Cancer is hard on relationships. It just is. Even the strongest relationships are tested with a cancer diagnosis. According to a study done in 2009, when a woman is diagnosed, the relationship is 7 times more likely to fall apart.
Seven. Times. More. Likely.
The study did note relationship length can make a difference. The longer the relationship, the less likely it was to result in divorce.
Come this summer, A and I will be married for fourteen years. We dated seven years prior to marrying. We were engaged for a year and two months. All things said, we’ve been together nearly 21 years.
We have a good relationship. We’re best friends. We’re confidants. We make time to spend on us. We have a weekly date night. If I feel like going out, we go out. If I don’t, we have a date at home with popcorn and a movie. We make sure the other is ok, or as ok as we can be on this cancer coaster while raising two kids and working two demanding jobs. We communicate. We don’t let the other one get away with stoicism, which we’re both likely to do if we think it’ll protect the other. We recognize when the other needs time or space, but we don’t let that go on for too long. Sure, we argue occasionally. He’s Italian…a New York Italian. Loudness is a way of life in our house. But, we don’t go to sleep mad. We talk it out…even if that means we’re talking at 2 am and have to be up by 6 am. Our relationship, our marriage, is important. We make it a priority.
Nothing about maintaining a good relationship is easy, and when cancer is thrown in the mix? Ugh…He’s had to take on so much more because I can’t or don’t feel good…like our daughter’s dance classes. He or my mom take her to every single one, or have for the last three months. It’s something small, but it’s one more thing for him to handle.
Cancer can be a home wrecker. Cancer can be a life wrecker. It’s definitely changed my life, and sometimes, I do feel wrecked by it, but the one thing it will not do, if I have any say in it, is wreck my marriage. It can take away my health, my breasts, my hair, my well-being, my confidence…but, my marriage?
Nope…I’ll fight cancer tooth and nail for two things: the chance to see my children grow up and the chance to grow older with A.