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Husband Not Interested in Sex After Mastectomy

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  • Egads007
    Egads007 Member Posts: 474
    edited July 2018
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    Micmel - oh you missed a doozie, long diatribe about his long suffering sex life, and how it’s only got worse since his wife had a bilat mastectomy. Very descriptive too...vibrators were mentioned along with ‘wear a foob and tank top during sex’ to cover up...his ‘helpful advice’ to us and much much more. It was like watching a train wreck...jaw dropping with every self centred line he wrote. I’m hoping with every fiber ofmy being it was a troll, otherwise his wife needs to put a contact out on him! Analpore (lol always cracks me up) would be fitting!

  • bluepearl
    bluepearl Member Posts: 133
    edited July 2018
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  • JesusLovesUs
    JesusLovesUs Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2018
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    I'm sorry you have to deal with this and hope for any advice myself. I don't think husbands realize the extent of damage it does to most women when feeling abandoned after an illness they had no control in creating. I'm glad to have found this site where we can come together and hopefully give the much needed support that's absent once breast cancer is dx'd.

    I was dx'd with 2 different breast cancer's in Feb 2012. The first was in situ but then an aggressive one kicked in which was stage 3b, HER2 pos., breast cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes and muscles of my left arm. I required a bilateral mastectomy, 3 surgeries in 3 months plus 3 more after that, 6 months of chemo, a year of Herceptin infusions, extremely strong radiation and although we attempted recon after, my body rejected them so they had to be permanently removed. Even now I'm still on daily pill form chemo along with 13 other med's. While my hubby continues to be a good provider and caregiver, he hasn't come near me in more than 6 years. We just celebrated 27 years of marriage and have been together for a total of 30 years but I've begun to feel he never really loved me for the right reasons at all. Before my dx I was in awesome shape, at 50 I still had the tight body of a 17 year old and we had a wonderful sex life. I still worked out regularly and one could still see my tight ab's at age 51. I'd also done a little modeling when young and have never had any problems attracting men. Even now after my bilateral with no recon, other men don't seem to notice at all and still show interest in me. My heart is breaking as the man that's held my heart for over half of my life no longer desires me at all. And it's not a case where he ever took that kind of care himself. He's got a genetic issue that's caused the loss of most of his teeth but seems to have no desire to have them fixed. While not very attractive to most, even that hasn't stopped me from wanting and missing him. I feel the only reason he's not left completely is due to how he thinks others will perceive him if he abandoned me now. I'm very close to his family and he knows that wouldn't go over well. I still get the perfunctory daily pecks and I love you, but he doesn't seem to realize that just makes my heart hurt even more. I'm to the point of wanting him to end that as well, I feel he only does it because it's expected of him. It feels phony and insincere as his actions don't support his word's. I now feel like he's never loved me for what's inside, it was always about nothing more than how I looked.

    Being a Christian woman, leaving isn't an option. While hard to believe he'd never cheat on me and there's no physical abuse. There's been times I wish he would cheat as then God would release me from my vow's. I just wish he'd understand that while not physically abusive, emotional abuse and abandonment is generally far worse. I'm even considering separate bedrooms so the psychological pain it's caused is no longer constantly in my face. I've prayed, we've talked, I've lost my temper, I've begged him to go with me to counseling and I've cried, but nothing's helped. He refuses to get counseling or to see if it's a medical issue on his part. He knows how much pain it's caused me but doesn't seem to care. While I hated doing it I've even shown him the damage of the surgeries hoping it would show him my faith and trust in him hasn't waned. His reaction was such that I stopped that after he'd only seen it twice. I finally lost it recently and said some horrible things to him. I was so remorseful and ashamed of myself I immediately apologized but he refused to accept my apology as it gives him a reason to justify how he's behaved himself. In fact he's blamed me for our lack of intimacy from the beginning of my cancer dx as I haven't jumped on him. The last time he showed any interest was the night before my bilateral surgery. He's acted and even voiced that he believes my cancer harmed him more than me. With everything else I've tried through communication he knows I'm unhappy with the place we're in. I don't know anyone that would try even more knowing they'll only be rejected once again. Not being a masochist I'm no longer willing to set myself up to be hurt even more. Had I known it would destroy my marriage, I'd have refused to be treated at all and would now be home with God.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,052
    edited September 2018
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    Hi there, JesusLovesUs-

    We're so sorry to hear what you're going through, we can't imagine how difficult it's been for you the last six years. It certainly sounds like your husband has shifted the blame onto you, and that's not ok! Hopefully, other members will chime in with their guidance and experience, but we just want you to know that we're here to support you.

    The Mods

  • mustlovepoodles
    mustlovepoodles Member Posts: 1,248
    edited September 2018
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    JLU, I'm really sorry to hear how your husband has abandoned you. It really is all about him, isn't it? Have you thought about getting counseling for yourself? He's made it clear he doesn't think he needs to change anything. A good counselor could help you figure out how to live with him and his decisions without causing greater grief to yourself. Personally, I think separate rooms sound like a great idea. You need a space in your life that is yours and yours alone.

  • trvler
    trvler Member Posts: 931
    edited September 2018
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    Jesus: I am sorry you have to deal with that. I just can't stand hearing you say that you have to stay with him. I think cancer is hard on everyone, but you have suffered so much, it's just not fair. I really don't think God would want you to stay in a life you are miserable in.


    My favorite radio talk show host will often ask people...'Between now and dead, is this the life you want?" It helps to put things in perspective.

  • JesusLovesUs
    JesusLovesUs Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2018
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    Thank you and the mod for your kind words. Yes, I've recently decided to start separate counseling myself and will be setting it up as soon as I can. Until now I've kept it all to myself and have no doubt that's why I finally exploded in the manner I mentioned above. My doc's already know I've been hiding something and suggested it just weeks ago. I'd read some posts here before and decided it was time to for me to join and finally get some of it out. I knew it would be hard after my dx. but never imagined my once loving hubby would ultimately bring me the most pain. I've also decided to go forward on the separate bedrooms. Our oldest son recently moved in with our granddaughter during an ugly divorce, but as soon as our 2 extra bedrooms are empty again, I'll be able to move on that. It's difficult with the mixed signals hubby sends. One day he seems fine when I mention separate rooms and the next he seems sad. Or who knows, maybe it's just all wishful thinking on my part. I just can't grasp how someone can change so drastically after proclaiming their love for 30 years. I personally feel that those who can do that never loved their partner for the right reasons to begin with. I fell in love with his heart and soul so no physical changes could change my heart. I thought he felt the same but my boobs were obviously more important to him. I've also decided to take another poster's advice and try to get him to read this thread. Maybe something here will help him understand that my heart is breaking and that's if it even matters to him.

    I now recall trying to get him to view pic's of other women that had gone through this before my surgeries and how he stated he didn't want to see something as ugly as that. I recall many things now that should've prepared me for where we are today. You're right, he has made this all about him. I didn't even want to go through all that I have, but he was insistent that I do all that I could. Now I wonder why I went through all of this. I'm 58, my younger sis was 38 and we were both dx'd the same within months of each other. She passed away in Apr 2017 because she refused to get the mastectomies. I'm a miracle that my doc's didn't think would be here now and they still won't give me better than they're cautiously optimistic about how much longer I'll have. After 2 cancers already, it's highly likely it will rear it's ugly head again. How does someone swear to the depth's of their love, only to abandon them after they've gone through so much for them and their happiness above all else? I don't think I'll ever understand that. I sure couldn't do that to someone myself. I'm so hurt and angry that he's watched me go through heck and back only to leave me all by myself. At first we joked I'd get bigger boobs and I think that's what he was looking forward to. I don't think it ever occurred to him that there was a possibility my body would reject them and when it did he couldn't get past it. I never thought I'd go to bed at night and pray for God to bring me home as the pain is just too great. I never thought I'd feel like my hubby's just waiting for its return to rid himself. I guess it's obvious this isn't one of my better days and it's getting hard to read and type through the tears. Thanks again for your kind words and if I'm not back tonight I'll be back soon. Thanks for your time in hearing me out. It's comforting to finally have someone to talk with that only our little club really understands. God bless you all.

  • Gigicommon
    Gigicommon Member Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
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    Dear Jesus - My heart goes out to you. You have gone through a lot and I pray for your continued strength and perserverance. You have it in you to overcome this situation. With God all things are possible.

  • DATNY
    DATNY Member Posts: 53
    edited September 2018
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    He might be right after all, the cancer might have affected him more than you. If he loves you that much and he perceives you as being in a very fragile state, he might not want to do anything to jeopardize you. He just wants you here, with him. I think is a nonsense to keep faking loving you for so long. Sexual desire and love are two different things. Most of the times they overlap, other times they don't.

  • JesusLovesUs
    JesusLovesUs Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2018
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    Gigi, that's all that's kept me going. I know God is on top of this and knows just what He's doing. I trust Him no matter what I go through here. I have my bad moments but they are few, comparatively speaking. My biggest problem is when it builds and builds over time, hence my arrival here. I get angry with myself for allowing earthly desires to take me to a place where I finally break down. Hopefully being in a place where I can state my rawest feelings will keep it from happening even more. I'm not very proud during times when I'm feeling sorry for myself. I've been incredibly blessed so why do I allow one person to bring me as down as this? I've 3 son's that love me dearly and 3 granddaughter's I adore. The hardest times are when they can't be here and then it's in my face that I'm truly alone even when the one who vowed to be there no matter what is in the next room.

    While the sentiment of DATNY's response is a beautiful one, it's way off base and there's much more to this story. I guess I need to explain it all from the day of my dx. I think I'm afraid to see the truth as it is and telling everything will make it more real than I want to face. But I need help with this from somewhere and if he won't acknowledge the real issues or go to counseling with me, maybe reading this will be the next best thing. Today we're having a bar-b-que with all of our kid's and grand's and I've already begged off under the pretense of being sick. I refuse to allow them to see me this way and I can't possibly hide it from them today unless I'm feeling ill. My face is so swollen from crying and we're so close that one look in my eyes and they'll know something's up. So today I'll try to figure out how to do my profile on this site and then will be back to fill in the missing pieces here.

    Thanks for the reminder of what's truly the most important. It's by God's grace alone that I've survived through all of this. BTW, will you please address me as JLU. It feels like it dishonors Him for me to be addressed as Jesus, and that was not my intention when I chose that posting I.D. Smile

    God bless and protect you always. JLU

  • DATNY
    DATNY Member Posts: 53
    edited September 2018
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    JLU, what I am trying to say is that love comes in different forms and shapes. Obviously, physical love is part of the definition of love in your case. That is all right. But that might not be true for everyone. Secondly, this treatment changed us forever, not only how we feel about ourselves, but how we feel about the others, and how we feel others should feel about us. So don't be focused narrowly on one thing, but look for more then one explanation. I find it hard to believe that someone will fake love just to look good in front of relatives. Would be pitty to waste precious time being angry at the person you love for all the wrong reasons.

  • Gigicommon
    Gigicommon Member Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
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    JLU - Just checking in to see how you are doing. You are in my thoughts and prayers

  • 1BoyMama
    1BoyMama Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2018
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    hey I’m new on here. My husband and I have been married for 17+ years. Have had a good and average sex life (number of times a month wise). I am 37 and was diagnosed the day after Christmas 2017. Through chemo things slowed down quite a bit (I was tired and so was he since he was doing everything around the house) once chemo ended/I got feeling better we had sex a little less than once a week...and then I had my spacer for my left breast decreased to make radiation on my right side better. Since then I’ve been lopsided and sex frequency has dropped to maybe once a month since then...I have tried initiating sex a few times and he is not very interested. It is not the slow passionate sex it was..but a quick let’s get the job done type of sex. He used to be the one to initiate things most of the time and NEVER turned me down when I did in the past. I feel lonely and I crave the physical connection of lovemaking. I feel like he has been more moody and irritable as well. I’m worried that things will get worse once I begin my hormone therapy next month. I hate that cancer is taking away everyting I have as a woman and now my marital intimacy and sex life. I still want sex but he has lost his desire!! I have read other threads about endocrine therapy virtually stopping the drive for me! I’m freaked freaked out about that possibility..it’s not the case now and I do want to go back to “normal”

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,052
    edited September 2018
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    Hi 1BoyMama-

    We want to welcome you to our community here at BCO! We're so sorry for what you're going through. It's such a life-altering diagnosis, in so many ways. We're sure other members will chime in with their experiences and advice, but we just wanted to let you know we're here to support you and help you through this!

    The Mods

  • Justaguy1
    Justaguy1 Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2018
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    Hi. Just a inside mans view. My wife had a double MX e years ago. I asked that she get other opinons as only 1 lump on 1 breast was found. I set her up at a breast cancer center which she did not go to but rather went with a team of local doctors. Fine. Her call I respect that. We talked about a lump removal or single breast removal. Nongonshe wanted both removed. I was and have been supportive. Wound up with 7 surgeries an implant failure resulting in a flap surgery on 1 side. Awful frigjting results. But I was there cleaning drains and all that. Now my story. My wife never initiatednsex or even really got into it. Always on a weekend am and just laid there appearing to "do her wifely duties" whichbalways made me feel bad afterwards. Any rate her breasts were always the thing that initiated the desire if you will. She would sune herself and ask thatbI put oil on them. Ibwoul roll over and hug her and touch her and feel her breast and the the excitement would start as her nipples responded. Just evey waybwe interacted started with "the girls" now all that is gone and I struggle physically with seeing what she is left with and am repulsed by the results. As such, I can no longer het sexually stimulated. And she continues to not initiate anything or try anything new. It doent mean I do not love her or care for her or continue to be a good husband. I just can not het excited any more. I also still wonder what could have been if she went to the breast cancer center. Skin saving nipple saving proceadure could have left her in a much better postion as she did not need chemo. But had radiation which caused the 1 implant to fail. Any way that is my story

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited December 2018
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    There are usually two sides to a story and both equally creditable. It’s hard for we women to feel the same about our bodies after BC treatment. Not only do we feel disfigured and we are, we worry about our spouses being turned off. Obviously we didn’t ask for this but we have to deal with it emotionally, physically and financially.

    You both need reassurance. Idk what the answer is if you find yourself not aroused sexually. You sound like a very loving husband with needs so maybe a counselor could be helpful?

    I hope you find your way back to each other with some semblance of the physical closeness you once had. A friend’s husband had a major meltdown about all the “changes” she went through with her DX. He wanted things the way they used to be. She did too but that wasn’t possible. Somehow they have managed to make the best of what they have left. Hope you and your wife will too.

    Diane


  • WC3
    WC3 Member Posts: 658
    edited December 2018
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    Justaguy1:

    I'm sorry for your wife and you that her reconstruction did not go well. It must be very upsetting for both of you. Perhaps in the future an acceptable reconstruction will be possible.

    I may be wrong but my understanding of women who don't need chemo though, is that it's not so much that they don't need it but that the cancer is unlikely to respond to it so there is no point in doing it.

  • hapa
    hapa Member Posts: 613
    edited December 2018
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    Justaguy - I had nipple sparing BMX and frankly the results look pretty terrible. I don't think this would have helped if her breasts were the only thing turning you on. I'm lucky that my husband doesn't seem to care, but then we always had more of an intellectual connection than a physical one. I know you've probably seen photos of reconstructions where the results look fantastic, but those are the very best outcomes and those women are lucky. Plastic surgeons even tell you that their goal is for you to "look good in clothes".

  • Lula73
    Lula73 Member Posts: 705
    edited December 2018
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    Is your wife happy with her results? If not, would she consider a revision provided she was going to a PS that focuses on looking and feeling good without clothes? Not all PSs are created equal. The right one can make a huge difference in how she feels about herself and your response to how she looks. If you no longer find her breasts attractive, think how she must feel. Here’s a link to one of the top groups in the reconstruction/revision field. There’s a very good reason why they’re named The Center for Breast Restoration Surgery and not reconstruction surgery. www.breastcenter.com


  • Justaguy1
    Justaguy1 Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2018
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    cancerr never made lymph nodes so no chemo needed. Radiation was recomended.

  • vixkix69
    vixkix69 Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2018
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    I'm barely diagnosed and I haven't even had an MRI yet. This post is scary. My husband is already acting weird and a little bit in denial. He seems overly concerned about the upcoming mastectomy as opposed to a possible negative outcome / death. He's, like, "Can't they just take it out? Do they HAVE to take off your breasts??" He even thinks the diagnosis is a false positive! Lol. He looked slightly happier about implants.. I, however, am all about LIVING. I know I can have reconstruction. I know it can look relatively good. All that is secondary. And I just can't imagine hating who I am, no matter what. I have never been a stand out or anyone that men looked at twice. I blend. I like to blend in. I am praying for you ladies and for myself. I hope this doesn't happen to me , but I know it's a possibility. No person should be so alone and so afraid.

  • KatyK
    KatyK Member Posts: 206
    edited December 2018
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    Vixkix- all of this is so scary and what cancer can do to our lives and relationships. But you and your husband can make the choice to continue on with life the best you can in your new normal, including a sex life. It’s not always easy but with love,communication and empathy and compassion for each other it can happen. Continue to engage in things you enjoy together that provide closeness. My DH and I just enjoyed an evening with wine, music, and you know.... You and your DH can make it happen!
  • MtnMama3
    MtnMama3 Member Posts: 11
    edited January 2019
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    Hi group,

    I'm the original poster of this thread. I started it because I couldn't find any good information out there on the subject. I check in on it from time to time and just the other day, in a fit of frustration, I googled the topic AGAIN and guess what popped up. This thread! I have to say I am disappointed that In four years there isn't more information out there on this topic! I guess it must not be that common. I just don't get it.

    So yes, here I am, eight years from my diagnosis and nothing has changed. My marriage remains exactly the same. JLU, we have a very similar situation going on. I don't know what to do. I just live with it. I don't know how much longer I can do this. I have three children however who are all still at home. My oldest will be leaving this next year. Maybe, once the kids leave, that will change the dynamic.

    The latest conversation we had on the subject, my husband explained that my weight is now the issue. I find that so interesting since my weight has fluctuated a fair amount since my mastectomy and at one point, I ran a triathlon and weighed even less than I did the night before my mastectomy, when he last desired me. There is no doubt I am significantly overweight now. I weigh about 35 pounds more and I think half of that has come on in the last two years. I'm not sure what's happening to my body frankly because my lifestyle has not changed. Perhaps it's the combination of my letrozole and antidepressant meds.

    We are great parents and good friends. I just thought my marriage would be so much more. And I am with JLU, I don't understand how someone who professes to love you could be responsible for such hurt and pain in your life. And how could they have truly loved you to begin with? I just will never understand it.

    I so appreciate this group. I let many months lapse between checking this thread, sometimes years, but I know that my sisters are with me. I also know that many of you are in much more serious life and death situations than this and I pray for you. #cancersucks #noneofusdeservedthis

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited January 2019
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    There are probably other women going through the same thing but maybe they have other issues or just learned to live with it or it's just too personal.

    It is so self centered and shallow to me that husbands like your husband cop this attitude considering what you are dealing with. What happened to the marriage vows or they were just words and only if it didn't happen to you?

    Why is it always on the woman to stay slim and hot? Like any of us want to look at a husband with a pot gut and thinning hair? We all get older. Looks fade anyway. When that happens what's left or is that what holds your marriage together?

    You have enough on your plate without this. So you and your husband need to find out what your marriage is really made of.

    Diane



  • santabarbarian
    santabarbarian Member Posts: 2,310
    edited January 2019
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    Could it be that when something threatened your life it brought up how vulnerable he is to losing you, a hard thought for a man? And (oh by the way) the disease attacked one of his favorite parts of you, a sensual, sexual part?

    I think he's scared to confront the lethality/change/vulnerability/pain/need that cancer has dredged up, that dealing with your body naked would involve facing. I think it might be very hard for him to look at this emotional deep water so he just "shuts the door."

    But you are alive and have needs and if he will not examine the real reason for his aversion to sex, or take steps to overcome it, then you have been abandoned in an important area, and that is not ok.

    I am 100% sure this has origins that have little to do with foobs or scars alone!!

  • msdsmith55
    msdsmith55 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2019
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    I can relate. My husband hasn't wanted to be intimate with me since my first mastectomy 8 years ago. Whenever I bring up the subject, he denies it, but before my mastectomy, we had a healthy sex life. I'm at a loss as to what to do.


  • sadandalone
    sadandalone Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2019
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    hi all,I am so sad at the moment.My husband of over 25 years does not want to sleep in the same room and has not touched my breasts since the operation. I used to have largish breasts and he loved them. I thought I was confident enough before the operation but now after being rejected by my husband I now feel terrible in myself. I found out my husband has been looking at Voluptious magazine and so forth and I feel devastated. I don't feel good enough to attract my husband and I wonder can I live like this? I thought it would be worth it but now I am not so sure.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited January 2019
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    I am so sorry for you ladies. Being rejected especially by your husband is hurtful. I would be asking him why and be prepared to hear something that might also be hurtful.

    You could speculate as to why and it might very well be because the reality of your DX will smack him in the face and/or it’s because he is shallow and selfish and has conveniently forgotten his vows esp the “in sickness and in health.”

    Frankly I’m appalled at your husbands. It’s like it’s your fault you got BC. I’m wondering how he would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and you rejected him because of his illness. It’s just reprehensible.

    It can’t be that your marriage is only about your body/breasts. So what happens when you get older?

    Good luck. Maybe talk to a counselor? If he won’t change you have to find a way to deal with it or not.

    Diane
  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,052
    edited January 2019
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    We echo the sentiments of edwards750. We are very sorry for what you are all going through. Counseling is an excellent option - either together, and if not together, then for yourself to discuss the issue(s) and find solutions to manage/change it.

  • Q4life
    Q4life Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2019
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    Greetings,

    I suggest you do things to explore your sensuality and body acceptance on your own. If you are in remission and healthy; or not, exercise. Feeling strong for me helps me feel sexy. Sexy is an attitude. It has to do with how you embrace your own sensuality not the male gaze validating your attractiveness.

    When do you feel sexy? What turns you on? Do you masturbate?

    I would get massages. Schedule lingerie fitting. Things that help you feel sexy. Wear them for yourself. Schedule a make over and photoshoot. Change your makeup. Take up a dance class belly dance or tango. Take bubble baths and use oils and lotions that help you feel sensual. Listen to sensual music.

    Get a personal stylist they have apps and stores now do reasonably priced personal shoppers. If not get your clothes in your closet tailored. Wear red lipstick go to mac and have them do your makeup. Have a girls night at a male strip club. Have fun. When he sees the things you do for yourself to enjoy yourself it may shift him. I find that if you feel good and are ok with your body. It gives him permission to relax and not be on egg shells.

    He is human. There is pressure for him not to be insensitive and politically correct.

    Give him a heads up if you want sex. Flirt for days. Create a build up. When did you two have the most chemistry? Caregiver burnout is real just like chemo brain. You know him best. You know the best approach.

    Yet unless he has a support group or you two go to therapy together you will never know why he is choosing to cope this way. Try to talk to him. Share your concerns using I statements. Share your vision for the relationship. What turns you on about your partner, what you appreciate and value. Take responsibility and share how you feel. What you struggle with. Ask for small windows of intimacy like cuddling and kissing with no expectations of sex. Build tension. Tell him communication, conversation (like 36 questions that help you fall in love) and vulnerability are turns on for you.

    Meditate on it. Imagine how this new intimacy will look.

    Remember to have fun. You two are reacquainting. You are both new versions of each other especially after this experience.