Living with cancer blog

Tips for cancer survivors on dating, new relationships

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. February 21, 2012

Let's talk about dating as a cancer survivor. Entering into a new relationship can be a challenge with or without a cancer diagnosis. Dealing with the emotional and physical changes that may have come with your cancer diagnosis can add to the situation. Many people find that dating after a diagnosis of cancer can be a much different experience than before a cancer diagnosis.

A few of the challenges might be:

  • Dealing with physical changes from effects of surgery or treatment
  • Living with fear of recurrence
  • How to tell someone new that you have a cancer history
  • Fear of a negative reaction
  • Changes in fertility
  • Sexual intimacy concerns

However challenging this is, you may also find that you have positive changes that may impact new relationships. These may include:

  • A new sense of knowing exactly what you want and need from a relationship
  • An appreciation of time spent with others
  • A renewed interest in establishing a long-term relationship with a life partner

You may be interested in dating again, but concerned about the first steps in meeting someone new. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Get involved in social activities in your community — taking that first step is important (art and music events, group outings, festivals, sporting events, etc.)
  • Talk to other survivors about their experiences with dating
  • If you have emotional concerns that have not been addressed, connect with a counselor or peer support group to work through any negative emotions and fears
  • Explore ideas on how you might communicate your history of cancer to a new person — practice with a friend who knows you well

Please share your experiences, ideas and thoughts on this topic with each other.

Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Feb. 21, 2012