Most of our partners are good people. They love us in sickness and in health. They love us when we’re young, and when we’re older, they love us even more. They love us through all the good times and the bad, through the lean years and the richer ones. They love us always and forever - just as we love them - always and forever.
If you are lucky enough to have found one of the “good guys” (or good gals, as gender is unimportant in this matter), I tip my hat to you and wish you well. I do hope you’ll decide to read further, as you might wish to share this information with friends who are not as fortunate as you.
In the years since my diagnosis, I’ve come to meet many women who must deal with cancer AND with a partner who is, at best, non-supportive, and often emotionally abusive. In just this past month, I’ve received letters from women who report that their partners are, respectively,
“sleeping in a tent in our backyard since I was diagnosed”,
“asked for a divorce because I am too sick to meet his physical needs”,
“is in complete denial of my illness and refuses to discuss it”,
“insists that I am pretending to be sick from chemotherapy and is becoming increasingly angry with me because I am not keeping up with the housework, cooking, etc.”
Letters like these break my heart. It’s not enough that we have to deal with cancer - some of us also have to deal with idiots.
My advice? Don’t kid yourself into thinking that any part of being non-supportive is okay. It’s not. If your partner is being a “jerk”, let him/her know that it’s not acceptable. Seek out help from a trusted ally: your minister/rabbi/priest/etc., an older and wiser family member, a therapist, your oncologist…have them sit your partner down and explain to him/her the “cancer facts of life”.
If this attempt doesn’t work, do what you have to in order to get through treatment with the LEAST amount of toxicity in your relationship.
If your partner is an idiot who won’t change, you have two choices: get rid of the idiot or accept that fact that the idiot isn’t going to change and live your life around him/her. . You really do need to focus all your energies on getting well. I hope you can, and I wish you great success. Never doubt that you deserve the best.