Dealing With a Husband Who Lacks Sympathy During Your Period
It’s understandable to feel frustrated or upset when your husband does not seem sympathetic during your period. Menstruation can be painful, uncomfortable, and disruptive – and a little empathy from your spouse can go a long way.
However, many husbands may not fully grasp how difficult periods can be for their wives. With open communication, education, and a few adjustments, you can help your husband become more supportive.
Why Your Husband May Lack Sympathy
There are a few common reasons why your husband may not be as sympathetic as you would like during your period:
He Doesn’t Understand What You’re Going Through
For men, menstruation is an abstract concept. They will never experience the cramps, heavy bleeding, hormonal changes, or discomfort that periods commonly cause. Your husband likely intellectually knows that periods impact your mood and health, but he doesn’t have a visceral, first-hand understanding. Make sure to communicate specifically about how your period makes you feel so he better grasps the reality of the situation.
Discomfort Discussing Menstruation
Some men feel awkward or embarrassed discussing periods. They may want to be sympathetic, but don’t know how to approach the topic or give you the support you need. Being open and treating menstruation as just another bodily function can help ease any discomfort your husband has.
Lack of Visible Symptoms
Since your husband can’t physically experience your menstrual discomfort, he relies on external symptoms to gauge how he should respond. If you power through cramps or mood swings without vocalizing them, your husband may not realize you need special care or sympathy. Don’t expect him to be sympathetic to problems he doesn’t know exist – be sure to communicate what you’re going through.
He Prioritizes Differently
While you want sympathy and care during your period, your husband may not rank that as high of a priority as you. He may see minimal or moderate symptoms and not think special accommodations are warranted. Have an open conversation about why his support is important to you during this time.
Inexperience and Immaturity
If you and your husband are young, he may not have much experience with the impacts of menstruation. Immaturity and lack of familiarity with period symptoms can make husbands seem less caring. As you go through more cycles together and communicate, he can gain perspective and become more sympathetic over time.
Improving Your Husband’s Sympathy and Support
If your husband seems dismissive, unsympathetic, or oblivious to your menstrual struggles, there are productive ways to improve the situation and help him understand:
Have an Honest Conversation
Have a candid, in-depth talk about what sorts of accommodations and sympathy would be most helpful during your period. Be specific – don’t just say you want him to “be nicer.” Explain exactly what mood swings, cramps, or discomfort you typically experience. Ask him to check in on you, bring you a heating pad, walk the dog so you can rest, or help around the house more during your period.
Share Educational Resources
Your husband may benefit from reading about just how impactful and difficult menstruation can be for women. Send him articles, social media posts, or medical sources that explain period symptoms, pain levels, hormonal effects, and more. Increased knowledge can lead to increased empathy.
See a Doctor
If you have severe menstrual pain, heavy bleeding, or other disruptive symptoms, see your OB/GYN. Your husband can attend the appointment with you. Having a medical professional validate and explain your experience can help your husband grasp why you need support and care during your period. Certain conditions like endometriosis may also require special treatment during your cycle.
Acknowledge His Efforts
When your husband does attempt to be sympathetic or lend a hand during your period, make sure to express your appreciation. Positive reinforcement will make him more likely to continue supporting you. Don’t focus only on what he could be doing better.
Suggest Specific Ways He Can Help
Telling your husband you need sympathy and support is one thing – guiding him on how to provide that comfort is even more effective.
Request that he brings you things you need so you don’t have to get up, give you a massage when cramps strike, take over chores that require physical exertion, or run you a hot bath. Giving specific actions makes it easier for him to be supportive.
Lead by Example Regarding Period Talk
One reason your husband may avoid discussing menstruation is embarrassment or stigma. Make sure you model openness about your period so he follows suit.
Mention your cramps or heavy flow just as you would a headache or upset stomach. Use proper terminology rather than euphemisms. Discuss your menstrual cycle matter-of-factly so your husband sees its normalcy.
Plan Around Your Cycle
Keep your husband in the loop on when you’ll likely be menstruating so he knows to be extra attentive. Put period dates on a shared calendar.
Give him a heads-up when cramping starts. Ask for his help prepping things you’ll need for your period like painkillers, snacks, and an electric heating pad. Staying on top of the cycle together can improve his support.
Seek Medical Care for Severe Symptoms
If over-the-counter medications don’t relieve your menstrual pain, excessively heavy bleeding is impacting your daily life, or you have other severe symptoms, talk to your doctor.
There may be an underlying condition causing excessively difficult periods. Getting effective medical treatment can help minimize the disruptions to your life and relationship. Having a health professional explain and address what’s going on can also help your husband understand the gravity of the situation.
Attend Appointments Together
Make your husband part of discussions with doctors or OB/GYNs regarding your menstrual health. Hearing the clinical perspective on just how uncomfortable periods can be may make your husband more sympathetic.
Together you can also discuss potential treatment options beyond just pushing through each month.
Don’t Downplay Your Experience
When talking about your period to your husband, avoid language that downplays or minimizes your experience like “I’m fine!” when you aren’t. Be honest about your fatigue, cramps, back pain, heavy bleeding, and other symptoms so he truly understands.
Put on a brave face, and your husband will assume you require less care and support.
Explain How His Support Lifts Your Mood
Men often aim to “fix” problems by offering solutions. Since your husband can’t make your period disappear, he may feel ineffective.
Explain that just having him check in on you, bring you tea, rub your back, or cheer you up truly does make you feel better. Make it clear his emotional support is meaningful.
Seeking Outside Perspectives
If you still find your husband dismissive about providing care during your period after honest conversations and education, it may help to involve others:
Visit Your OB/GYN Together
Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist and have your husband join you. The doctor can back up your experiences and needs, explaining why you require sympathy and support.
If your OB/GYN validates how bad your cramps or other symptoms are, your husband may take it more seriously. The clinical authority of a doctor can prove useful.
Attend Couples Counseling
Speaking with a counselor provides you both with a neutral third party perspective. The counselor can gently guide your husband toward understanding why greater sympathy during your period is important and suggest constructive ways he can show support.
Having someone else re-iterate and validate your viewpoint can help it sink in.
Speak With Other Husbands and Wives
Connect with other couples you know where the wife has difficult menstrual symptoms. Hearing from husbands who once were unsympathetic but learned to become more caring and understanding could be very persuasive for your spouse.
Wives who have been in your shoes can also share what communication tactics finally got through to their husbands. Learning from others’ experiences and journeys can be invaluable.
Try An Educational Course Together
Alongside counseling, consider signing you both up for an educational course on women’s health issues. There are various continuing education, community centers, hospitals, and private classes about topics like menstrual cycles, menopause, and gynecological conditions.
Taking an impartial, fact-based class together may expand your husband’s knowledge and empathy.
When to Seek Further Assistance
If sincere efforts to improve communication, educate your husband, and gain outside support for several months still leave him unsympathetic about your period, it may be time to seek further assistance:
- Marriage counseling – Speaking with a counselor over multiple sessions can uncover deep-seated issues or communication blockages. They can also teach conflict resolution tactics.
- Medical evaluation – Ruling out or treating conditions like endometriosis through your OB/GYN can minimize disruptive symptoms that your husband may be underestimating.
- Your mental health provider – Therapists can help you cope with an unsupportive spouse and build your own self-validation. They can also recommend strategies for improving marital communication.
- Other trusted mentors – Speaking with wise friends, a pastor, your own parents, or other mentors whose relationships you admire may provide fresh advice during this impasse.
- Support groups – In-person or online support groups for women’s health issues can help you feel less alone and build confidence. You may also gain new ideas for gaining your husband’s backing.
- Legal counsel – In extreme cases where your husband chronically dismisses major health issues or other needs, consulting a lawyer may be wise to understand your options.
Coping With an Unsupportive Spouse
When you’ve made your best efforts to increase your husband’s sympathy during your period but progress is still slow, employ self-care strategies to help you cope in the meantime:
- Treat yourself gently, modifying activities and rest as needed. Don’t push yourself to power through.
- Lean on supportive friends and family for care when your husband falls short.
- Use heating pads, baths, relaxation techniques, and other comfort measures.
- Focus on nourishing your body with nutritious meals and snacks.
- Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol, which can worsen symptoms.
- Use meditation, yoga, or journaling to process difficult emotions that arise.
- Put mental energy toward hobbies, interests, and activities unrelated to your marital frustrations.
- Stick with exercise routines if possible for natural mood and pain relief.
- Get outdoors and move – even light walking can improve your outlook.
- Invest in practical solutions like comfortable clothes, black sheets, and leak-proof underwear.
- Be patient but keep communicating your needs – change can happen gradually.
- Remember your worth is not defined by your husband’s limitations – you are enough.
When to Seek Couples Counseling
If you’ve tried to improve your husband’s sympathy and support during your period for several months without success, seeking counseling may be your next step. Consider couples counseling if:
- You’ve had multiple calm, thorough talks explaining your needs that have been brushed off.
- Education from doctors, classes, or reading has made little impact.
- He continues to be dismissive, invalidating, or ignores major symptoms.
- His lack of empathy is impacting your relationship satisfaction or self-esteem.
- You fight excessively during your periods due to his lack of support.
- He expects you to keep up with all household and childcare duties despite symptoms.
- He shames you for menstruation effects like mood changes.
- You feel depressed, resentful, or detached from the relationship due to ongoing frustration.
- Physical symptoms like severe cramping or heavy bleeding fail to elicit care or concern from him.
- He refuses to make simple accommodations or acknowledge your pain.
Seeking counseling does not mean your relationship is doomed. But an objective third party may be able to shift dynamics in a positive direction when you’ve hit a wall. With time and effort, your husband can become someone you can count on when your period strikes.
Having an unsupportive spouse during your menstrual periods can be demoralizing and upsetting. But do not lose hope – focus on clear communication, education, gaining outside perspectives, and self-care.
With consistent effort over months, not days, increased understanding and sympathy from your husband is possible. Prioritize taking care of your body and mind during this frustrating time, and know that you deserve comfort. If progress stalls, counseling can help reveal conflicts under the surface.
Despite current limitations, a supportive, caring partner during your periods may still be attainable.