Dating is a bit of a minefield at the best of times, so add cancer to the mix and it can be a really scary place.
There are so many extra questions and pressures if you are trying to date with a hidden/chronic illness. Do you tell them you have/ had cancer? When do you tell them? How much do you tell them? Do you tell them you can’t have children? All of these questions can add serious anxiety when meeting new potentials.
There are so many ways cancer affects a person, both physically and emotionally and many of these symptoms and side effects can have an impact on any new or existing relationship such as changes to your body, depression and anxiety, and fertility. In the past I’ve had an internal battle of thinking that it isn’t a persons place to know and I am within my right to keep my personal life a secret, but also that cancer is a large part of my life and is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, so why would I not tell someone? Both of these are true, so what do you decide to do?
I would like the person sat across that table to want a second date with me, all of me, knowing who I am, with all that entails. Yet as always when dating someone new it’s a fine balance between not wanting to scare them off but also not wanting to lie.
However you decide to handle the cancer card when dating be 100% behind your decision. Be confident and unapologetic!
Unfortunately there is no one answer, sorry! Whatever you decide make sure it works for you. Do whatever causes you the least anxiety and makes you most at ease. However you decide to handle the cancer card when dating be 100% behind your decision. Be confident and unapologetic. If and when you decide to broach your health, do so with your head held high. It is part of you, and a part you shouldn’t be ashamed of. Yes, it may come as a shock to some (or not, depending where you are with it all) but you should never be worried about someone taking it badly. It is possible that someone may take it badly, but they do not deserve to date you. End of. Plenty of lovely people will take it well, accept you for all you are and want to see you again, and these are the only people worth worrying about! By that definition, there’s no problem, right?!
So far my dating experience has been either with cancer, or just post op. I decided I wouldn’t ever hide it or lie, and generally it tends to come up pretty early on. This way I thought it would just slip casually into conversation and I wouldn’t ever need a big reveal. So far, so good.
On the whole people are normally nice, understanding and kind. Especially about cancer.
After a few days of texting it usually becomes pretty obvious I’m not working and I’m not on holiday either, and questions are asked. I’m sure the nonchalance is exaggerated in my head, and that on the other end of the phone people’s reactions to ‘oh just a hysterectomy… endometrial cancer’ were more extreme than I imagine. But generally it hasn’t been a problem. On the whole people are normally nice, understanding and kind. Especially about cancer. Even if they aren’t, we are in Britain where even most of the non-nice ones are generally socially awkward, polite and don’t want to cause a scene. Either way, the response is usually a few kind but vague pleasantries and very little questioning. Perfect 🙂
In fact, I am constantly being surprised by just how well people take the news in many areas of life including dating. Most with kind words and an open mind. So please don’t be too scared.
I’m now recovered from surgery, cancer free, and still single. I’m going to need to find a new tactic, because as time goes on my cancer isn’t going to casually drop into conversation, and I do think any guy wanting to get serious with me should know I don’t have a womb. Back to the drawing board for me. I think I will just go along with the motions and see when feels right, no plan. I’ll see how I feel on the day and what vibes I’m getting, my gut instinct will hopefully do the rest. I do know that however I decide to tell the next luckiest man alive about my cancer past, I will do so with sass.