I Am A Cancer Survivor and Am Afraid This Will Scare off Men.

I so appreciate your emails and your books. I’ve learned a lot from you! I have a tough question to ask and I really want you to give it to me straight, please. I’m a 60-year-old adventurous woman who loves life and all of the opportunities it provides. I was with a nice man for 4 1/2 years. It wasn’t all puppy tails and roses, but we never fought and had a lot in common. Last August, when we returned from a car trip from Arizona to Vancouver for visiting his family in a couple of states and then hiking and camping, I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. He helped me through the surgery and most of chemo, but broke up with me prior to my final chemo session because he said I was too focused on myself. Well, I definitely am focused on myself and trying to live. His wife died 15 years ago from brain cancer. I don’t know if this had something to do with things or if he really felt neglected. There are always more details…but keeping it short to ask the question.

I’m quite content with my life (I’m now in remission–there is no cure) but I did enjoy the company of a man in my life. I love football and tennis and most of my female friends are just not interested. I have a huge support system of friends I love. My hair is no longer long but now at least covers my head! Bald was not beautiful to me! It doesn’t look bad…just different.

Okay, now really to the question: should I even bother considering looking for a relationship in the future? My diagnosis is a lot to handle for the average person and I just don’t know if I should even make an attempt. I’m hoping that I’m a statistical outlier and that’s what I’m working toward because I have so much more to do in life…but there is a chance that the life I have left will be shortened by my diagnosis.

You won’t hurt my feelings if you think it’s too much to ask of someone. I just don’t need the additional stress of being open to the possibilities if it’s not really feasible.

Thanks for you time and your work…be safe!


Thanks for your email, Brynne. Sorry to hear about your diagnosis and breakup. Scary and heartbreaking. 

The first thing I thought of when reading your email was this gem from a decade ago, called You Want Someone Who Sticks By You Through Tough Times. 

Your “nice man” failed that test spectacularly. As to whether it was because he had PTSD after losing his wife to brain cancer or because he really wasn’t getting the attention he desired is irrelevant. Your future husband doesn’t leave you. Period.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

But your question wasn’t about him; it was about your future.

And in my opinion, your future is quite bright. You said so yourself.

You’re in remission.

You’re content with your life.

You miss male companionship.

Your friends have already given up and are not empowering in this conversation.

So is your diagnosis unfortunate? Can it potentially shorten your life? Sure. Do millions of people continue to enjoy love post-cancer? You betcha. 

You had a brush with death before and you survived.


You had a brush with death before and you survived.

There is no value to killing your love life just because you’re afraid of what the last guy did. 

He’s history.

You should be living gloriously in the present and actively seeking a man who wants to share it all with you. 

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