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Are Our Periods Affecting Our Relationships?

Do you find your irritation and anger boiling up a few notches when your partner asks you if it is that time of the month? Do you sometimes find yourself in uncontrollable rage, absolutely losing it and shouting out loud? And all the while, a part of you knows that your reaction is not appropriate to the minor irritation? Or perhaps you find your libido fluctuating throughout the month causing frustration for both your partner and yourself?

You are not alone! A woman’s desire for sex and our ability to keep our emotional reactions in check may run differently across our menstrual cycle and when it does, it can throw our relationship out of sync.

Here are some tips to keep your temperatures from overheating in anger or getting too frigid in the bedroom all month long.

Though John Grey (Men are from Mars and Women from Venus) and many others have attempted to solve this mystery for men, we remain an enigma to our partners as often the relevance of our hormones are left out. Yeah, they are aware of how PMS makes us cranky, bitchy and moody, but it’s not all bad, our hormones are also responsible for some of the good stuff.

First things first, Sex!

Date when you ovulate:

The first day of your period is Day 1 of your cycle.

Ride the good, (so to speak) during these first 14 days and expect positive fireworks around day 11 – 14.

During this time, women naturally feel like putting themselves out there. This is when we are friendlier, flirtier, simply put, more provocative, giving alluring looks, dressing up more, wearing higher heels perhaps. It’s nature’s way of turning up the Neon sign that screams “Fertility.” We are feeling sexy, beautiful, desirable and energetic unless these natural instincts caused by our hormones are curbed from other factors like stress or sadness.

Another correlation is her sense of security, be it in her career, finances or relationship, which if not solid, she will lose all libido. Again, this is Nature’s way of preventing offspring when the circumstances are not conducive. This unfortunately applies whether or not a couple want kids, as it is a biological phenomena not a logical one.

When PMS-ing, avoid stressing

Breast tenderness, bloated belly, abdominal pain—hardly the traits of a sex goddess! PMS can leave you feeling undesirable, with zero interest in sex. And that’s okay. During days 16-23 when desire cools down, why not spend some downtime together. Watch movies or go for long walks.

Being intimate without the actual act can serve as a kind of relationship foreplay, setting the stage for those higher sex-drive days ahead. Educate your mate that female libido does not work the same way as the male’s physiological reaction.

When menstruating, keep communicating

Lots of women experience an increased libido from day 24-28. However, sex during menstruation is a personal choice.

Some couples would rather avoid the mess and the bother, while others prefer to take advantage of any pleasure opportunity.

Every woman’s libido see-saw is different. Listen to your body and talk with your partner. With a little awareness, couples can continue to enjoy a satisfying relationship, no matter the time of the month.

This very good advice to help save your relationship and prevent your man from getting too dissatisfied is based on a research by none other than “Kotex”, (Seriously) and the *American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The double whammy to our relationships is that not only is our libido affected but we tend to have unreasonable reactions to regular daily incidents. Things that we would normally brush off just feeling slightly irritated, may cause some of us to have embarrassing outbursts.

Team the cocktail of hormones with a general sense of dissatisfaction, exuding from the partner due to the above mentioned lack of desire together with other stimulants like caffeine and alcohol or the lack of nourishment, like starving to get rid of the bloated feeling (also caused by the PMS) and you’ve got yourself a live-wire!

So what can we do about these outbursts?

Anger in itself is not negative, as Aristotle said, “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

When channeled appropriately anger can help drive us to fight injustice and to power on for what we believe in, as it is one the emotions that helps to protect our dignity and freedom. We need to build flexibility in how we handle our anger to keep a check on staying in “anger” for too long. When we stay in any particular emotion for extended periods of time, they can become our general mood.

As an Ontological coach, we learn to reconstruct our emotions linguistically, in an attempt to separate emotions from reason.

Though this can be used as a tool, real coaching and true transformation can only happen with love and acceptance. However, to help you gain control and practice emotional flexibility, on your anger, here is a way to look at it:

To break down anger

  • I see that XYZ has happened.
  • I judge that “someone” is responsible for that (That ‘someone’ is usually our partner! Someone has to be at fault!)
  • I judge that XYZ has damaged my possibilities of the desired future. I am entitled to certain things which I am not getting.
  • I judge that XYZ is unfair (I deserve better)
  • I declare my wish to punish that “someone” (my partner – everything is his fault after all!)

Some common disempowering thinking or unhelpful thoughts also known as “Cognitive distortions” lead to these feelings of anger towards our partners, like “All or nothing thinking”, “Glossing over positive and magnifying the negative”, “Jumping to conclusions.”

Recommended: Things you must never stop doing in love

Anger is a difficult enough emotion to deal with, in an unemotional way. Our fluctuating hormone levels which occur during pregnancy, PMS, peri-menopause and/or menopause, is a direct contributor to our irritability, which when escalates, can lead to unhelpful angry outbursts that could hurt, dent, destroy or even annihilate our intimate relationships. So, what to do?

First step: 

Use the above tips to help you break down and look at the base cause of your anger. Often you could be angry at yourself, identify it and make it a point to use facts rather than opinions or judgments.

Step 2:

Look after your body. Eat right, avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol – and eat frequently to avoid hunger being a trigger, notice the last time you had an unreasonable outburst and see if you were infact hungry. Prevent “Hangriness” Exercise everyday. I don’t need to stress the importance of both to our emotions, moods and general well-being.

Step 3:

Practice mindfulness, relaxation techniques. And if you are inclined, meditation and affirmations are a better choice. Spend time with yourself every morning nourishing your soul, feeding it with positivity and hope, take frequent short breaks during the day to remind yourself and reinstall that dose of positivity appreciation and hope.

Step 4:

Start building the muscle of stopping when you can see yourself spiraling to an outburst or irrational reaction and train yourself to start looking for the humor, the love or the triviality of the situation.

Step 5:

Slow down.

You don’t have to reply or retort to a comment, text or email immediately. Slow everything down a little, and relish, savor and enjoy each experience while you are doing them instead of rushing irritated through everything you do.

Taking slow deep breaths, saying a prayer, remembering your affirmations from the morning or simply leaving the physical space for a short break, are also a good idea.

We have everything we need to be able to nourish, nurture and treat our partners with love and respect. Being rational most of the time, and instilling habits to help us cope when things are manageable, will make it easier for us to access the ability to react carefully and lovingly when our hormones get the better of us.

What we all know, but few practice: Regret and feelings of depression, come from always thinking of the past. Thoughts of the future cause worry, anxiety and disappointment. However, when we stay present in the NOW, we are able to choose carefully, respectfully and help grow our relationships.

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