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Can hormones affect how much you miss someone you love?

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UPDATED NOVEMBER 11, 2022 (originally published February 26, 2014)—Lauren, a longtime Hormonology fan, sent me a message that asked: “Can you tell me what part of the menstrual 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 my Week 4 and cried this time, felt anxious, etc. His last trip was during my Week 2 and it seemed easier. Any thoughts?”

If you’re like Lauren, you might notice that how you feel about being apart from a romantic partner can vary based on where you are in your menstrual cycle. That’s because your hormones can impact how much you miss your current significant other 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 impacts your moods, independence, how sentimental you feel, your emotional sensitivity and other factors that can affect how much you long for your honey and what you likely miss most about them.

If the special person that you love isn’t around, here’s how your fluctuating hormones could be impacting how much you miss your beloved from week to week in your menstrual cycle:

Week 1: You miss being comforted and a partner for fun

Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Estrogen starts out at its lowest point and climbs steadily

During your Week 1, estrogen starts out low and period-related aches climb. So, you may miss having your sweetheart by your side to give you sympathy and be a comforting presence that makes it easier to face the world when your energy is bottoming out and menstrual pain is pulling you down. However, by the second half of your Week 1, cramp pain tends ease as your period peters out. And your pep, mood and desire to explore the world tend to increase as rising estrogen reaches a higher level. So, on these cycle days, you may feel that what you miss most about your sweetie is having a partner with whom to share fun, new adventures.

Week 2: You miss a kiss, but you enjoy the independence

Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
Estrogen rises until peaks; testosterone rises at the end of your Week 2

During your Week 2, you’re likely to miss physical intimacy with your partner due to high estrogen and testosterone revving your libido. However, in this same cycle week, these hormones tend to also make you more independent and self-reliant. As a result, it’s easier to handle your sweetie’s absence without feeling too sad about it. You understand that your darling is gone right now, but it’s just temporary and you’ll be together again soon. You may even look forward to this alone-time so you can do things that are more difficult to do when a partner is around, such as hanging out with your friends or writing your novel. If you’re missing a love from the past, high estrogen may make you feel more optimistic about finding a new love soon. This can motivate you to head out to events, sign up for a fun class or do other activities that help you meet other people.

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)
Estrogen and testosterone decline sharply for about three days; estrogen rises again for about five days; progesterone rises steadily throughout this cycle week

Throughout your Week 3, you may miss having someone special to fuss over and take care of. That’s because on these cycle days, rising progesterone brings out your desire to nurture. As a result, when your loved one is away, you may shower extra attention onto friends, family or pets, for example, by making them their favorite foods. But, regardless of how many pumpkin pies you bring to your besties, chances are, you’re still going to feel sad about your missing honey. The reason? As progesterone rises, it tends to make you more sentimental and can trigger or worsen down moods, making the heartache of your honey’s absence is even greater. And if you spot something that reminds you of your missing love (like a toy they won you from a fair) or it’s a special day (such as your anniversary), rising progesterone could make you a bit weepy.

Week 4: You miss the company and extra help

Final 6 days of your cycle
Estrogen and progesterone fall throughout this cycle week

During your premenstrual Week 4, you’re more likely to have an intense emotional response to your beloved’s absence, such as the blues, crying, even anger and resentment. That’s because plunging estrogen on these cycle days is bringing down levels of brain chemicals responsible for moderating your mood and helping you stay upbeat. As a result, it can be more difficult to keep a stiff upper lip about being separated from someone you who means so much to you. What’s more, your confidence and patience tend to dip during this week of your cycle due to declining estrogen. This can make certain activities more difficult to do alone, especially after you got used to facing them together as a team–such as fixing a leaking faucet or attending family functions–making you even more aware of the hole in your life that your honey left behind.

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