Men and the Phases of a Woman — DC McAllister

 

Women. In the words of Forrest Gump, they’re like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get until you take a bite.

You men know exactly what I’m talking about. One day, she can’t keep her hands off of you. You come home from work and she’s smothering you with kisses, ripping your clothes off like a wild animal before you can even catch a breath. The next day, you come home, looking the same, acting the same, and you’re met with eyes blazing, nose flaring, and a barrage of complaints about how everything is your fault.

Okay, it might not be that extreme, but you get the picture. Passion. Depression. Anger. Insecurity. Joy. When it comes to women (most women, anyway), the moods change like the weather. This is not just a personality thing—though there are some personalities that manage these changes better than others—it is a gender thing.

Of course, this is a reality many feminists don’t want to talk about. If you do—especially if you’re a man—you’ll be pilloried. Women are no different from men, don’t you know? No different—except for our genitalia. Otherwise, we’re identical. All that moody stuff, all the ways that women change from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde with the cycles of the moon, just ignore that. It isn’t real. Just move along, nothing to see here.

But there is something to see here—and something that needs to be understood and honestly admitted. Premenopausal women (generally speaking) are affected by hormones and brain chemistry in ways men aren’t. Their moods shift; for some women, it’s subtle. For others, it’s dramatic.

Men are (again, generally speaking) much more emotionally constant. They’re the strong and steady ship that sails on the deep and beautiful ocean that is a woman. Like the sea, a woman changes with the cycles of the moon, and a man needs to be prepared as he rides the shifting currents.

Such a thing isn’t easy, and many men, I suspect, don’t even fully understand that this is happening. When a once-gentle woman transforms into a shrieking harpy, he immediately assumes it must be his fault. Or worse, he thinks she’s crazy, bipolar, selfish, or disturbed. The woman, of course, perpetuates this myth by not understanding herself and assuming it’s the man’s fault. He’s insensitive, self-centered, and unhelpful. If he would just do whatever it is she wants him to do in that moment, she would be happy again. 

But it isn’t his fault. And she isn’t crazy. It’s nature. The same is true for those lustful phases. Sorry, gentlemen, but when a woman gets all hot and bothered and is sending you flirtatious texts with promises of sensual delights when you get home, it’s not just because you’re so sexy and desirable (even though you are). It’s because of her chemistry, the phase of the moon, and the fact that she feels good about herself. That doesn’t make her selfish. That makes her a woman.

When a man can understand, accept, and embrace the shifting phases of a woman, he will be better able to love her. But he can’t do it alone. A woman needs to understand it too. She can’t deny her true nature. She can’t fall for the nonsense that she’s just a curvy version of a man. She can’t assume that if she’s feeling angry or depressed or insecure then it must be his fault. If she does make this assumption and refuses to accept herself for what she is and learn to manage it, to control it, she’ll push him away as he grows weary of her abuse.

Peace in relationships will be easier to attain when men and women see themselves and each other in the light of nature. A woman can then become more aware of her own cycles and prepare herself mentally to deal with them, reminding herself as best she can that these hostile feelings are not caused by other people but by her hormones. She can then take steps to redirect her feelings in more healthy ways instead of lashing out at every little thing that irritates her.

A man can become more prepared as he sees past the phases and the chemistry, and remembers that the woman he loves is still there; she just has to work through this time. The best thing he can do is figure out a way to help her. Sometimes that means getting out of the house for a while. Sometimes that means just holding her—even as she lashes out. A man who can do that, who loves like that, is a man of strength. But he won’t be able to do it if he doesn’t understand first what is actually happening. 

There are 142 comments.

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  1. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    And we decided to let them vote? … I kid, I kid.

    D.C., I appreciate reading this from a woman.  I the past I had girlfriends who fit that description, and I spent many months swinging between happy and miserable.  Just when I thought I’d reached the breaking point, things would turn happy and sunny again and I couldn’t imagine living without her.  And yes, she blamed me, and I fought back, and the lack of awareness of what was really going on doomed the relationship.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    How many women with PMS does it take to change a light bulb?

    I don’t know.

    Two.

    OK. Why two?

    Because it just does you insensitive scum I hope you die.  Just hold me.  

    • #2
  3. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Don’t be so hysterical.

    • #3
  4. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Er, any help in figuring out how to activate this phase: ” One day, she can’t keep her hands off of you. You come home from work and she’s smothering you with kisses, ripping your clothes off like a wild animal before you can even catch a breath” would be greatly appreciated.

    • #4
  5. Kim K. Inactive
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    I do not consider myself a feminist at all, but when I read this I cringed. Just what I don’t need is every time I do or say something that may be a tad irrational or puzzling for some guy to think, “hmmm…must be THAT time again.”

    I understand that some women are hit harder by hormone shifts than others, but if someone finds herself turning into a screaming harpy on a monthly basis I’d look for a deeper cause.

    • #5
  6. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Kim K–Well, I was using the harpy as mere hyperbole. But my general point stands. Women do struggle with these mood changes, some more so than others, which I said in my post. Mark’s comment above expresses the pain that can come from not managing it and understanding it. We shouldn’t cringe when it comes to being honest about the realities people face. A reality of life is that women are affected by their chemistry throughout the monthly cycle. It’s a fact. This varies from individual to individual, but it is very real. 

    • #6
  7. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Kim K.:
    I do not consider myself a feminist at all, but when I read this I cringed. Just what I don’t need is every time I do or say something that may be a tad irrational or puzzling for some guy to think, “hmmm…must be THAT time again.”
    I understand that some women are hit harder by hormone shifts than others, but if someone finds herself turning into a screaming harpy on a monthly basis I’d look for a deeper cause.

     .  Women who fluctuate emotionally with their hormone cycles are sometimes  just not aware of it and ascribe their moods to the external.   A non self aware woman with PMS is a dangerous thing.   A non self aware man who cannot deal with criticism and blames it on the external (his wife’s hormones) is annoying to say the least.   

    • #7
  8. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Chicks.  This all seems like a great deal of work.

    • #8
  9. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Chris Campion:
    Chicks. This all seems like a great deal of work.

     But we’re so worth it. :)

    • #9
  10. Ontos Inactive
    Ontos
    @Ontos

    Denise: 

    So Kim read your post and thought you were speaking about woman’s different nature as entirely about the monthly cycle?  I can see her misreading you that way and you could do with being more explicit on the nature of woman over and above monthly periods.  The “nature” of woman.  Indeed, human rational and self aware, but differently from men.  But not so different as to be utterly alien.  I will  give you the first opportunity to clarify the nature of woman.  Thank you so much for all that you do.

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    D.C. McAllister: One day, she can’t keep her hands off of you. You come home from work and she’s smothering you with kisses, ripping your clothes off like a wild animal before you can even catch a breath. The next day, you come home, looking the same, acting the same, and you’re met with eyes blazing, nose flaring, and a barrage of complaints about how everything is your fault.

    That’s not my woman.

    She’s neither hot nor cold.

    Shades of grey. Shades of grey.

    When it comes to peculiarities of female biology that may happen to follow a lunar cycle, she’s not afraid to describe the discomfort of physical symptoms, but she’s never exhibited any sort of psychological variation from the rest of the month.

    I can live with the lack of passion if it means stability and constancy, ya know?

    • #11
  12. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Misthiocracy–so I take it it’s not the 50 shades of grey variety. :)

    • #12
  13. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Ontos:
    Denise:
    So Kim read your post and thought you were speaking about woman’s different nature as entirely about the monthly cycle? I can see her misreading you that way and you could do with being more explicit on the nature of woman over and above monthly periods. The “nature” of woman. Indeed, human rational and self aware, but differently from men. But not so different as to be utterly alien. I will give you the first opportunity to clarify the nature of woman. Thank you so much for all that you do.

     When I describe all the phases, including being lustful, I thought that explained all the phases across the month. A woman is affected by hormones throughout the month, shifting her moods across the board. 

    Like I said, though, this looks different for every woman. And some women have high serotonin levels to counter the hormones, so they’re rather even-keeled. My mom is like that. She basically has one mood. Incredible. But not all women are like that. Some are all over the place. Their moods change, and it’s not because they’re nuts. It’s because of their nature as women, with hormone fluctuations all month long. It helps to see these changes for what they are. If a man uses these changes to manipulate the woman or to advance his own selfish agenda, well, that’s just wrong.

    • #13
  14. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    It’s because of the rampant genetic defect where people are born without a Y chromosome.  I understand they’re making greats strides in finding a cure, though.

    • #14
  15. Kim K. Inactive
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    I get it, I get it. I’ve been on the hormone roller-coaster and I know women are wired differently than men. I pretty much am in agreement with the gist of what DC wrote. But listen – I have a friend who is frequently passed over promotions at work and she ALWAYS blames it on the fact that A) she’s female and B) she’s a minority. What that conveniently does is relieve her of all personal responsibility for her job performance. 

    Ideally, women would be in tune with their hormonal fluctuations and men would have at least a clue about what’s going on. But the way I read the post (and hey, maybe I’m having one of those days!) it sounded like I could act in any number of ways and then shrug my shoulders and say – woman! I’m still responsible for my words and actions.

    • #15
  16. flownover Inactive
    flownover
    @flownover

    I must ask, what inspired you to write this post ? 

    Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but has anybody told you anything ? Anyone ??

    • #16
  17. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    So 45 years of marriage now you tell me.

    • #17
  18. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Kim K.:
    Ideally, women would be in tune with their hormonal fluctuations and men would have at least a clue about what’s going on. But the way I read the post (and hey, maybe I’m having one of those days!) it sounded like I could act in any number of ways and then shrug my shoulders and say – woman! I’m still responsible for my words and actions.

     I know exactly what you mean. No, I don’t think we should ever use nature as an excuse for bad behavior. Quite the contrary. I just think it helps to  understand it, so then you can actually learn to manage it, to get mentally prepared to curb it and deal with it. It also helps if your significant other can understand exactly what’s going on so you can work on it together.

    • #18
  19. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Whiskey Sam:
    It’s because of the rampant genetic defect where people are born without a Y chromosome. I understand they’re making greats strides in finding a cure, though.

     Oh, Whiskey Sam, your such a cute little monkey. :)

    • #19
  20. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Whiskey Sam: It’s because of the rampant genetic defect where people are born without a Y chromosome. I understand they’re making greats strides in finding a cure, though.

    Haven’t India and China already found a cure?

    [Edit: If it isn’t obvious, this comment is not an endorsement of the cure.]

    • #20
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    D.C. McAllister:

    Whiskey Sam: It’s because of the rampant genetic defect where people are born without a Y chromosome. I understand they’re making greats strides in finding a cure, though.

    Oh, Whiskey Sam, your such a cute little monkey. :)

    My husband informs me that you should never use the words “little” and “monkey” in the same sentence when talking to a man.

    • #21
  22. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Kim raises an interesting question. How much slack, if any, should a man cut a woman simply for being a woman? Obviously, if they are romantically involved, the guy is going to cut her a lot more slack. But at work or among friends, what does this natural difference require during general interactions?

    A person’s arguments can be judged on their merits, regardless of one’s emotional influences. A man can dismiss a tone or extravagance without ignoring the woman entirely.

    Needless to say, the more often two people interact, the more they are likely to become aware of each other’s habits and needs. But what are some good rules to start from?

    • #22
  23. Ontos Inactive
    Ontos
    @Ontos

    I was trying to move the angle of discussion away from chemistry.  There is a Feminine outlook as to what is real ( not had by all women & not limited to women) which has to do with the reality of connectedness and the unreality of distancing, which is part of the Masculine outlook as to what is real (Not had by all men and not limited to men).  These two contrasting ways of pitching awareness are distributed in the two sexes differently.  They coincide with senses of whether one is approaching the real or being denied the real.  Both men and women employ both ways of being , but usually men and women have very different attitudes toward those experiences.  Menstrual cycles and hormones have mood effects, but the different nature of woman and man is not reducible to chemistry.  They are different outlooks on what is real and of value.

    • #23
  24. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Mark Wilson:
    And we decided to let them vote? … I kid, I kid.
    D.C., I appreciate reading this from a woman. I the past I had girlfriends who fit that description, and I spent many months swinging between happy and miserable. Just when I thought I’d reached the breaking point, things would turn happy and sunny again and I couldn’t imagine living without her. And yes, she blamed me, and I fought back, and the lack of awareness of what was really going on doomed the relationship.

     Mark, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. This is exactly why I wrote this post.

    • #24
  25. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    D.C. McAllister:

    Whiskey Sam: It’s because of the rampant genetic defect where people are born without a Y chromosome. I understand they’re making greats strides in finding a cure, though.

    Oh, Whiskey Sam, your such a cute little monkey. :)

    My husband informs me that you should never use the words “little” and “monkey” in the same sentence when talking to a man.

     Midge, as always, you crack me up.

    • #25
  26. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    I’ve been married to the same woman for forty plus years and have helped raise two daughters.

    This whole issue is simple.  When she says to do something, do it right then (and no mumbling under your breath).

    Once I figured that out a couple of months ago, it’s been smooth sailing.

    • #26
  27. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    D.C. McAllister:

    No, I don’t think we should ever use nature as an excuse for bad behavior. Quite the contrary. I just think it helps to understand it, so then you can actually learn to manage it, to get mentally prepared to curb it and deal with it.

    Agreed. Will also note that there may be a legitimate place for hormone therapy in managing it. Yeah, I’m talking about hormonal “birth control”. It can be a godsend for gals who are tired of dealing with anemia, boils, monthly bouts of diarrhea, etc. Not to mention a woman’s hormonal fluctuations can exacerbate underlying conditions such as asthma.

    Not every girl who uses hormonal birth control to manage these problems becomes a rampant nympho, either. A girl who’s committed to chastity and sufficiently stubborn will still resist the temptation to engage in premarital sex, even when her fertility is suppressed. Of course, people vary. If a girl thinks she can’t resist the temptation, she may prefer being ill once a month to potentially compromising her chastity.

    • #27
  28. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Aaron Miller:
    Kim raises an interesting question. How much slack, if any, should a man cut a woman simply for being a woman? Obviously, if they are romantically involved, the guy is going to cut her a lot more slack. But at work or among friends, what does this natural difference require during general interactions?
    A person’s arguments can be judged on their merits, regardless of one’s emotional influences. A man can dismiss a tone or extravagance without ignoring the woman entirely.
    Needless to say, the more often two people interact, the more they are likely to become aware of each other’s habits and needs. But what are some good rules to start from?

     This is where it helps if both people—the man and the woman—understand what is going on. If they both do, the man will be tolerant of her as she struggles with her emotions, and the woman will be working to control her feelings, or manage it in a way that will not lead to bad behavior or abuse. That’s the ideal.

    It’s just really hard when you’re going through some of the changes. Of course, men don’t complain when the phase is the “I want to have sex three times a day” phase. But when it’s the angry phase or the depressed phase (and, again, they’re so different between women), it’s harder. It’s also harder for the woman. It’s difficult to describe what it’s like to wrestle with your hormones during those dark phases. Everything is sooo irritating. That’s why it helps to have a plan, to know that maybe at certain times of the month, back off from things that are going to be particularly stressful, eat right, get exercise, etc. 

    Another point, just because a woman gets testy or angry does not mean it’s a monthly cycle thing. This is a manipulative thing men do who dismiss women as if they’re just PMSing. 

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    D.C. McAllister:
    Misthiocracy–so I take it it’s not the 50 shades of grey variety. :)

     Decidedly not.

    • #29
  30. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Aaron Miller:
    Kim raises an interesting question. How much slack, if any, should a man cut a woman simply for being a woman?

    A woman seems to have a social duty to keep her hormonal fluctuations private. She may tell her most intimate friends about them (including boyfriends and husbands), but to publicly put your period on display is rather crass.

    That said, some women feel so ill during that time that, even with their best efforts, they won’t be able to hide it. If a guy friend had a cold, you’d probably cut him some slack if he acted more irritable than usual, right? I think the same principle applies to PMS. If you notice a person seems to be in physical discomfort, you’re usually a bit more forgiving towards shortcomings in their behavior.

    • #30
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