Chemicals like estrogen and testosterone have a profound effect on human behavior and moods. Particularly around puberty and throughout the teenage years, changes in body chemistry can impact the way adolescents interact with peers, contributing to insecurity, aggression, and romantic attraction. The human brain is still influenced by many of the same chemicals throughout adulthood, but maturity and a modicum of consideration can help prevent those naturally occurring chemicals from negatively affecting relationships.
The most well-known cause of hormonal imbalance and fluctuation is the premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Occurring between a woman’s ovulation and her period, PMS tends to be portrayed in entertainment media as a period of erratic behavior and unpredictable mood swings. Groups of males may be quick to dismiss a woman’s emotional behavior as connected to body chemistry. As anyone who has had a girlfriend can attest, PMS is not a laughing matter when your partner is awaiting the monthly visit from “Aunt Flo.” To preserve your relationship, avoid the following questions when you think your girlfriend is going through a period of hormonal imbalance.
Is it that time of the month?
Some questions should never be asked directly. Asking whether it’s “that time of the month” is particularly dangerous when it interrupts an emotional outburst or otherwise tense conversation. Even if the emotional outburst is fueled by her monthly cycle, the question completely sidesteps any attempt to address the actual topic of conversation. If she’s running at you with a knife because the toilet seat was left up for the hundredth time, it’s possible that she cares a lot about the courtesy of putting down the toilet seat.
Aren’t you a little young for menopause?
Similar to the idea of questions that shouldn’t be asked directly, many successful boyfriends find it’s best to avoid talking about aging, particularly how it might affect your girlfriend’s body. Women are bombarded by advertisements for anti-aging treatments and procedures. With parents and grandparents eager to have more descendants to coddle, most young women are very aware of the limited time their bodies allow for childbirth. There’s something to be said for dark humor that allows everyone to make light of their own mortality. However, men are not in a position to commiserate about the injustice of menopause because they can often to continue to sire children well into their awkwardly geriatric years.
Why can’t you be more like one of the guys?
To borrow a turn of phrase from the elementary school playground, “if you love the guys so much, why don’t you marry them?” Men and women may find it easier to understand and relate to their long-term friends. Dealing with someone of the opposite gender is one of the biggest challenges of a monogamous heterosexual relationship. The potential for hormonal imbalance is just one of many mysterious factors that lead to miscommunication, misunderstanding, and conflict in a relationship. If the challenge of dealing with the opposite sex is not worthwhile, then we are fortunate to live in an era where you can choose to date “one of the guys” instead.
Ultimately, every individual is different, and most people change over time. Avoiding asinine questions is one way to protect your relationship from being negatively affected by hormonal imbalance.