Dating after Cancer
For women who are not partnered at the time of cancer, this is a really big issue. As I often say when I give talks, having breast cancer is never a sexual plus. I mean, really, have you ever seen an online dating ad that includes a cancer diagnosis along with "enjoy walks on the beach, slow dancing, wine in the moonlight"? More seriously, this life experience truly is a way to separate the men from the boys, the keepers from the flings. I remind women that no age appropriate man is going to have a perfect young body either, and that, in the words of Carly Simon, "it takes a really big man to love a really big scar."
All of this can sound too simple, and I recognize that it is truly scary to think about how and when to tell someone new about cancer. To simplify: somewhere between the first date and taking off your clothes. In all the years of doing this work, I have heard only two or three stories of men who fled after hearing about this. In two of those cases, a first wife had died of breast cancer, and although it was painful, the decision was certainly understood. More often, I hear of words of affection, empathy, support, and acceptance.
This is an article from Cure about dating after cancer. I give you the beginning and a link:
Dating After Cancer
BY DON VAUGHAN
When it comes to revealing your treatment results, timing is everything.
Rebekah Repper of Sanford, N.C., was 35 and married when she received a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ in her left breast in 1998. She underwent a mastectomy, healed well and moved on with her life, giving birth to a son 13 months after her surgery. Although Repper says her husband supported her throughout treatment and recovery, they eventually decided to divorce.
As she entered this new phase of her life, an important question emerged: when and how should she tell a prospective sexual partner about her cancer experience and the fact that she has only one breast and a scar that runs from her sternum to her armpit?