Do I tell my new date I'm PMSing?
July 25, 2012 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Do I tell my new date I'm PMSing?

Hi MeFi,

So I had one great date with a guy; we were both excited about each other. Last night we were on the phone and his cell died. I called back and left a message and he didn't respond til today like it was no big deal. I'm feeling exceptionally nervous right now because I'm PMSing, and I felt so vulnerable about liking a guy who perhaps doesn't like me back the same way - I knew it was a lot of hormones and was simultaneously respecting that I feel a bit nervous about putting myself out there when it comes to dating. When the call dropped, I consider it common courtesy to call back asap and when I didn't hear from him, I just wasn't sure if he'd hung up on me or something. I didn't make any assumptions one way or the other and sat with my feelings as calmly as I could, although I did end up crying.

So he messaged me today about hanging out this weekend and I was reassured and surprised; I let him know how I'd felt about last night and he apologized and explained he hadn't had his charger etc, he seemed to genuinely care which I appreciated. As we were making plans to meet this weekend, he mentioned that he may need to leave earlier than he wants to because of a prior commitment, and I said something like "it's okay if we don't hang out for very long, I mean I'm super stoked that we're both wanting to hang for a long time but I hope we'll have more opportunities..?" and he laughed and sounded surprised, then said "well let's just, um.." and turned the topic back to solidifying plans.

So, my question here is, nothing actually seems wrong, this guy seems like a total sweetheart and he's moving forward with plans for this weekend, I just feel like I'm physically in a state of being quite neurotic and I don't want to blow it. This is only our second date, fer crying out loud. If I am still this flustered and anxious when we meet on Saturday, would it make sense to tell him that I am PMSing?

Anything reassuring would be helpful. I know he likes me and I just felt like such a spaz for saying what I did when he laughed and got surprised in response... I wanted to play it cool and be casual and solid about this dating thing and again, just don't want to blow it with my hormones.
posted by dolce_voce to Human Relations (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
No, telling him you have PMS would be weird. Instead, try to act collected.

People of all genders are allowed to have mood fluctuations; they don't have to provide an alibi for that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:57 PM on July 25, 2012 [34 favorites]


Please don't tell him you're PMSing.

Also, it sounds like you maybe have more going on than PMS.
posted by phunniemee at 1:59 PM on July 25, 2012 [21 favorites]


I think you need to recognize that you have PMS and stop acting on your anxiety. It's a second date, not your hope of heaven.

You'll see him this weekend, so don't call him unless he calls you.

Now, have a large coffee and a chocolate bar and soak in a nice tub with a novel.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:59 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nope. I'd file that detail under "TMI." Maybe be glad he has to leave early so you don't have to hold it together for an extended date?
posted by *s at 2:00 PM on July 25, 2012


Phunniemee, I've been pretty clear of how self aware I am about my feelings. Your comment is not helpful.
posted by dolce_voce at 2:01 PM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wanted to play it cool and be casual and solid about this dating thing and again, just don't want to blow it with my hormones.

Telling a new dudefriend about your menstrual cycle is not cool and casual.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:02 PM on July 25, 2012 [17 favorites]


Rock Steady - yes, that is exactly why I'm asking. I would prefer to not mention it or be nervous at all, and have been concerned that my behavior would be awkward enough that revealing it directly would be the best route.
posted by dolce_voce at 2:04 PM on July 25, 2012


It's kind of rude IMO to not call someone back but it sounds like he had a good reason. I am pretty open in general but there is absolutely no way I'd tell a guy at this point that I'm PMSing. It doesn't sound like you've done anything that bad at this point but that would definitely make it 100 times more awkward.
posted by queens86 at 2:08 PM on July 25, 2012


A couple things.

It's okay to act vulnerable or excited. Speaking as a dude, I actually find it really flattering when someone I'm pursuing is a bit flustered over me. It doesn't happen a lot. (Well, now I'm married, so it happens precisely never, but you know.) And it's sort of sweet when it does happen.

What's not so okay is if you start making your emotions his problem. Anything that starts looking like "How dare you do X?! It made me feel all Y!!" — where X is some normal everyday behavior, and not, like, genuine awfulness or rudeness — is going to be problematic in the super-early stages of a relationship. (Later on, when you're really involved and talking about your feelings and all that fun relationship stuff, it's totally legitimate to be like "Hey dude, so you know, it makes me feel all Y when you do X," that's just good communication — but too much too soon is likely to make him think you can't handle your shit.)

If you tell him you're PMSing, that's one of two things. Either it will come across like "Hey I want to inform you on the current situation in my ovaries," which is weird and TMI. Or it will come across like "I'm emotionally fragile right now and YOU NEED TO WATCH YOUR STEP," which is that making-your-emotions-his-problem thing that you want to avoid right now.

So just go act how you act and feel how you feel and don't issue some sort of warning or disclaimer over it. I understand the urge, but it's not really necessary and probably gonna be unhelpful.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:08 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


l. I know he likes me and I just felt like such a spaz for saying what I did when he laughed and got surprised in response... I wanted to play it cool and be casual and solid about this dating thing and again, just don't want to blow it with my hormones.

What you need to do, hormones or not, is actually be cool and casual. You're going on a second date; your first one went well and you know he likes you. Don't blow a second date out of proportion, it's just another fun chance to get to know each other better.

The less time you spend between now and then obsessing about what he might think about you, what every little thing means...the more likely it's going to go okay. For that reason, find something to distract you for the next couple of days and take some of the pressure off. It's going to be fine.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 2:09 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't say anything about it.

It sounds like this guy likes you and wants to hang out with you -- if he didn't, he wouldn't be calling you! Don't sweat little stuff like this.

Also, don't assume guys aren't interested and proceed to overthink every interaction with the purpose of concluding that therefore this is all doomed. That way lies madness.
posted by Sara C. at 2:10 PM on July 25, 2012


Nope. It's TMI.

I'm trying to think of a good rule of thumb for sharing this kind of thing... Maybe >60 consecutive hours together, or dating (exclusive) for 4 months, or living together, whichever happens first.

Anyway, farther along than where you are now.

Find some other outlet to express your moments of neuroticness, whether jotting down a quick note in a notebook, or texting a trusted friend. Just don't burden your date with that knowledge yet.
posted by itesser at 2:11 PM on July 25, 2012


If I am still this flustered and anxious when we meet on Saturday, would it make sense to tell him that I am PMSing?

Your heart is in the right place but no, it wouldn't make sense.

You would be over sharing and making both of you acutely aware of your PMS without being able to do anything about it expect trying not to obsess about it, which is difficult since we know that suppressing ideas can backfire.

If you're relaxed and try to enjoy yourself chances are that he won't even notice. Even if he does notice that something is off, he will probably write if of as dating nervousness, you having a bad day or whatever.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:13 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please don't tell him you have PMS. You barely know the guy. This is way too much information and not to stereotype, but a lot of men have no idea to respond to this sort of thing. So the likelihood is that it will be awkward at BEST, and once you are not all PMS-y, you will feel super cringe-y about it.

Just...enjoy the date. If you are legit too hormonally wonked up as to be unable to hold it together for a short hang out, resked for after you've gotten your period.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 2:16 PM on July 25, 2012


Dang, this has been helpful. Reflecting on it (and echoing you, nebulawindphone) his laughter sounded like he was touched that I was flustered, and wanting to be sure both of us stayed grounded by taking things one step at a time. In the context of him not calling me back after the call dropped and realizing later that I wasn't cool with that (PMS or no), I think I can trust that my general flusteredness seemed normal to him.
posted by dolce_voce at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to think of a good rule of thumb for sharing this kind of thing... Maybe >60 consecutive hours together, or dating (exclusive) for 4 months, or living together, whichever happens first.

Eh, I think it varies by person -- I have a dear friend who is a past master of TMI disclosures to new/casual acquaintances (romantic prospects or otherwise). She always manages to pull it off. However, I think her success is largely owed the facts that she is funny AND not at all self-conscious, AND fully and obviously aware that what she's sharing is technically "TMI."

For the more self-conscious among us, I don't think this approach works as well. If you are uncomfortable with what you're sharing, OR if you're sharing it by way of apologizing for yourself, it just makes the other person feel awkward and uncomfortable for you.

Instead, focus on believing that you are cool, amazing, funny, charming, and this guy is lucky to have the chance to get to know you (whether or not you are PMSing at the moment). Bonus: people generally want to get to know cool, amazing, funny, charming people, so your attitude will not only make you feel better about yourself, it will also serve you well in your dating life.
posted by artemisia at 2:23 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Queens86 - thank you for acknowledging. I was a bit shaky but self contained (ie not trippin) before that happened. His thing was that he didn't want to call or text me later because he was concerned it would have woken me up as it was very late. I still think he could have messaged me online or the next day, but, he knows now that I was uncomfortable about that (and I did take care to be very honest while not making it his obligation/responsibility, nebulawindphone) so he had an opportunity to learn about me.
posted by dolce_voce at 2:26 PM on July 25, 2012


his laughter sounded like he was touched that I was flustered, and wanting to be sure both of us stayed grounded by taking things one step at a time.

I'm not sure how to say this without coming across as harsh, so I hope you can be patient with me if I fumble a little.

You seem to be reading way, way too much into this guy's actions and words, both positively and negatively. I don't mean that as a criticism; I'm just really worried that you're going to be unable to have a healthy relationship or even date in a healthy way with this level of intense over-analysis. I see you talking about sitting with your emotions, and that is good, and I'm glad you've found help here, but I feel like this might be reaching a level of complexity in that we can't really help, and instead you are going to take our advice and use it to further a damaging level of myth-building about the people you date and how they must be feeling.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2012 [28 favorites]


Artemisia - "if you're sharing it by way of apologizing for yourself, it just makes the other person feel awkward and uncomfortable for you."

Brilliant.

I've been known to successfully share TMI when in more confident states (it works wonders when you can help everyone around you feel safe to be human), but this week is not my week to shine in that arena!
posted by dolce_voce at 2:30 PM on July 25, 2012


the young rope rider - did you see that thing I wrote up there, about being in a state of self-aware neuroses? If I were going to go off into my own stories and really believe them, I wouldn't have asked for a reality check. Thanks though, for trying. We all need them from time to time.
posted by dolce_voce at 2:33 PM on July 25, 2012


[dolce_voce, it's better if you don't reply to every comment. AskMe isn't supposed to be a discussion space, just a place to ask questions and get answers. Please limit updates to adding more information or general wrap-ups. Thanks, let us know if you have questions.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I were going to go off into my own stories and really believe them, I wouldn't have asked for a reality check.

That's great, and I'm glad that you have that level of awareness of your negative stories. What I'm hoping to get across is that your follow-up also seems a bit like a story about his behavior. I guess it's plausible that he could convey something as complex as "wanting to be sure both of us stayed grounded by taking things one step at a time." by laughing, but I think it's more likely that you want to think that because you are putting a lot of hopes and dreams onto this guy in an inappropriate way. I say inappropriate because it seems like you're putting him into a role as a caregiver for you and someone who is going to take responsibility for your emotional state (by keeping you grounded.) That doesn't sound like a healthy or realistic role for a very early dating relationship.

I say this not to pick at you or condescend, I've definitely been there which is why I recognize it, and I'm sure I'll be there again and I hope that someone says this same thing to me when I start to go off the deep end a little bit out of enthusiasm and nerves.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:44 PM on July 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've always been sort of puzzled by why girls are so skittish about even mentioning PMS to guys. If a girl tells me she's PMSing, my response is "OK." And that's it. I mean, it's not as though the menstrual cycle is some big secret that half the population is unaware of.

That said, if, on a second date, a girl told me "I'm PMSing today, that's why I'm acting so crazy," I wouldn't think "eww, PMS, icky," I'd think "this girl might be kinda crazy." You don't have to wait four months or until you're married or whatever to mention PMS - really, guys know it exists - but it is TMI for a second date, and, more importantly, if you talk about how you're acting crazy (whether or not you actually are), it might make him think you are crazy.
posted by breakin' the law at 4:51 PM on July 25, 2012


Huh. Interesting that everyone's filing this under TMI. If you were a lesbian (like me) I think this would be perfectly acceptable depending on your tone of delivery. Something like "(eye roll) Sorry I'm being such a ding-a-ling. PMS. Woof!"

Is it TMI because boys think female body processes are icky?
posted by Lieber Frau at 4:52 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I wish you could just say that, the same way you could say "I didn't sleep well last night so I'm a spaz today" or whatever. But in my experience, a large number of otherwise acceptable guys are still living in the dark ages about this.
posted by anaelith at 4:58 PM on July 25, 2012


I've always been sort of puzzled by why girls are so skittish about even mentioning PMS to guys. If a girl tells me she's PMSing, my response is "OK." And that's it. I mean, it's not as though the menstrual cycle is some big secret that half the population is unaware of.

"Hey, sorry I'm being grumpy. I'm just constipated and haven't pooped in two days."

Would you say that? Some people would, and that's fine, but don't be surprised if the new acquaintance you tell it to keeps their distance after that.

It's too much information too soon, and unless you're a really cool, confident, hilarious person with perfect delivery, you really can't say it and make it work in any social situation. This is the same thing.
posted by phunniemee at 5:04 PM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Hey, sorry I'm being grumpy. I'm just constipated and haven't pooped in two days."

I wouldn't say that, and I agree with you. I was referring to a context in which you've been dating someone for a little bit and it's...you know...relevant. It is TMI for someone you've just met (though not necessarily a dealbreaker, in my book, it's surely inadvisable to mention it).
posted by breakin' the law at 5:12 PM on July 25, 2012


It's not TMI because periods are icky. It's TMI because she hardly knows him. I have periods all the time (ha ha I wish I was joking, fuck you perimenopause) and it would be TMI for me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:27 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


It sounds like you want to establish that you are jittery in general, not solely because of him. I'm not sure you need to say this, but I understand the urge. And so, perhaps just say that. "Ha ha, I've been so unnaturally jittery today."

But the PMS thing is TMI, just like if someone told me "yeah, I'm kind of jittery today. You see, I forgot to take my Vitamin D pill, and so my alpha linolenic acids are..." zzzzz. He doesn't need to know all the variables at this point.
posted by salvia at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I whine about PMS and my period all the time, so to let someone know that early on isn't a big deal. Like, they better not be totally squicked out by that.

But if you think you might act jittery and overly nervous/emotional on the date, you might as well drop that in *early* rather than use it as an excuse if you blow it.
posted by custard heart at 4:35 PM on July 27, 2012


So! I didn't tell him that I was PMSing, and he was kind and sympathetic to my nervousness. Things have been progressing sweetly since then :-)
posted by dolce_voce at 10:47 AM on August 10, 2012


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