How To Deal With “Mantrums,” The Obnoxious Behavior Too Many Women Put Up With

Your boyfriend wants to have sex but you’re exhausted from a long day at work and you have a headache, so you turn him down and he sulks and sighs for the rest of the night. Or, you get into an argument when you prove him wrong about something and instead of admitting that you’re correct, he gets angry and goes around slamming the kitchen cabinets or even punches a wall in frustration. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re witnessing a mantrum — that is, a temper tantrum thrown by a grown man who should know a whole lot better — and it’s the worst.

Emotionally immature men tend to throw mantrums when they don’t get their own way. They’re so used to the world cow-towing to their every demand that when they hear “no,” they don’t know how to handle it. Their response is to lash out, acting completely put-out and causing drama the way a 3-year-old child might. The problem is that too many men exhibit this behavior and too many women put up with it, and it has to stop.

The next time a guy in your life throws a mantrum, here’s what you should do.

  1. Don’t engage. There’s nothing more infuriating than watching a grown man sigh, huff and puff, and stomp around the house like a sulky pre-schooler because he’s not getting his own way.  (There’s also nothing less attractive, but that’s a whole other story). It’s tempting to get into a screaming match with him and give him a piece of your mind, but don’t bother. This will only incense him further and probably make him act even worse. He’s obviously not in a place where he can be logical and accountable for his own behavior, so you’d be wasting your breath.
  2. Ignore him and his behavior. Popular parenting advice would tell you that when a child throws a fit, the worst thing you can do is acknowledge it or try to smooth things over to make the kid happy again. The same goes for your adult boyfriend. When he starts kicking off about the world not bowing to his every wish, you just keep on living as normal. Keep reading your book, watching your TV show, cooking dinner, or whatever you’re doing. Literally act as if he’s wearing an invisibility cloak and you can’t see or hear him. His BS shouldn’t ruin your day.
  3. Let him know you’re happy to speak to him when he calms down. If he continues to cause a major scene during his mantrum and can no longer be ignored, you don’t have to have some long, drawn-out discussion with him. Instead, tell him that when he’s prepared to speak to you like an adult rather than a petulant child, you’ll be happy to chat. Until then, it’s not happening.
  4. Don’t be tempted to placate him by giving in to his demands. You don’t have to be ashamed to admit that this is the case — sometimes you get so sick and tired of the drama that you almost want to just give him his own way so he shuts up and cheers up again. Don’t do this! All that does is enable him and proves that his mantrums will ultimately be successful in helping him get his own way. Put a firm boundary in place here and do not cross it or allow him to do so. You’ll be sorry if you do.
  5. Consider ending the relationship if he can’t act like a mature adult. This is perhaps the best and most important advice on this list. Mantrums aren’t something that women simply have to grin and bear for the sake of the relationship. It’s not your responsibility to make yourself available for his every whim to keep him from lashing out or pouting. If he can’t address his behavior quickly and completely, you need to send him on his way.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill