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          Couples: Surviving PMS and Perimenopause

          May 20, 2003

          Dr. Phil says that just because women experience the physical symptoms of PMS and perimenopause, it doesn’t mean they have to suffer through and manage them alone. Surviving the various phases in a woman’s life is a couple’s challenge, and Dr. Phil offers suggestions on what husbands and boyfriends can do to help manage and ease the symptoms.

          Avoid discussing “hot button” topics.
          This is not the time to discuss highly volatile topics like money. Your discussion will more than likely escalate into an irrational argument. If it’s a problem on Monday, it will be a problem next Monday. It can wait until after her cycle.

          Let her win.

          If you sense she is about to explode in anger, separate while the anger is stewing. Let her go sleep on the couch or in another room. Let her retreat. Let her win.

          Make a “note to self.”
          In between cycles, couples should sit down and each compose a “note to self” on a blue index card.
          Women should write down things like: “I don’t hate him. I don’t believe that he doesn’t love me. My life is not over. I’m going through a difficult period, but it will pass soon.”
          Men should write down things like: “I don’t believe she hates me. I need to be understanding, supportive, loving and affectionate. I will not take this personally.”
          When things start to get heated and tempers are about to flare, calm down by reading the reassuring “note to self.”

          Establish safe fighting topics.
          During “that time of month” many women just want to argue about something because doing so provides an opportunity to vent their frustrations. Having a pre-arranged list of “safe” things to fight about will help to prevent the argument from getting ugly, as long as no one takes it seriously and you establish rules — no name-calling, no hitting.

          Have sex!
          Most experts agree on this one. Having sex and stimulating the various erogenous areas will help in relaxing women and relieving stress. Touching will also provide comfort and assurance that you love her.

          On average, women talk more than men, and now is the time to just sit back and let her talk. But it is important that you pay attention so she knows you’re listening and care about what she is saying. No lengthy answers are required. Simple responses like, “Uh-huh… Yes, dear” will do. The point is to let her vent!

          Pamper her.
          Water is a generic healing component, so taking frequent warm baths or showers is highly recommended. Also, acupuncture point massages (other types of massages may elicit the wrong response), and special music are great ways to calm down and relax.

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