You and your partner’s feelings
A diagnosis of cancer often means you’ll experience a wide variety of emotions. These may include shock, anxiety, sadness, relief, guilt, uncertainty, anger and – for some people – depression. You and your partner may have different feelings, and you may feel different things at different times.
Anxiety and uncertainty
You may be anxious about the future, the treatment and how you’re going to cope. When cancer is diagnosed, it can take away your sense of security and control. Feeling uncertain about the future can be one of the most difficult things to deal with. It can cause tension between you and your partner.
Some people deny what is happening and just want to carry on as normal. Doing this may give you some ‘breathing space’. But it can also stop you from getting the treatment you need. You may find that your partner is denying your illness. They may appear to ignore the fact you have cancer, perhaps by playing down anxieties and symptoms or by deliberately changing the subject.
Many people often feel irritable or angry during this time. Anger can hide other feelings, such as fear or sadness. You may direct your anger at your partner because you’re close to them. You may both feel resentful of the changes that the cancer has made to your lives.
Guilt and resentment
Sometimes people feel guilty about the changes their illness has brought. Your partner may feel guilty about not being able to manage or about feeling resentful and angry, even when they know it’s not anyone’s fault. You may feel guilty about not managing the changes that the diagnosis and treatment has brought on you and your family.
There may be times when you or your partner want to be left alone to sort out thoughts and feelings. It may help to reassure each other that even if neither of you wants to discuss your illness at that moment, you will talk about it when you’re ready.
Our information about the emotional effects of cancer includes ways to manage the feelings that a cancer diagnosis can cause.
We also have more information for those close to people affected by cancer about how cancer may affect their feelings.