Zat Baraka learned the hard way that men often have no clue how to respectfully interact with women about their menstrual cycles.
For a few days every month, an ex-girlfriend of mine suffered agonizing pain. I dreaded that time, I helplessly witnessed her moan and writhe in pain. Instead of lending a hand, I instead chose to avoid the subject altogether. Since I had no way of being part of her process, I just stayed away from her.
Of course, naturally, this would piss her off. If I did engage her, I had to be very careful how I spoke (it probably wasn’t such a good idea to have questioned her as to why she had so much pain). No one ever properly taught me about this part of life. Like most men, I had no training in how to be in relationship with her in regards to her menstrual cycle. It feels like the only training men have had for a millennia is to avoid menstruating women.
Luckily since then, I have had and am currently in a relationship with a strong woman who has helped me to understand the beauty of a women’s menstrual cycle. Fortunately my fiancée has broadened my perspective on how to support her during this time, to move beyond the standard man’s programming: stay away from her when she’s bleeding cause she’s a bitch; shit, its that time of the month; or she is (or her blood) is disgusting and dirty.
Why is this important?
I’m sure you want to create more ease and depth in your relationship. Through your presence and loving support during her monthly cycle, you are feeding the health of the relationship. This can only bring more fulfillment to the both of you.
In your desire to strengthen your relationship, seek to more fully understand her. And her monthly cycle is an integral piece.
This is not something you want to ignore if you desire experiencing the fullness of your woman.
Most men avoid this topic when considering their relationship. Take a moment and think about your own; do you argue more when she is about to menstruate? Do you get frustrated and confused in trying to relate with her?
Many men deal with the women in their lives’ irritability every month. You might also struggle with a woman who experiences chronic low level irritability, anxiety or depression, perhaps even horrible cramping and pain.
Many men I know shut down or overreact. How can we approach this significant time in a meaningful and healthy way?
These 5 tips are designed to help you interact more intimately and lovingly with your partner.
- No joking while she’s experiencing discomfort: It’s ok to make her laugh, laughter is good medicine BUT do not joke about it being “that time of the month again”. Rather than understanding her, you are actually shaming and judging her. She may close down to you, creating a disconnect in your relationship. No rude comments about what’s in the trash bin, about her being moody… no jokes, no nothing.
- Know her cycle: Ask her about the timing of her cycle, (though not when she is actually menstruating). If you can get a general idea of when she is ovulating or bleeding, you can more skillfully interact with her. By knowing her cycle, you can be more aware and sensitive to her changing moods and physical discomfort. This develops a deeper trust as your woman knows you are really present with what she is experiencing. Put it in your calendar so you have a heads up.
- Her changing libido: When premenstrual, her hormone level shifts. This hormonal flip can mean “she isn’t horny for you!” Interestingly, having an orgasm can relieve menstrual cramps, though your attitude during the whole cycle will determine whether or not she’s willing to explore this. Again , this is probably best to bring up when she isn’t in the middle of it.
- Don’t run away from her emotions; Many women like more space with menstruating but its best to take cues from her. Don’t just run off to the bar with the guys believing that’s best. If she wants you to leave, she will most likely ask for space. She may act like she doesn’t want you there, but remember she may actually desire some TLC. Your full presence is the best medicine. She will love you for this!
- Don’t try to fix her; The first thing I do is get my Fiancee a hot water bottle. She LOVES this. other great ideas include; complimenting her, being kind, helping out with chores (this should always be the case, but usually isn’t). Help create a cozy environment for her, and cook her comfort food. Hugs are also great. Its always amazing what a lavender lotion foot rub can do. The main thing is to not be an ass. (closing down and or not wanting to deal is being an ass) I know from experience that this doesn’t earn many points. Chocolate helps to stimulate serotonin, that can be a good move.
*Bonus tip for the super progressive guy: Her monthly bleeding cycle is a sacred flow exhibiting the power of women in their ability to birth a being from within. Shower her with respect for the intensity of what she undergoes every month. To view a woman’s period as a time of renewal and great creativity is an honoring.
Put some effort into understanding more of what your woman goes through every month. By understanding why she may be having mood swings and how to support her, you are strengthening your relationship. This approach is a win win for you, your woman and your whole family.
Photo: Flickr/Hey Paul Studios