Dear Dr. Frankie,
I was diagnosed with cancer this past Aug. Why is it that just when I start to know and the feelings start to grow, that the ladies disappear when I tell them?
-Living with Cancer
Dear Living with Cancer,
It’s sad to say, but very true that many people when beginning a relationship will pull away if they perceive challenges, especially health-related. It must be painful to see someone you’ve grown close to, or see relationship potential in, to withdraw. It’s quite possibly due to her own fear of illness, as well as the responsibility she will bear for caring for one with cancer. This is a difficult situation to reframe especially when it is so painful, but try and see this as an opportunity to filter out those who can handle real life situations and be a genuine support. It is better to find out early rather than later, if your girlfriend can’t handle dealing with a partner with medical issues.
For now focus your energy on the people around you who bring you support and happiness. Remember, it is not a negative reflection on you that women may have prematurely ended a romantic relationship upon learning you have cancer. They may have their own experiences with loved ones suffering from serious illness, or may not be ready for the responsibility of caring for a partner with cancer. People fear what they do not know. I would look at other avenues to meet supportive people. If and when a woman comes along to share your journey, then she’s a keeper. You need to meet a woman who understands and is capable of loving and caring for someone inside and out. Consider joining a support group for those living with cancer. There are even LGBT chat forums for people living with cancer; it may be nice to connect to other lesbians to talk about their experience as well.