PMS In A Relationship: How We Cope

So this post is about PMS! I assume I don’t really need a disclaimer, but just in case I do – please know this post is a bit personal and vulnerable. If you don’t want to hear about my PMS then please don’t read further.

I feel as if I’ve just always had a sensitive personality. It didn’t take much to hurt my feelings even as a little kid. I feel this is still true of me as an adult. I get happy and excited over small things, but I can also feel rejected or hurt more easily than I wish I did. As a teenager I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety. I did therapy for a few years and I think the worst of my mental health struggles are behind me. However, I still have occasional bouts of depression or anxiety. On very rare occasion, perhaps once or twice per year, those episodes include depersonalization or disassociation which I believe are still caused by the PTSD.

me at 19

Us 8 years ago!

In almost every case where I feel depressed or anxious, it’s at ‘that time of the month’. There can be a lot of judgment out there about women being emotional during PMS. I think many feel it is acceptable to poke fun at women because their emotions are raised, often over small issues.

I have no problem admitting that I get worked up over absolutely nothing sometimes even when I am not PMS-ing. I’m just emotional and sometimes I overreact to things, it’s just part of who I am. Of course, I try not to let that negatively impact other people still, but I don’t think I should be ashamed of being an emotional person as long as I do my best to handle it well.

When I am PMSing, I am almost guaranteed to cry at least once. In terms of my relationship, I feel like my PMS may be a bit easier to deal with than others’, because I tend to cry and be overly sensitive, more so than angry. I definitely get impatient and snippy, but overall it’s more sensitivity than anger.

how to handle PMS within a relationship

The worst part of PMS is, the emotions are just as strong as if something really dramatic were happening. Sometimes I get anxious while PMSing and Ryan might sigh with frustration over something he’s working on for his job. I hear the sigh and in my anxious state, might decide he’s angry with me. Or, he might make a light-hearted joke, and in my sensitive state, I start to wonder if he wasn’t actually kidding after all, if he was instead being mean and disguising it as a joke. If I let my mind run away with these types of thoughts, I can get really, really upset, convinced that there is some big problem going on that isn’t actually happening at all!

Thankfully, sometime in my early 20’s I gained the confidence to start sharing my worries with Ryan when I was really anxious. I remember one night talking for probably 10 minutes straight about all these various things I had worried about, including how I was convinced each and every one would get worse and worse. Every little anxious thought I had was ending in some terrible scenario. He listened to me and then said “I don’t mean to be rude, but are you about to start your period?” It hurt my feelings a little, but I admitted that yes, I was. He explained how he had noticed how I get really anxious prior to my period. The way he put it was “you tend to start believing that the world is going to end.” which of course was lighthearted…but also just sort of true!

I’m self-employed and paid per task. I never know what jobs I will be hired for the next month…and the lack of knowing is a little anxiety-inducing. My income fluctuates from one month to the next which can also be stressful. I have epilepsy which is anxious. I have a large family so there is often some sort of serious struggle going on with some loved-one or another, which I can sit and worry about too if I choose to. Our dogs are old and are often having health issues. Just normal, everyday little stresses are things I can easily cope with most of the month. Yet before my period, my PMS just takes my emotions to another level where I feel like everything is just to much. It feels like the world is ending! It isn’t, of course.

Over time I’ve found that just recognizing “I am overly emotional right now because of my period. In a few days I’ll think about these same worries with much less fear.” which is true. However, even when recognizing that I am over-reacting, it doesn’t make the feelings stop. Thankfully Ryan is empathetic about my emotions and is able to let me talk to him about my fears, reassure me that I’ll feel better in a few days and we move on. I’ve found that being able to just admit to him that I am feeling too sensitive due to my PMS has helped immensely. It gives me an outlet, it lets me cry and get my worries off my chest, while still being loved and accepted by him. I often just come to him saying “I think it’s just my PMS, but I’m worried that you are upset with me about something.” or “I think its PMS, but I’m freaking out about Beans’ health problems.” and he’s able to hear me out, let me cry if I need to (I usually do!) and he doesn’t take my worries/fears/questions personally because he knows my emotions are a little wonky.

Nobody likes to deal with PMS, whether it is the person themselves, or their partner. I do think just being able to talk about it, and call it what it is (sensitivity, heightened emotions, etc) is the way to go. Trying to act like it isn’t happening, or trying to force myself to ignore my feelings would just compound the issues in the long run.

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