How to feel loved and be able to love when you have cancer? If the fear caused by the disease invades daily life, rare are the couples who separate. In order to support you during this difficult ordeal, Fourchette & Bikini offers 4 ways to understand the disease and the couple.
The importance of talking about the subject
The couple and cancer are subject to many taboos, especially when it comes to talking about sexuality. It is therefore essential to maintain the dialogue within your relationship. Fostering healthy and sustained communication has many benefits for you, as well as for your spouse. By confiding your concerns, you can relieve yourself of negative emotions. This is a very effective way to avoid discomfort and misunderstandings, which can complicate the situation – already difficult. Thus, speaking is guarding against a frequent phenomenon: that you no longer feel desired, and that your partner feels rejected. Communicating about your feelings also means giving the other the possibility of putting you into perspective and supporting you. The dialogue can obviously be blocked or timid. If necessary, do not hesitate to seek advice from your referring doctor, psychologist, sexologist or gynecologist. Also invite your partner to do the same, he or she may have many questions. Instagram accounts like “vons_y_prevention”, created by Alexandra Mariez Ferec, also make it possible to open the floor on all subjects related to breast cancer. Finally, the establishment of a couple’s therapy can also be beneficial. It can – at any time – help restore communication within the couple and renew the love bond.
Regain confidence in yourself and your body
Breast cancer and the effects of its treatment are difficult for women who have it. Between hair loss, sometimes weight gain or loss, mastectomy and scars… it’s hard to feel good about yourself and have confidence in your body. In order to reconnect with your image, it is first a question of becoming aware – without minimizing it – of the narcissistic wound caused by the disease. Because it risks preventing you from letting go, and therefore coming to encroach on your romantic and carnal relationship. To do this, do not hesitate to talk about it with your partner, your friends or your family, whose support is invaluable. Sessions with your psychologist focused on this subject can also be very beneficial to you. And accessories like Les Franjynes by Julie Meunier are also a way to reclaim your body, especially through hair styling. For the rest, there are no rules of conduct: try new approaches, listen to your feelings, do not deny yourself anything.
Develop a new look at the couple and self-image
Ultimately, many women testify to an eminently complicated ordeal, but one which has enabled them to approach self-image, the couple and sexuality differently. After breast cancer, the body is no longer the same and neither are the aesthetic issues. This body goes far beyond standardized beauty standards: it has conquered disease, it has unparalleled power, it deserves to be treated with pride. In sexuality, such an approach can make it possible to relativize the physical sequelae and to be able to fully assume one’s body. And the same goes for the couple, who also find themselves strengthened. Through mutual trust and love, the just joy of being alive, here and now, in the company of your partner.
Overcome fear to dare to invest in the relationship again
One of the major difficulties of cancer is the permanent fear that accompanies it. And this deep concern is accompanied by the feeling of being misunderstood by everyone… and therefore also by his or her partner. In order to overcome this complicated moment, one must succeed in finding ways to reconnect. This obviously involves communication and all the methods explained above. But touch can also allow the couple to find themselves in intimacy. It is not necessarily a question of opting for a sexual approach, even less penetrative. The important thing is above all to find a physical dialogue that suits you and your partner: perhaps the tenderness of a long hug? The softness of caresses on your back? Or the pleasure of a languorous kiss? Whatever the approach, the main thing is that you want to. Because it will help you reconnect with your own body and its ability to give you pleasure. Also, letting your partner touch you is a way to reconnect and ease their fear of hurting you. Approaching sexuality differently, rediscovering one’s bearings in carnal contact and learning to touch again are all approaches that will enable your couple to cope with the disease. Note also that sexuality is not only synonymous with pleasure! It can have a therapeutic dimension, because making love is above all about feeling alive.
If you want more information about breast cancer, you can discover our interview with Sandrine Planchon, head of the association Ruban Rose.