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really affecting our relationship

48 REPLIES 48
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

that should read 'not' reglious.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

People, where is the love? Thankfully the messages of advice and support are now coming through for the chap who is in despair. Doesn't the bible say 'judge not lest ye be judged' ? Even if you are particularly religious (as am I) I wonder how many of us have prayed to get us through this?
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Hi JCJ
Wow such a warm and considerate response! It’s really very appreciated.
Life is still very up and down and there is still the uncertainty to deal with. Anyway, I guess I have to learn to live with this and accept that there will be lows as well as highs…
You are so correct about people reacting to their own issues and taking them out on somebody they don’t know. I do understand that extreme stress makes people lash out; it’s what’s happening to my wife. And I can deal with it when I’m feeling ok, but it’s hard to deal with when I’m not. I must say I really resisted posting some horrid messages back to those responses that hurt the most. I’m so glad I didn’t retaliate now, and I hope those people are in a better place and understand that every single person who is on this forum is affected by this life changing illness.
The thing I did find the hardest to deal with was the bullying behaviour, when people joined together in their attack, even recruited in supporters from outside the forum that hadn’t even read what I had said. This was hurtful and I hope the people that did this read what I’m saying now and consider restraining their hurtful attacks towards others asking for help. Anyway…
It’s great to know that you are doing better now, and thanks for the advice about concentrating on the moment and appreciating the simple things in life. I must say I’ve been trying to do the same. Anyway, once again many thanks for your concern and I wish you and your other half all the best xxx
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Many thank FurryBoots. Yes it’s a tough journey and I do understand why what I said was offensive to some, but as you said I was only asking for support and if those people reread my words they would see that I’m not that horrid person they think I am… anyway thanks for your concern and understanding xxx
JCJ Community Champion
Community Champion

Re: really affecting our relationship

Fantastic news PNTS that you have "support from someone who has been through it". There's nothing like sharing experiences with somebody who "gets it". That's why ao many of us use these forums.
Try to notice something to appreciate - however small or mundane - And take time to enjoy it -every day. I got through my worst moments, a year ago, by making myself notice and appreciate the birdsong, spring buds, blue skies etc.
I still do it now in moments of stress, even though the horror of BC has faded into the background now and life is getting back to normal - better in some ways than before! For one thing OH and I appreciate each other more!
I'm glad you have had more positive responses and are feeling better. I think some of the previous replies were from those so firmly on the MOHIAB bench (My OH Is A B*****d - see humerous BENCHLAND thread!) that they forgot you were hurting too! Being scared doesn't give us the right to be abusive but it does sometimes make it hard not to be!!
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I've just read this thread and have been shocked by some of the responses P recieved. If someone is asking for help we should try to understand and offer support and guidance. Please be nice, cancer hurts everyone! Ladies may find some of P's comments insensitive, but the man is in distress and is being honest about how he feels and seeking help! Thankfully some people have shown understanding and offered useful advice. P I wish you and your wife all the best and hope you both get the support you need and have the strenght and love for each other to get through this horrid disease xx
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

That is good that you are feeling a tiny bit better. Just take it nice and steady and do not expect too much of each other. I am so pleased that you have organised the Counselling as I am confident that this will help you to put everything into perspective. Yes you are right to put your first few experiences on here right behind you. I always feel that emails and texts can be read very differently by some , so we have to be careful and not take everything to heart. This is a very caring community and we are all trying to help you. I hope your wife is not feeling as scared and that you continue to offer her your love and support that she deserves. Lots of love to you both Tracy xxx
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Hi Tracy and others…

Many thanks for your concerns, and yes it’s a little better today thanks.

I must say I’m finding this journey rather tough (and I know my wife is having its 100% worse). One thing that I think I’m struggling with is talking to people about this. I have digested lots of what many have said here, (some good and some bad) and to be honest I’m feeling better than I did about the inconsiderate responses. I understand that people bring their own pain to this and reacted to my post negatively without knowing me or what I was saying. They chose to ignore some of the things I said that were positive, asking for support and feeling very confused about everything and chose to focus on the negative things I said. But I suppose if they met me in person things would be different, I mean everybody is affected by this in different ways… if anybody is reading this that did get angry with me for what I said, just please think about how your words are affecting others before you decide to take it out on them. I was feeling VERY low, when I posted what I said and without knowing my situation kicking somebody when they are down and asking for support isn’t very constructive is it, even ganging up to strengthen your kicking does seem like school ground behaviour… Anyway, I don’t wish to focus on that and I will leave it there…

Anyway I’ve organised counselling and sorted out some support from somebody who has been through this, so I’m hoping to put things into perspective and deal with some of my issues.

Many many thanks for those that have taken the time to reply, it does mean a great deal to me. Warmest regards

J

Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

How are things with you and your wife PNTS ? You have gone quiet on us and I hope that means that you are keeping busy and getting along okay together. It will take time and you both may need to change your outlook on life , but hang on in there I am sure you will get through it. A Cancer diagnosis changes us all in some way . Sending you positive vibes. Tracy x
jmr
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

There seem to be few we threads re affecting our relationship as mine has appeared on a different one to Janes the gremlins seem to be at work again
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I'm noticing that many of us who are telling you that you are ok for venting are some of the Old Timers. We've been there, we have the t-shirts, and looking back we can see more clearly not just what your wife is going through, but what you are too. God knows how my husband hung in there, but I'll bet there were plenty of times when he felt like you did. It's not so easy to tell someone she's gorgeous, or that you love her, and have her fling it back at you. I agree with GI Jane that you should try to take what you think helps from these posts and discard the rest. Some of my breast cancer friends and I remind ourselves from time to time "IFHC" (I f===ing hate cancer) 'cause it does screw up your life, it's not easy, and it's not easy for your husband and children either. Call the breast cancer care help line--they are absolutely amazing, and PLEASE keep talking to us if you need to. We know (DON"T WE, LADIES AND GENTS???) how important it is to find a space where we can vent our fears and our trials without making our partners suffer--this is that space, isn't it--I know I need it to be. Hang in there, if you can. It will get better as you both get your heads around this scary new world.
jmr
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Dear pnts Ithink I understand what you are going through.As I have had breast cancer and know how angry it made name and still does at times.Now unfortunately my husband has bladder cancer and I now realise what he must have gone through as he too gets angry and sometimes says things he doesn't mean but I know he isn't angry with me but at the cancer and all the s... Treatment he has to have before surgery which will be a lot more life changing than mine was.My advice would be to cut her some slack and remember its not you she's angry with but you are there so she directs it all at you.I sincerely hope you can get through this and be strong for each other tell her how you feel asI didn't realise how much others suffered as I was so wrapped up in myself good luck to you both xxx
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Hi PNTS

What I also hear from your post, PNTS, is that you love your wife and that you are desperate. I couldn't agree more with the statement "Sometimes we work out how we feel by saying (or writing it)". You have reached out for support and I hope that you receive it, whether it's from this forum or elsewhere.

Some of the previous replies to you here make me sad. I am saddened to think that if my own husband or a spouse/partner of any of my friends with breast cancer sought support here that they would be met with such judgemental responses.

Personally I wish you and your wife all the best and I hope you find a way through all this.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Third time lucky! I posted twice yesterday in reply, but both disappeared into the ether.

There's a lot of pain on this thread, which is sad, because the forums should be a place where we can all say how we feel without having to censor or worry that we haven't put it beautifully, or worry that we have sounded selfish. Sometimes we work out how we feel by saying (or writing it)

What I hear from your post, PNTS, is that you love your wife and that you are desperate.

Like Mazzalou, my OH was a gift. Not only did he do all the above, I knew, very deep down, that it didn't matter if I was bald, boob-less (and potentially fat), I was still loved. I can't find the words to tell you how important that was. It made the times when he got it wrong or didn't understand unimportant or something to laugh about.

I think the affect of BC on sex lives is really awful. When you've had a partial or complete mastectomy, you don't feel sexy, you feel mutilated (even if the scar IS fantastically neat!) When you have no hair (or are expecting to have no hair) you don't feel sexy. When your eostrogen levels are virtually eliminated, sex is a word you can hardly remember how to spell.... At the stage your wife is at, she is getting her head round having a condition from which she might die, and if she doesn't, the treatments are not pleasant. Reaching out to anyone else whilst this is being processed, is a tall ask . Your wife won't yet know how things are going to be in your bedroom after all this - and, whilst it's important, it's probably not as important as "am I going to survive"??? There is so much more to marriage than sex. As someone said, one of the bottom lines is "be kind to each other". You can also look for (and acknowledge) the things you admire in each other, rather than what annoys or hurts.

Love is not a feeling, it's a choice. There are times in many marriages when one or other partner will have to choose to love and keep loving even though they are hurt/misunderstood/whatever... and the feelings come back into line afterwards.

PNTS, there are some wise, measured relies to you on here - please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater... There is also some wisdom in some of the replies you don't like. I'm sorry for the anger that came your way too..

Several people have suggested finding someone to talk to - be great if you can BOTH do that....

Hang on in there.....

Jane
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I just want to let you know how my husband reacted to my BC diagnosis 2 years ago, 4 years after he had a cardiac arrest and was defibrillated back to life in the middle of the main road where I live. He was actual driving at the time, but luckily we had stopped at the traffic lights when he suffered ventricular fibrillation. We were on our way to Papworth for his 12 week check-up after his quadruple bypass and it was only the fact that I called 999 and the ambulance crew were there within minutes to shock his heart back that saved him so between us we saved his life. He now has an internal defibrillator, and although he has also had 3 hip replacements over the years I have never once heard him complain.
When we got home again from being given my diagnosis I looked at him and he just crumbled and said to me 'but you are never ill'. All that was going through our minds was the fact that I had been told I had breast cancer and that I was going to die. That is probably exactly what your wife is thinking now and that she has just been handed a death sentence.
My BCN told me that they would get me through my breast cancer and 2 years later they have, but who was it who sat with me through every single chemo session, my 15 daily radiotherapy sessions, my herceptin sessions for a whole year, my constant trips to hospital for ops and appointments for CT scans, MRI scans, MUGA scans etc etc, my trip to the hairdresser to have my head shaved - the list is endless - yes my husband. It is only now that I realise how very difficult it must have been for him to sit there and watch me in the MacMillan unit taking my treatment, watching the staff play 'hunt-the-vein' until I had a port fitted, and so on, whereas for me it was just a case of getting on with it and seeing my treatment through. Anyone who loves someone so much would much rather go through the treatment themselves than watch their loved one endure it.
2 years on I am out the other side of my treatment but my journey through it would have been so, so lonely and infinitely harder if I hadn't had the love and support of my husband, the rest of my family and my friends and colleagues. Getting through your breast cancer treatment is very much a team effort. Hard enough when you are part of a team, but devastating to endure without the backing of your partner. Remember that life and loving is about taking the rough with the smooth. Yes it is rough now, but it won't always be and if you really, really love your wife you will know that you can't take away the pain and suffering, but you can share the burden with her and be there for her, now and when she comes out the other side of her treatment. No partnership is without its ups and downs and this is one major down, but I am sure that all the ups are worth staying for.
You are both in this together and you should be talking in terms of 'Us'.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Roadshow what a lovely post
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

We humans are designed with a fight or flight instinct and, if it is easier to run away most people do. It is only when someone is backed into a corner they fight. I totally understand someone wanting to get out, just walk away from such an awful situation but in my view when you become someone's husband or wife you take vows and walking away from your sick wife - whilst of course an option - can't be the right one.

We - my wife and I - are now 6 months on from the initial diagnosis, when we were at the stage where prefernottosay is now it was extremely hard, we argued a lot, there was a lot of anger on both sides about the situation and towards each other but as you settle into the new normal things get better and life goes on. Shortly before my wife's diagnosis I also watched helplessly as my mum died of ovarian cancer so what I know is it is completely different going through it as a partner. True friends will still be friends, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters will still be thus; but the relationship between husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend will significantly change.

You wrote 'when I mention anything about me' I would say she sees you as being insensitive because her perception is most likely 'why bother her with your insignificant problems when she has this going on'. This is a tough one because that's who you turn to when you have a problem, isn't it - your partner, that's why we get married so we have someone to share both the good and the bad - so who do you turn to? I think this may be why people end up having affairs because they seek someone else out to talk to.

Ultimately, what both of you need to be accomodating of is you are BOTH stressed about this. Stress is very difficult to identify in yourself and whilst everyone is rallying around your wife you have probably been left to fend for yourself. On realising this I found something to do on my own to relax, personally I go to the cinema - 2 hours away from the world can do wonders. Find someone to talk to about how you are feeling who knows you so they have some context to the challenges you personally face - but not another woman! When your partner is scared, angry, tired or all at the same time she will lash out - that's stress. Don't rise to arguments, be patient with her, there is nothing wrong in saying "I know this is the cancer talking, lets talk about this and try and work something out - together".

I don't know how things will pan out but I won't be leaving my wife. I said for better or for worse and I meant it. I said forsaking all others and that includes myself. I do understand what you're going through and hope you both get through this together.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Dear PNTS, your wife is still at the early stages of her treatment. I don’t know what has caused the venomous comments or nastiness. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any of that myself so can’t imagine how hurtful or damaging that is. But I am sorry to hear about it and I imagine it’s not very pleasant to live with. I know I’ve lost a stone in weight (I'm 6.5 stones), my hair is on its way out, and I’ve lost a top front tooth all thanks to chemo. Hmmm, my appearance is rather inexplicable at the moment but my husband still greets me with the words ‘hello gorgeous’ when he gets home from work and then we both laugh at the ridiculousness of that statement. However much you feel attacked, please try to find it within yourself to remind your wife that you’re on her side, however difficult it gets. She may be trying to test you as she has a suspicion you’ll bail on her and perhaps feels it would be easier for you to do so sooner rather than later. All of that is pure conjecture. But it does sound like you need support, as does she. Have you spoken to Macmillan? They could offer you both some support. Your wife could speak to someone who has undergone treatment for a similar diagnosis; it’s what they call a peer service. You could also speak to someone. Try not to let the cancer become bigger than your bond as that would be a real tragedy. Also try to do something small each day that will remind your wife you’re in her corner. A few chocolates, a bunch of daffs, her favourite tipple, anything to let her know you’re thinking about her when you are apart. I wish you both lots of luck fighting this insidious interloper and hope that you come out the other side stronger, more in love and with a deeper sense of respect for one another.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Deleted
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Hi Jane

I'm really sorry about your post disappearing. I'm afraid some posts on the forum do seem to be disappearing and we are not sure why. I actually lost one myself today so I can understand how frustrating this is.

Best wishes Sam, Facilitator

Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I posted a long post, which wasnt offensive in any way, and it seems to have disappeared!

What a lot of pain....

PNTS, what I heard you say loudly was that you love your wife and are worried and want help. This forum should be a place where any of us can try to say how we feel, without being in fear of not expressing things perfectly or having things thought through....

I think the sex thing is very difficult. When you have lost part or all of a breast, you feel mutilated and not sexy. You have to come to terms with your body (if you ever do). Getting your head round a diagnosis which may lead to your death and the treatment to try to avoid that, is jolly hard. Having anything left to "give out" may not happen! My OH was a gift (is a gift) because I knew deep down that even if I was bald, boob-less and likely to be fat, I was still loved. I can't tell you how important that was. With the change of body image, self esteem, lack of estrogen, sex is likely to not be a priority for a LONG time! Some of us mind that, and some of us are beyond minding that, but are concerned for our husbands. From my perspective, lack of sex is not a rejection, and marriage is about so much more than sex. It's about sharing the ups and the downs, and it's not about having the right partner, it's about BEING the right partner.

It seems to me that love is a verb, not a feeling. It is a choice. We have to choose to love when our partners are being unreasonable. Choose to love when we don't feel like it. Choose to love when we really don't want to put the bin out AGAIN ( or whatever). It's a choice we make daily, and the feelings come into line afterwards. We won't always get it right, but love covers a multitude of sins.... We can also choose to look for what we admire in the other - and affirm that (rather than focus on what annoys/hurts us). We ALL have a fundamental need to be loved and accepted.

I'm sorry you have been hurt by the comments to your question. I'm assuming that you wouldn't have thought of leaving your wife if you weren't desperate. There are some very measured and wise responses on here too, and even some of the responses you don't like, have good advice in them. Please hang on in there with your wife and with seeking for support. Someone suggested counselling - give it a go.... and thank you for being honest enough to share your heart on here....

Jane
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

PNTS, you seem to be hearing only what you want to hear, just because people are being blunt does not mean what they're saying isn't true. You should be really taking on board what's been said and having the grace to admit that you're in the wrong. Kevin's said nothing wrong and doesn't need to "live with himself", he was being honest, if you only want people to say "poor you" then i'm afraid you've come to the wrong place, if you ask a question you should be prepared to hear some things you may not like. I would have been devasted if my husband had posted something like that, ask yourself how your wife would feel if she read it, ask yourself how you would feel if you were ill and she was considering bailing out? You're obviously scared to death yourself, of course you are but i'm afraid you do have to put your feelings aside, there's no point being defensive, you need to accept what people have said, we can't all be wrong. You quite clearly said that 8 weeks on from diagnosis you were considering leaving your wife as you couldn't put up with her moods, you ask if her being vicious is normal, some people will cry, some will shout and scream, some will say nothing, whatever it is, you have to be there and like it or not, you do have to man up. As a previous poster said, you exchanged marriage vow, "In sickness and in health, for better for worse". I do hope you're more than a fair weather husband.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Well said Tracy x
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Morning everyone,
I hope this beautiful sunshine is making us all feel much brighter. Sending PNTS and his wife my love, gentle hugs and positive vibes to get through this. I personally know that I made my husbands life very difficult after the Cancer treatment had ended . The Chemo sent me into an early menopause and the Tamoxifen was the last blow to my brain that made me feel very very depressed. My hubby was wonderful, he took all the flak that I threw at him and took me off to the GP for help. I had suffered with post natal depression when our daughter was born 20 years ago so he knew the signs. Then the Oncologist sent me for Counselling with the Cancer psychologist and that really helped me, along with the antidepressants which I still take. My body craved oestrogen which interacts with serotonin in the brain and made me feel dreadful. There are lots of articles on the internet about this subject.
I just wanted to say I know we all have a different outlook on life , the world would be a very boring place if not , but I believe you need to go back to basics and learn how to love the woman that you fell in love with . Go oiut this weekend and rediscover the things that you both enjoy, the simple pleasures in life. Dont sit around feeling sorry for yourselves. As part of my therapy I went for a walk round the block every single day , come rain or shine. Get out in the fresh air and see nature at its best as spring does finally come to Derbyshire this morning and we have just had a pretty song thrush on our bird table and blue tits feeding greedily on fat balls. Life is worth living we just have to try much harder after a Cancer diagnosis.
We do know how you feel and we want to help you , but you must help yourselves as well. Love Tracy xxx
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Hi all

Please remember to follow the Breast Cancer Care community guide lines, specifically points 1 and 2 which are titled 'be kind to each other' and 'Celebrate difference and disagree respectfully'.

The guidlines can be found here: http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/community/forums/community-guidelines-please-read-0

As these guidlines state, the forums are not the place to make personal attacks on an individual so please take care when posting.

Regards Sam, BCC Facilitator

Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Just to throw my two penny worth into the ring, for many of us who are going through / have had treatment, our partners have been supportive and looked after us every step of the way. Unfortunately, its not the same for everyone. Prefernot to say’s post has so many ‘I’s in it! There is no ‘I’ in team! Things could so easily have been the other way around. What if you were the one to be ill? Would your wife have been running for the hills? How would you have felt about that?
To be thinking about leaving seems very callous to me. Of course you are scared, but how much more scared is your wife?! This time is a period of adjustment and a time for you to be strong for her, not putting your own needs first. Its just not right! There are lots of places you can go to to get support enabling you to support her. Phone the BCC helpline, contact macmillan, go to your GP. Just please put her first and take each day as it comes.
Highlighted
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

It is a real shame that prefernottosay saw responses that didn't accept his reasons for feeling let down by his'petrified' partner as more venom... I think as long as everyone including his partner agrees with his points of view then he is prepared to be of support, otherwise he decides to react and throw his toys out of the pram.... I think the problem may lie there.
I think the responses from most of us seem to support his partner, due to us living parallel lives as she does, and due to fully understanding that we may all have morphed into people/personalities that even we don't recognise since this awful disease entered our lives.
The men that replied speak from personal experience of how they support their loved ones and however much they too may be on the receiving end of some irrational behaviour, they believe their role is to 'roll with the punches' and help their partner to get through it all.
I hope he does decide to come back, and benefit from personal situations that ladies on here live with every day, it might make him more understanding and supportive to his partner in her darkest moments,which I know she will have many of.
One last thing I'm sure she would feel very upset to read what he really thought of her, and I'm unsure if it would be advisable for her to see these posts, one because she would be heartbroken that he saw her fear as viscious, and two when he said 'would it be better to leave her' because she doesn't show him enough love.....I think it could put his marriage into overload.
Maggie
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

KevinJ
You obviously find fighting preferable to intelligent conversation. I find your manor offensive and if struggling not to be offensive back. If you read my post you will see that I’m
‘m in a great deal of pain and I came to this forum to ask if anybody else was in the same situation as myself. I didn’t ask for people to attack me, I didn’t ask for sympathy, I didn’t ask for angry unhelpful people to attack me. you don’t even know me, you don’t know how loving I am, you don’t know how much I love my wife, you don’t know how depressed I am! You have no idea, you just decide to make massive assumptions and like a small child attack with your bully friends! Anyway, this evening I’m feeling a bit stronger than when I posted this, the roller-coaster is in a different place, but if you keep up your offensive language I really hope you can live with yourself! I haven’t the energy to fight at the moment, but it seems you have!
Oh and dont call me mate!
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Well said Kevinj
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Do you think your comment is helpful? Just take one moment to think that others are suffering through this desperate journey too!!!f
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Re: really affecting our relationship

And it is still poor me think about your lady mate sorry you didn't get the support you expected, let me tell you these ladies support each other and their partners beyond anything you could ever imagine, evryone on this site feels the pain of this disgusting disease and yet still find time to support their fellow sufferers, you my friend need to give your head a shake and grow a pair and stop the self pity.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I’m glad you amended your reply, (that said I didn’t see the original) but it seems clear that you find more comfort in kicking somebody when they are down than offering some semblance of support. My comment was made in utter despair, I’m finding this very very difficult and your flippant comments only made things worse. After all we are all suffering, aren’t we, please don’t take your anger out on me!
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Have you discussed this forum with your wife? I think it would be good for her to see the comments left by other posts. It may help you to chat about how awful you are both feeling and for her to see that you are needy and vulnerable. If she loves you as deeply as you say you love her then she will forgive you and want to sort everything out. Nobody said this life was going to be easy and the sooner we learn that one the better. Talk to one another, no shouting and swearing, just calm loving thoughts and you will get through this , you just need to be strong together. Take Care Tracy x
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

very very sad......its all i can say (my mum also taught me to say nothing if i couldnt say anything nice!)
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Re: really affecting our relationship

I can see that I have sparked up some painful transference issues here. I understand that what I said, (whilst feeling totally awful) has upset some people to a point of attack and I’m sorry for that, but none of you know my situation, not of you know just how much I’ve been trying, just how much my wife means to me and how devastated I’m am by this! I may be naive, but I didn’t expect such cutting vicious responses. I suppose I thought I when I posted this to ‘Family, partners and friends’ that I would be talking to supporters (partners) not suffers of this terrible disease, but it appears that all I’ve got was more venom from suffers themselves! Anyway, I can see that this isn’t a place for support and I will not be returning for a kicking whilst I’m down!
That said, many thanks for the few people that did recognise that I’m struggling ( Peachez, Cybele and JCJ) and deep thanks for your kind supportive responses. I’m very grateful for your kindness…
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

deleted as PNTS is not coming back and to be honest my reaction was emotional as I placed myself in mrs pnts and was upset for her.
Am reminded why I dont use the forums so much anymore.
all the best
JCJ Community Champion
Community Champion

Re: really affecting our relationship

Reading this thread has made me wierdly grateful that my OH badly broke his leg just 6days after my BC dx. It turned us BOTH into both carer and patient and enabled us to be angry at the world TOGETHER rather than at each other. I don't think my OH would have coped half so well with my treatments if he hadn't been able to view them so clearly from my point of view. The opposite is also true - I understood his frustrations better from my new viewpoint too! It also stopped me from leaning on him more than he was able to take!

We repeatedly had to remind each other of the positive things and to remember not to take out our frustrations on each other. Maybe you need to calmly and gently tell your wife that you want to support her, that you are trying your best, but that you are frightened too and that her snapping at you doesn't help either of you. LET her be angry, scared, frustrated, determined, terrified for the future, upset, mourn her lost femininity, and every other emotion under the sun. She WILL feel them all, but remind her it's not your fault (OR HERS!) and that you are in it together.

It WILL get better. There is something in the phrase "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and the same goes for relationships! Give each other time and patience.

I wish you both all the best through the hideous experience that is BC. Just remember, you are not alone and the majority of ladies survive BC and continue to live a (slightly altered) healthy life.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Well said Kevinj I am sure there are a lot o people thinking exactly the same. X x
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I seem to be in a minority on here when it comes to dealing with the feelings of partners, from this and other threads, and I fullly respect other peoples views, but I do find it sad that so many commenters seem to expect that partners, going through this with them, should automatically be able to suppress all their own feelings of fear, panic, weakness and need for comfort, and rush to judgement on any man (or woman) who is honest enough to admit to their failings and ask for advice.

Yes, we need our partners to support us and be strong when we are feeling so vlunerable , terrifed and demented, particularly in the first few months after diagnosis, with ther terrible physical and mental assault we're facing, but expecting our partners to be 100% perfect is unrealistic. There are very few saints out there, and expecting your partner suddenly to become a paragon of virtue, and never admit that they are finding it hard to cope, too, seems short-sighted to me.

I admire you for your bravery in coming on here and admitting how desperate you are feeling. Youe wife is obviously feeling a hell of a lot worse, but vicious verbal attacks can be very hard to cope with, and you're not made of steel. There is a great deal of anger that courses through you in this situation, and it's only natural that you take it out to some extent on the people who are around you must, but nobody should be expected to become a permanent whipping boy.

My partner has been great - he couldn't have been better, and I have been very, very lucky. I was desperately worried after I was diagnosed as to how this might affect our relationship, which is only of 2 years' standing, but I have really tried to remember, even in extremis, that my partner still needs love and affection and looking after, too. He's not a saint, or a nurse, he's just a man who's also been hit with a big, unwanted, shocking life change who's struggling to do his best, and if he stumbles, I don't go mental about it. If he needs time to himself to regroup, then fine. If he gets down, then I try and do something nice for him - he's doing SO MUCH for me, why shouldn't I do things to make him feel better, too? This whole situation is not just about me - we have a life to live afterwards, a relationship to take forward, and relationships need to be nurtured. Looking after him is in my own best future interests, too. Yes, my needs take priorty for now, but it would be foolish to forget that he continues o have needs, too.If you suddenly make it all about the needs of only one person, over a long period of time, however difficult the situation, then it's dangerous.

The needs of carers in general, not just in a cancer situation, often get very much neglected, because everything is about the patient, and the patient gets all the attention from other people, while the carer labours on the background, being expected to be on top form because, well, they're not ill, are they?

But carers can suffer from exhaustion, and depression, and feeling that their lives have been taken by this illness, of whatever nature, too. Our motto as a couple, both in a second marriage, so battle-hardened from our previous mistakes, and both very committed to getting it right this time, is 'Above all else, be kind to one another' - which is pretty much the best life rule you can follow in general, I think. Your wife can't do that right now, for very understandable reasons, and it sounds as if a lot of her anger about the situation is being directed at you; this anot a good situation to be in, and I agree with the poster above who suggested counselling - that could really help both of you in a situation which you need to do something about before it becomes even worse,

I had some counselling for the first time, shortly after being diagnosed, when I was feeling fairly demented and struggling to cope with the fear and anger, and was terrified about how this was going to affect our relationship, and it helped me ENORMOUSLY. I was counselled by someone at the Haven Breast Cancer Support centres, who has counselled innumerable women through breast cancer, and hers was a wise, calm voice that helped me to cope, and helped me to think straight at a time when my mind wasn't functioning well. I know they also offer support, including counselling, for the partners of people with breast cancer, and I believe the Maggie's Centres also ofer counselling and courses.

It sounds as if you're doing your best in a nightmarish situation (and we're all in a nighmtarish situation), coming on here to ask for help shows that - anand d your best is all you can do. I wish you the very best going forward. I so hope you and your wife can find way to get though this, and come out of the other side together.

Caroline xx
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Goodness 8 weeks since diagnosis and asking if you should leave....I think there is more going on here.
You have to be honest and decide if you are the right person for the job!... if I was diagnosed and then had to deal with a partner who couldn't deal with me because I'm viscious with my tongue then I'm sorry to say I would probably be very vicious and tell you to jog on.
Ask yourself these questions
1. How would I react being told I have cancer? Would you be exactly the same or scared?
2. Was she always viscious with her tongue before cancer, if she was then why are you still there and if she wasn't then can you not accept its out of character and cut her a bit of slack?
3. Sex.... Is the last thing on her mind, so have you been pressurising her into having sex, hence her cutting remark you have the snip.
4. Are you angry that she is not there for you now and you resent her.
On a positive note you do say 'we' for chemo and that does show great support. But to be honest if this is the first time in your marriage you feel unsupported then I think you are going to have to take a lot more sh*t, and if you are already looking for an escape route then you need to leave her so she can arrange for her friends and family to support her.
I know you are looking for support too, maybe try a male support group, or find a man whose wifewent through this god awful disease and you might then realise its gonna be tough!

I hope she gets the support she needs, and I hope you have the strength to give it to her.
Maggie
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

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Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Prehaps at least one of you needs to go to counselling? Your wife is obviously very angry at her cancer and it has either unleashed a lot of issues she's been holding in, or she's using the only outlet she can find. She is probably terrified - i know i was - it's immensly stressfull to be terrified all the time you are awake and the only relief is sleep.

Sadly, it's more than a few marriages that can't stand the strain. Maybe a sign that there was far more wrong with those marriages than the illness. Think hard before you use this as an excuse to leave, and if you do, then be honest about the reason and don't use this as a scapegoat. The only reaction your wife needs to the Vasectomy question is "of course, we'll go see the Dr..." who would probably suggest leaving it til after her treatment anyway, but would calm your wife and give her the reassurance she's looking for that you value and respect her. (Your Gp will be able to refer you to the counselling too).

You don't mention her or your age, or if you already have children or even want any etc. This could all be nagging away at her. How long have you been together? your wife needs you to be her very best friend right now, with no expectation of ANYTHING at all in return. Please be her FRiEND first, and hopefully you'll be her husband still in future. It IS hard to watch someone you love going through this, but it must be harder still to walk away if indeed, you really do love her?
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Carrie35, I think you should be awarded the Nobel peace prize for your post above. Meanwhile, I'm following my mothers advice and saying nothing more.
Jlr
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Well said Tors x
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Tors, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that x
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

I've edited my original response as I was blunt with my views on the first post. However, the general gist was that I wasn't very impressed with the idea of a husband talking about leaving his wife 8 weeks after her cancer diagnosis because HE was finding it hard going.
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Yes it's absolutely normal and she's feeling dreadful at the moment and lashing out at you. She is not thinking straight, she will be going from one emotion (I am going to be all right and beat this to this is going to kill me and take me away from those I love) to another especially at night in the early hours when she might wake up. No matter how close family and friends are they don't know what to say and sometimes the comments made just push a nerve and really upset. Things like you are going to be fine, it could be worse it could be..... All push buttons. You have to be going through this to understand. The jibe about a vasectomy will come from the fact that she might feel that being on the pill has caused this ( read the label in the packet)she might be feeling guilty that she did this to herself and certainly if her cancer is hormone receptive she will want to stop taking it. The idea being that if she can reduce the oestrogen in her body (this is wy tamoxifen is given) as the tamoxifen will hinge on to cancers attracted by oestrogen. So certainly she will be wanting you to take responsibility now rather than putting more chemicals into her body and messi with her hormones. Coming to terms will cancer is an emotional rollercoaster but it will get better and she will come through this. She's a bit raw at the moment you will need to read the signs carefully and know when to say nothing and just offer a hug, when to slope off and leave her and when to talk to her and reassure that you still love her regardless and you are there and always will be there. I am sure things will improve x
Member

Re: really affecting our relationship

Hi prefernottosay

Welcome to the BCC forum where I am sure you will find support from other members. While you are waiting for some replies I thought our publication "In it together" might be helpful. I have attached a link:

http://www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/sites/default/files/in_it_together.pdf

You might also find it helps to talk things over with one of our helpliners. The opening times are 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays. The number is 0808 800 6000

Take care

Very best wishes

Janet

BCC Moderator

Member

really affecting our relationship

My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 weeks ago and it’s really been a terrible roller-coaster of a journey! She has had a lumpectomy and is still to find out if we need to go for chemo or not.
This journey is really affecting our relationship. It first got us very close, we talked a lot and I did my very best to be supportive (she even said just how much this has showed here that I love her) but… I’m doing my best to keep up sprits, trying to be positive, letting her talk about anything she wants to, I’ve been trying so hard to give her the support she needs, but when I mention anything about me she gets very vicious! There have also been some VERY bad times. She is making big changes to her life and it feels like I’m not part of that. She says that sex is of the cards (which I understand in the short term) but saying that the only way she will make love again is if I have a vasectomy, she has done the contraception for too long and it’s my turn! I’m feeling she really would be better off without me as I’m really taking this venom very badly! I love her so much, but it feels like I’m being used and not wanted!
I suppose I’m feeling very upset by this, I’m having to watch my life long partner suffer, I’m very worried about how she is going to react to the drugs and even though I love her so much she is saying so very hurtful things and expecting me to take it! Is this normal? Are there any guys out there that had this?
I’m not sure I can take this for the year of treatment, I really don’t want to leave here but I’m not going to just keep taking this very hurtful stuff! I need her to be loving, intimate and willing to talk about our problems. I could cope with this if she just let me know that she loves me and didn’t just want me for what I can offer her materially.