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Relationship Problems and Cancer
6 Posts
Hi there, I am brand new to this group/forum and have just completed all treatments (surgeries, fertility treatments, chemo, radiation) for BC last week. I am very happy and relieved to be done but can’t shake my feelings of resentment towards my partner for certain struggles that were brought on throughout treatment. He was a rock in the beginning, always saying and doing the right things, assuring me we were in this “together.” As a woman in her 30’s the hardest part of this entire journey has been facing the fact that I cannot have children for several years to come, bringing me into my 40’s where we know it will be difficult or potentially not at all due to chemo damage. A tough pill to swallow for someone who was ready to start a family right now.

My partner and I received all information together regarding fertility treatments and I would relay all options and stats that were offered to me. I knew I wanted to preserve my fertility through egg retrieval and embryo freezing. I asked my partner what he wanted and he answered the same. After 12 days of poking myself with needles, a hormonal and emotional roller coaster ride it was time for the egg retrieval and my partner to do his part for the embryo (fertilization) but he backed out the night before. I’ve never felt so betrayed in my life. I did not want to stay but in the middle of Covid and starting chemo, I had to for my own safety. I tried to put it behind me for the time being as I forged on through chemo and he did everything he could for me throughout my treatments in terms of taking me to my appointments, cooking, cleaning, etc. but at the same time is a very anxious person himself and would project a lot of stress and anxiety on me during a time when I just couldn’t handle it.

I feel very guilty and torn for having this anger and resentment towards someone who as I said, was there for me every step of the way, took off work to help me but caused me so much pain emotionally at the same time.

I feel like my situation is very unique but I am hoping there is someone out there who can relate in any way.

8 Replies
6286 Posts
HazelGirl‍ welcome and thank you for coming here and pouring your heart out. I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. Cancer can have a major effect on relationships..Sometimes bringing people closer together and sometimes tearing them apart. Both people are overwhelmed by all the changes going on in their lives... anf if there is a lack of communication....this can lead to frustration, anger and resentment. So many emotions go through both the caregivers and the patient's heads...so much fear... sadness....hopelessness. and emotions can even change minute to minute. .hour by hour. They don't call it the emotional roller coaster for nothing. Sometimes priorities can change too.
Im so sorry your partner backed out the last minute of what you had both planned. Have you and he had a heart to heart conversation? There could be a reason, or an explanation for this . Something he hasn't told you,or something he is afraid to tell you. He may not even have explored this himself. All the emotions and everything you have been through the last few months has undoubtedly taken its toll on you both. You are feeling resentful, and he......has he opened up at all about his feelings? Perhaps a therapist can get to the bottom of what is going on in his mind. Someone who he can talk to ..someone who you both can talk to who can see both sides objectively. I hope the two of you can manage to talk and work things out. The oncology social worker is an awesome resource. You can also call our cancer info line for further resources. 1 888 939 3333. Please let us know how you are doing and if you managed to resolve things. Congrats on finishing treatment. How are you doing physically?
21 Posts
my story is quite different as my hubby and I are seniors , The disconnect and struggles are real thou. Hopefully your prognosis is favourable and your partner sees a future with you. That might be what scared him . Im sure if all you say he s\did before shows his committment to you . If he ha a fear he needs to speak to you and confide so you can move ahead . I think lots of time to do his part still, no ?

My case my hubby is terminal and are disconnect is the fact that im scared to stay too close ,as not to get hurt at the enevitable . I do love him but guess some crazy thought that will protect me . Truth is Im terrified to be alone after \

wishing you good thoughts and outcome with your cancer and relationship
Runner Girl
1409 Posts
HazelGirl‍ ,

I'm sorry for your diagnosis, being so young this will have a profound affect on your future. But at the same time it makes you stronger to take on the treatments and come out good on the other side. I commend you for going thru all it took to protect your fertility and ability to have children in the future. I am saddened, but not at all surprised, that your partner backed out at the last minute. I am glad that he has been there to assist and support you throughout your treatment. I fully understand your anger and resentment for the pain it caused you after you'd undertaken your part in the process.

Now let me tell you why I understand.

Approximately 27% of men will leave a relationship when their female partner is diagnosed with cancer. A shocking statistic, but as I've found, very true. A lower percentage of women choose to leave a relationship if their male partner is diagnosed. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 52 my now ex-fiance proclaimed he was on board and we'd fight this together. He took me for surgery, was attentive, did all the right things. But then, the weekend before I was set for my first chemo he moved me to the spare bedroom - WTF??? He gave all manner of lame excuses. He'd take me to my chemo appointment then disappear to the cafeteria for the duration of my infusion, or sit across from me on his phone. No conversation with me, but more than happy to converse with the nurses and dole out a shoulder rub to one who complained. When I had a problem after my 3rd chemo he told me I didn't need to go to the hospital I'd be fine. He finally reneged and let me sleep in our bed as I was afraid of dying. This was the last time we slept together. My resentment was building and a week after this particular incident he came upstairs after I'd gone to bed and told me I had 10 days to get out of his house. I followed him downstairs and told him what a POS he was being and that you don't do this to someone you claim to love. Things changed for a short while. He took me to the remaining 3 chemo treatments. The last one was epic. I sat across from an older gentlemen and his wife. He was having some serious chemo and was really struggling. While I chatted with them my guy sat there with arms crossed and never said a word. I was so embarrassed. He went with me to my first appointment with my radiation doctor, took exception to the doctor examining me, and told me I could go to the rest of my appointments alone. So, that is what I did. Drove myself to all of my radiation appointments, doctor visits, etc. A few months after I finished radiation, while still receiving herceptin treatments every 3 weeks, he told me that our relationship was over and I needed to get out. I said I'd find a place and go. I found a townhouse and told him about it, being transparent about my plan to leave. He asked me to stay. I tried for 2 weeks but there was no change from him, when I tried to discuss he started shouting at me - told him I was done and I'd be leaving. 2 months later I moved out. Since then he has shown up at my door 4 times. The last time he gave me a birthday card and letter. This is just over a year since I moved out - the letter asked if I'd consider reconciling and going to counselling. I told him that he abandoned me during cancer, that that to me was unforgivable and I wanted nothing to do with him. I still harbor anger and resentment towards him and I think I always will - I would never have treated anyone as bad as he did me in my time of need.

I don't thing you will be able to fix this issue yourself. Please find counselling to help you and your partner work thru this.

Runner Girl
6 Posts
SandiG‍ I am very sorry to hear of your husband’s diagnosis. I can only imagine what both of you are going through physically, mentally and emotionally. I can completely understand your fear and why you would pull back in order to protect yourself. Having been on the other side of it I can tell you that we as the patients definitely understand the struggles and pain our loved ones and families must endure during this time. I often thought about how scared and sad they must be. My mom is a very strong woman but I must admit it seemed like the guilt and sadness took over and she couldn’t quite handle or process all of the information, treatments and what if’s that were presented to her. She was there physically whenever I needed her but I found myself protecting her feelings and emotions from a lot of the harsh realities. Everyone processes things differently and we are all humans.

Having said that, I do believe that you should also express your fears to your hubby. The last thing we would want would be for our partners or loved ones to feel like we didn’t have it in us to be there for them when they needed it. He may have certain wishes for you that could be expressed should you open up and stay close.

My partner did tell me while we were receiving fertility information that he did not want me to put my life at risk trying to have a baby and leave him behind as my cancer is hormone receptor positive. I always understood that and did not want that for him either. There is a lot to talk about and hearing your fears makes me want to open that dialogue back up with him.

Thank you for reaching out. I am thinking of you and your husband and always open to chat.
6 Posts
Hi Brighty‍, thank you for the kind words and advice. We are going to seek therapy together and I will look into the resources you provided. I feel like it is very important to connect with a therapist who specializes in the effects of cancer as it adds a different level to the counselling needed. Add on Covid and it seems like a recipe for disaster!

Physically I am doing very well and feeling more like myself each day. I struggle with managing my emotions some days which I’m sure is a normal part of the cancer process but I also am on my second month of ovarian suppression which isn’t helping. I have an appointment with my oncologist next week so I will discuss that with him and hopefully be able to get set up again with the oncology psychiatrist. I saw her at the beginning of my diagnosis and had a good connection.

Thanks for listening and for the advice. Really happy I finally connected to a support group.
21 Posts
yes every situation differnt and both sides need to hear each other abd feel safe to vent and express concerns. Glad you understand some of the choices and why. we will chat along this journey
20 Posts
Hi HazelGirl
I really feel for you. As a woman caring for my husband with cancer, I can share with you that the partners often struggle with their own fears, insecurities and resentments that cancer brings to light. I often considered myself the model wife and caregiver but during this past year, I feel I have come up short. I find myself dwelling on 25 years of past hurts and arguments. I am angry and impatient with my husband. The most helpful strategy for this has been honest communication and counselling for both of us (individually).

Your partner has let you down in a terrible way but there is a way forward. I wish you hope and understanding.
18 Posts
Runner Girl‍ you are a strong women. I’m sorry your husband treated you that way after your diagnosis. Thank you I appreciate your stories and advice shared. You inspire me to exercise through the fatigue because I hear how running has improved your symptoms and recovery.

My husband was beyond stressed when we got my breast cancer diagnosis. He lost both his Mom and sister (my husband was his sisters caregiver) to lung cancer within the last 2 years. His father died, his funeral was the day after I was diagnosed. My husband mentally and physically shut down. He stated that he didn’t think he could do cancer again. It was not a great time. We did a lot of talking, sobbing, soul searching, praying and decided that cancer had affected our family enough and “it” was not going to steal our relationship of 37 years. I am blessed that we have a new and great relationship where he can be supportive.

This web site has rejuvenated my belief in humanity.
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