In the Journal, Cancer, they followed married and co-habitating women with cancer five years after recovery to see how the quality of their marriage affected them. Women in distressed relationships recovered more slowly and had more side-effects from treatment.
Dealing with illness as a team increases intimacy in couples, according to a study in The Journal of Social & Personal Relationships.
Illness is hard on the person going through it and upon their spouse, who may become a caretaker and will probably have more to do.
Stress definitely increases after illness hits and some marriages disintegrate.
A book that is often given to husbands of breast cancer patients is, The Breast Cancer Husband by Marc Silver.5 This book can educate your spouse about what you are going through, so you may choose to put it on the night stand.
It may also be wise to go to therapy together to make a plan to communicate and work through all the changes.
There’s also a movie called, 50/50 about dating with cancer written by Will Reiser, who had cancer.3 Recently there was the movie, The Fault in Our Stars, where two teens, both who have different cancer conditions, fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.4 What about those who are in a long-term relationship or married?
Common complaints from patients are that their partner doesn’t understand them, they don’t communicate and they aren’t increasing their responsibilities at home so that you can focus on your healing.
Research shows that the quality of one’s marriage affects the patient’s recovery.
Dating may involve time and energy that you’d rather spend on your own healing.
It could end in heartbreak and perhaps you feel that you’re already depressed enough.
Communication is important; 94% of cancer patients value the importance of their partner understanding their feelings.
One woman said that when her husband took an ‘I Can Cope Class’ this significantly helped their relationship.