March 13th, 2017
| Survivor: Breast Cancer
My romantic relationships and my health haven't always been in harmony. It started two years after my husband passed away when I started dating a wonderful man. Everything was great until the bottom fell out: I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. We tried to travel that road together, but about a year into my recovery, we sadly parted ways. We wanted different things.
I found I was asking myself, "Can I date again? Would I meet someone who would accept me as my last partner did?" I also had to confront my realities and who I had become after cancer. "I’m a cancer survivor now," I told myself, "Not even five years out when chances of recurrence are slim. Can I date after cancer?"
Then I realized something: Dating in 2017 is hard. It doesn’t matter how or where you met this person, it takes time to get to know someone. Even if you weren’t a cancer survivor, would you share everything about yourself early on? On top of that, a cancer diagnosis can be quite an overwhelming subject. But if you're just starting into the dating game again, this is a time when you are going out to meet someone and have a good time-- nothing more. Let expectations go.
My advice to you is: Yes, you can date after cancer-- if that’s what YOU want. I waited a year after parting with my last relationship before re-entering the dating world. Here are some things I learned about the dating world:
The Good Things to Learn From Dating After Cancer:
The Hard Things to Learn From Dating After Cancer:
I know it’s scary, but my life’s philosophy has always been, “Sometimes you have to risk it all for a dream no one can see but you.” I don’t blame anyone who chooses to walk away from me because I’m a cancer survivor. You may be the best peach on the tree, but there’s always someone who doesn’t like peaches. I don’t take it personally.
That’s the funny thing about relationships; each person contributes. If one person doesn’t want it, it doesn’t really matter why. What matters is that you’re with someone who chooses you every day and someone you feel the same about. When you’re ready, venture out and find that person willing to be a full partner in life; open to having two co-captains and no first mate; an equal paddler in the row boat of life, willing to do whatever is needed to keep that boat afloat wherever it takes the two of you in life. That’s the beauty and challenge of dating.
What's something you learned about yourself and romantic relationships through cancer?
Photo courtesy of Josh Willink .
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