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Identifying Toxic Relationships After A Cancer Diagnosis

When in a relationship, a cancer diagnosis can shake the very pillars of what you thought was perfect. The main support for cancer patients comes from their spouses or partners.

The impact on relationships

It can be devastating for a relationship when you realize your partner is suffering from a chronic illness. Most people who are diagnosed with an illness are really not sure they want to inform their partners of their condition at all.

A diagnosis can bring about the following feelings:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness

Signs of a toxic relationship

There are changes that occur in a relationship after a cancer diagnosis that can turn toxic. These changes can be used to determine if the relationship you are in is worth keeping, and might indicate a relationship that is becoming or is already toxic.

Expressions of love and affection decrease

Initially after disclosing your chronic illness to your partner, they might be very supportive and affectionate and declare their undying support.

However, this might change after they realize the gravity of the situation. They might become resentful and seem to want to blame you for the woes you might both be going through.

Lack of empathy

While navigating this journey, some survivors can suffer from some embarrassing situations that require a partner to be very supportive. These include:

Any time a partner displays disdain or lack of empathy due to the above situations, it should be a red flag.

Financial difficulties

Most of these treatments can be a huge strain on relationships because they do not come cheap. If a partner is not cooperative, reluctant, or chooses not to get involved in raising the necessary resources required to get help, it should indicate that the individual is in the relationship for reasons other than you the survivor.

Lifestyle changes

If your partner is unwilling to make compromises in their lives for your new situation, this could be a sign of something worse to come. This includes giving up harmful habits such as smoking around you, eating junk food, drinking alcohol, or using narcotics. You may make a decision if this is how you want to live.

Role changes

Any illness can bring about role changes because of the changing health of the survivor. For instance, if the male always made dinner and is no longer able to, the woman should take up that role. If he mows the lawn or took out the trash and is incapacitated, the woman should step in or get some help.

If your partner is unwilling to help take up your role when you can longer do it, that may be indicative of things to come.

Priority changes

After a diagnosis, a cancer survivor’s perspective toward their lives might change. This can bring about their wanting to change some of the plans you had made together.

For instance, they might no longer want to go on that cruise or travel to that island of paradise. A good partner should hear them out and try to understand their perspective.

The importance of communication

The biggest support for a patient survivor comes from their partner or spouse. Some partners are unable to deal with the reality of a chronic illness and might not be able to openly say so. Treating an already chronically ill person badly is unacceptable. Communication is the key.

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