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Confused Boyfriend

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2013
I was hoping to gain some perspective of what my girlfriend is going through.  After her diagnosis, she wanted me to move on with my life and did not want to hold me back.  I told her I loved her and was not going anywhere.  She had surgery, started chemo and our relationship was going really well. Chemo was tough on her but radiation was tougher.  At this point , 8 months after diagnosos, she told me she could not handle a relationship, that the radiation was emotionally draining, along with being a mother, working, etc.  I gave her the space she needed and after radiation ended she told me the stress and pressures of everything has not allowed her to have feelings for me. I knew my friendship is what she needed at this moment and that it also was all she could give. She thanked me for my patience and over the next two month, we became close again, talking quite a bit and enjoying each other.  Just recently though, her body, as she describes it, has been going through a lot of changes, including fatigue.  These are changes that have caused her personal issues to deal with, for which she said she cannot talk to me about. She said they were issues she could talk to with a close girlfriend, if anyone and i did not pursue it further.  Along with this, she again became distant, short and somewhat cold.  During this time though, she maintained a very active social life with her friends.(Bday parties, dinner, etc). She alwsys kept busy, even in treatment. It was a distraction for her. Throughout her treatment, she never wanted to talk much about cancer or how she was feeling emotionally or physcially.  She felt it made her look weak.  As such, it was and is hard for me to understand the complexaties of what she is feeling when i receive simple answers to these complex issues.  Concerned and confused, I asked her if she was ok.... and about us.  She told me her feelings for me were no longer there are she did not want a relationship, with me or anybody. She did not want the structure of a relationship.  She then said she didnt want me to miss out on someone or something while waiting around for her to feel this again, if she even feels again, and told me I should be dating other people. She thought that was fair.  I know what those words mean but coming from a survivor who outlook on life has changed, does it mean the same thing? Has she moved on and just trying to be nice about it or are her words true and she is just feeling guilt from holding me back?  As in, she does not want the pressure and burden of knowing if and when she will be ready again but is not closing the door that it wont happen. This way it becomes my choice and relieves her guilt. 
Am I being naïve to even think the latter or do I need to take her words at face value and move on with life?
I know this is a tough subject matter , but I was hoping all of those fighting this wicked illness might be able to help me understand a little better.
Thank you
Posts: 579
Joined: Dec 2010

Wow, you have been an amazing, patient supporter to your girlfriend.  You obviously care for her very much.  I do know people change after the cancer problems are treated etc.  Every day can be a challenge, depression can set in.  Some feel less of a woman, disfigured.  Libido for many just flat out gone.  Hormones, side effects, list goes on and on.  I'm thinking step back give her time to mend.  Remain friends only if this is healthy for you.  She may contact you later on down the line, then up to you if you wish to have any type of relationship.  If she has a support group that is a good thing.  I think you have done a huge amount for her and you are to be admired totally.  Guessing she is confused but wants to sort things out herself.    Take care.    This is hard on everyone.

dthompson's picture
Posts: 149
Joined: Nov 2012

This is a tough one, I went through similar issues as my wife is going through breast cancer, we actually just got back from the hospital today from her double mast. The first thing to remember is they are going through tremendous stress and fear. Their number one fear is "am I going to die". My wife did not realize that this was also my number one fear, but I did not want to tell her that, as I felt one of us had to stay positive and that had to be me. As her treatment progressed and she began getting depressed and chemo brain she began to get very mean and hateful towards me on occasions. This was very hard to handle but I wrote it off as her stress and the effects of the chemo, because prior to this she has always been very loving and affectionate towards me. We then got to a point where she wanted me to leave her so I did not have to go through the stress of taking care of her. Of course I told her that she was being rediculous as our marriage vows were " for better or worse and in sickness and in health" and I took those vows seriously. The only point where I told her that I would leave her was when she said she was going to quit chemo and not have her surgery and just let the cancer kill her. I told her that if she wanted to make that decision she would do it alone as I would not sit back and let her die a slow painful death. She had a very good prognosis (she was stage 2a). I told her that I loved her and would support her in this fight but I would not support her giving up and making me a widower at 42 years old.  As far as your situation goes, just remember this is the most stressful thing she will ever go through, so she may not be thinking straight. Tell her you are there if she needs you, but she may be trying to distance herself from you because she may think she is going to die. Give her her space, show her support, be there when she needs you but do not force yourself on her. My wife and I are now closer than we have ever been before . We had some really rough times but we made it through it. On the same token do not put up with her mistreating you . You said she is now going out and being social. She may feel that she is going to die and wants to get as much living in as possible. This is a very tough road to travel,  there is an old saying that goes " If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were".  This is a tough time for you and her my friend.  If you ever need to talk more feel free to contact me any time at usmcbombtech@yahoo.com   843-252-1976



McMarty's picture
Posts: 212
Joined: Nov 2012

What a beautiful and thoughtful response Dennis.  Thank you for taking the time to share what you two have been through.  You and the 'confused boyfriend'  as well as confused boyfriends/spouses everywhere have your hands full.

I can say, from the woman's side, we desperately want to be left alone with no pressure and we desperately don't want to be 'abandoned'.  So maybe the 'confused boyfriend' is not confused at all, but right on top of it.  Your advice was PERFECT and what a beautiful thing you did to stand up to her like a man and not let her give up!

You guys are definately walking in a mine field.  PRAY PRAY PRAY - only God knows the way through!  He will surely guide you and cover for you when you make a wrong turn. 

Also, if you are doing your best, there are no wrong turns :)

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

Sorry it has been hard for both of you. I do not think she is ok , she is i transition to her new normal. Pregnancy after cancer is challenge that could nNew a reason too.

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