PMS is a personal issue. It is also a relationship issue because it often affects the quality of our relationships as well – especially with those close to us – people we love and who love us. It is important to help those around us understand what we are going through, to cultivate a supportive environment to help us through the difficult times, and to implement self-management strategies. Study after study has found that social support can buffer the effects of stress, chronic illness, personal loss, and change. The same is certainly true for PMS.
However, because of the negative association many people have with PMS, it is a difficult subject to bring up – and open and constructive conversations are all too rare. Women are often left alone to cope on their own. Men are often kept groping in the dark wondering what the hell is going on. It doesn’t have to be that way. Mutual understanding and support will make life easier and strengthen the relationship bond.
Though difficult, it is crucial to have an open and sincere conversation on the subject of PMS – how it affects you personally, and what help or support you’d like to receive from your loved ones. Let your loved ones share their part of the story as well – how it affects them, and what change they’d like to see going forward. Since it is an intensely personal and touchy subject, most likely either one of you will become emotional and defensive. Don’t let it stop you. Be honest, speak your truth, and focus on your intention – to cultivate a loving and supportive relationship. It will guide you through the process.
With effective communication comes understanding. Keeping a period tracker and sharing it with your partner is a good way to alert him that during a certain time of the month you are more sensitive than usual, and you’ll need extra attention, appreciation and affection from him – or just to be left alone.
Stress is a big exaggerator for PMS. During that time of the month, you may wish your loved ones to take on additional household responsibilities so that you have time to rest and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, this need often comes out as a nag rather than a request. With effective communication and understanding, your loved ones are more likely to provide domestic and emotional support – to help you through the process.
More often than not, the quality of our relationships defines who we are and determines the quality of our life. It is an investment you cannot afford to miss. So make it a great one!