How do I get my husband to open up?

I’ve been newly dx with breat cancer - have had tow ops in the past 3 weeks am waiting for results tomorrow re lymph nodes. I’m dealing with it on a stage by stage basis and am coping. BUT my Husband isn’t - he’s not good with opening up his emotions as it is. He can’t read so cannot use this site or other leaflets - and wont let me read things out to him. So he’s frustrated, scared and angry. Where can I send him? What can I tell him?


Hi there I am so sorry hear about your dx, and it sounds like your poor husband could do with a shoulder to cry on. Why not suggest that he rings the helpline for a chat with a nice lady. My mum has bc and also I am undergoing tests myself for a lump. They really have been my life line one way or other as they have all the facts, and really make you feel at ease. hope this helps.


Hi Leeshad,

Jules1964 is right, the helpline is open for not only people with breast cancer but family and friends who need someone to talk to as well. See if your husband will give them a ring and have a chat, I’m sure it will help. The call is free, the number to ring is 0808 800 6000.

Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

apparently denial is a perfectly valid way of coping with stress. So I wouldn’t necessarily force him to talk about things, this may be the way he deals with it


This is how my husband coped when I was diagnosed.

We live in Scotland and the morning after I was diagnosed he drove himself to the Forth Railway Bridge, which is a favourite place of ours. He sat underneath the bridge at 6 am on the morning as the sun was coming up and he cried his eyes out like a child for an hour. After this he decided it was dealt with and that he had to look to the future and getting me through all the treatment. Things never happen at the right time, but for us it was very difficult as we had started a business 6 months previously; also I was originally misdiagnosed and found out I had cancer 4 weeks after being told my test results were clear.

Sadly, my sister went into denial about my cancer. She was here on holiday and I was diagnosed the day before she was due to return home. My husband cannot forgive her for getting on the plane the following morning (I could not have done it if it had been the other way round). There is now a huge gulf between us and I have decided that the next time she is over I am booking a holiday as I do not wish to see her.

hi leesha

if you want a laugh then read an old post of mine

it’s in “waiting for test results”

called “want a laugh … dry sense of humour required!”

last accessed Feb 15th

think we may have the same problem … you’ll see what I mean when you read it

good luck
love FizBix

HI Fizbix
Did go to the post you suggested - def rings true - did make me laugh too. thanks
I’m just going with the flow with him
had more results yesterday - tumour was 5,5cm stage 3 but good news was lymph nodes are clear.
so then had to discuss masectomy - like pulling teeth getting an opinion - but we decided (i did) to go ahead op scheduled for 23rd - then chemo etc.
He did manage to talk a bit with our BC nurse which was good - I think I just need to keep him awayf from his mum who doesn’t seem to help at all.
Anyway Kids away for weekend - so I think bit of TLC needed - mind you i’ll have to organise it. But at least he’s keeping his behaviour ‘normal’!

thanks again
laughing is def what i need


I think you should give your husband some time to deal with the news. He’ll come round and work with you through this phase. My husband was away on business when I got my test results and I had to give him the news over the phone. He was quite for a second or two, said he’ll call back and cut the line. I called my sister immediately about it and she was on the phone with him for a long while. When he called back, he said it wasn’t the cancer as he’d stick with me come hell or high water but he was scared I’ll be sick and stop being happy.

My surgery was 5 weeks ago and we’ve been doing just fine. Talking to someone on the helpline will help so speak to him about that and even if he doesn’t want to just yet, give him time. When God leads you to the edge of a cliff, only two things can happen; He’ll either catch you when you fall or teach you how to fly.

Thanks for your comment peacebie - time does work wonders and he is coping better with the news of the masectomy than he did with the waiting for results. So am i if truth be told. Its good that the op is scheduled for the friday the girls break up from school for Whitsun - so there will be no rushing around organising school runs etc - the week after will be more leisurely.
So far we are quite chilled about the op. - Just need to reassure the Grils (Aged 13 & 15) This is the first weekend they’ve been away competing without either of us - and they are both quite tearful on the phone. Especially as people keep asking them how I am!!! All well meaning but my 15 year old doesn’t like talking about it or about eveyone knowing - So think we need to site quietly with her and talk.


My boys are 6 and 3 and really not much has changed around the house. My younger son asked me once if I was going to die and I said no. They tell my friends to give me soft hugs cause I have an injury and have been quite understanding that I can’t play as much with them. I just got back from dressing the wound and the doctor was very pleased it’s healing nicely.

Your girls are teenagers and as such more aware particularly with all that’s being talked about and potrayed on movies! It’s pretty frightening I must say. A talk will let her see its not as scary as it sounds.

Goodluck with everything. It gets better each day.


Thanks Peace

Am feeling absolutely positive today - sun shining - managed to get me head into gear to work - am self employed so haven’t felt motivated recently!!! But am getting as much out of the way before next friday that way I can relax for thenext week or so.
still trying to get daughter to open up - think she managed to talk to my brother over the weekend. Am trying to find other teenagers for her to chat to online maybe. What makes things worse I suppose, no matter how much I reassure her, is that last year a friend died from BC leaving a 16 yr old daughter. She did ask how I knew I wasn’t going to die? one of the hardest things to try to explain - think we got there though. She’s a bit like her dad in that she tries to shut it out and then it all burst out - me I find it easier to let it all go quickly.

We’ll get there with patience & time Im sure.

Now I undersatnd why she’s so worried. Wish you the very best. Tme heals all things.


thanks for your thoughts Peace it great to chat
Sun shining again today so think it will be another good day - hope yours is too

dear Leeshad

Haven’t quite caught up with where you are with surgery. If it has happened hope all is going well. My 18 year old boy couldn’t cope either with people asking how mum was or with cards or flowers. He began to cope a lot better when i had results and a treatment plan.
What i did was to keep a group of his friends parents informed as to what was happening by email and they facebooked him (he’d just started at uni). I know he kept in regular contact with one of them through that medium through surgery and results.

My daughter was also concerned about familial risk and I did have questions for the BCN about that fairly early in treatment
She was a little older than your daughters.


Hi leeshad
Please don’t forget that there are some men available to talk to via the helpline. This is the Partner Volunteer service and a matched partner can ring your OH and have a chat in complete confidence. You could ring BCC to set this up on his behalf, I am sure.

Hi Leeshad

My oh is notoriously private and I know he has cried on his own but mentioned it afterwards. I think that after 19 years together I know him pretty well but in some ways you will never change the character of someone.

I have talked honestly with himself and eventually he will come back with a response. Everyone responds and reacts at their own pace and level.

I hope you are doing ok.


Hi dawn flower - we’re getting there - im 2/3 way through chemo now - 4th one isa tough one so hes seen me a bit lower than previously and is manageign to ask if i need anything. I think he does keep a lot to himself thats just him… I’ve had my hissy fits with them all every now & again. Makes me feel better…then we level out and carry on…what more can you do life goes on. Im pretty much ok with everything and how its going. I think we’ll get there… I expect when the worst of the treatments over he’ll open up more.