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cancer and ending relationships UPDATE

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#1 *birdie*

Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:44 PM

Hi all
My husband (of 17 years) has had a realy rough year with his health.
He ende up with a facial skin cancer coming back (had a removal and graft three years ago for the same cancer) but it came back  and he had to have the same proceedure again in August. At that time they told him that they thought, from what they could see, that it had gotten into his nerves and would go into his brain, the diagnosis for which was not good at all.
So for two months we thought he was screwed, but the pathology came back that it wasnt in his nerves, although he did have additional surgery to make the margins clearer.
Our relationship has been long and up and down, we have both been pretty dysfunctional, but have also worked really hard in the last 18 months and made massive massive changes to how we relate and feel and treat each other. We have been happier than ever and more healthy and functional than i thought possible - i can confidently say he has felt the same because we have talked about it in therapy together.
Two weeks ago (the night of the 2nd surgery), he couldnt sleep, next day he announced he wanted a divorce, he said the idea came to him in the middle of the night.
He says the mortality issue has made him relaise he wont be happy with me, thats its too hard work.
I am devastated, we have two amazign children (8 and 6) who he adores and who adore him.
He's a really beautiful and good man (though troubled in a lot of ways i guess, but so am i).
He is also a really stubborn man and i have watched in the last two weeks as he has developed this idea and twisted situations and memories to support the concept.
i love him, real love which means that even though i am so sad i do feel massive compassion for him because i see he is hurting too. I think he is confused about how this idea has grown (out of nothing) to seem so rational and certain - i certianly am confused.
I've posted this here in the hope that someone who has dealt with these issues might be able to help me understand what he is going through.
For the record i dont think i can control this, nor stop him if it is what he needs to do, but my i am deeply heartbroken and understanding another perspective may help me cope. If we had been in a rough patch in the marriage this might be easier to accept, but we have literally never been better.

Edited by *birdie*, 07 January 2013 - 02:00 PM.

#2 babatjie

Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:51 PM

I don't think it is a good idea to make a massive life changing decision when going through a stressful time. Will he try counselling again?

It is clear you really love him, I hope it works out for the best of both of you.

#3 Mousky

Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:56 PM

Oh god! I'm so sorry sad.gif

I think the only thing you can do is be there for him when he needs it.  He doesn't sound open to any councelling, and pushing the idea might push him away.  It might be good to seek some councelling yourself. What a horrible situation.

#4 *birdie*

Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

thanks for the replies...
he announced this idea in a couples therapy session, our therapist is really shocked.
he has he own therapist too - there is no shortage of councelling.

#5 Expelliarmus

Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

Is he actually covering up the opposite? That he doesn't want to put you and the children through the heartache of possibly losing him to the cancer? I have heard of that happening but don't know if/of anyone who's ever really done that.

#6 *birdie*

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

Hi all
Just thought i would update.
He is leaving - he ended a 17 year relationship via email, after hanging up on me.
I'm pretty much heart broken, confused and terribly sad.
Not helped by the fact that he is being really hostile (in a passive aggressive way) and hurtful. I guess for me the only thing worse than him walking out, is him walking out in such a cruel way and dishonouring what we have built and shared for the last two decades.
He's the only man i have ever loved - so (at 38) this is my first heartbreak - wow, it's really bad.
I am trying to remain dignified and to "walk in grace", but it is really hard when someone knows you so incredibly intimately and so when they want to hurt you they know exactly what to say...
He actually isn't a bad person, but he's clearly too broken.

#7 Beancat

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:45 PM

Jess - I am so so sorry for you, your children and your husband.  he is clearly a broken man and needs to be by himself.  Once things settle down, could you talk to him about this being a separation rather than a divorce?

his is just so sad.  I am dovorced too, but we didnt have kids.  We'd been together 10 years and there is just so much loss you feel as your identity is interconected with this other person.

All i can say is make sure you have support, take help when offered and look after yourself and your chidren

#8 sakura73

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

I am so sorry. In my experience the passive aggressive hostile thing comes from defensiveness. He probably already knows he is being an a@#e.

I was the one with cancer, and my partner left me twice: once during chemo and once a year later. Both times he did it really disrespectfully. He said the things he knew would hurt me most. Both times, he ended up coming back because it was the stress of other things, including my treatment, which had made him freak out. Like you I felt compassion for him and so I was able to understand, though it was so painful.

"Walking in grace" is such a good idea, though it is hard. After all, there are many years of shared parenting ahead of you, and who can really say what will happen between the 2 of you? Best to behave in the way most likely to be the way you are proud of in the long term. If he comes back, wonderful. If he does not, you will at least know you always behaved in a way which was conducive to him coming back.

but in the short term, I hope you have friends and family to lean on. Make sure you take care of yourself. If this phase of your life is ending, in time there will be a new phase, though right now that seems impossible and horrible to contemplate.

#9 Mumma_G

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

I am so sorry to hear this. Its not uncommon for men in particular to disconnect from families when they face terminal illness or the possibility of it.  Can you speak to his family and let them know that you are concerned and would keep an eye on him. I would be worried about his state of mind.

#10 saxa

Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:04 PM

After I was diagnosed with cancer at 27'and had to have a hysterectomy I was devastated.

I was more devastated for my DS who was 2 at the time and that I would never be able to give him a sibling, or give my DH a second child.

I went through a very bad period aboutn2 years post cancer and tried my hardest to push my DH away and to make him leave me.

I thought if I did so he would be able to move on, take DS with him and start a new family, give DS siblings with someone else.

It was a very bad time for all of us.

It took a lot of soul searching and therapy to come out the other side and realise me being here and being alive was much more important to m y DH and DS than ever having another sibling and child.

I'm sorry this is happening to you, but from the other side of the fence I just wanted to share a snip of my story.

#11 JRA

Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

I am so sorry this is happening to you both.

Please listen to Saxa and the others.

There is a lot of soul searching and trying to decide what you want from life when you face a thing like cancer. People also, as saxa said, also will often push those they love away, like a sick dog who will want to be alone to die, people often do the same thing - even if not dying

As Mrs_Mumma said, can you speak to his family? What sort of relationship do you have with them.

All the best

#12 *birdie*

Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:19 PM

Hi all
Thank you all for the replies.

He is leaving early Feb. It's a nightmare. The other night i had a dream none of this was happening, but that i found out he was having an affair, when i woke up i was momentarily relieved it was only a dream but then it dawned on me that he is leaving and i realized reality is worse than my nightmares...

I don't have a real relationship with his family - it seems he hasnt even told them he is moving out. I will contact his Mum when he has told her and i will talk to her, but as a family they exist very deeply in denial about everything.
I am concerned about him, about his mental health. His reality is unrecognizable to me, to our shared reality up until very recently, even to our couples therapist.
However he is being pretty hurtful a lot of the time, so it's getting harder to be graceful! I am trying to be detached and remind myself that this isn't all of who he is, but i cannot see the man i know right now.

This is a pain i have never known, but i am doing the best i can. I miss him, because he is like a different person. I want to find a way to maintain a relationship, whatever that looks like, even if it is just friendship but he is making it very hard. I dont want to be uncaring but he is deliberately hurting me. I guess there comes a point where you have to protect yourself too. I am starting to feel angry which may be something i have to go through but i really dont want there because it brings out the worst in me.
Worse still my best friend has just found out her husband has cancer ffs sad.gif
thanks again for the replies and insight.


Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

I'm so sorry OP sad.gif  I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you. I hope his head clears eventually and his reality begins to match with yours.

#14 saxa

Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

I hope his head clears eventually and his reality begins to match with yours.

Sorry but this has hit a nerve.

Have you ever had cancer SCARFACE CLAW?

Its not jaut a matter of having a clear head.

I appreciate it is very hard for partners but no one unless you have been through it can even imagine what goes on in the heads of people who have had it.

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