How do your hormones impact your romantic relationship?

My Hormonology

How do your hormones impact your romantic relationship?

BY GABRIELLE LICHTERMAN

 

  • The ups and downs of hormones in your menstrual cycle can play a key role in how close you feel to your romantic partner from week to week.

 

UPDATED August 20, 2022 (originally published April 28, 2014)—Have you ever wondered why on some days you feel super-attached to your romantic partner, yet on other days you can’t understand what you ever saw in that person?

It could be your hormones! The ups and downs of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone in your menstrual cycle have a powerful effect on how you feel about your mate. And these feelings vary based on which week of your cycle you’re on. That’s because rising and falling hormone levels impact mood, libido, a desire to bond and other factors that go into how you view your significant other.

Of course, there are many other elements that influence how you view your sweetheart–such as whether your relationship is brand-new or you’ve been together for years, how many bumps in the road you two have endured together and the number of times your partner has frustratingly put the empty milk carton back in the fridge despite your many, many pleas to simply throw it out.

But, with all things being equal, your hormones still play a significant role in how you feel about your relationship.

Curious what kind of feelings you can expect in your relationship? Check out my Hormonology Guide to Relationships below that shares generally how your hormones will have feeling about your romantic partner from week to week in your menstrual cycle:

My Hormonology

 

Week 1: Warming up

Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Estrogen starts at its lowest point and rises throughout this cycle week

If you’re crampy and/or tired during your period, you may be more easily irritated with your partner–simply because these period-related woes are putting you in a grumpy mood.

But, what if cramps are few and far between and you’re not being knocked on your keister by fatigue? Then, as estrogen rises throughout your Week 1, it’s making you want to get closer to your cuddlebear and do fun activities together, such as seeing a movie or going on a hike.

The reason? Rising estrogen revs your desire for romance and pushes you to connect with your current squeeze. Plus, as the level of this hormone increases day by day, it makes you more outgoing, energetic, chatty and adventurous. On top of that, estrogen is igniting your libido. All of these hormonal effects have you looking toward your honey as a partner with whom to explore the world, then enjoy intimate alone-time with once you head back home.

Week 2: Hot passion

Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
Estrogen rises throughout this cycle week until it peaks; testosterone rises at ovulation

If you’re in a brand-new relationship, rising estrogen and testosterone are going to be ratcheting up your romantic feelings about a thousand notches. That’s because these hormones prompt the brain the churn out a greater amount of feel-good chemicals (such as dopamine and endorphins) in response to exciting experiences, such as dating someone new. Along with that, this hormonal duo makes your sex drive peak during this cycle week. As a result, you won’t be able to keep your hands off your new honey.

If you’re in a longer, more established relationship, well, it gets a bit complicated:

Research shows that if your mate is known more for having a great personality than good looks, then chances are you’re going to be tempted to flirt with some serious hotties. That’s just the way high estrogen works: When this hormone peaks, it wants to pair you up with folks who are physically attractive because, as researchers believe, it’s a sign that they’re healthy and good genetic donors in case you want to get pregnant during ovulation at the end of this week.

But, if you’re very much physically attracted to your mate, then chances are, you may glance at other cuties (no guilt, it’s only natural!), but your heart will stay with your current squeeze.

Generally speaking for all relationship statuses (long, short or somewhere in-between), during your Week 2, your boo will get a free pass for most of the stupid things they’re known to do, from forgetting to pick up bread on the way home to totally blanking on your anniversary.

Significant others can thank high estrogen for the extra patience and forgiveness you have during this week of your cycle. The higher the level of this hormone climbs, the more mood-elevating brain chemicals it helps churn out, which makes you upbeat and optimistic–so even their biggest blunders are less irksome.

On top of that, thanks to high estrogen and testosterone revving your sex drive during this cycle week, you’ll feel a surge of passion that makes you want to drag your darling back to bed every chance you get.

Week 3: More hugs than hot

Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (which is Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
Estrogen and testosterone plunge the first three days after ovulation; estrogen rises again for five more days; progesterone rises throughout this cycle week

Your libido cools off significantly during this week of your cycle due to a combination of rising progesterone (a sedating hormone) and a quickly-dropping level of estrogen and testosterone. However, research shows you actually feel more emotionally attached to your mate during this phase.

Scientists theorize this extra dose of affection is because an increase in progesterone makes your body think you could be pregnant–so you subconsciously sidle up closer to your sweetums in case you need extra care and support during a pregnancy.

As a result, your love-muffin can look forward to more hugs, hand-holding and special treats during this week of your cycle.

Unless…you get hungry.

If you go a long time between meals or forget to eat a meal, you could get extra-snappish at your mate during this week in your cycle. That’s because elevated progesterone makes you more sensitive to drops in blood sugar, unleashing the kind of hunger crankies that can make significant others wonder when they hooked up with Godzilla.

When this happens, simply let your partner know you need to eat–and quick! Just a few minutes after noshing, your blood sugar will normalize and you’ll be all squeezy-wheezy with your mate again.

Week 4: Uh-oh

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

Remember that free pass your honey got in your Week 2 that helped you forgive-and-forget even the gravest trespasses?

Yeah, that’s not gonna happen in your Week 4.

During your premenstrual phase, a plunge in estrogen can turn you into a stick of dynamite–and anything wrong your partner says or does can be the flame that lights the fuse that makes you go “Boom!”.

The problem is that when your estrogen level descends, it prompts changes in the brain (for example, lowering mood-regulating serotonin). This makes you less patient, more critical and more easily irritated–a combination that can have your partner needing to walk on eggshells around you.

Now all this said, this doesn’t mean you’ll be tearing your sugarpie’s head off every second of every day in your premenstrual week. Some women may notice that they just get a bit irked every now and then while others may be so constantly annoyed they start to wonder why they were ever with their lunkhead in the first place. It really depends on your personal sensitivity to plunging hormones.

Want to have a more harmonious relationship during your premenstrual phase?

Then like I advised in your Week 3, don’t go hungry. Your body’s level of progesterone plunges in this week of your cycle, however, this hormone is still elevated enough to trigger the hunger crankies when you don’t eat.

Also, try to get more sleep. Sure, this tip may be difficult to follow since a dip in estrogen can trigger insomnia and lighter sleep. But, if you can do anything that helps you get more restful zzzs (such as listening to calming music, meditating or sipping chamomile tea before turning in), it’ll help boost your mood and lessen irritability the next day, which makes you happier with your honey.

I hope this sheds some light on how the ups and downs of your hormones impact your romantic relationship!

Never miss a Hormonology tip!
Subscribe to the free Hormonology newsletter:
I’d love to learn more–sign me up!

Follow me