When I told my husband I wanted to write this article, I asked him for some male insights on PMS. He bluntly said, “We don’t get it. Why are women so cranky right before there periods? No clue. And the moods, they continue to go up and down until your period’s finally gone. Crazy. How are we supposed to deal with that? It’s impossible. We just can’t seem to please you at that time of the month.”
Not quite the insight than I was after, but it did get me thinking. He said he always knows when my time of the month is coming because I’m uncharacteristically negative and angry about everything. You know what’s funny? Even though I usually feel a little out of sorts and irritable (not to mention bloated, gassy and achy all over), I really don’t think I act that much differently than I normally do. So what’s his deal? Why is he acting like my PMS turns me into a red-eyed monster?
In the beginning of our relationship, I tried to downplay my discomfort and unpleasant feelings when I felt PMS bubbling up under the surface of my charming demeanor. After all, I wanted him to like me and get to know the real me, not the evil witch that I knew I could occasionally be. I didn’t see it as hiding my true self because PMS was something that just happened to me sometimes. And, yes, I didn’t want it to scare him away. So to him, no matter how I was feeling, I would put on my happy face and try to be the positive, fun-loving young woman I wanted him to see me as – and that most of the time, I am!
We moved in together after dating for only 6 months. It was pretty hard to hide my true PMS colors when we woke up with each other every morning and fell asleep together every night. I could no longer put on my happy face when all I wanted to do was to curl up with my heating pad and watch Lifetime movies so that I didn’t bite his head off when he did something to annoy me. Luckily, he was a gentleman and never called me the B word, but he basically said so in other ways. He was shocked that this sweet, kind person that he fell for could turn into Satan’s sister once a month.
Over the years my husband has come to accept those times when I don’t feel like myself because of the blessed curse bestowed upon me as a woman. But today when I spoke about it with him he made me realize that it still bothered him – a lot. He said he was afraid to do or say anything because he never knew whether I was going to laugh, cry, yell or scream. I feel for him.
Of course, men will never really get it because they don’t menstruate, nor do they give birth. But I told him to put himself in my shoes. I tried to explain to him what it felt like. I said, “ It is almost like a flu that you can’t kick, yet it makes you cranky and annoyed with everything at the same time. You cry without a moment’s notice and hate yourself for it. You hear some of the words that are coming out of your mouth and wish you could stop them. And you really do want to feel good but PMS makes it so hard to do so at times.” He rolled his eyes, “I am a ‘man’ and that would be ‘nothing’ for me.” Although he later admitted to me that he wished he could experience it with me so that I didn’t have to go through it alone. Now that’s the man I married.
This was the first time we discussed about this issue, openly. It was hard for both of us. But it was worth it. He knew that I was going through hell and couldn’t control my emotions during certain time of the month. And I realized that I dragged him into hell with me, so the least I could do is to show him that I understand and appreciate his being a solid rock and strong shoulder for me to lean on. We are a team and we are in this together.