Ali, you've saved me asking if your partner is male or female In this day and age it's just as likely to be one as the other! And to harp on about the Mars and Venus thing, your reaction and hers were almost inevitably going to be different. As I said Ian was pretty calm and stoic. I just wanted to talk and discuss and research and talk some more - still do I have learned not to push Ian too hard to express his deepest inner feelings. Often I can tell more just by looking at him, really looking at him. And it's all about what little he does say too. For instance, tonight on Day 4 of the chemo cycle I'll ask as we snuggle down at bedtime "How are you feeling?" and I'll put money on him answering "OK." To people outside our little bubble when they've asked that same question and he's said that, they've read way more into it than that and decided he's doing fine. I know that's my man's shorthand answer for "Not so great." If, on the other hand, he says "Good" I know that with our "new normal" he means "Great." We women need to pad it out don't we and you men have short, sweet, concise answers and don't feel the need to go into great deep emotional detail.
Can you talk to your partner about it? Tell her that although you don't go into huge detail you don't love her less or want to hurt her? Or make a point of saying that if you something really brief like "It's tough today" that that should speak volumes to her?
Our social worker suggested six years ago when she joined us on Ian's long cancer journey that we should always make a point of saying "thank you." That Ian should remember to say thankyou each time I did something nice for him - a meal, a nice cuppa, fetching and carrying.... and that I as the carer should remember to thank him too when, on his well days, he might make me a cuppa etc or even just thank him for trying so hard to fight this cancer. Andrea said it's real easy for the sick one to start to feel a burden and the carer to start to feel put upon. It might sound a bit forced at first or contrived but it soon begins to come naturally and each knows that the other values and appreciates their help.
Has your partner got any close female friends she can turn to to talk/vent/rage/cry with? Because we females are so good at that, she'd get it out of her system. I'm not trivialising how she feels - no way - because it's exactly my reaction, I want to talk everything through, reanalyse every word an oncologist or nurse or whatever has said and Ian just wants to get the bit between his teeth and get on with it.
You are right to be upbeat and happy when you can. We record programmes on the Comedy Channel, go to amusing plays, seek out happy friends (rationing time with downbeat, grumpy ones). There WILL be plenty of downbeat, heartbreaking times. You are strapped into a huge rollercoaster ride and there are ups and downs coming your way you won't believe.
But believe me when I say the last 6 1/2yrs that Ian has been fighting cancer we have had the most wonderful (and sometimes the most awful) times together but we have only got stronger. The fight has brought out the best in each of us. Ian talks, sometimes, a little more about how he feels than before. I try to talk a little less and instead read his body language or translate his brief comments into the longer, more verbose sentences I am good at!! After all, I am from Venus, and he (the lovely man) is from Mars.
Hope this helps!!