Thursday 10 August 2017

Weekly Discussion Summary ~ Looking for love?

What does a breast cancer diagnosis mean for single women? For those who were waiting for the right partner to come along before diagnosis, and for those whose relationships floundered after diagnosis.  Treatment affects both body and mind, and can often dent our confidence.  Do single women envy those with a supportive partner who sees them through?

When we do decide to date someone new, when do we reveal our diagnosis?  Will our date run a mile or accept our flawed body?  These are difficult questions to answer.  For those with children, being a single mum is hard enough without the added complication of serious illness.

Our single women contributed many different views to this interesting conversation: some said they were happy single and had no intention of seeking a relationship; others, although content to be single for now, were keen to find a new love at some point.  Many had dealt with difficult break-ups during or after treatment, and this had made their experience of cancer even more traumatic. On the plus side it was heartening to hear that many of those without a partner had received strong support from friends and family.

We discussed the effects of treatment such as loss of libido and feeling unattractive.  This appears to become less of a problem over time, with women dipping their toes in the water of dating, and many trying internet dating to meet new people.   A few are unhappy at being single and want to find a loving partner, but are held back by a lack of confidence and a fear of having to be intimate with their new bodies.

Some women remarked that though they may not be single, their relationship suffered because of their diagnosis.  Intimacy had not always continued for some couples, and many of these split up at some point. Others had rallied round and found a new way to be together, saying that it felt like starting again in their partnership.

We heard some inspiring tales of new post-diagnosis relationships being formed which have blossomed into loving romantic partnerships.  These women remind us that if we are truly open to a new person coming into our lives then there is probably someone out there who will suit us.  As we grow into our new selves, whether we are living with secondary cancer or we are post-treatment and clear for now (and we have members from both these categories in our group) we learn how to take our place in the world as part of a couple or as a single woman. Without doubt our cancer changes us, but with support (such as that provided within our private group) we can move forward towards whatever we believe will make us happy.

Thank you to Jane for the use of her lovely photo.

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