My wife of eight years is intelligent and reasonable ... except for several days around every menstrual period when she gets blue, tense, and has over-the-top outbursts.
We both know that it's due to hormone swings of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), but I'm the only one who seems to think there should be a better response than just letting it happen. I've said this, but she says I can never understand how it feels, and I just have to accept it.
I end up just trying to stay out of her way.... not always successfully. But now that our sons are ages two and four, I worry how they and I will manage over the years. I'll get sick of being the "victim" of her wrath every month, and I'll feel terrible if they become her targets, too.
There are other responses, and your wife should explore them with her physician. However, women who suffer greatly from monthly discomfort also need to feel their partner understands and will pitch in when things get tough... not just "hide."
Some women find that if they reduce their salt intake days before menstruation, there's less swelling and discomfort. Others are advised by their doctors to consider birth control or other medications that may relieve symptoms. She and her doctor can discuss the pros and cons, and relevance to her personal and family medical history.
She should certainly keep a calendar marking the timing of her cycle and can try, whenever possible, to structure those "bad days" with less demands.
Meanwhile, show her that you're on her team and aware that she can't always predict her reactions, none of which are purposefully intended to victimize you. Especially when she herself feels overpowered by her own body's workings. Together, you'll feel better by trying to find various strategies to ease this situation.
I once found an inappropriate email on my wife's cell phone. She swore it was a joke between her and a colleague, and then later admitted participating in a phone-sex "flirtation" because she was bored at work. But she insisted that nothing physical ever happened.
Our relationship has since become great, partly because I insisted we see a counselor. Our sex life is now more frequent and very satisfying to us both. Yet I still worry that she could get bored again (everyone does occasionally) and next time she could go further.
I know that I'd never turn to phone sex. I'd look for a promotion or even another job!
Am I being too trusting, and should I check her emails - not to snoop, but to protect myself from believing her and getting devastated again?
Still Feeling Betrayed
Checking emails IS snooping, and if you go that route, your relationship is NOT great, because you haven't regained trust.
You may have insight that suggests she's the type that will get bored again, or this blow was too much for you to get over too soon.
Either way, you should both continue with the counseling. It's a forum for talking about other ways to deal with periods when one or both of you needs something "more" - which can be anything from a hobby, to a new job, to moving to another home or locale.
Staying together for the long-term often calls for such adjustments. Since your wife's trying to make this marriage work, you need to do the same by not snooping. Counselling can provide the tools that get you past this episode.
My father, 91, is getting weak physically but remains mentally alert, just too tired sometimes to talk. I want to ask questions about his past, and also about how he feels about nearing the end.
I'm consumed with curiosity about how someone old but sound of mind faces the possibility of death.
He lost his siblings years ago, and has few similar-age friends left. So I know he must think about dying. Is it selfish and unfair to raise these questions? How else does my generation learn to prepare for being elderly?
If he wants to talk, he will. You may encourage him by expressing your interest in his past, and offering to tape record his memoirs during short sessions, when he has the energy for it.
I personally feel it IS unfair to probe his feelings about dying, since you may arouse disturbing fears or regrets.
Tip of the day:
Couples need to talk about regular mood changes, including PMS, with each other and a doctor.