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The PMDD Tango

The untold story of dating someone with PMDD as a lesbian.

By A AlexPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 4 min read
The PMDD Tango
Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

It is safe to say that one of the biggest remarks I get when people realize I am a WLW(or women loving women for the straights), is "Omg two periods, that must be crazy!". And they are right, syncing up with your partner and riding the menstrual train of being overly emotional, irritable, crampy and sometimes even irrational is just part of what comes with the WLW territory. But from experience, sometimes it can be really nice having someone to cuddle on the couch with, eating all your favorite snacks, crying at movies that aren't meant to be cried through, and massaging each others cramps while simultaneously cursing mother nature. For a week every month this is the routine, maybe you two will argue, but pretty quickly one or both of you will realize "Wow, I'm really pmsing!" and it will be laughed off. But, what if that realization never comes from your partner? What if instead of a week of being slightly emotional, every month their cycle completely takes over their mind and body for weeks at a time?

This is what it is like to encounter someone who suffers from PMDD(premenstrual dysphoric disorder). When you google pmdd, you get vague information, verbiage that makes it seem like the sufferer will experience "severe pms" for the two weeks before their period. And that is somewhat true, what is not covered is that the sufferer will experience such an extreme shift in their behavior that they will be a different person. And not just for 2 weeks before their period, but every week they are not on their period. Which, is frightening for both partners, but more so for the non-sufferer, because the partner with PMDD will more than likely be completely unaware that anything has changed. It is like bipolar, schizophrenia, and extreme pms all in one. Except unlike , the others mentioned, it seems that doctors are not as knowledgable about PMDD, which makes treatment hard to get. Not to mention that those suffering through it rarely see anything wrong with their behavior, no matter how irrational or extreme it gets. And it gets extreme!

So then how do you navigate the delicate tango of riding the menstrual train with a partner with PMDD? I'm not really sure. The advice given by the professionals is to not react, to support them and not be emotional. Clearly this was written for heterosexual couples and not for two women who are synched up and dealing with variations of the same hormonal rollercoaster. That being said, I worked really hard to make myself emotionless, it didn't work, probably because it was clearly disingenuous. In the inside I was dying, part of the joy of being in a WLW relationship is the free flowing intimacy of the emotional connection. If we can't connect emotionally anymore, what is there left? Not to mention that another symptom of PMDD is that it makes suffers target their partners as an enemy during the weeks their period is not on. Like a malicious bully, PMDD is in their head telling them no one likes/loves them, especially not you, and you two should break up. Every single month. So you could have the patience of Ghandi and the compassion of Mother Theresa, but you'd be losing to every lie PMDD is telling her about you. Yet, even knowing how futile it is, most partners (male and female) are just digging in our heels for that one good week when the PMDD releases them and the woman we know and love is back.

Of course, if nothing is done, treatment isn't sought and consistently followed, no relationship can sustain like this. In the last year, I've watched several fellow PMDD partners tell me that the relationship finally crashed and burned. I think the difference though is that for lesbians, our breakups are already emotionally taxing. You've just lost your best friend(sometimes only friend), roommate, sex partner, love of your life, soul mate, you get the point, we can be dramatic. But there is usually that slow uncoupling, where you both are still friends, you still hang out, you have thousands of long talks about the relationship where you deep dive into how she feels and how you feel. And of course one person maybe starts dating again, but even that is talked about, fought about, and processed. And I'm not saying any of that is the healthiest approach, but it usually leads to closure and a foundation to be friends later on(because lets face it, the community is small and chances are we WILL see each other out). But, with PMDD that closure doesn't happen, the sufferer isn't able to clearly see their behavior or the scope of the relationship to have productive conversations on what happened or even be accountable. Not to mention that depending on the day you see them you could be talking to someone completely different, you could be talking to their PMDD representative, who will only make things worse by telling you (again) how horrible you were and will always be. So what you end with is periods of uncoupling, where the sufferer pops back up and you get glimpses of the real them, while you brace for the PMDD them to circle back lash out and disappear again. Eventually, like any sane person, you'll cut ties with them for mental self preservation and you'll struggle to explain to your friends what happened, grieve their loss and mend your broken heart on your own without closure.

And your heart will begin to mend again. For anyone reading this dealing with someone who sufferers from PMDD, your heart will mend again. You are not alone, there are a lot of us WLW out here with these experiences. We get you, we get it. Trying to process how you were so happily uhauled, happily strolling the farmers market and now they are a stranger. We get it. Others may think you are auditioning for Queer Ultimatum Toxicity 2.0, but we get it. For those who didn't know about PMDD(because I certainly did not!), I hope this helped. And if you love someone with PMDD check out the support groups on FB, because as dreary as I made this all sound, with treatment there are couples going on 15 plus years together and happy.

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About the Creator

A Alex

Philly native and mother of 2, who represents the L in LGBT and sometimes the Q when I'm not feeling labels. Sharing my thoughts on any and everything, as well as fleshing out the fictional world of my imagination here and there.

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Comments (1)

  • Shonda Scott3 months ago

    I would like to see more as you journey through supporting your partner

A AlexWritten by A Alex

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