Intimacy, Dating, and Relationship Concerns

Sharing close moments and times with loved ones after breast cancer is important.  Sharing helps others know more about the changes in you.  Enjoying your family and friends is vital in moving on with your life.  Here are some tips to think about as you reconnect and share intimate moments.

  • Reconnect with your spouse, partner, family, and friends as much as you can.  There are no certain timelines that you must meet.  Make sure that you are at ease in reconnecting.  Go at a pace that feels right for you.
  • Discuss the changes in you and how they affect your relationship with your loved one.
  • Talk about other ways of showing love and closeness with your spouse or partner.  For example, try holding hands, hugging, sharing a special moment, or finding new ways to share time with each other.  Touch is a large part of intimacy.
  • Make time for special moments with your children.  Share by doing something fun with them like reading a book, going to a movie, a park, or museum.  You may even do an everyday activity such as sharing a meal or taking a walk.  The key ingredient is marking special moments in time.
  • Encourage your spouse or partner to read this information, many times they are not aware of the different issues and feelings that breast cancer survivors experience.
  • Dating: Many young survivors struggle with body issues after they have finished treatment for cancer due to the changes to their body. Take things slow as you ease back into dating.  Everyone faces rejection, and if you do it will rarely be due to your breast cancer. If it does, then they aren’t the person you need to be with.

When Do You Need to Seek Help?
You need to be able to talk openly about your intimacy concerns.  If you have continued difficulties in communicating, think about seeing a professional counselor or support group that discusses these issues.

Useful websites:
Young Survival Coalition: Dating
Living Beyond Breast Cancer: Talking About Love, Relationships, and Intimacy
Breastcancer.org: You and your partner
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Love, intimacy and breast cancer

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