There are so many good things in life that one tends to take for granted – that is until something as huge as cancer strikes. And yet when you are able to survive the disease, it is all the more reason to live and love fully. Unfortunately dating as a cancer survivor is generally seen as fraught with complexities, even though there may not always be reason to be worried; so if you have beaten back the back this monster, go ahead armed with the following tips of dating for cancer survivors.
Talk to your doctor
Before you dive into the dating pool, it would be good to have a chat with your healthcare provider. Even if you have survived the cancer, there may be some aspects you need to be careful of as you go about socializing actively. It is likely your treatment has certain short as well as long term consequences which you need to keep in mind. For instance you may have to avoid alcohol or certain kinds of foods in future, even you are symptom-free for now. Yet another advantage of talking things over with your doctor is that you will be better prepared in case of an emergency. Even if you are cancer is in remission or you are symptom free, there may be occasional bouts of sickness, maybe as a side effect of a medication or brought on by exhaustion. And if you know what to do during such an eventuality, it will help both you and your future partner. In all these ways having a frank discussion with your will help you to see what dating for cancer survivor involves and if you are physically prepared to go ahead.
Body image issues
The world of dating and romance conjures up images of perfectionism where two people are young, healthy, sexually vigorous and beaming with the promise of future. Such an image is artificial at best and highly stressful at worst since it makes for unrealistic expectations and impossible standards of physical beauty. Not only such ideals difficult for nominally healthy people to live up to, they further upset people who are far from their optimum level of physical vitality. As a cancer survivor thus you may be besieged by anxiety over the loss of your hair or scars from surgery and therefore feel unattractive and worthless. Women who have survived breast cancer but lost one or both breasts to surgery are particularly vulnerable to low self-esteem and feel that they are undesirable or less of a woman somehow. You need to deal with such body image issues before or even as you move towards dating again. If you continue to feel upset about your body, you will not be able to have a healthy personal life. On the other hand once you understand that your health is far more important than superficial or temporary marks of the disease, you will be better prepared to have a well-balanced romantic life. If you are suffering from negative body image issues, most probably your doctor will refer you to a counselor or a therapist. Even if this is not so, seek professional help in coping with such anxieties so that you can take steps to acquire a positive body image and love yourself as you deserve to be loved.
The internet is today one of the primary resources of meeting dates, even if you are looking for partners no further than your own city. What’s better, you can choose dating websites according to your relationship needs and preferences. This is a boon for cancer survivors who can not only avoid the exhausting routine of bar and nightclub-hopping to meet potential partners but even specify the kind of singles they are eager to know – all from the comfort of their own home. Most importantly though it helps you to get the fact that you are a cancer survivor out of the way at the very beginning so that you are not led into false hopes of hooking up with someone only to find out later that he/she is uncomfortable with dating a cancer survivor. In fact there are several dating sites and social networking platforms geared towards socializing with and among cancer survivors only which is a great way of meeting singles who have been through the same life-altering experience as you. Even if you are not particular about dating another cancer survivor only, such online platforms - including niche as well as mainstream dating sites - help you to come across people for whom your past disease is not a factor and you wish to know you as a person.
Take rejection in stride
And yet you cannot completely isolate yourself from the real world where rejection is all too common. There is just no denying the fact that are people out there who won’t be able to deal with your cancer experience and they could break your heart. On such occasions you will simply have to shrug away the hurt and move on. Keep in mind that just like there are narrow-minded and stupid people out there who cannot see beyond appearances, there are other people who are genuinely caring and affectionate and it is only a matter of time before you meet someone like that. In fact oncology social workers who run dating workshops have noticed that it’s often the cancer survivor who cuts things off first. Many survivors anticipate rejection and push new partners away to protect themselves from getting hurt. If you think you are doing the same, keep in mind that most of the assumptions about being “damaged goods” that you are making mentally may not even be true – a man or woman can in fact love you with your scar from surgery or an inability to have sex. Different people have different expectations in a relationship and as you meet more people you may realize that physical attraction and sex does not always figure at the top of the list. Finally, understand that rejection is part of life, it is something that every person on the planet faces sometime or other – whether in romantic, professional or in social relationships. No individual can always get what he or she wants in this world and this should not stop you from making full use of the second chance that you have been given at life.