Unless you are falling on the floor and convulsing, she is the one having the tough time, not you.

What you can do to make your partner feel better during her periods
Blog Saturday, May 28, 2016 - 15:38

We are a far cry away from being a society, which deals with menstruation the right way, but it is about time we start the process, and an important step towards that is teaching our men to know how to behave when their partner is suffering while going through periods.

Our attitudes towards menstruating women are particularly regressive, with a good mix of taboos in our “culture”, so Indian men need to put in some extra effort to make women feel comfortable during periods.

Before we get into the specifics, here is a golden rule for those few days – it is all about her. It is not about what YOU think, or YOU feel, it is about HER. Unless you are falling on the floor and convulsing, she is the one having the tough time, not you.

Understand and acknowledge it’s a difficult time: Don’t be smug. It is as excruciatingly painful as she says it is. You cannot possibly imagine having to go through that pain every month, so don’t try to act like you do. Simply understanding her pain and saying that you do, and that you are there for her is a good first-step. Don’t say it is not a big deal, it is a big deal for her. And as a loving partner, you should try to be of some help.

It’s not disgusting, and she is not ‘sick’: If you continue to watch Game of Thrones after all that bloodletting, you can get used to a natural process. Stop feeling disgusted, and reassure her that there's nothing disgusting about her, periods or no. Also, it is not an illness or sickness, so don’t treat her like that.

Be nice to her, but don’t be patronizing: Be patient, make her feel better. If she is hyperventilating, just take it and move on. Don’t complain about her fretting. Listen to her, be attentive and be nice. But don’t patronize her.

Help her out: Get up and move your ass. You should do her share of the chores too. Finish work early, don’t attend any social events during that time. Wash her clothes, clean up the kitchen, go get the groceries, make dinner and if she wants you to get water from the refrigerator while she chills on the sofa watching a rom-com, just do it. It won’t kill you.

Give her physical comfort: Give her a comforting hug, and if you have large hands, put them to some good use by giving her a nice massage. A back-rub or a foot massage can really help. Let her sit on your lap, cuddle if she feels like it. Even holding her hand could make her feel better. But remember, if she says stay away, just stay away. If it’s the summer, make sure the AC is on, and she has blankets too.

Discourage menstrual taboos: Try to stay away from those family members who get too touchy about our ‘culture’. Menstrual taboos are disgusting. She can go into the kitchen and cook if she wants, she can pray if she feels like. Don’t shut her out in some other room, and don’t serve her food like she is sub-human. If you have family who insists on all this, then move out and live separately.

Do anything that helps her feel better: Ask her what she wants, without infantilising or patronizing her. If she asks for something, just do it. Get her medicines and sanitary napkins, or a milkshake. If she wants to go out for a movie, book the tickets, and if she wants to return mid-way, get the car out as soon as possible. If she wants to go for a night out, reserve a table. If she wants to stay alone in her room, then just let her be. Get her medical help when she needs it. Filling up a hot-water bag is a good idea. Chocolates can be good mood lifters, so keep them handy.

Suggest healthy practices, but don’t mansplain: You can suggest healthy practices, like perhaps avoiding junk food and having a good diet, or avoiding intoxicants. But stop with suggestions, ultimately she knows what she wants. If it is a habit which you want her to reconsider, wait till after her periods are over.

Be available sexually: This is important. Some women feel horny during their periods or just after that. There is a belief that this can be a messy affair - some find it messy, others don’t. Now, no one can force anyone to have sex, but if she is feeling horny, getting into the sack with her, and doing whatever she wants, however she wants it, can be a good gesture. If you find it messy, you can clean up later. And don’t forget to change the sheets when she is done, it’s your job.

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