Relationships and Cancer
- Actress Shannen Doherty, who is currently battling stage 4 breast cancer, recently filed for divorce from her husband of 11 years.
- Doherty’s situation is a topic many survivors are familiar with, wondering if your partner will leave you during cancer. No matter what happens, know you’re not alone.
- You might find that a relationship has run it’s course during a cancer battle. One of our experts says “noticing what you have strength for and what is feeling like too much … [is] extremely important to pay attention to as you navigate [cancer] treatment.”
- One cancer survivor told SurvivorNet, “Sometimes, things like cancer can show you that a relationship isn’t the right relationship.”
- On the other hand, another survivor said her cancer journey proved her partner was the one.
Whether you and your partner separate during a cancer battle, or the fight ends up strengthening the relationship you have, dealing with cancer can be painful and emotional. And survivors should know they are not alone.Read More
Right around the time the divorce was made public, Doherty posted to Instagram to share a sentiment that potentially seems related to the recent life-changing event.
Ending Relationships During Cancer
- “I Know What Real Pain Feels Like”– “Flip or Flop” Star Tarek El Moussa Reflects on Beating Cancer Amid His “Debilitating” Divorce
- Ditched By Billionaire For Getting Cancer? Fiancé Of Youth-Seeking Tycoon Trying To Reverse Aging Sues For Emotional Damage
- Left By Her Husband While Pregnant on Chemo at 18: How Author Tracey Ferrin, now 38, Found Love Again
“The only people who deserve to be in your life are the ones who treat you with love, kindness and total respect,” read her word image.
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Meanwhile, Doherty is still living with stage four, or metastatic, breast cancer after the disease returned following a brief period of remission. She made the news of her recurrence public in 2020 during an interview for “Good Morning America.”
“I definitely have days where I say why me,” she said. “And then I go, well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this? None of us do.”
Surviving Cancer and a Separation, Like Shannen Doherty
Separating from a partner while you’re facing cancer is not an uncommon worry for patients. Although having people by your side during such an arduous time of your life can be hugely beneficial, it’s important to know your limits when it comes to relationships as you focus on your health.
“Going through [cancer] treatment is a very vulnerable and emotionally exhausting experience,” licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin wrote in a column for SurvivorNet.
“Noticing what you have strength for and what is feeling like too much … [is] extremely important to pay attention to as you navigate treatment.”
If you do find yourself separating from a partner during a cancer journey, remember you’re not alone.
In a previous conversation with SurvivorNet, Amanda Crowell Itliong talked about going through her divorce during an ovarian cancer battle.
Divorces During Cancer Happen — Detroit Ovarian Cancer Survivor Amanda Crowell Itliong Talks Moving On
“Women do sometimes get divorces during this time,” she said. “It happened to me and I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen — and it wasn’t. It wasn’t even a little bit the worst thing that could ever happen.
“It turned out pretty great in the end. Sometimes, things like cancer can show you that a relationship isn’t the right relationship.”
Thankfully, Itliong said good things happened after her divorce. She wants others in a similar position to know everything will eventually be OK.
“I was able to find happiness and good sex, passion and everything, with somebody else after all of that was over,” she said.
“Sometimes I think it has to do with believing it’s going to be OK, and figuring out how to work something out.”
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That being said, it’s very possible that a cancer battle can, in fact, strengthen the bond you have with your significant other. For actress and melanoma survivor Jill Kargman, that proved to be the case.
Jill Kargman on Relationships and Cancer
“I think it presses the fast forward button on getting to the bottom of that answer, because a lot of people in middle age are kind of at a crossroads, waiting for their kids to fly the coop,” Kargman explained.
“I think if you’re with someone who is not supportive and kind of emotionally checked out or doesn’t tell you you’re still beautiful with that, this might not be your person.”
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