Cancer and Dating.

Hi all...I just needed some advice. How did you guys decide it was the right time to start dating again and go about it?
I am a male of 25 years old and Ive been treated for a hormone secreting Neuroendocrine Tumor for about two years. I was somewhat shocked when I found out and retreated from anything to do with romantic relationships. Lately, Ive kind of been thinking about getting back out into the dating world. Guess as I feel a little better Im noticing my friends dating more and feeling lonely in that regard. I just feel kinda awkward and weird about it though. Its been so long and I avoided stuff that it feels foreign and like I'll be awkward. Plus, I still have issues with "intimacy" from the chemo/hormone meds I am on. I have embarrassing skin changes (acanthosis nigricans) in some intimate areas. And I have some major fatigue/mental cloudy issues at times from medicines that make me self conscious about whether I seem zoned out. Im actually in school and my friends have suggested pursuing some relationships but I keep freezing and feeling like I'll be an awkward mess because I know about the weird different things about my body now.
I have a great group of friends and I think they could help in the transition to getting back into the dating world. Problem is I feel incredibly weird about talking to them about the reasons Ive avoided dating and feel weird about getting into a relationship. Im known as the goofy and talkative person who just freezes up when talking to girls, complete 180 from how I was before treatment. I guess part of me feels different about my body so Im worried my friends will think differently of me if I explain my situation and ask for their help in dipping my toes into the dating world again. And that girls my age would be a little freaked out by my situation at the moment. Or I'll be an awkward mess on the first date. Ive relied on my friends for support through this journey a lot, without ever really talking about anything- just kinda rely on them for emotional support without saying I need it.

Comments

  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I'd say live life to the fullest.
  • xoldcorexxoldcorex Community Member
    Start slow and try to give yourself a break. You've been through a lot. Try just hanging out and getting to know people. Don't feel that you need to fall into something serious right away, let someone earn your trust. I have body issues as well caused by the damage cancer has done to my body, but most people are insecure about something with their body. There are really kind loving people out there that will accept you as you are. I've been amazed by how accepting women can be when it comes to these issues. Dating is awkward for everyone and again I know women who like awkward guys. Sometimes being awkward puts women at ease because they might be shy or awkward. I'm not trying to sound like I have all the answers, I have been single for a couple year as well and have had trouble getting back into the dating pool. Maybe regular dating is too high pressure for you now. Try starting a casual conversation with a woman in class that you find interesting. After talking a while (in person or through text/email) see if she wants to get coffee. If you feel comfortable be honest and let her know that you are just getting back into things. You don't have to tell her anything about your cancer until you feel comfortable, you don't have to give her your life story all at once. I hope this makes sense. Good luck.
  • Ajh9113Ajh9113 Community Member
    I hear you with the dating world...I am 26 and I don't reallly look like I had cancer from my outside appearance anymore but I am having a hard time dating again. I was dating someone for a few months and he blindsiding me by saying I am ugly with my short hair and he didn't want to be with someone who couldn't have their own child. It lowered my self esteem. I worry about how guys will react to my scars and stretch marks...I was on steroids for my cancer that I gained 70 pounds then lost it all when I got sick.

    I feel like my lack of confidence because of the cancer is not making me myself and when I put myself out there on online dating apps they say sorry I am not interested :( it definitely hurts
  • LBQuinnLBQuinn Community Member
    That guy that criticized your hair and womb does not deserve you, @Ajh9113 . You have frickin' survived cancer -- what has he ever done? What huge obstacle has he faced? I'm maybe not the best person to speak to this topic because I was dating someone when I was diagnosed and he stuck around. I did go through a lot of physical changes and major libido issues. I had a huge seeping and bleeding tumor like a third boob. I also gained a lot of weight with steroids and dropped down to barely over 100lbs from treatment. (then back up another 45lbs) I went through premature menopause, which made sex super painful. I have permanent hair loss and hearing loss, which makes me super awkward socially.

    But the guy I was dating stuck around. He doesn't think it was such a big deal that I can't have children now. And he puts up with all the other bullshit cancer drops on us. And there are people that can handle all of that and there are people that can't. When people say they aren't interested on dating apps or in person, that's just an indication that they are not the kind of people that can handle it. That's you're way of eliminating them, not the other way around.

    I may not be able to speak much to dating, but I can speak to dealing with libido issues with a partner and knowing how hard it is to talk about. I do know that communication is extremely important and so is an open mind. Most girls don't care about boners as much as guys think they do. There are ways to be intimate when you can't get an erection or your vagina becomes unwelcoming.

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