Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Please Advise: Matt’s girlfriend doesn’t know she has PMS

November 27th, 2009 by Elizabeth Kissling

cartoon_No_pmsDear Amy: My girlfriend wants to “talk” again. She is currently experiencing her monthly cycle.

Can I ask her to wait until this is over? She usually gets a bit worked up and later apologizes.

I do not want to come across as inconsiderate. Based on past discussions, I’m sure she wants to talk about our future together. This is important but shouldn’t it be done when she is a little more balanced?

If you agree, can you offer a caring way to frame this statement of concern to talk at a later time?

— Matt

Poor considerate Matt. He doesn’t want to hurt his girlfriend’s feelings by telling her that he doesn’t take her feelings seriously. What would you tell him, re:Cycling readers? Ask Amy advises him to patronize and belittle her.

Dear Matt: You might think: “Let’s have this conversation at a time when I don’t think your head will spin around and fall off.”

What you should say is, “I want to talk to you, too, honey — because this is important. But for now, why don’t you enjoy these flowers? Oh, and by the way, have you lost weight?”

Amy further suggests that Matt do her the kind favor of letting her know that she’s moody: “You should also talk about her hormonal issues. Many women, myself included, don’t quite realize the patterns in our monthly moods until someone else lovingly points them out to us.”

I can’t help but recall Joan Chrisler’s comments about over-diagnosis of PMS and PMDD (which are both associated with high levels of relationship and family stress): “We’re conditioned to want a pill. Instead of something you might need more, like a nap or a divorce, or the ERA.”

[via Melissa McEwan at Shakesville]

4 responses to “Please Advise: Matt’s girlfriend doesn’t know she has PMS”

  1. Lauren Z says:

    Even if Matt’s girlfriend does get more “worked up,” her emotions are still valid and so are her opinions. And honestly, if someone refused to talk about something important with me because they thought that I was suffering from PMS and wouldn’t be reasonable, I would probably respond with a good deal of anger due to them being disrespectful.

    Being more inclined to feeling emotional doesn’t mean you’re unbalanced. If that were the case, I would think that a good deal people in society would be unbalanced for a considerable part of every day, regardless of gender and PMS.

  2. Cindy Schick says:

    A woman in the luteal phase of her cycle is descending to the depths of (emotional and spirtual) her feelings and her values and anything that is not working in her life will come up. This time needs to be honored. My guess is that she is not getting what she wants from this relationship. Waiting till things calm down for her (post bleeding) will most likely result in her acquiescence and her belief that she was out of line for asking for what she wants. Oh how we have not come a long way baby! The understanding that is lacking about this phase of the cycle continues to keep women powerless.

  3. Jaime says:

    There are so many answers to this young man’s question. If I was giving him advice I would probably reference the brilliant work of Jane Ussher in indicating that women engage in less self-silencing the week before their menstrual cycle. Thus, if he actually wants to make a relationship with this woman work he should probably pay more attention to what she says and how she feels during, “that time of the month,” since she is more likely to be honest about what she thinks and feels with him and herself. I might also point out that if he is truly that scared of honest communication in a relationship he might seek counseling to help him work on boundaries and assertiveness.

    If I was his girlfriend, well, I wouldn’t be his girlfriend because it would be abundantly obvious that the relationship had no future since his definition of caring about women is to patronize rather than pay attention. Then again, there could be a reason I’m single. . .

  4. Laura Wershler says:


    “The understanding that is lacking about this phase of the cycle (luteal phase) continues to keep women powerless.”

    Oh how I hear you. But here’s the reality. Until girls and women are taught that the menstrual cycle actually consists of phases (menstruation, pre-ovulation, ovulation, luteal or post-ovulation) instead of four weeks that add up to 28 days, our understanding of the unfolding and experience of menstrual cycle events will not increase.

Readers should note that statements published in Menstruation Matters are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.