Every once in awhile, my husband, Douglas, will have to leave home for a few days to attend some function, visit a relative or for another reason. And my reaction to his absence can vary widely from trip to trip–sometimes I’ll pine for his return, other times I’ll resent that he’s left me holding down the fort on my own, still other times I’m utterly relieved to get a few days to myself to do things that are easier to get done when he’s not around (like throwing away the hundreds of restaurant condiment packets he insists on collecting, but never, ever uses).
So, when Lauren, a Facebook follower, sent me a message yesterday asking about her varied reactions to her fiancé’s frequent travels, I identified with her situation right away.
Lauren asked: “Can you tell me what part of the cycle one would have a harder time with their significant other traveling? My fiancé has been traveling on and off this past January and will continue through May. I am just starting week 4 and cried this time, felt anxious, etc. His last trip was during my week 2 and it seemed easier. Any thoughts?”
In fact, I do, Lauren! That’s because your hormones can impact how much you miss your current partner or a love from your past according to the week of your cycle.
Why? The rise and fall of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone throughout your monthly cycle affects your moods, independence, how sentimental you feel, your emotional sensitivity and other factors that can impact how much you long for that special someone and what you likely miss most about them.
If a special person you love isn’t around, here’s how your hormones may be impacting how much you miss your beloved from week to week in your cycle:
Week 1: You miss the comfort and a partner for fun
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
With estrogen starting out low and period-related aches climbing in your Week 1, you may miss having your honey there to give you sympathy and be a comforting presence that made it easier to face the world when your energy is bottomed out and menstrual pain is pulling you down. However, as your pep, mood and desire to explore the world rise in the latter half of this week along with your estrogen, you may find what you miss most about your sweetie’s absence is having someone to join you as you look for new ways to have fun.
Week 2: You miss a kiss, but enjoy the independence
Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
During your Week 2, you’re likely to miss physical intimacy with your partner due to high estrogen and testosterone, which rev libido. However, in this same week, these hormones make you tend to be more independent and self-reliant, so emotionally you’re better able to handle your sweetie’s absence and are apt to face the situation more logically: You acknowledge your darling is gone now, but it’s just temporary and you’ll either be together again soon or, if you’re missing someone from the past, you may remind yourself that your next true love may be waiting for your right around the corner. You may even look forward to this alone-time so you can do things that are more difficult to do with a partner is around, like hanging with your buds or writing your novel.
Week 3: You miss the mothering
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (that’s Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
Throughout your Week 3, you may miss having someone special to nurture and take care of as rising progesterone brings out your caretaker instincts. As a result, you may pay more attention to your pets, plants or close friends and family. Or you may plan a favorite meal or activity for when your partner returns. This same hormone can make you more sentimental. So, if it’s your birthday or anniversary, your honey’s absence may hit you harder. Or if you see something, hear a song or do an activity that reminds you of your missing love, you could get a bit blue or weepy, especially since progesterone–a sedating hormone–can trigger down moods more easily.
Week 4: You miss the company and extra help
Final 6 days of your cycle
During your premenstrual Week 4, you’re more likely to have a more intense emotional response to your beloved’s absence–the blues, crying, even anger and resentment. That’s because plunging estrogen is bringing down levels of brain chemicals responsible for moderating your mood and helping you stay upbeat. As a result, it’s more difficult to keep a stiff upper lip about your sweetie’s absence. What’s more, your confidence and patience tend to dip in this week of your cycle, which can make certain activities more difficult to do alone that you got used to facing as a team–like fixing a leaking faucet or going to a family reunion–making you feel this absence in your life even more acutely.
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