Married but on my own

I was diagnosed in 2009 with HER2 breast cancer, ER and PR positive. Both breasts removed and reconstructed and have had chemo, radiotherapy and Herceptin. On Arimedex now.

Kidney cancer in 2015 - kidney removed and no further treatment required. It was not related to my breast cancer.

I have also last week fallen and broken my wrist.

Since my first mastectomy in December 2009 my husband has slept down stairs and comes to bed for five minutes in the morning for a reluctant cuddle. I eat my breakfast in the kitchen and he eats his in the lounge. Sometimes it is the same at dinner in the evening.

He watches sport / and news on the television as soon as we get home so I watch films in the study.

I hate being alone at night but he just won’t come to bed. He has not said he loves me. He doesn’t like touching me and I really think that he is waiting for me to die. I hear him laughing regarding something on Facebook or when he is talking to his friends or family. In fact he seems so happy when I am not in the room and he is grumpy when I am in the room.

I have told him how I feel but he won’t change. I am alone and think I will be better on my own completely where I have the choice of how many fruit and veg I should have a day and how close to the supermarket to park!

I have told him I want to look after myself so I don’t get cancer again and walk whenever I can but he doesn’t like walking and complains when I cook four different types of veg.

He never pays me a compliment anymore. We used to be so happy but these last 7 years have been the worst years of my life.

It is said that to be happy you should remove the negativity in your life and that to me is my uncaring, uncompassionate, unloving, dominating husband.

I can play the piano but have to put the headphones on so I don’t disturb him.

Sorry for the long moan and I know no one can tell me what to do but I wonder if there is anyone else that is in the same predicament.

In answer to your last question the simple answer is yes. I can’t help noticing a theme in your post - it seems to be all about him! His wants, his needs, what he likes or dislikes. What about what you like/need? The bottom line is that you can’t change him, you can only change how you act, and I emphasise the word “act” because at the moment you are “reacting”. Have a long hard think about what makes you happy and then put it into practice. Stop worrying about him for a while and put yourself first. Cook what veg YOU need - if he says “I don’t like these veg” just say calmly “oh don’t you” as though you are not particularly interested. Or if he says “you cook too many veg” again say “well just leave what you don’t want”. If you are driving the car, park where you like and cheerfully tell him to put a sock in it (in a non-aggressive way though). 


If your husband grumbles or sulks just ignore him because unless you change your responses he will continue just as he has been doing. Who knows, the ‘new you’ may make him sit up and take notice! Women spend so many years caring for other people that sometimes they forget to care for themselves. 

Oh mnc I really do feel for you. I could not have got through the last few months after being diagnosed with BC without the support & understanding of my husband. We do have our moments everything is not perfect. You say things like you can’t play the piano without headphones on as you’d disturb him - what would happen if you didn’t put your headphones on? I’m not trying to say you should antagonise him but maybe don’t always bend to his ways. You don’t need this stress & maybe you should put yourself first for a change. Have you got friends or family you can talk to or just to get you away from the situation occasionally? Sending the hugs that you deserve xx

So sorry to hear that you are having such a tough time, it sounds like you’ve had more than your fair share! It’s not easy to feel good about yourself when your husband is unsupportive and unloving, it hurts very much.  I started on the cancer road 4 years ago, and that’s when our marriage started to go downhill, a lot of the same things as you described. Until then we had been happily married for over 30 years. Then quite by accident we came across a newspaper article about adult Aspergers syndrome and realised that my husband might have that. He did an online test which you can find on the following link which showed that he probably did have Aspergers and then he was officially diagnosed. We are now receiving counselling to help us. If your hubby is willing to do the test it might help you too. You obviously still care about each other but it’s hard to move forward when you are hurting so much. There’s lots of info on the website so you could probably work out for yourself if he is or not.  Hope that your wrist soon heals. ?

Hi mnc


I get the impression that you are repeatedly asking your husband why he won’t cuddle you, why he won’t say he loves you, why he won’t come to bed, why he eats his meals elsewhere, why he doesn’t pay you any compliments etcetera. I can truly empathise with how frustrating it must be for you, however I strongly advise you to stop ‘asking’ why he doesn’t do these things. From his point of view you are badgering him and this is probably what he is hearing - “you can’t do anything right can you? You don’t make me happy. You’re a rubbish husband”. Sometimes when wives go on and on about things a man’s reaction is to withdraw even further (the exact opposite of what a wife is hoping to achieve). It won’t be easy and it may seem very unfair from your perspective but just try being silent on these issues for a while. Refuse to get sucked into arguments. Give both of you a break from all the soul-searching. The next time he comes up to bed and gives you that “reluctant” cuddle say “it makes me feel happy when you hug me”. When he does do something right, tell him! I believe that he will begin to respond in the way you desire once the pressure is off. He must care deep down or why would he still be with you? You state that you used to be very happy together. I think you can be again. Try what I have suggested. However if this doesn’t work then yes, maybe it is time to call it a day but it is your marriage and only you know whether it is worth salvaging. Nobody else, however well-intentioned, can make that decision for you.

Or maybe get an hour free legal advice and look at options of separating. What are you getting in this marriage that you want to remain in it? I know this is blunt but you sound in such a miserable place, why stay? 

Hi mnc,


i am sorry you are having a hard time and unhappy in your relationship. Was interested in what you say because, my own relationship(30 years) is quite stressful at times…some of my problems are the opposite, my partner is very helpful, in fact he sleeps downstairs because I cant sleep, he wants to do everything with me all the time and wont let me out of his sight…in fact he panics if we get separated when out shopping!


he seems just to want to live his life around me…my friend says im very lucky, but honestly, I often feel the need for a bit of space…just to be on my own for a while.  im not sure how long youve bern together…could it be that he feels he needs a bit of space at times. My partner isnt demonstrative or affectionate, but that is how he is.  The other thing is…I have realised that I am more intolerant of him since the cancer returned…and of course he is not going to change. Oh and he sits with his head in a crossword book…he has always been an introvert…could your husband perhaps be the same? Or has he completely changed in recent years.


the thing is…living on your own when you have this disease, isnt always easy.


thinking of you, Moijanxx

I wish you well with any decision you make. I did leave a lonely marriage (He was the only one allowed to be ill) and have thrived. I took sound advice from friends and took advantage of the free half hour advice available from many solicitors. The most helpful thing was to approach Relate. I went on my own and found the session really helpful in framing my thoughts. My ex wasn’t interested in coming along, which is what helped me make the final decision, as he clearly no longer wished to invest in our future. it was hard and friends got me through but I feel so much happier and content. Also lucky enough to have a wonderful new partner who hasn’t turned away from me now. X

Hi I know the feeling. I too am married but feel very alone. We live quite seperate lives. I want to leave but my husband has an illness so I can’t. I feel trapped. I feel for you. My husband did not support me  through my breast cancer . Today I had a strawberry tea party and raised £300  for breast cancer care .am so pleased that life can go on for a lot of us. I lost 4 family members to cancer and I am the next one along. But caught it early but have had 3 more scares. my husband moaned about me having my party but I ignored him. We all had a great time and had some fizz… I just want everyone out there to know that every day I think about anyone who has/had cancer. I am rooting for all of us. Cancer can make you feel alone. I am sorry to hear of your troubles but you are not alone you have all of us on this forum. Take care my thoughts are with you. Keep in touch if you want to.

Beardies that’s a brilliant sum raised. I’m so sorry you feel trapped also. It’s horrible thing to feel and it took a long time for me to feel able to leave, particularly due to his disability. Hugs to you xx

Dear mnc, My dear janey2 was strong enough to remove herself from her “lonely” marriage. To me - it says a great deal when a husband, your so called lifelong partner “through sickness and in health” etc, isn’t even INTERESTED to attend sessions at “Relate”. Janey2 so obviously wanted and still wished to work at her marriage. But . . her husband Sooooo obviously DID’NT - otherwise he’d have gone along to “Relate” with her. Taken some of the relationship probs onto himself and felt responsible - that a Yeh Janey ? I personally would have done the same thing and did do. Tho not with the much more difficult to break ties of marriage. It made me question - what is “the point” of being in a relationship, when your partner doesn’t “step up” for you when you are struggling with YOUR health, and you did/would have done everything you could for them !! Fortunately Janey has come out better for and from it - Yey Janey! She’s been very lucky tho’. 

It’s a frightening prospect, espesh when you’re older and may have kids involved. A very important phrase and word Janey mentioned was INVEST, “he no longer clearly wanted to INVEST in OUR future”. For any relationship to be succesful, it takes BOTH parties to want to invest in it to keep it alive, doesn’t it.

Mnc - Have you suggested attending “Relate” to him?? I also think it is more difficult for a male mind to ask for and accept help, espescially from an outside unknown source. But, I may very well be being very generalistic and sexist in that statement and wish no offence to the male species.  


Miojan - it humours me that you have the opposite prob YET you stress that he isn’t nor ever has been demonstrative or affectionate!! I don’t know which is worse of the two!! Maybe it’s an easy cop out for him. Maybe your intolerance is simply due to his lack of physical support and affection. After all, we all need physical warmth and affection, espescially when we’re going through a tough time, don’t we.  A kiss, touch or hug can say and mean soooo much more than any word(s) can say. Has he always been so lacking in physical affection Miojan? If so, how on earth did you go about courting and ever getting married??


“Through sickness and health” - my Mum “stuck” with my Dad after his stroke. She hated that he was a “changed” person from it ,mentally and personality wise and permanently disabled as well. Hated and bitter that their future had suddenly been upheaved. They had always been a very loving, devoted couple and fantastic parents. Took me a while to understand, come to terms with my Mums feelings and repeated complaints following his stroke. But, she stayed with him thru to his death - remained there. I don’t know if that was down to a love she still had for him as he “used” to be and the old “tradition” of marriage and sticking by her husband.  Or a fear to break away from it, the familiarity of it - perhaps better the devil she knew and all that. I don’t think she’d have been able to cope with leaving him in such later years. Would have been very messy, very disruptive. I think she basically just resolved herself to the easiest option - and complained about it to me, my bruv and friends. Not my Dads fault - Bless 'em both

BUT . . . none of you are in that same situation are you . . . you’re not disabled. Soooo, my thoughts are the same as Janey. Take any measure you possiby can or want to, to carry on making it work - BUT . . that takes BOTH of you to WANT to.

Loadsa love 

Dellywelly xxxx


A definite yeh, lovely Delly xx

Can somebody out there relate to what is happening to me. I am out of my mind with worry and anxiety. Yesterday morning after my shower I put both arms up and looked in the mirroor to compare my good boob and armpit to the op side. To my horror I noticed a raised,small patch of skin on my good side armpit. I dont normally look at it at all so not sure if it’s normally there. I can’t feel a lump under it but am now looking and prodding all the time. If I get hold of it which is impossible really it just feel a like skin,not solid at all and then it folds into the crease of my arm so I can’t see it. My friend who is the same age as me has shown me her underarm and it is exactly the same as mine. I am ringing my bc nurse first thing tomorrow but I have now gone through every scenario in my head. I feel sick,can’t eat or sleep. I am back to last April when newly diagnosed. I did ring the BBC helpline and she was very nice but I am now convinced something else is going on. I am oetrified6. If it was someonw else I would say well there is no lump underneath it, it’s fatty tissue, my friend has one , etc but I cannot convince myself! Please someone help me to deal with this terror!

AJT - I’m so sorry to hear you are so upset and worried. It’s Sunday - not a good day to be worried about ANTthing - cos everywhere is closed. I suggest you pick up the phone tomorrow morning and contact your GP, or better still, if you’re talking April THIS from your diagnosis, contact your Breast Care Team. If you’re talking April last year, your GP. But if you still have contact no’s for your BCT, call them instead.

I don’t really think you’re on the right thread here. You’d be better on another such as where you were on “Anxiety” lovey, or Just Diagnosed.

Love, hugs and wishing you well with finding out what your lump is.But let us know will you

Delly xxx 

Thanks Delly, I have calmed down a good bit now.Had a chat with a good friend who ripped off her t- shirt,lifted her arm up and showed me a very similar lump to mine. Same place,size and consistency. She said it’s menopausal flab! She hasnt had breast cancer either.Cheered me up anyway! It was April this year for diagnosis,etc. I am going to ring my bc nurse tomorrow at 9a.m. I am now sat in bed eating cocolate ,with a nice cuppa and my iPad…relaxing! Will deal with tomorrow ,tomorrow!!I am a worry guts but after this lot I am going into overdrive! Thanks again Delly Will let you know how it goes.Hope you had a good weekend. Sounds like Sue had a good time. She deserves some good quality time for herself after all she has had going on. Anyway take care Delly and Sue. Love Alison xx