This one's for the cancer survivors or those with cancer: my ex has cancer and dumped me. What should I do?

Here's the story: my boyfriend (now my ex, unfortunately), was diagnosed with cancer this past November. Before he found out, we were broken up. He called me, and wanted to get back together (long story behind that one) because he genuinely missed me and didn't want to be with anyone else, but told me he might have cancer. I told him yes, and that I didn't care if he had cancer or not, I'd get back together with him, because I love him. He was so thrilled.

He was so happy that I was on board, and that I was going to stay with him when he definitively found out he had cancer. I told him I wasn't going anywhere, and he was elated.

Things changed, though, when he started to get chemo. He was on so many different medications, and wasn't himself. His memory was going, he was becoming depressed, disinterested in a lot (which I prepared for, and was something I had seen with family members who had cancer), but was still happy to see me or talk to me whenever we could see one another or talk. He told me never wanted to lose me, and was excited for when I could come over and see him next.

However, he started to get worse from all of the different medications and the depression - both of which I was prepared for. One night, he was really bad and I witnessed it. The next day when I called him, he was a bit loopy and kept repeating, "How is this fair to you? How are we still even together? How is this fair? Fair to you? How is this fair to you at all?" It crushed me, because I loved him. That was how it was fair to me: I loved him, and I still do. I didn't want to be with anyone else, and I still don't. The night after that, he called me and told me he couldn't keep "dragging me through this" and that he has a lot to focus on with getting better. I again was crushed because he was breaking up with me, even after I told him I wasn't going anywhere, that I loved him and that I wanted to be with only him. But I couldn't convince him. His mind was made up. He didn't want me to wait for him even though I told him I would.

We still keep in touch despite being broken up. I made a promise to him that I'd stick around no matter what, especially because I love him. A few conversations of ours, however, have been odd. A week after we broke up, I had questions for him. He told me as the treatment got further and further, he recoiled and "fell out of love" with me, but that it was nothing I did. I'm assuming this was the depression and the effects of the medications. When I asked him if we could get back together when he was better, he said he couldn't answer me because it felt like leading me on, and that he couldn't see that far in the future right now. However, later he told me that he can't wait to visit me, that it "sucks he couldn't be The One" for me, and that he thinks about how things would be if he didn't have to get chemo.

My question: After his treatment ends and he recovers for a while, would it be selfish of me to ask him to give us another shot?

EDIT: I should probably add that he is going to survive. His type of cancer is HIGHLY treatable and he will be a cancer survivor.


Most Helpful Guy

  • I have had cancer before. It is somewhat normal. First off I'll tell you why; in our society Cancer is automatically associated with being a burden etc. It is mainly out of fear. He is afraid that you will dump him because he is a burden to you. Secondly, I will tell you the truth about cancer as I have survived Kidney Cancer before. Cancer is in our bodies the day we take a breath in our new life. It remains dormant. The main activator is stress, the more you stress, the more white blood cells reproduce, the more likely it is going to wake up. However, cancer can be dealt with not only through medicine, but through remaining relaxed. So my advice to you is very simple. Don't let him stress. Just give him space and comfort and he will return. Known from experience.

    • Thank you so much for your perspective! I've made it clear to him many times that he isn't a burden, and when we were broken up, he hinted at being one and I told he never was. I do suppose, however, that he will feel that way no matter what. And thank you for your advice! I can tell he is stressing, however right now he's in too much pain to think about anything but the cancer. I will be sure to be a source of relaxation and comfort for him! I will do my best to make him relaxed :)

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What Guys Said 3

  • first thing I hope he gets better. people aren't in their right minds when they have cancer. they have so much going on in their lives at that moment that they should just be focusing on treatment rather than relationships which just cause stress and anger. anger not towards you but just anger in general. its one of the stages of acceptance of death. I've seen it first hand. id say don't get ahead of yourself. he doesn't even know if he's going to make it so how can you even talk of future things with him? which all in all probably depresses him even more if he knows he's going to die and won't be able to achieve his goals of family and such. so just take things day to day. be a friend and a shoulder to lean on. assure him not to worry about anything concerning you.

    • Thank you for your words! I should probably mention that he is going to survive. His type of cancer is HIGHLY treatable and he is going to live.

  • You are an incredible woman, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I wish I was blessed enough to find someone who loved me as you love him. Also, he probably feels like you would be with him out of obligation because he is sick and he most likely doesn't want that on his conscience.

    • Oh, my! Thank you. I am flattered. I don't see it as being incredible, I see it as me loving him and being there for the one I love. :) But I didn't even think of it like that...especially because I made it clear to him that I want to be with him because of him, not because I feel obligated. Again, he probably feels like he's a burden to me, even though he isn't. In time, I suppose! Thank you again!

  • All I can say is what you are doing is quite the opposite of being selfish. And hopefully he'll be OK, I don't believe in chemo.

    • Thank you! I'm constantly worried about whether or not I'm being selfish. I know I need to give him his space right now, andI know we can't be more than friends right now. But I also know we got interrupted before we could even start again, and I know in my heart we both deserve that chance.

    • I don't think it's selfish, but I would respect his choice and give him some space if that's what he wants. He just doesn't want you to get hurt.

What Girls Said 1

  • Bah. Reading this got me emotional because my friend recently died of cancer. I'm so glad his form is treatable. I'd say wait a loooooong time before asking him. Like way after his recovery. The last thing he needs after recovering is stressing over a relationship. I do believe that he may be up for it later, though. Best of luck to you!

    • I'm sorry to hear about your friend :( Cancer is one of the roughest, toughest diseases. But it has taught me to never take anything for granted! Even though I'm not the one who had it, I still appreciate everything. I hope you're handling everything well. I wish you the best!

    • Thanks! And you're right, it does tell you not to take anything for granted. Let us know how everything goes.