Changes in Relationships

Change is a constant in everyday life whether you have had lymphoma or not. So it is not surprising that there may be some changes in your relationship dynamics when embarking on creating a new state of normal after your treatment.

During treatment, many of the people close to you helped you get through the daily tasks of getting to appointments and supporting you with chores and other needs. Some relationships may have been strengthened while others may have been strained. In order to get to a new normal with any relationship, you may have to rebuild that connection.

Here are some general tips for rebuilding relationships:

  • Acknowledge that lymphoma and other cancers can change relationships.
  • Recognize that how your relationship will cope with the changes depends on what kind of relationship you had before lymphoma.
  • You and those close to you need time to sort through thoughts and feelings – allow yourselves to take the time you need.
  • Now is a time to exercise your communication skills – be honest and open about how you are feeling.
  • Be patient and understand that at first some tasks or chores may not be done as well as you had done them before.
  • Tell others if and when you are able to get back to doing previous tasks or chores, like doing the laundry or cutting the lawn; if you aren’t ready or physically able to get back to all your usual chores yet, share that too.
  • Let people know if you still need help or support, and be specific in the type of help you need.
  • Share with and express your feelings to other lymphoma survivors outside of the relationship.
  • You may wish to seek professional help (->seeing a counselor) if a relationship is strained.

References:

Canadian Cancer Society. Relationships after cancer.
Accessed May 27, 2014.

National Cancer Institute. Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment. Social and Work Relationships.
Accessed May 27, 2014.