MBC & Relationships

Talking to Your Spouse or Life Partner

If you have a partner, your diagnosis may cause stress of an uncertain future, which can put a strain on your relationship. Your partner may need time to adjust to your diagnosis and come to terms with their own feelings.

Involve your partner.

Attend appointments together and make your partner an active participant when considering treatment options and next steps. Your partner can also help you remember what was said at the appointment as well as ask questions you may not have thought of.

Talk openly.

Be open about your emotions dealing with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Hiding feelings can create distance between partners and prevents them from supporting each other.

Be clear about your needs and vice versa.

Communicate to your partner exactly what you need from them. At the same time, don’t forget to ask what they need, as caregivers need to feel supported, too. It’s important for your relationship that you are both able to do the things that are important to you, and it’s okay to recommend that your partner spend some time doing things that they like (eg meeting with friends, going to the gym).

Discuss changes in your physical relationship.

MBC can change intimate aspects of your relationship. Speak openly about your physical needs, and find ways to achieve closeness.

Schedule time for the two of you.

Plan regular times for you to be together with no ‘cancer talk.’ Use this time alone to reconnect with your partner.

If you are single or living on your own, you might consider reaching out to friends, family or a care group for support.

Click here for more on talking about intimacy.

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