The secret to a happy relationship is being in sync with each other, say Canberra couple Luke Jansen and Cathy Frazer, who believe their new app Cyclemate can help.
“The app lets a woman and her partner know what her hormones are doing at any point throughout the month,” says Cathy.
“All you have to do is update the cycle once a month, and if you choose to share it, then your partner gets a notification – and that’s it.”
Luke says the app, built by local developers Connexions, has helped his and Cathy’s relationship run more smoothly by avoiding unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings.
“We are generally good communicators and this sort of thing isn’t taboo for us at all,” he says.
“It’s helped us so much that we wanted people to understand the impacts of hormones on a relationship.”
Cathy says that Cyclemate, which shows how a woman might be feeling in terms of energy, mood and sex drive due to hormonal changes, has helped her understand herself better.
“There may be days where I feel I’m not coping, then Luke will show me the app and it will relate to where I am in my cycle,” she says.
“It can be empowering to know what this biological process is doing to you.”
Cathy works as a science communicator, and says she has researched the effects of oestrogen and progesterone on women.
“Oestrogen is the energising hormone, so in the middle of the month when levels are high, women have more resilience, they feel good, they want to go out and have fun,” she says.
“Then the progesterone comes in, and it’s the calming, nesting hormone. Women may feel like staying at home, rearranging the furniture, baking, knitting, reading or resting.
“Then they both tail off and things get a bit more difficult.”
She says that the app tells the story quickly and easily, in plain English, with emoticons to display mood at a glance.
“We wanted to do it in a nice way, keeping it light and easy, while explaining the moods and the impact they can have,” she says.
“There are a few period trackers out there but they’re all quite complicated, whereas we provide the information clearly and simply.
“It can also be used as a fertility tool as it charts the ovulation period.”
Luke says that the app is useful for partners, because when a woman’s hormones are fluctuating they see the world differently, while for them nothing has changed.
“There were times when telling her I was going out with the boys was totally fine, and times when it wouldn’t be,” he says. “It can be confusing.”
Cathy says that of course hormones aren’t the only thing that affects mood, and that there are always other factors at play such as personality, the quality of your relationship, sleep and life events.
“But underneath it all, for women who have a monthly cycle, there are regular changes that affect how they deal with life,” she says.
“Cyclemate can give partners the heads up about how she’s likely to be feeling now and down the track.”
The couple say the app is a unique concept because it shares the information with the partner.
“It could take people time to get used to the idea, but it is a such a helpful tool,” says Luke.
“It’s about mindfulness in a relationship – what can I do today that will help her feel better? You don’t even need to have a conversation about it; you just know.
“It allows you to cut each other some slack.”
Cyclemate costs $2.49 at the iTunes store. Cyclemate Lite is free for eight weeks.