Breast Cancer and Dating: Divorced Woman Seeks Advice

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

I have never written anything on the subject of breast cancer and dating, but when a friend of mine called to ask me for advice for her divorced friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and was starting a new relationship at the same time, I decided to offer my opinion to try to help.

Almost every week, I feel like I hear about someone I know getting breast cancer. It’s a horribly scary feeling, and I find myself feeling so awful for what the person is about to go through-surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, pain, stress, exhaustion, losing their hair, losing their breasts and the worst: fear. It’s devastating and sick and I hate the fact that no one has found a way to prevent this epidemic.

My friend asked me, “Can you imagine having breast cancer and not even having a partner to help you through it?”

This got me thinking, do I feel sorry for the girl in this regard? Or, is she lucky she ended up divorced? What I mean by that is, I truly believe that having the WRONG partner by your side during an illness is much worse than having no partner at all.

This woman will lean on the support of friends and family, along with the love from her children to get through this extremely difficult time. She WILL recover and she will move on to better, happier, healthier times.

I always say that no one NEEDS a man (or a woman) and I believe that goes for illness, as well. Now, if you have an amazing spouse who wants to take care of you and support you during an illness, then that is a blessing. Consider yourself fortunate in that regard. But, a spouse who can’t handle it—who is panicky or gets angry or even cheats as a way to cope isn’t good for anyone. So, given the choice, I have to believe anyone would rather be alone than with a partner who can’t cope.

My friend also asked me for dating advice on behalf of her friend. Apparently the woman had gone on two dates with a guy right before she was diagnosed, and they really hit it off.

“How should she handle it? Should she tell him? Should she continue to date him?” my friend asked.

*uck yes!!! is my answer. Handle it with honesty. Full disclosure. A couple things: First of all, this is not a terminal illness. She should have faith that she is going to fully recover and live a wonderful life. She will be her normal self again (even better and stronger.) But it will take some time. Secondly, she will find out what this guy is made in a split second. If he decides to walk away, no big loss. She has the truth in her hands. If he stays, he is worth gold and it will mean the world to her. In other words, she can’t lose, but she has to be upfront.

Furthermore, she should continue to date (if this guy walks.) I have a friend who met her now husband in a Starbucks 20 years ago while 8 months pregnant with her ex-husband’s child! Her husband had cheated on her and left her, and here she was, alone and pregnant. Her now husband fell in love with her and raised the boy with her. They also had more kids. There are princes out there. Trust me.

I will be wishing this woman all the best for a quick recovery and great health moving forward.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

“It still constantly amazes me how life throws these curveballs, and that nothing ever turns out how you expected it to. Some “surprises” that life brings are awful and upsetting, but then there are others that are delightful and fresh and beautiful, and you say, “I can’t believe I got this lucky.” In other words, if you pick yourself up from off the floor, someone will be there shortly to grab your hand.” – Jackie Pilossoph
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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    2 Responses to “Breast Cancer and Dating: Divorced Woman Seeks Advice”

    1. SM

      What you write here hits home for me.
      I was married for 2 years. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, had 4 surgeries and God Bless I am fine now.
      My husband,who was mostly supportive throughout- I got the feeling my health issues were inconvenient–
      My husband came home one day — 1 1/2 months after the last and most serious surgery that
      “This is too hard and it weighed on him, and he just wants to be with his family”
      I was shocked as I was asking him where he wanted me to hang his dry cleaning.
      I guess you never know what anyone is made of—
      Maybe you find out a person’s true character when you least expect!

    2. Rebecca

      When I was diagnosed with very serious, genetic, aggressive late stage breast cancer I called my goy husband to tell him and all he could say was “I’m moving in with Ingrid and I need your car keys because she’ll need something to drive”. He did not divorce me because he didn’t want to look bad and I couldn’t divorce him because I desperately need the insurance so we stay this way for three years . During this time will he was making $300,000 a year he only gave me $800 a month to support our son and myself and left me with a $3000 a month mortgage . I did 16 rounds of chemo seven cancer surgeries and 60 days of radiation and I’ve been cancer free for five years but I’ve only been free of him for two. So I got divorced in Texas and naturally it’s a man state and I got nothing so life is been really tough and it’s hard for me to keep a job because my medical expenses are so high I ruin everybody’s insurance and when it becomes premium renewal time I get fired just like I did two weeks ago because my medical expenses are about $100,000 a month to keep me alive. So if you get lucky enough to get a guy Who sticks with you through cancer particularly late stage cancer you’re very very lucky you have a wonderful man if he doesn’t stay and most usually don’t you’re in for really hard Road .


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