Awwww, relationships. I’m often asked questions such as:
How do I maintain my relationship with my partner during cancer treatment?
How do I date while in cancer treatment or after treatment but I look and feel different?
There are no easy answers and no one right answer for everyone, but good for you for talking about it! Relationships, intimacy, sex, marriage, dating, body image, confidence, vulnerability… all of it can be difficult to talk about and navigate.
I recommend having open, honest conversations with your partner and share what you are feeling. Common conversations range from what is the expectation of the relationship to how to increase intimacy to sexual challenges and options of intimate products. This may be uncomfortable at first, but once you share this level of vulnerability you both may be relieved that someone brought it up in the first place.
Dating during or after cancer treatment can bring up a range of emotions. You may feel insecure because your body might look different after treatment. Or you may feel like you need to disclose private health information much sooner than you are comfortable with. I recommend being honest about your cancer diagnosis with the person you are dating and what your expectations at this point are. Many people honestly do not know what we expect of them and it’s best to communicate genuinely and openly from the start. Sharing this level of vulnerability can quickly build intimacy and a loving relationship. How your dating partner responds when you tell them about your diagnosis can give you useful information about them and whether or not they are best for you.
Above all else, love yourself for who you are before you love someone else. You are very much loved.