heartsWith all the many heart and Cupid decorations strewn around malls, supermarkets and drugstores like some kind of pink and red papery blizzard, it’s probably become crystal clear that Valentine’s Day is here again.

To help you celebrate the romantic holiday, here’s a Hormonology Guide that shows you how your hormones impact your love life from week to week in your cycle–whether you’re single or attached.

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Ready to find out what your relationships will be like based on where you are in your monthly cycle? Here’s what you can expect in your…..

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WEEK 1

Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
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If you’re single….
As estrogen rises throughout your Week 1, it makes you more hopeful than you’ve been in days that there’s someone special out there for you. Even if you’ve resolved to give up looking for love and stay single, chances are, you’re still daydreaming about running into someone new who sparks your desire. That’s what happens when estrogen climbs higher and higher–it put romance at the front of your mind whether you want it there or not.
Tip: Period-related aches and fatigue may make you prefer sticking close to home, but do yourself a favor and use this cycle week to look for events you can attend during your Week 2 that help you mingle with singles. By then, your high hormones will have you itching to both get out of the house and meet new folks. So, doing your research now will help you hit the romantic ground running..
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If you’re in a relationship….
Day by day throughout your Week 1, you’re going to be feeling more optimistic about your honey. Little things that bothered you about him or her in the past few days tend to fade away as rising estrogen shifts your focus from what your sweetie is doing wrong to what your sweetie is doing right.

WEEK 2
Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)

If you’re single….
Whether you’re actively seeking out a partner or you’ve sworn off relationships altogether, you’re going to find that romance is popping up in your thoughts far more frequently today. That’s a side effect of high estrogen, which is a hormone that pushes you to make a romantic connection. If you’re craving a special someone in your life, this high hormone will spur you to take more direct action to find him or her–for instance, you might attend an art opening, a party or networking events or you may get inspired to sign up for a class or sports activity. Your hormones also impact the kind of sweetie you’re more attracted to: This week of your cycle, you find folks who are flirtatious, ambitious, confident and accomplished more alluring. You’re also more easily won over by good looks than personality. That’s because your hormones have you more attracted to short-term mate material–and these traits are often an indication of that.

If you’re in a relationship….
This is a funny week for your love life: On one hand, high estrogen is pushing you toward your honey and making you happier with your mate. On the other hand, the nearer you get to ovulation, the more likely you are to flirt with and fantasize about other people. Don’t take this urge to look outside your relationship as an indication that there’s any weakness in what you two have together. It’s just a side effect of high estrogen–a busybody of a hormone that wants you to take one last look around to make sure you’ve got the best genetic match-up for your adorable ovum in case you get pregnant during ovulation. Also, be on the alert for jealousy during ovulation. Research shows that the green-eyed monster can pop up in both you and your partner when either of you see the other talking to another cutie. Researchers say it’s because you both get a bit more possessive during this fertile phase.

WEEK 3
Starts day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (which is Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)

If you’re single….
That intense urge to find a partner fades away as estrogen drops and progesterone rises. As a result, you’ll likely do activities that you find personally fulfilling rather than because they help you meet someone new. But, this doesn’t mean that creating a connection with a special someone is totally off the table. If someone promising comes along, you’ll probably see where it goes. Thing is, it could be more difficult for others to win you over since sedating progesterone can make you feel a bit ho-hum about new experiences. However, if anyone has a chance at capturing your heart during your Week 3 it’s a person who’s kind, caring and modest and whose personality eclipses his or her looks. That’s because rising progesterone has you more attracted to potential mates who are long-term relationship material–and these traits are often an indication of that.

If you’re in a relationship….
Your libido wanes during Week 3 of your cycle due to rising progesterone. However, research shows that if you’ve got a healthy relationship, you’re now more emotionally attached to your honey and couldn’t imagine your life with anyone else. Scientists theorize that progesterone is behind this tighter emotional bond, making you feel more connected to your sweetie in case you got pregnant during ovulation and need the extra support to raise a baby.

WEEK 4
Final 6 days of your cycle

If you’re single….
Plunging estrogen can prompt a more negative mindset in this premenstrual week by lowering mood-elevating chemicals in the brain. As a result, you may be more cynical about finding a partner because you’re convinced no one measures up. Or, worse, you might cast a negative spotlight on yourself, convinced that you’re the one who doesn’t measure up enough to be able to attract someone. Deep breath. When these obviously wrong notions pop up, try to remind yourself that it’s just dipping estrogen playing keep-away with your optimism and self-esteem. Then, resolve to keep your mind open if romantic opportunities arise so you don’t shoot them down immediately without giving them a chance.

If you’re in a relationship….
As estrogen dips lower and lower in this premenstrual week, it has the tendency to make your partner’s faults waaay more prominent–while coincidentally also making you waaay less patient with them. The result can be a combustible time in your relationship. To keep the peace, when your sweetums is about to say or do something that drives you up the wall, try to remind yourself that dropping-like-a-rock estrogen is going to make you more peeved about it, so either swoop in and fix the problem–for instance, change the topic if your honey is about to say something really stupid or take out the trash if your love-muffin still hasn’t done it even though it’s overflowing and you asked three times already. Or, resolve to simply walk out of the room till you’ve cooled down. No, it doesn’t make your partner any more conscientious, but it does go a long way toward helping you have a less stressful pre-period week…and ensures a Week 1 where you and your honey are still happily together.

Enjoy these related Hormonology blog posts:
> The Hormonology Guide to Sex> The Hormonology Guide to the Best Dates> How to use your cycle to forge a closer bond with anyone

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[Photo: Gloria Garcia]
 
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