How to Live with a Grumpy Old Husband (14 Vital Tips to Cope)

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Living with a grumpy old husband is no fun. 

If you’re frustrated with an irritable, grumpy husband and you’re looking for ways to deal with it, this article is for you.

We’re providing practical tips and relationship advice for those looking to maintain a healthy and harmonious union, despite your spouse’s mood. 

If you need help now, we highly recommend learning how to change the way you and your husband relate to each other with Dr. Lee Baucom’s Save The Marriage.

Click the link above, or read on to learn more about the reasons behind the grumpy behavior and effective ways to manage the situation.

How Do I Deal With an Irritable Husband?

Don’t feed into your spouse’s mood with more negativity

When your husband is grumpy, the worst thing you can do is contribute to the negativity.

Instead, try to be the beacon of positivity in your household and encourage a pleasant environment.

Misery loves company, but a bad mood can’t grow and spread in a lighthearted atmosphere.

Read Next: How to Save Your Marriage When You Feel Hopeless

Don’t take the bait when he’s looking for a fight

When a conversation with your husband is going the wrong way due to his bad mood, it’ll make things worse if you get angry back.

The best way to handle it is to avoid engaging with it.

This takes much self-control, but it’s imperative to keep your responses neutral and measured, without getting defensive or confrontational.

You cannot win or make your husband back down by fighting fire with fire.

Walk away (calmly) when he gets unreasonable

Don’t stay in the same room with him when he’s clearly directing his anger at you.

Should the situation escalate, calmly remove yourself from his presence.

Retreat to a different room or take a short walk outdoors to give both of you time to cool down and collect your thoughts.

This will take the wind out of his sails and demonstrate that his wife is not his emotional punching bag.

Keep your sense of humor, but don’t make fun of him

Laughter can be a good way to lighten the mood, but be sure you avoid making jokes at his expense.

Gentle humor not aimed at calling him out or making fun of him can help defuse the tension without belittling him or worsening the situation.

Don’t criticize him for being a grumpy husband

Resist the urge to bring up his irritability during arguments or as a way to make a point.

This will likely escalate the situation and lead to further resentment.

Realize that it’s his problem, not yours

Your husband’s bad mood is his own. Not yours.

It’s crucial to understand that his mood is not a reflection of you.

Separate yourself emotionally from his irritability and focus on maintaining your own well-being.

Try having a heart-to-heart with him

When the time is right, initiate a caring conversation about his behavior.

Share your feelings and thoughts with him, without blame or accusations, and express your desire to understand the cause of his irritability and work together towards improvement.

Will this definitely work?

Perhaps not. But you won’t know unless you try.

Sincerity has a way of opening people up and allowing them to be vulnerable when they really want to be, but don’t know how.

Learn how to respond to him differently

Become aware of your reactions to his mood and explore new ways of responding.

By changing the way you engage with him, you may influence his behavior positively and get him to treat you more along the lines of how you want.

This is where getting good at stopping yourself from emotionally reacting and instead learning how to respond comes in.

If you want help on identifying the difference, we’d encourage you to check out Dr. Lee Baucom’s techniques in Save The Marriage.

Offer empathy

Empathy can be a powerful tool for understanding and connecting with your husband.

Show him that you want to understand his feelings and frustrations, even if you don’t always agree with them.

Shower him with kindness

Instead of reacting negatively to his irritability, repay his grumpiness with kindness.

This may help diffuse the situation and encourage him to reciprocate the positive behavior.

Use positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative, so tell him how much you enjoy being with him during times when he’s not being a grump.

Make sure to do this in the moment, when you’re enjoying his company.

This will help make him feel good for making you feel good, encouraging him to keep it up.

Compliment him on his good qualities that you fell in love with

Remember the positive traits and qualities that attracted you to him in the first place?

Focus on them now.

Use his best traits and compliment him regularly, reminding him of his worth and value.

Lean on your support network

When things are gloomy in your home with your husband, spending time with friends and family more often can help.

If you don’t live close to them, look up meetup groups in your local area that engage in your interests and hobbies.

Simply being with others can shift a bad day to a good day.

Talk to someone about it if it’s affecting you

If your husband’s irritability is taking a toll on your emotional health, seek out some help.

Talk to a professional counselor about your situation to gain perspective and receive guidance on how to cope.

You may not be able to get him into therapy, but you can do this for yourself.

Managing Your Own Emotions

If you want to create some inner peace for yourself and stop being reactionary to your husband, work on managing your emotions.


It’s crucial to prioritize your well-being and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Some self-care practices include:

  • Regular exercise: Exercise has the power to improve your own mood and ward off depression. So engage in physical activities like walking, yoga or swimming.
  • Sleep: Lack of sleep makes us snappier and less capable of coping with stress. Ensure you get adequate sleep to help manage your mood and emotions.
  • Hobbies: Engage in hobbies or interests that bring happiness and relaxation.
  • Social support: Maintain connections with friends and family who offer encouragement and empathy.


Setting boundaries is essential for both your mental health and the health of your relationship.

Consider the following when establishing boundaries:

  1. Communicate your needs: Express your feelings clearly and calmly, without blame or accusation.
  2. Define which behaviors are unacceptable: Clearly state the boundaries and the consequences for crossing them. For example, you may choose to temporarily withdraw from a conversation if your partner becomes overly grumpy or hostile.
  3. Follow through: Consistently enforce your boundaries to create a sense of predictability and safety in your relationship.

Coping techniques

Learning effective coping strategies can help you keep your cool in the moment and manage your reactions.

Consider using these strategies:

  • Deep breathing: Take a few long, slow breaths to calm your nervous system and refocus your thoughts.
  • Journaling: Writing about your thoughts and feelings can help you process your emotions and gain perspective on the situation.
  • Mindfulness: Practice being present in the moment and becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Creating a Comfortable Environment

Creating a comfortable home environment can help you and your husband get into the practice of being with each other in a peaceable, if not harmonious, way.

Routine and Structure

A significant component of creating a comfortable environment is fostering a sense of routine and structure in daily life.

Predictable routines can help reduce stress and anxiety for both partners, which may lessen grumpiness for your husband.

Consider discussing and establishing daily routines for meals, chores and leisure time together.

Remember to maintain a balance between shared activities and personal space while designing your daily schedule.

Sharing Hobbies

Finding common interests and hobbies can strengthen your bond and divert focus from his bad mood.

Look for activities you both enjoy or have an interest in exploring together.

Shared hobbies could include gardening, cooking, exercising or even taking up a new skill like painting or learning a new language.

Engaging in joint activities not only enriches the relationship but can also foster positive communication.

Why Is My Husband So Grumpy All the Time?

Now to understand what’s behind your husband’s angry facade.

He feels life has not given him a fair deal

Perhaps your husband feels he has not had the opportunities he deserved in life.

He may compare himself to others and feel he’s missed out on key experiences or achievements.

This can lead to a constant feeling of discontent and frustration.

He feels like a failure in where he ended up in life

Another reason for your husband’s grumpiness could be that he feels like a failure in certain aspects of his life.

He may have had high expectations for his career, relationships or finances, and if these have not turned out as planned, it can lead to a negative perspective and attitude.

Your life partner has emotional trauma

Emotional trauma from past events can have a lasting impact on a person’s mood and behavior.

If your husband has experienced significant loss or distress in the past, these feelings may manifest as chronic irritability and grumpiness.

He has gotten so used to being negative that he doesn’t know how to stop

Negativity can become a habit.

And, simply put, habits are hard to break.

He’s depressed

Depression is a fairly common issue that can lead to a feeling of constant irritability.

If your husband is experiencing depression, he may struggle with feelings of sadness, hopelessness and a lack of energy.

FAQ and Relationship Advice

Do men get grumpier with old age?

It’s not uncommon for a person to experience mood changes as they age.

While it’s not a universal rule, certain factors such as hormonal changes, health issues or life stressors may contribute to an increase in testiness in some men as they get older.

Signs of a grumpy old man

Grumpy old men may exhibit various behaviors or signs, such as:

  • Complaining frequently about minor issues
  • Displaying anger or impatience in different situations
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Reacting negatively to change or new experiences
  • Being overly critical of others

It’s important to keep in mind that these signs may not exclusively indicate grumpiness and can also be a result of underlying factors such as stress, health problems or other personal issues.

How to deal with a husband who gets upset all the time and is never happy?

Living with a constantly upset and unhappy spouse can be challenging.

Here are some strategies to help you cope and maintain a healthy relationship:

  1. Practice empathy and understanding. Try to see things from your partner’s perspective and acknowledge their feelings and emotions.
  2. Learn to recognize changes in your partner’s mood and response to situations. Adapt your communication and find ways to provide support.
  3. Use humor to defuse tension. Humor can help your spouse relax more.
  4. Encourage open communication. Allow each other to discuss concerns, frustrations and feelings without fear of judgement or criticism.
  5. Focus on self-care. Make sure to take care of your own physical, emotional and mental well-being.

You can make your marriage work with strategies to shift your relationship dynamics in Save The Marriage.