’s a highly sensitive person, this could be tough on her so that even if she tries her best to get her emotions together, the negativity will still come out and if you’re always together, it isn’t a surprise that you get to catch some of these.
This is, of course, something that you shouldn’t tolerate, but it’s something we can all understand.
Instead of screaming “What’s wrong with you?!”, ask her “what’s bothering you lately?” and truly listen.
4) Hormonal changes
Let’s just get this out of the way because it’s something we all already know and oftentimes joke about. We sometimes make fun of women’s moods and ask them if it’s that time of the month.
But moodiness from hormonal fluctuations is no joke, folks!
We’re not just talking about periods here. We’re also talking about all the other times a woman’s hormones get out of whack —PCOS, taking birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause, and even a change in diet.
Unless you’re a girl, you’ll never know how much this truly affects a woman’s behavior but try to imagine that you’re riding in a roller coaster. That’s probably how her emotions are sometimes.
If you’re tempted to sigh and roll your eyes, you most certainly can…but in private.
Try to double down on understanding. Give her a pass when she’s going through hormonal changes, especially if you’re both aware of it.
5) She’s holding a grudge
If your girlfriend finds it hard to communicate her bad feelings towards you, then she likely keeps her anger towards you.
You might have said something that she doesn’t like a week ago and it’s still bothering her. Of course she won’t tell you about it because she doesn’t want to sound like an annoying b*tch.
She has good intentions for it. But her attempts to “forgive and forget” will turn her into a much bigger b*tch, sadly. She’ll find random moments triggering her resentment, and you’ll end up scratching your head when she suddenly attacks you out of nowhere.
You just ask her to pass the ketchup, and she would roll her eyes. You are on your couch happily watching your favorite sitcom, and she says “do you still find this funny?”
If she’s always been a warm and loving person yet she’s non-confrontational, her meanness is due to her passive-aggressive behavior. You certainly must have done something that’s pissed her off.
Ask her directly if there’s something that you did that pissed her off lately.
If you can think of a possible reason, it’s a good idea to ask if it’s what bothers her. “Are you annoyed at me for what I said a week ago?” This will make her feel better that you actually are aware of the reason.
6) She’s going through a life crisis
It’s only natural that you take your girlfriend’s meanness personally, but you really shouldn’t, especially if you didn’t do anything wrong.
Maybe she’s going through an existential crisis and she doesn’t know what to do with her life. Maybe her parents are going through a divorce or her best friend betrayed her.
If we’re going through something, especially if we’re not yet mature enough, we tend to not have the energy to monitor how we act towards others, especially towards people who we think will just tolerate us.
Has she shared anything with you? If not, try to ask her if there’s something that’s bothering her. If she already did, ask her an update about her situation. And if she prefers not to be bothered, respect that.
Bear in mind that she still loves you but she just doesn’t have the capacity to focus on being a good girlfriend because her mind and heart are in turmoil.
7) She’s just hungry or sleepy
You might think, eh…me too! But people are affected by physical stress in different ways.
Sleepiness might simply make you a bit too tired to be angry, and hunger might just make you a bit lazier than normal. But some people react to either (or both!) by seeing red all the time, and it’s only made worse if it’s been going on for a while now.
Think about when she has truly gotten a proper rest, or if she has been eating well. If she has had less than 5 hours of sleep for a month now, for example, then you might just have your reason why she’s being mean to you.
It would be a good idea to figure out why she hasn’t been getting much rest, and to make sure she’s eating right. If it’s because she has too much on her plate, then maybe you can try to shoulder some of the burdens so that she could rest and relax.
8) She’s depressed (but she doesn’t know it)
When people talk of being ‘depressed’, most people get the idea that depression means being sad all the time. Therefore, it should be easy to realize if you’re depressed, right?
That’s not quite the case. In fact, more people are depressed without realizing it because of that misconception.
Depression is more than just about being sad. It’s also about having very low self-esteem, a lack of interest in anything at all, and being overwhelmed by negative emotions.
And anger is definitely one of those negative emotions that depression brings out. She might be mean to you because she’s suffering inside and lashing out.
But before you read a list online, decide she’s depressed, and buy her antidepressants, it’s important to keep in mind that depression is a complex condition.
While a list of symptoms can point you in the right direction, only a professional has the authority to diagnose the condition and choose the right medicine.
9) She’s worried about something (but she’s trying to suppress it)
Does she have a very important exam coming up?
Is she obsessing lately about her health, the world crisis, that she would get fired, that she would amount to nothing?
Anxiety leads to stress, and the more stress one is dealing with, the more that stress is going to affect the way she acts. What’s more is that the more she suppresses all of those worries instead of being honest about them, the meaner it will make her be.
You might be tempted to say something like “oh, it’s not that bad” in an attempt to cheer her up. Don’t do that. Even if well-intentioned, trying to tell her that the problem isn’t as bad as she thinks it is likely won’t end well.
Trying to learn proper anxiety management, being by her side, and giving her your support is what you should try doing instead.
10) You’re not stepping up to your plate
She’s always complained about you not helping around the house. Are you making a significant effort to address that?
And how about your share in the finances, the date planning, and every other area of your relationship.
You might say “Geez, relax. Why does it have to feel like hard work?”, but if she’s communicated to you about these things and yet you haven’t done much about them, she’s likely harboring resentment towards you.
She’s been waiting and waiting for you to do your share and yet you remain passive.
She’s angry towards your lack of care and she can’t help but make mean comments especially if it’s something related to something she’s been asking you to do.
11) She’s mirroring her parents
While you were still in the early stages of dating, she’s light and bubbly—just someone you always want to hang out with.
But lately it seems like she’s been turning into someone else. She now reminds you of a mother… her mother!
How can this be?
Well, no matter how hard we try, it’s not exactly easy to break free from how our childhood influences us. Her parents were her role models, and whether she hated or loved them she would subconsciously imitate them.
She might act like her mother because that is how she understood an ‘adult’ should act, for example.
If she hated her mother for acting like this towards her, you probably shouldn’t tell her straight away that she’s acting like their mother—that’s only going to make them defensive.
Once again, try to be patient in the moment. Once you have a serious discussion, then go ahead and tell her your observations not to make her feel awful but to help her be aware of her tendencies.
12) She’s in love with someone else
When you’re in love with someone else, you can’t help but be annoyed with your partner. Most of us are only capable of being in love with one person so it’s impossible that nothing changes in the way we treat our partner when we’re deeply infatuated with someone else.
You’d want to spend your time with your new beau instead of them. But more than that, your partner has become the villain of your love story with this other person.
If your girlfriend is irritable and mean to you all the time, then it could be a sign that she’s in love with someone else.
Pay close attention to how she reacts when you do the things that she used to find endearing or funny—like twirling her hair when you cuddle or when you fart. Does she find you annoying instead of cute and funny?
Then she’s probably cheating on you.
Of course, don’t jump to conclusions. Unless she’s showing other major signs that she’s cheating, it’s probably the other reasons mentioned in this list.
13) She hates herself
Hurt people often end up hurting other people.
If she hates herself because other people have been treating her badly, or if she had felt like she was worthless in the past, then she might just vent some of that anger out on the people closest to her.
Her classmates or colleagues probably kept giving her bad feedback on her work, or maybe she was embarrassed publicly at some point. Her abusive parents probably tell her hurtful things while on call.
She may look confident on the outside, but it’s very likely that she’s falling apart on the inside because of the things she had been told when she was younger.
Because of this, she becomes mean—to everybody, but especially to you. It’s something that is hard to fix and should definitely be handled with a therapist. You’ll only get burnt if you try to step up and fix her yourself.
14) You have unresolved issues
Maybe you fought over something a month ago, or maybe many of your beliefs are incompatible. You might have forgotten that argument, or thought that having a few conflicting opinions is no big deal, but that’s probably not the case with her.
She might still be mad over that argument, or maybe those opinions that you thought aren’t a big deal mean the world to her. And the fact that these issues remain unresolved makes her unhappy and angry.
Try to think about any issues between the two of you that you had shrugged off or forgotten, and try to talk to her about them. Even the ones that don’t seem to matter.
Acknowledging those issues would likely make her day, and she might just appreciate it if you try to work on them with her.
15) She’s always been mean
What you see right now is actually who she really is. She’s just revealing her true colors to you now that you’ve been together for a while. No one can fake niceness forever.
She’s probably been a mean person since birth but during the beginning of your relationship, she put her best foot forward—not to deceive you, but because she genuinely wants to become better.
She wanted a fresh start and probably told herself “this time around, I’ll be better.”
However, as all of us already know, it’s hard to break old habits especially if it’s something already embedded in your personality.
We tend to go back to old habits because that’s what’s easy and natural for us. It’s especially harder if she’s in stressful situations. So, yes, maybe that’s who she really is and you’re just only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
What you should do:
• Be patient
Be extra patient with her in your day-to-day life. She needs it and your relationship needs it. You have to be the bigger person for now.
• Find out why she’s acting that way
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And understanding why the fire burns will help you figure out the best way to put it out. After reading this article, you might want to have a talk and suggest that you both see a therapist.
• Be honest with how it affects you
If it makes you feel worthless and unappreciated, then say so. Don’t try to sugarcoat it or make it seem like it’s not that big of a deal. If you do, you’ll end up resenting her and by then it will be too late to save what you have.
• Come up with a plan together
Give her a say in how she should improve herself moving forward, and remind her every now and then that you made the decision together.
• Ask her how you can help
While it’s completely up to her to improve herself, you can still help her shoulder the weight. And it will make things much easier for her.
What you shouldn’t do:
• Don’t fight fire with fire
Do that, and you’re only going to burn the house down. If she’s being mean to you, then be the bigger person instead of being mean to her in turn.
• Don’t take it personally
Even if she’s this way because you have unresolved tensions, it’s fully up to her to be mean or not.
• Don’t accept abusive behavior
If she goes a step too far and hits you or tells you something that she knows hurts you personally, leave. Let her cool down.
• Don’t try to fix her
The best you can do is to offer her help. Even if you think it’s for the best, it’s a violation of her dignity if you were to try to fix her—and technically, it’s abusive behavior.
• Don’t expect her to change overnight
Behaviors don’t change, just make a heel-turn. It always takes some time to deal with the problems that make her act this way, as well as unlearning being ‘mean’. Be patient. You don’t just try to snap someone out of being mean and expect them to respond positively.
It can be hard to deal with a mean partner.
You can try to help her work through things and improve, but it’s also important to look at the bigger picture. Do you see yourself living the rest of your life with a wife who’s mean to you and your kids?
You may love her to bits, but keep in mind that you’re still dating. Be patient, be loving, give it all you’ve got…but if things won’t improve, you’re free to go.
If she’s not willing to change soon, it will only get worse five years, ten years, twenty years down the road. Take care of yourself.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
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