Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

New serious relationship

kelcam Member Posts: 3
edited February 2022 in Singles With Breast Cancer

I am 46. I was diagnosed at 40 as a single mom. I went through all of the treatment... Chemo, radiation, surgeries, reconstruction, etc. while being single. 5 years post-treatment, I am now in my first serious relationship. He's a great guy but wasn't there for everything I went through and doesn't get it. I struggle with depression, scanxiety, AI side effects, sexual issues, PTSD- all of it. He has never been through serious health issues with a loved one (lucky him!) and just doesn't understand. For example, I just got results from my bone density scan, which showed osteopenia and osteoporosis (at 46) and it put me in a funk. (I had local spread and lymph node involvement and my oncologist wants me to be on AIs for another 5 years. I tried tamoxifen and I can't tolerate it). I just need to be sad for a few days. His reaction is to crack jokes to try and make me laugh. He also says things like I'm just trying to get the fun you back. How do I get him to realize this IS part of me? Are there any books, etc. for SO of survivors? I see plenty of resources for caregivers of BC patients going through treatment, but not for survivors.


  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 735
    edited February 2022

    Ugh it sounds like he needs a book about just being a decent human being and coping with the discomfort of being near someone else's suffering. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. Sadly I think many people, men especially, are not brought up nor expected to develop certain emotional skills that I would think of as pretty basic to being a fully functioning adult. I hope that at least he will show the capacity to trust and respect your clear statement of your needs and situation. Otherwise it's not just a question of doesn't get it, it's being unwilling to get it.

    (I have been single for quite a while, including all through the cancer. I would love to have a real relationship again and I can imagine that the appeal of a serious relationship would tempt to put up with a whole lot. Just keep an eye on yourself that you are not accepting the unacceptable. Him not being familiar with cancer or survivorship - totally acceptable. Him unwilling to accept guidance from someone whom he theoretically loves and is in relationship with and who is an expert in it - not acceptable. That's basic disrespect for you and putting his own feelings of comfort above everything else).

  • beach2beach
    beach2beach Member Posts: 245
    edited February 2022


    I was 51 when diagnosed and was married but separated. My husband did not get it. Thought I was being dramatic. Hmmm. considering he wasn't going through it he seemed to feel I was "overreacting". Idiot. Fast forward I met someone whom I thought about how I was going to tell him what I had been through and what he would see. He's great, loves me for me. But,,he will never understand or get why I get into the funks I do. Guess can't expect him or anyone else to understand. He tries to do the same, make me laugh etc, though I appreciate it, sometimes you just need the person to just be there. To just understand your in the funk, say a few good chosen words, Like I know this is tough, you've gotten through this time before and will again, and hey, I'm here if you need me. Come on over here and just hold you for a few. I flat out told him what I need. Told him this is how I get, and this is how I deal with it and no relaxing words or relaxing thoughts short of enough xanax to keep my like a zombie, will make it better. I just have to go through it.

    I still have to tell him when I'm in one of those moods to either let me be or to just hold me and tell me things will be fine. Wish there were a handout to give them. The surgeries and immediate treatment may be over, but the ongoing anxiety about the next visit or check up and side effects of meds, and the new pain you may feel today but wasn't there yesterday. Those don't go away. They come and go. If he is worth it, he will take all the little and big things you say about it, and he will do the best he can to give you what you need during those times. It takes them time. It does.

    Not the answer to your question, but I get where you are coming from.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited February 2022

    Someone who does not have enough compassion to understand that my cancer diagnosis/treatment is/was a traumatic experience is not worthy of me. Sounds like he needs more than just a book on human decency. Sorry, not sorry.

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 279
    edited February 2022

    Kelcam: I am so sorry that your partner isn’t there for you the way you would like him to be. When you describe your issues, you describe scan anxiety, sexual issues, depression, anxiety, PTSD, AL SE’s, First of all, you need and deserve professional help through counseling. This is just too much for you to handle alone. I cannot imagine you knowing how to deal with all of this, never mind your partner who didn’t go through this with you. How could he possibly know what to do. In his simplistic way, he is just trying to get back the woman he thought he knew. He likely had no idea how hurtful his comments are. There is an entire thread here on stupid things people say. Those people are often very close friends and family. We cannot simply throw out everyone who doesn’t get us or says something off. If he is a great partner in other ways, then ask him to go to counseling with you. Relationships are complicated and involve a lot of investment. If he seems worth it to you, then give it a try. You have a lot of issues to address. He can now join in the process. If he refuses to, then you will have to assess your relationship. Invest what you feel he is worth. Then decide what to do based upon his response. All the best.

    By the way, never decide what to do with your relationship based upon responses here. No one but you knows your relationship. You shared a very tiny piece of your life here. We would be fools to think that we get it. Never put that much trust into a chat group. Just hope you have some options to consider.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,887
    edited February 2022

    KelCam, welcome to, we're glad you've found our Community. As you can already see, you are not alone with this!

    Besides the support and advice from our members here in the discussion boards, our Day to Day Matters section from the main site has some articles that you mat find interesting, such as the following:

    We hope this helps, and we look forward to hearing more from you soon!

    The Mods

  • kelcam
    kelcam Member Posts: 3
    edited February 2022

    TB90- Thank you! I think you hit the nail on the head. He wants to say and do the right thing and doesn't know what that is. We've talked more about it and he said he hated to see me sad/upset and was just trying to cheer me up. (I'm learning that he cracks jokes when he doesn't know what to say.) He wants to do the right thing, just doesn't know what that is. He actually asked if there was a book or something he could read to understand survivorship. If you haven't been through it yourself or are close to someone going through it, how do you know? I asked the question more for help finding resources to help him understand and not necessarily relationship advice. Maybe that wasn't clear in my post. I've been through enough in life to know when someone is a decent human being saying stupid stuff versus a crappy person who doesn't care. I have been in and out of counseling since my diagnosis. If things continue to progress with us, you are right...couples therapy may need to be in our future.

  • Suzzflwr
    Suzzflwr Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2022


    I think it can be very difficult for a partner to know what to say or act in these situations. Quite often they weren’t there when you were going through the beginning and have no idea what a woman has to cope with.

    It sounds like he wants to be there for you, normally men need something to visualize what you are going through, something that men go through that is equivalent, maybe prostrate or penile problems.

    I don’t know if this will help, but my partner will just hug me and that helps, just knowing he is there for me.