Tips for dating, starting new relationships after cancer

By Mayo Clinic News Network

Entering into a new relationship can be a challenge with or without a cancer diagnosis. Dealing with the emotional and physical changes that may have come with your cancer diagnosis can add to the situation. Many people find that dating after a diagnosis of cancer can be a much different experience than before a cancer diagnosis.

A few of the challenges might be:

Dealing with physical changes from effects of surgery or treatment Living with fear of recurrence How to tell someone new that you have a cancer history Fear of a negative reaction Changes in fertility Sexual intimacy concerns

However challenging this is, you may also find that you have positive changes that may impact new relationships. These may include:

A new sense of knowing exactly what you want and need from a relationship An appreciation of time spent with others A renewed interest in establishing a long-term relationship with a life partner

You may be interested in dating again, but concerned about the first steps in meeting someone new. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Get involved in social activities in your community -- taking that first step is important (art and music events, group outings, festivals, sporting events, etc.) Talk to other survivors about their experiences with dating If you have emotional concerns that have not been addressed, connect with a counselor or peer support group to work through any negative emotions and fears Explore ideas on how you might communicate your history of cancer to a new person -- practice with a friend who knows you well


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