Guilt for boyfriend

Ive been dating this guy for about 8 months, but seriously and exclusively for only about 4. I'm 26 and he's 30. I got my diagnosis only 2 weeks ago after having surgery. Since then I've had another surgery and been to about 100 doctors. I'm getting ready to start radiation, have a third surgery, and maybe start chemo.

He's been really great through everything, he loves me, he's super supportive, staying in with me during recovery, goes to doctors appts, etc. But I am finding myself overwhelmed with guilt that he has to deal with me.

I keep thinking he's going to wish he could break up with me but feel guilty because of the cancer, or wish he had never gotten involved with me, or feel too much pressure. So then my mind starts thinking I should break up with him to "let him go", so he isn't burdened by me.

We were talking at dinner last night and he said he didn't really know what to do because school starts today and he won't be able to be with me nearly as much. I told him it was fine, which it is. But he made a comment that this was all really "heavy", and if he feels this way he can't imagine how I feel. I feel so guilty.



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  • I'd say to just keep talking to each other.

    Keep letting him know how you're feeling, and try to specifically let him know about ways that he can help you that will allow him to follow his goals with going to school. IMO, breaking up with him so he can go to school isn't going to help anyone if you both truly care for each other. If you decide to break up, it should be for the right reasons...that you two aren't compatible, that you don't love each other, or something like that. I don't buy that "if you truly love someone, set them free..." BS. At least not the literal interpretation that most people talk about.

    Believe it or not, what you're feeling is common survivors' guilt. A lot of people experience it in some way or another. There are professionals who specialize in helping cancer survivors deal with these kinds of issues and if it is something so overwhelming you're having a difficult time addressing it yourself, it'd be a good idea to talk to a professional. Most oncologists should have local referrals for you if you ask.
  • I completely agree with that response....

    Let me just tell you a few things about me so that you can understand that I give this opinion very honestly and from a similar situation. I only give you this advice because as a spouse I live/work 2 hours away from where my boyfriend is getting treatment. Although the first 2 weeks I was able to take multiple days off and stay with him, I had to come back here and continue to work my full 40 hours weeks so that I didn't lose my job and could pay my bills. My boyfriend and I had only been dating 9 months and seriously for 7 when he was diagnosed. He is undergoing multiple weeks of intensive chemo as well as six spinal taps.

    The best thing you can do is keep talking and being honest and open with each other. It sounds like he is doing everything he knows how to be there for you and that is admirable... this is an extremely difficult time for both of you, as individuals and as a couple.

    What you need to remember is that you are NOT a "burden" to him. Someone you care about is never a burden in your life, for good or bad.

    What you both should try to understand is that cancer doesn't care about life you just have to make the best of the situation. For him, if he needs to be in school, then he needs to be there. It will change his role during this time, and he will have to work hard and plan carefully to be able to make sufficient time for his work while being there for you. You'll only need to remember that he is doing the very best he can and doesn't think you are a burden...he wants to be there for you and is trying his best.

    I can't imagine how this is on you just as I can't imagine what my boyfriend is feeling, but try to understand cancer is an weight on those loved ones surrounding the patient as well and its a good thing he was honest already and told you this is heavy on him. It is clear just from this that there are good communication skills between the two of you; that if you both truly care about each other it is a key to getting through this together. Don't be afraid to tell him how you are feeling either...good or bad. Sometimes just sharing your feelings can be the biggest relief in the world.

    Going through this for a bit over a month of treatment, one thing I have found as a spouse is that I do need to take days for myself...not because of work, but days for me to be with friends or refresh on my own. These days are important to a partner's emotional well being. Let him and encourage him to take a day now and again just for himself to do something he enjoys, whether it be the beach, reading, a movie, will help the both of you as crazy as it sounds.

    Like the above said, use the resources that are out there for you and be open with your oncologists/social workers in asking for help finding those resources. Best of luck <3