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Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

21 Jan 2018 21:14

So my bf was diagnosed with cancer about a week ago. I reassured him that I wasn't going to leave him that I love him & that I will be there for him thru it all. He started distancing himself from me but he would still respond to me when I messaged him. Last night he told me he was sorry that he's in pain &feels regret. I tried to get him to talk to me about how he feels & that i wanted to see him but he said no that he just want to be alone & needs distance that he was sorry. So i told him that I'm still here for him & that I love him. Shortly after that I had seen he had blocked me from Instagram. I still have him on fb & I see that he still posts. I don't know how to feel about the whole thing. All I want to do is be there for him but I don't want to push him to much. It's been so hard idk what to do.

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

23 Jan 2018 13:30 in response to Phoenix91

Hello Phoenix91 and welcome to our forum.

I'm sorry to hear about your boyfriend, what a difficult situation this must be for the both of you!

Sadly, this pushing away is something that many here on Cancer Chat will understand as they've been through a similar experience with their loved ones affected by cancer. I hope some of our members who can relate to what you are going through at the moment will be along shortly to share their experiences with you and offer support, as talking does seem to help, but in the meantime feel free to post as much as you need. There is always someone here to listen and you don't have to go through this alone.

Best wishes to you and your boyfriend,

Renata, Cancer Chat Moderator


Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

23 Jan 2018 15:16 in response to Phoenix91

Hi there ... so sorry your in such a sad situation ... sometimes it's harder being on the outside ... 

But not knowing how your b f is really feeling, it could be (only my guess) he's either trying to protect you as it's so painfull seeing people we love hurting because of our cancer journey... and we need to protect them sometimes coz it's so hard for our own heads to get around, and worrying about others has to take second place for awhile...  or the more harder one to hear, is he wants to end the relationship ... I'm sorry, but you need to understand it may just be that too ...

By doing what you have, and saying your there if he needs you , will give him the space to know you still care, but just standing back a pace or two ... if he really does care, he may just contact you at some point, but at least then you'll know how he feels ... and at least you can keep a discreet eye on how he's doing on face book ... hope others come here with their thoughts ... take care ... Chrissie  x

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

28 Jan 2018 03:03 in response to Phoenix91


Hi Phoemix,

I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering this upset on top of your boyfriend’s diagnosis.

I just wanted to let you know that many of us feel like this in the early days of diagnosis. I have had two bouts of breast cancer now, but I reacted very badly to my initial diagnosis, which was nearly 8 years ago. I constantly argued with my husband of 46 years. A kinder and a more mild mannered man you would never meet, yet I still tried to rile him at every turn. Although I knew that I was doing this, I couldn’t stop myself from persevering. I even had the gall to feel annoyed when he wouldn’t fight back!

I also complained so much about my symptoms that I drove my one and only daughter away and I was absolutely heartbroken when she refused to speak to me, or allow me in her house. I could understand this stance if we weren’t a very close family, but we have always been extremely close. This continued for several months and became all-consuming for me, as I was terrified that I would die before we could put things right again. In that time, I worried more about the break down in our relationship than I did about my cancer. Fortunately, we are now back on track, but this was an extremely upsetting time for both of us.

I also found that my head was all over the place at first. I could have several different emotions in a short space of time. I surprized myself by how angry I felt at first, I also felt desolate, worry for my family, fear, anxiousness, scared, cried frequently and all sorts of other mixed emotions. I might add that all of this was totally out of character for me. I have run my own business for 48 years and have always been a very independent soul.

One thing that I really hated was how much care my husband gave to me. I know that I sound very ungrateful. I’m not. It’s just that I felt suffocated by it all.  He has serious health problems himself and, has always depended upon me to be the strong one. Suddenly the tables were turned and he realized that I was only on this earth for a finite amount of time too and could be gone before him. We have now reached a compromise. I lead as independent a life as I can and he helps out where necessary.

I tell you all this because I still cannot justify why I reacted like this. I am usually very down to earth and just get on with things. The only excuse I have is that I lost both of my parents and several friends and relatives to cancer and just became scared out of my mind that I was going to suffer the same awful end as they did. Fortunately, cancer treatments have come a long way since then and I have been fortunate enough to receive treatment which is miles ahead of what they received.

How did we solve our differences? My daughter refused to speak to me unless we both saw a counsellor. I felt that our meeting was a total waste of time and was not happy divulging my innermost feelings to a stranger. The counsellor wanted to meet us both again, but my daughter relented at this point and, said that we could manage from there, as she could see how upset the meeting had made me. In retrospect, I do think that the meeting helped. We both reflected on a couple of things that the counsellor had said and gradually came round to more positive thinking.

I don’t know whether this information will be of any use to you. Perhaps some others on this forum may be willing to bare their souls about how they felt in the early days of their cancer journey? In the meantime, I guess I’m saying just hang in there, but don’t suffocate him. Many people with a diagnosis of cancer fear the worst and, mistakenly, try to protect their loved ones by refusing to discuss their situation. This doesn’t work for long. He will probably be like most of us here and realize that he needs friends and family to help and support him through this journey. Can I ask how long you have been together for?

You do not say what type of cancer, what stage it is at, or what age you both are. Being in pain can also affect our moods, but this should be controllable if he has a word with his care team. Do you know whether or not he has any treatment or surgery planned?  Do you know his family and whether or not he is also pushing them away, or is he confiding in them? Perhaps if you approached them and told them how you feel, telling them that you are here for him whenever they feel he needs you, this might leave another door open for you?

Please do not upset yourself by your boyfriend’s stance. The way you feel is natural, but chances are that he is still not thinking straight and will be only too happy to talk to you shortly.

I am thinking of you both and sincerely hope that you can overcome this hurdle. Please keep us updated. In the meantime there is always someone here to talk to whenever you feel like talking.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

21 Feb 2018 15:41 in response to Jolamine

Hi Jolamine,

Well at some stuff has changed since the last time I wrote. He has reached out to me & we talk every couple days. He's still not letting me in about his cancer so I am in the dark about what is going on. He's 24 & I'm 26yrs old, we have only been together for 4months. Its been a short relationship but i do love him very much. I try to make the conversations are normal as can be because that's what it seems that he wants at the moment. There are times were it seems like everything is going okay with him & then there's times were he just won't really be present in the conversation. The worst part is the we live far from each other. So I haven't been able to see him. The main reason in the beginning was because he wanted to be left alone. I haven't asked since maybe I should. See where it goes?

I did ask though about our situation because it is driving me nuts not talking to him like we used but I try to understand why. At least he's talking to me right? Well anyways I ask if we were still together & if he still felt the same way. All he said we 'Idk right now..' 

I don't know what to do. Right now I'm just feeling down about everything. I feel sad, mad.. 

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

30 Mar 2018 14:10 in response to Phoenix91

Hi Phoenix91

I came across your thread and am very moved by your situation, I find myself in the exact same place and I am interested to hear how things have turned out so far.

My long distance boyfriend has been diagnosed with an uncurable cancer a year ago and things have gotten very complicated since then. We share almost the same age as you do... So I can understand what you are going through now. If you like feel free to message me, I think exchanging our experiences might help us both...

Sending you hugs from oveerseas. Stay strong!



Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

30 Mar 2018 16:37 in response to Phoenix91


Hi Phoenix,

I am glad to hear that there has been a wee ***** in your boyfriend’s armour. This is a move in the right direction. You are both too young to let this ruin your lives.

It is difficult to communicate when you live so far away from each other. Can you arrange to meet up? It is so much easier to talk face to face. You could have a heart to heart discussion about how you both feel.  You can tell him how upset you are that he cannot confide in you and assure him again that you are here for the long term, if that is what he wants.

The difficulty in baring your soul is that he could decide to end it or he could decide to move forward with you. I hope that it is the latter.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

5 Apr 2018 17:29 in response to Phoenix91

Stay close 

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

8 May 2018 09:03 in response to Jolamine

Hi Jolamine,

Its been difficult because he has been pushing me away. It had been a month since we had talked. We have rescently started talking again and he did apologize for pushing me away. He said he was just so scared and thought that he was going to die. We had a long conversation about how he felt and how it made me feel being out of the loop on things and not being able to be there for him. He understood and now I know whats going on with him and I can be there for him.

Now we are taking things slow because he wants to fix things between us so thats progress.





Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

8 May 2018 10:55 in response to Phoenix91


Hi Phoenix,

This is great news. The fact that you have both been able to discuss your feelings is good. Communication is key to coping with your boyfriend's diagnosis. In the early days it is difficult to assimilate all that is going on and we tend to think the worst.  I must confess that I tended to push my own family away in the early days, even though I couldn't have a more supportive family. There is no rhyme or reason for why I reacted like this. Like your boyfriend, I immediately thought of death and I was petrified. I suppose that originally, I wanted to protect my loved ones from this, as I'm sure that your boyfriend did.

However, I soon realized that this is not the way to do it. I have discussed everything with my family since and it is so much easier than trying to cope with everything alone. I hope that you both manage to keep talking. The fact that you are still here despite his actions, shows your tenacity. It  proves that you are here for the long term and it sounds as if he realizes that now.

You are quite right to take things slowly, but do try to keep those communication channels open, now that you are talking.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

This is fantastic news and I hope that you can both move forward together.

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

9 May 2018 23:40 in response to Jolamine

Hi Jolamine,

Thanks for helping me through all this. Your kind words have helped me so much especialy when I didn't have anyone close to understand what I was going through. I am glad that things are going alot better for him and I. I do hope that it stays this way.

Im glad that it all worked out for you when you were going through all this and that you have your family with you. How are you doing now in regards to your health and just in general?

Oh, and he is going for a pre-op appointment  this month and talk about what kind of surgery they will be preforming on him and what the next steps will be be. Which is a scary thing to think about but at least something is being done now right.


Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

9 May 2018 23:49 in response to Mayari

Hi Mayari,

Sorry for the late response. Im so sorry that you are going through all of this but you are not alone in this all though it may seem like it. Things have improved alot within the last couple of months. To say it was easy in an understatement. Not knowing what was going on and being there for him like I wanted was very difficult for me. I tried to understand how he must have been feeling and what eas going through his mind. Its been a slow processes but he finally understood that Im not going anywhere. So we are taking things slow now.

I did send you a message so we could talk more and maybe that will help both of us go through all this.

Kind regards. Stay strong!

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

11 May 2018 22:13 in response to Phoenix91


Hi Phoenix,

I am glad to hear that my input has helped you on this lonely journey and, absolutely delighted to know that things are going better for both of you now.

Like you, I just had to work through things when I was having a difficult time accepting my diagnosis. Now I take every day as a bonus and make the most of it.

You may think that it is scary to start thinking about what type of surgery he should have and what the next steps should be. In some ways it is easier, as things start to move. Instead of feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights, you will both feel better to be moving forward to the stage where something is actually being done and, he is not continually having tests on top of tests.

Please keep in touch and let us know how he gets on.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

12 May 2018 12:03 in response to Jolamine

Hi Phoenix and Jolamine, 

First of all, thank you and I'm glad that there's a forum such as this one which helps people like me to cope up with an unfortunate situation. My ldr bf of 2 yrs just broke up with me just last week and he never gave me a chance to understand what he's going through and how we could make things work. Less than a year in our relationship, he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia with a secondary malignancy of skin cancer. I was very devastated when I found this out because I don't ever want to lose him...not until we're wrinkly, old and gray. He's such a wonderful person and I feel that he's the one for me. Anyway, this unpleasant news about his health didn't affect our relationship. We continued and visited each other often. He travelled a few times in Asia, met my family, I also travelled to US and met his family. Things seemed to be moving forward and we even discussed our future since we're both not getting any younger (I'm 38, he's 52). However, he started to became distant 2 months ago. First, he was feeling down about his financials and stressful job. Next, was when he has to undergo skin biopsy. Turns out the tiny fleshy spots on his face is melanoma. He has undergone surgery to remove them before they spread deep down the skin. From then on, I noticed the remarkable changes in him. He doesn't talk to me that much anymore, and when he does, he always feels down. I tried cheering him up and told him I will always be here to support him. There was also a time that I told him that I'm scared he will reject me one day -- I said that because there were days that will pass that he doesn't talk to me. And after almost a week of not talking to me, he just gave me his final verdict. He said he feels that he's not really moving forward together with me. He said it's nothing about what I did, and it's just his deep feeling that tells him we're over. I understand that he's going through a lot right now, and I assured him that I will be there to support him. But he already made his decision and I just have to respect it. Right now, I'm helping myself to cope up with this unexpected heartbreak. I know deep in his heart, he loves me as much as I love him. I hope he will give me a chance to help him fight cancer. I accepted that we're over, but I will come for him one day and be his sunshine. Hope he'll let me in.

Boyfriend has cancer pushing me away

14 May 2018 01:12 in response to Quicksilver1980


Hi Quicksilver & Mayari,

I am sorry that you both find yourselves in a similar position to Phoenix. This must be very upsetting for you both, particularly when you are trying to communicate over a distance.

As Renata has already mentioned, it is common for people who receive a cancer diagnosis to push loved ones away. There are several reasons for this. Initially there is a mixture of shock, anger, denial and fear, especially fear of death. There are a host of other emotions that we can feel at this time too.

As a result of all these mixed emotions we tend to try and protect our loved ones from having to tend to us and from sharing our worries along the way. Many find that, particularly in the early stages of the disease, they can only cope with their own very mixed feelings and cannot worry for family and friends as well. As testing finishes and they begin to cope with surgery and treatment, their outlooks improve and they begin to think with more clarity. It is often not until this stage that we are ready to let loved ones in.

By talking to and supporting one another, we can cope with moving forward. When you are being denied any input at this stage, you find this very distressing and feel left out of all that is happening. Although, in the eyes of the patient, this is being done for your benefit, to protect you from further distress, this is not how it works.

Finance, or rather, the lack of finance can become a problem when cancer calls. Perhaps your boyfriends are feeling embarrassed about this? There can also be stress associated with their jobs. Quicksilver, do you think that the melanoma on your boyfriend's face have made him more afraid? I know that I was terrified when my second bout of cancer was diagnosed only 1 year after the first.

Do you think that he is depressed now? This could have led to his decision to set you free (as he sees it). Is it just you who is having difficulty in getting him to talk or is this also a problem for others? If he is depressed the doctor can help him with anti-depressants, which a number of cancer patients have to resort to for a while. It is possible that he may come to regret his decision to part with you, so it might be worth contacting him as a concerned friend from time to time, to see how his cancer journey is going, in the hope that he may change his mind. However, he has said that you are over and, he may stick to his guns, so don’t go raising false hopes for yourself.

Mayari, you do not give any details of the complications you’ve encountered, but I do hope that between the two of you, you manage to resolve these, or may even have already done so, as I see that you posted some time ago..

It sounds as if neither of you are ready to give up on your boyfriends yet. I hope that your perseverance pays off, but you may both need to be patient for a while.

Kind regards,

Jolamine xx