After a cancer diagnosis, how you behave together as a couple may change. There may be changes in the roles each of you has in the relationship.
This can include how you divide up housework, financial and caring roles. If you have children, you will also be thinking about how this will affect them and how to deal with this.
These changes can be challenging for both of you. And it may change the balance of your relationship. It’s important to talk to each other about how you feel and what matters to you.
If you have cancer
During cancer treatment, you may need to take time off work. And you may not be able to do as much at home. Your social life may be affected too.
Doing things we are good at or familiar with makes us feel useful and positive about ourselves. If you’re not able to do these things for a time, it can affect your confidence. You may worry about losing control or losing your place in the family.
You may find it hard to accept support. Or you may feel frustrated or guilty about not being able to do more. You might push yourself to do more even though you don’t feel up to it.
If your partner has cancer
You may feel helpless or unsure about how to comfort your partner. You may be unsure about how you will manage with caring responsibilities.
There may be changes you need to make at work and at home. Juggling new roles and extra demands on your time can be tiring. You may struggle sometimes, especially if your own needs are not being met.
These are normal reactions. You are going through your own experience of the cancer even though it is not you who has been diagnosed. It is important to make time to look after yourself as well as your partner.
You will have a lot to cope with. It may help to draw up a list of priorities. Try not to become defined by your caring role. Be aware that it’s alright to ask for help for yourself as well as for your partner.