Ever date a woman with PMS? If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing the answer is “yes.” Crazy, isn’t it? Remember the first time you experienced PMS? You were probably saying to yourself, “What the fuck?” am I right? I know I was.
I was totally blindsided – wham! How could this beautiful, fun, sweet and rational woman suddenly become the complete and total antithesis of all these things? And it happened so fast! In the blink of an eye she went from Dr. Jekyll to Ms. Hyde…
I had no idea what caused it, but out of absolute nowhere she was a ball of fury. Her face even changed. Everything changed. It was like living a scene out of “The Exorcist” or maybe “The Perfect Storm.” The anger was intense. And no matter what I said or did, I was just pouring more gasoline on the fire. It was insane. There was no talking to her, no reasoning, certainly no arguing. She was totally irrational…
But she’s also clearly in pain.
That’s what you have to realize through all the incoming pyrotechnics. I mean, it’s hell. To be on the receiving end – which no woman can truly appreciate – is brutal. My girlfriend would occasionally get violent, throwing things. So yeah, don’t forget to duck.
But I really cared about this girl, and I could see, through the terrible shit I was experiencing, that she was really hurting. There was something underneath, something deep inside, providing the fuel to this fire.
Don’t run away. Stay.
So at that moment, I made the command decision to stay. My immediate reaction was just the opposite – run. No flag of surrender – just go. Seriously. That would’ve been the easy thing to do, but she would’ve still been dealing with the pain, that spontaneous combustion of darkness and fire that had jumped up and taken a bite out of our budding relationship. And if I had run, I may not have come back.
I admit I had no pearls of wisdom that calmed the situation that night. None at all. I tried to talk her off the cliff, and when that failed I just shut up and toughed it out. It was not fun – at all. But it was the best thing I could’ve done…
We stayed together. I started to really love this girl and hoped the PMS attack, which I hadn’t really labeled PMS yet, was a one-time thing.
But it wasn’t. It came again and again. Every time it hit, it came out of nowhere. I never knew what triggered it, and often it came at extremely inopportune moments – at a restaurant, with friends. Terrible. And there is no fire extinguisher for this, or I would’ve carried one. All that was consistent was the anger and the pain…
Talk about it.
So I observed, tried different things. I also began to realize, reflecting on previous relationships, that my girlfriend had “PMS.” I’d never talked about it in the past, but if we were going to survive this we needed to get into it.
When I first broached the subject of PMS, she was not receptive at all. She was angry, defensive, and in denial. But we kept talking and she began to see that her explosive thoughts, emotions and behaviors during these episodes were indeed irrational – a common thread through much of PMS. To her credit she listened and then went to work, committed to finding out how to deal with it.
Don’t take it personally.
And as the PMS attacks continued, the episodes got a little easier as we both experimented on ways to best deal with them. For me, the most effective technique was usually not to allow myself to be drawn into the irrational argument – never a good idea.
Because in this state, women want to talk it out – but they can’t. They just can’t. And anything you say will only add to the madness. So I fought not to defend myself – never easy for a guy.
Love her regardless.
I didn’t engage. I just endured what would become am uncomfortable silence, letting her anger slowly fade. This didn’t mean it was over, but the immediate storm had passed.
Then it was time to hold her, or draw her a bath. Whatever it took to physically to soothe her to keep the embers from becoming a fire again.
Learn the triggers.
Eventually we both became more aware of the triggers of all this, and of the fact that the underlying cause of this was not me, and not us, but something deep down inside her. A psychological issue that she needed to find and face.
Sure, stress and other things fed the premenstrual episodes, but the genesis of these attacks was also the place to find the cure – an emotional scarring from her past. And for most women, it’s the same.
Long story short, my amazing girlfriend wanted our relationship to work and wanted PMS gone as badly as I did. She fought hard, bravely, looking deep, experimented and made all kinds of changes, lifestyle changes and others, in her quest cure her PMS.
There really is no book on this, so she decided to write her own – and she did. Today, her PMS is cured. Totally gone. Our relationship is fantastic, and she’s made it her life’s mission to help other women cure their PMS via a methodology that she’s proven works.
It’s a team sport.
So, lessons learned from the guy side of things? PMS is a team sport. If you want your relationship to last, invest in it. Get to know PMS. Try and understand what your loved one is going through, because it’s no picnic for them either. And stay there, don’t run. Face the bullets and observe. Take the hits and talk about it, even if she doesn’t want to. Be patient. Be loving. And tell her you’re both in this together…
Because you really are.
This article was written by my then boyfriend, and now husband, Dean. I wouldn’t have been able to conquer PMS without his strength, compassion and support. Please help share his story with guys whose wives and girlfriends suffer from PMS, because as women we cannot do it alone. We need the loving support from the men in our lives. Thank you! ~ Jing