Partner emotional support is very important when it comes to conditions that reoccur monthly. So how can you support your partner emotionally if she’s suffering with PMDD, Endometriosis or PCOS?
Recently we’ve been talking a lot here on Selfish Darling both about the menstrual cycle and the various hormonal or gynaecological issues that many women face, that can cause great physical and emotional distress every single month. But here’s to the partners of those with menstrual disorders such as PMDD, Endometriosis and PCOS. We get that supporting a loved one with a health issue is always tricky – especially when sex and hormones are involved…
So fasten your seatbelts – boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives – this one’s for you!
How can I support my partner with PMDD, Endometriosis, or PCOS?
Sure – all couples need to work to support one another, but a menstrual health condition may create additional support needs within relationships. These may include practical support – such as accompanying them to doctor’s appointments, helping to make treatment decisions, or taking on everyday tasks when your partner is unable to. But today, the focus is on and about emotional support.
How can you show your partner that you are there for them during their time of greatest need, when their symptoms peak – usually just before and during their period?
I grouped these particular conditions together because, although all different, all tend to mean a monthly spike in symptom intensity – both physical and emotional. Thankfully, we are becoming more open about these conditions and how they can affect the sufferer each month. But what about their partners? They may feel ashamed to make their loved one’s suffering about them – but this can be extremely challenging for them too!
Here are some tips if you are the partner of someone with PMDD, Endometriosis, or PCOS on how you can offer emotional support – and remain emotionally strong yourself in the process:
Partners emotional support for loved ones with PMDD, Endometriosis, or PCOS
In any relationship, listening to one another is key. However, if your partner suffers from one of the conditions mentioned above, then listening to her takes on a whole new meaning. Hard as it may be for you to admit, it may be frustrating having a partnmer with a condition that spikes in this way every month. Just as things seem to be going okay BAM – she is suddenly like a different person. Whether it’s mood swings making you suddenly doubt if she even wants you around at all, or her screaming in pain leaving you feeling like a helpless spare part – don’t feel guilty for feeling this way. Of course it’s difficult when someone you care deeply about is suffering – especially in a way you can’t relate to yourself meaning you aren’t quite sure how to help. That’s when listening – really listening – comes in.
To provided great emotional support for your partner, ask your partner what she needs, what you can do, how she feels. Perhaps she wants nothing more than for you to sit quietly with her until the worst of the syptoms pass. Perhaps it’s something simple like a glass of water, a cup of green tea, or a hot water bottle – let her know that you are happy to be as useful as you can by bringing things that may help even slightly with the pain. Let her know that you’re there for her. That alone will mean a lot – even if she isn’t in a state to thank you properly at the time!
Of course, if psychological symptoms are thrown into the mix then this only adds to the complexity. Angry outbursts, crying spells, mood swings, and feelings of depression or intense anxiety are all perfectly normal symptoms of these conditions – due to wither the hormonal imbalances or quite simply the intense pain, discomfort, and feeling of hopelessness that they can cause. But don’t be tempted to storm off or take what your parner says to you to heart during these difficult times.
Sometimes, mental health can plummet so dramatically as a result of the plunging oestrogen (in the case of PMDD and PCOS) or as a result of the sudden stabbing pains and heavy bleeding (in the case of endometriosis), that their loved ones can feel underappreciated and even like they are being pushed away which is why partners emotional support is so important. Be sure to bear in mind the struggles your partner is going through, and to remember that this has happened before, and will pass. Remember how your partner is most of the time – the real them. And understand that their temporary behaviour and words towards you are just a reflection of their pain, and not of their true self or their true feelings towards you.
It takes a great deal of understanding to see past the hostility that can accompany hormonal or pain-inflicted mood swings – but an understanding that this is simply an unfortunate consequence of your partner’s suffering is key to supporting them emotionally in spite of their health condition. (Of course, this doesn’t mean tolerating abusive behaviour, and if temporary grouchiness turns into persistent bullying or violence, then it’s time to seek help.)
Lastly, it pays to do your research. If your partner has a long-term menstrual health condition like PMDD, endometriosis or PCOS, then this is not only a part of their life – but has become a part of your life too! As such, don’t expect them to educate you, or to deal with this alone as it’s “their problem”. Of course, asking questions and listening when they want to talk about it with you is great. However, to go to the next level and really go the extra mile for your partner in terms of emotional support, do your own research on their condition.
Sure, reading this article is a great place to start! But ideally, you need to get a grasp about the specific conditions – what the symptoms are and how they can be managed. This way, not only can you listen to your partner to ask them what they need – but you may be able to make suggestions yourself. For instance, by suggesting a natural remedy for their PCOS symptoms, or by suggesting some natural herbs or supplements they could take to promote hormone balance. Even getting to grips with the biology of the menstrual cycle would be a great step in the right direction and a great showcase of partner emotional support.
Your partner has enough to deal with – and these conditions tend to linger around for some time – even if they are manageable and even treatable in some cases. So to commit to your partner and show you truly care – commit to learning about their health condition! Knowledge is power, after all. This way, you can not only better understand their struggles, but be more helpful and proactive when it comes to making their life a little easier.
Have Your Say
Does your partner have one of the conditions discussed above or something similar? What do you do to support them – emotionally or physically? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments!
And here is some more info on how to support a partner with PMDD, Endometriosis, or PCOS specifically.