just diagnosed

my partner of 5 months has in the past few weeks has been diagnosed with having breast cancer,since her diagnosis she has been pushing me away and my attempts to show affection,support and love seem to be driving us apart,how should i act with her to not push her away even further ?

Hi Chris,

Welcome to the BCC discussion forums, you’ve come to the right place for some good support for both yourself and your partner.

While you are waiting for replies I have put for you below the link to one of BCC’s publications you may find helpful, it’s aimed at partners of those with a BC diagnosis, I hope it helps. Also of you need to talk to someone in confidence, then please don’t hesitate to phone the helpline here, the staff are here to support you both through this.

In it together:

I hope this helps. Take care,
Jo, Facilitator

Hi Chris,

I’m not totally certain how to answer this as I am a BC sufferer, not a partner, but I know part of me also reacted like your partner.

I was so shocked and frightened that initially if anyone showed me too much affection I was scared I would fall apart. I know that if my partner wanted to give me a hug I resisted for fear of breaking down. I also initially felt it was MY problem and I was the only one who could get through it, not necessarily alone, but initially it was easier to deal with my emotions by myself, let alone sort out somebody elses.

This changed as it all sunk in, especially once surgery etc had started. All you can say to her is that you are there for her, that you are there when she wants you and is ready to talk.

thanks for your advice ruth,all i can do is take your advice and be there for her,thanks again and good luck

Hi Chris,

As a BC sufferer too I can echo what Ruth13 says. It was difficult to ‘keep it together’ and I too initially didn’t want too much ‘comforting’ for fear of total breakdown, again, MY problem and only I could get ME through it all.

Things also settled a bit more for me once I’d got my head around diagnosis and the treatment plan and what it meant for me. Only then could I have considered what it must’ve done to my partner, family and friends later on.

Both my Mother and younger sister finished their BC treatment 2 months before I was diagnosed, so I thought I was well placed to deal with the diagnosis - how wrong I was, I only had an insight into what was coming my way physically - the emotional upheaval was a complete shock to me, so I can understand where your partner is.

This may be a very difficult and testing time for you both now, you’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Just tell her that you’re there for her, that she may find it useful coming on here if she hasn’t been already, and you’ll get through the ups and downs together.
Hugs to you both x

hi beverlie,thank you for your reply it comes as a comfort to think maybe its her way of coping with the diagnosis and not wanting to end our relationship,i do find it very tough to come to terms with what she has been told and fear that it will drive us totally apart,would you have any suggestions as a BC patient as to how i should behave when i am with her ?,i only want what is best for her and to be the strength she needs,god bless x

That’s a really tough one, and only you can judge where your partner’s head might be, and it will change daily…

She’ll be emotionally upside down and I know initially I wanted it all… If my partner didn’t show support, he didn’t care, if he did, then he was smothering me. He couldn’t win at all in the beginning. Getting to grips with all the terminology and treatment plan was very personal for me and I thought that nobody could understand what I was going through, and no matter how supportive you want to be, unless you’ve got ‘it’, you don’t get it, and even then it is difficult. It is good to know that you care so much for her that you’ve come on here to help support her through this difficult time, but there is no easy answer. I’m not sure what the diagnosis was or if you have a treatment plan in place yet, but I remember the hellish roller coaster ride at the beginning and it is pretty difficult to hang on for a few weeks until things begin to settle.

You’ll just need to take one day at a time, give her space if she needs to cry, give yourself space if you need to cry too. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions in front of her, she may not realise how this affects everyone around her just yet. I think you just need to be there, and try not to worry too much about what you should and shouldn’t do, just being there, handing out tissues when needed, accompanying her to appointments, encourage her to come on here, tell her there are others on here who can allay fears and she is not completely alone, even though she may feel like it sometimes.

Good luck to you both and keep coming back on here as you need to, there’s plenty of amazing ladies, partners and families supporting each other on here.