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 Post subject: The unsupportive boyfriend
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:03 pm 

Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 2:09 pm
Posts: 1
I know I can be a nightmare, for 2 weeks in every month. I have always told people close to me that I'm probably best locked in a dark padded room. It's quite depressing, I have no control over it and having learned from past relationships, I thought I would be really open with my current boyfriend. My gripe about my past cohabiting relationship was that the guy was 24, he had absolutely no inclination to just back off if he knew I was struggling. That was 2005-7 and now I've been with my current boyfriend for nearly 2 years, but living together for the past 8 months. When we were getting to know each other in the first few months, he did experience me at my grumpiest, and if I remember, he may have taken offence and very quickly, I explained to him that I shouldn't really leave the house and have any human interaction when I have PMS. From that point on, I would go over to his and any time I started to rage, he would acknowledge it, laugh and give me a hug. I thought I had struck gold. I didn't tell him I have a major issue, but I think he got the gist before we moved in together. But, he's only just grasped the fact it's 2 weeks leading up to it and maybe a couple of days of the period itself. I'm not nasty or spiteful when under the influence, but I am the original old man grump with not a lot good to say about anything. I'm a very sarcastic person ordinarily, and when under the influence, my tone of voice changes generally to disdain. I don't like answering questions. It might be a one word answer. In the worst case scenario, if there are other emotional issues going down, I feel very sad and depressed and start to think too big. I tell myself that's it not really me and have to stop myself making rash judgments.

So, we moved in together 8 months back. I should stress, that I've just had my lady rage, I'm in the clear for a couple of weeks now, so I am thinking clearly. These past 8 months have been a frigging nightmare. I don't think taking the pill helps me in any way. Fact is, I've been really open with my bf about what I go through, so to give him the best chance of being able to support me. When I try and talk about it sometimes, he gives off a bit of a smirk. Even on my 2 weeks of normality I have felt inwardly miffed by this. On one such occasion I had a talk with him and told him it isn't funny for me, and I'm lucky if I escape some horrifically dark and sad thoughts/feelings each time. He then acts like he's sympathetic, until the next time it arrives. We have a major row over NOTHING every month that easily feels like it could be the end of us. It goes like this. I get the lady rage, I come in grumpy, and grump about everything. He gets in a mood because he wants me to come in singing a tune or something. Then, I make a poor joke, or just moan about anything I can on purpose. On a normal day, it wouldn't be an issue but when hormonal I might say something completely deadpan or in a grumpy tone of voice, with absolutely no ill intent behind anything, and he will just turn on me in a way which is hurtful. Then the sadness and depression comes and I just want to shrivel up and disappear. I often have thought that I can't accurately assess his responses to these seemingly normal things for me when under the influence. Maybe I was thinking his responses were worse than they are. So, I've learned to wait and then take heed.

2 months ago we were sat here one evening and I had come in, quite wound up about a meeting I'd had at work, and cried to my boyfriend momentarily that I was worried I would lose my job (I never cry like that to him). We had a hug, I felt quite jovial, and we were getting ready for bed. I had a banging headache (think my period was a few days away). Bear in mind, he thinks the PMS comes once the period does. So I brushed my teeth, got into bed and he was next in the bathroom. I announced I was turning off the light. He whined and said he would only be 2 minutes, and I switched it off anyway and told him he could still see perfectly fine with the landing light on and that I had a banging headache. And anyway, I expected if he needed the light back on, he might just say, cover your eyes, I need the light on. So, he stormed into the bathroom in a mood. He came back 5 minutes later and with no warning, just whacked the light switch on. All very dramatic. When I told him there was no need to do that, I got a really horrible verbal exchange about me being an unreasonable bitch among other things. I ended up in tears, right before bed and he knew I was due to have another meeting the next day which I was dreading. So, next day, nothing said, just got the silent treatment. As this issue wasn't in isolation and I was feeling the way I was (sad and depressed), I just didn't really come home for about 2 days afterwards. I couldn't handle the pointless aggro. When I returned, he was beside himself and almost tearful. He said sorry, but that he thought I was just being so unreasonable about the light. Big mistake. But anyhow, I explained how stupid it all was to be arguments like that about absolutely menial things like a light and we made up. Period arrives a few days after this, and guess what he says... "Hang on, that was last week". BIG MISTAKE! I realised that during that evening, I had told him I was feeling hormonal and that was why I struggled with the meeting at work. He took that to mean I had my period. So, he not only knew about the fact I was told my job was at risk that day, but he also knew I had another meeting the next day and was suffering with my hormones. So, WHY WHY WHY would he do what he did?

In April I started on a Vit B complex. The other week I was about to get my period and told him how I felt the usual grumpiness and disdain for the world, but was happy that I felt a lot calmer and didn't feel sad and depressed. The day before that I had felt myself becoming a bit uneven, so went off into the bedroom to have some music therapy in my headphones. I felt in control. We were putting the shopping away at the point of discussing the vitamin B. He seemed mildly interested to hear about it. Literally, a few minutes later, I noticed the bin lid had been open a while. My bf loves to leave it open. I wasn't nasty, I wasn't saying anything with any degree of seriousness, just said very dead-pan that it's a swing lid and designed to shut easily. Instead of telling me to pipe down (which I absolutely expected and would have laughed at), he decided to start shouting at me angrily to the point where I just couldn't be around him, because all the sadness suddenly just flooded back in a split second :-( I don't like to air my dirty laundry like that but it just demonstrates how difficult it is dealing with the simplest, most stupid of things. It's not feasible I guess to live with someone for 2 weeks in every month, but it gets to the point where I can't bear to be around him if I say the wrong thing.

Is it unreasonable for me to expect him to be a bit more empathetic??

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 Post subject: Re: The unsupportive boyfriend
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:12 pm
Posts: 25
This is such a tricky one and I completely know where you’re coming from - especially the ‘becoming a bit uneven’ feeling!

We can't help having PMS and our partners should definitely be sympathetic to that – as we would be if they had a syndrome that they couldn’t help. But at the same time, living with a moody/premenstrual person is hard work. For example (unrelated to PMS), my boyfriend has been moody for days because he’s having a hard time at work, and while I sympathise with him, it’s really dragging me down – he talks to me as if he doesn’t like me and it makes me feel awful. This is very unusual and is because he’s stressed out, but it helps me to understand what it must be like for him when I have PMS. He’s told me that he feels like I don’t love him when I have PMS, because I don’t want to be around him, I won’t let him touch me, I snap at him and constantly find fault with him. If he treated me like that every month I’d find it very hard to stay patient and loving. It may be that your boyfriend is feeling something similar when you have PMS (that you don’t love him or like him anymore) and that is making him hurt and angry. In the end I gave my boyfriend a card saying ‘No matter how I act once a month, I always feel the same way about you – I love you’ or something equally soppy. He keeps it on his bedside table and I think it helps! I also let him know when my PMS is due, so (hopefully) he knows not to take any arguments too seriously.

I think you should make sure your boyfriend understands PMS as much as possible (when it happens, what it feels like, what you’re doing to manage it – even put it on the calendar), make sure he knows that you still love him even when you’re premenstrual, and as soon as you start to feel moody, tell him what’s happening, and treat yourself to lots of alone time if you can.

I think one of the hardest things about PMS is not blaming ourselves for having it, while at the same time acknowledging that sometimes we have to apologise for it. I think of it as being like Tourette’s or something – we have no control over it, but we still have to say sorry when we offend someone! I’m not saying you have to apologise to your boyfriend about anything, just that unfortunately we can only ask so much of them in terms of ‘putting up with’ our PMS. To live with someone who has PMS and to be unaffected by it, and to stay cheerful and loving towards them, would require the patience of a saint – and I know that’s not my boyfriend! x

I'm 34 and have had severe PMS for 5 years. Trying to manage it with medication (currently 4mg Prozac) and lifestyle changes (exercise, diet, stress management).

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