Q:Any tips for handling my girlfriend's PMS? Once a month her personality does a complete 180 morph like I've never seen anyone do before. I generally try to get out of her hair, but it's hard because we live together. Is there anything that I can do or say to make her feel better when she's PMSing? Or should I just leave her alone and try to avoid her as much as possible? I've never been with a woman before who changes so drastically during that time of the month.
— R.D. , West Seneca
A: If it's that big of a personality change for the worse, she might want to consider seeing a doctor about it. I'm sure a health care professional will have some suggestions about how to control her symptoms.
I think the best way to deal with this situation is to be kind, keep calm, and just remember that she doesn't feel well. Her hormones are acting abnormally, and it's not unusual for most women to have mood swings or act out of the ordinary. I would advise you to be available if she needs something, but try to give her some space if that seems to be what she wants most.
Keep in mind, though, that being grumpy and snappish is one thing, but unless she has a specific menstrual-related medical condition, she is still 100 percent responsible for her behavior, PMS or no PMS. Don't let her use her period as an excuse to mistreat you or put you on eggshells. It's impossible and unhealthy to try to remold yourself and your behavior just to avoid provoking an eruption.
Needs a husband
>Q: I am a 44-year-old divorced mother of two (ages 13 and 16) in a two-year relationship with a divorced man (10 years since divorce) who does not want to commit to marriage until my children and his (ages 13 and 17) are gone to college. We love each other but have different opinions about family life. I made it clear that I am looking for marriage sooner. Should I wait for him? I need a husband for several reasons (partner, father figure for my kids, financial support, etc.) He is independent. Please advise.
— L.K., South Buffalo
A: It's good that you're both up front about what you want from each other. Two of the elements of a successful relationship are open communication and honesty. I don't necessarily think you need to be married in order for him to be a partner to you or to play a significant role in your children's lives. Quite frankly, it's not his responsibility to provide you with financial support. If financial instability is one of the main reasons you want to get married, you should reconsider. You should be able to offer the same things you expect from other people, especially in relationships.
He has made it clear that he's not ready or willing to get married right now, and there's not much you can do about it aside from accepting it or leaving him. If you love him and want to be with him, you have to respect his decision.
He is not telling you that he will never marry you, he's telling you that he wants to wait until all of your kids have grown up. I don't think waiting five years is unreasonable in this situation. If you really can't handle the time frame, it's best to end the relationship now.
Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions (www.buffaloniagara?intro.com). Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your initials and hometown.