Difficult Relationship

I feel really upset, & wonder whether anyone can help? My recent breast cancer was treated with surgery & radiotherapy, & now tamoxifen. I have recovered well physically but am finding it hard emotionally because of my husband’s insensitivity & self absorption. He felt slightly under the weather today, & was convinced he had got flu even though he has had the jab. He googled to find out what the symptoms would be, & made such a fuss. I said that I had had breast cancer a few weeks ago, & was irritated by his lack of a sense of proportion. He then said “Ah, but flu is a very nasty thing”. I pointed out that he was very unlikely to have it, & in any case it was hardly like having to face cancer. I know what I would prefer to have had. His only reply to that was, “But flu is very serious!”. I felt insulted & upset by his utter selfishness, especially as he had just eaten the dinner I had cooked for him, & said I felt upset by what he was saying. I felt invalidated & not understood. His only reply to this was, “Flu can be fatal you know”. So can cancer, & far more likely to be, & I’ve had it, & he never said a word about it. All through my cancer experience, the hardest thing to bear has been my husband’s attitude.

Hi Saxon, 

I am really sorry you are going through this difficult time. I am sure some of our users will be along soon to offer some support.

I have moved your post to the Living with Breast Cancer Board in order to give users more of a chance to respond. We also have a very supportive Sex and Relationships private group which you may want to post in. Messages posted in this group can not be seen by the open forum.

In the meantime if you would like to talk you can call oursupport line at 0808 800 6000 who will be able to offer a friendly ear.

Best wishes,


Digital Community Assistant  

Hi Saxon,if it’s any help I have had many similar conversations with women on this site,just because you have /have had cancer doesn’t seem to guarantee your other half won’t behave like a ****** from time to time !!Its very hurtful I know ,but I do think men in particular have very limited capacity to deal with upset/illness for any length of time ,they lose interest .It doesn’t matter if it’s cancer or a broken leg ,there are flowers,tears and support in the beginning but then it wears off.I have gritted my teeth through many conversations with my OH ,thinking I’ve had cancer you **** ,what about what I’ve been through .Difficult I know when you have been through such a life changing illness,but try not to take it to heart.Jill.

Hi Saxon,


You are not alone in your feelings. I have had a similar exp with a husband who has not been supportive but only at the point of being told to understand. I had small focuses of attention but ultimately, his only interest was himself. I have grown to not trust him and have endeavoured to go it alone and only share how I feel with my sister and the cancer forums.


I’m not sure whether the cancer diagnosis has made me realise that the man I married is totally selfish and even through the breast cancer times; biopsy, surgery, radiation, not attending any meetings,  hasn’t dawned on him that it is a serious issue. The strength that I have is one of self belief and this is due to my children. I have teenage sons who don’t show a great deal of emotion, like their dad, but I am their only mum and so I am afforded a level of respect and sympathy; much more than he can muster up. It’s actually okay as I have come to terms with it, in a way,long before diagnosis three months ago. In a strange way, the cancer diagnosis jolted me into the reality of my situation. Everyone is different. I have been married for 22 years but in the relationship for 32 years. I know a prison sentence of demands and selfish wants - on his part!!!  


Sadly, we have married or have partners who are far too self absorbed and as a result refuse to understand the position from our point of view because, well in my case, my husband is weak and unable to deal with real issues unless it surrounds him.

The problem with this is that now the relationship can no longer continue with what was but what will happen. If you are not getting the support, then it may be the relationship, at least for me, may well have run its course.


I am not advocating for one moment that this should happen to you but that is how I feel so dealing with this reality and eliminating the unnecessary stress that ‘thinking about the lack of support from a husband or partner cannot give’, is the way forward. 

Cancer diagnosis is made up of many factors, age, diet, genetics, stress from work or relationships, none of the latter, work and relationships, will be getting my full attention anymore. I am taking it EASY!!!


I am on the road to recovery and part of this recovery is putting ME first. 


Big hugs


Go girl,put yourself first for a change!!! Cancer certainly puts things into sharp focus ,but I think making any life may changing decisions may need to wait til the dust has settled .

I can completely understand where you’re coming from Saxon. My oh has been totally unsupportive the last 18 months (dx sept 14). We have had many cross words. I agree that it’s cos we don’t look ill - I cold capped and kept most of my hair. Meanwhile he’s hobbling around with a knee and ankle injuries which is visible as he has crutches. He gets all the support and sympathy whilst I have to suffer alone. Apparently his was major surgery according to him and his family - of course, I only had a little illness with 2 large tumours, 26 lymph nodes, mx, chemo, rads, infection, and now lymphodema!

You are not the onlh one to feel like this my now ex didnt cope at all. Some of the lovely ladies i have met along o  my journey have told me how great their partners were and to be honest i felt jealous. 

I had comments such as my mother got over it why cant you and when i had a chest infection if you think im sitting in a&e all day youve got another thing coming. 

Unfotunately some cope better than others. I had the support of my parents which got me through. Hope you have some one to turn to.