Dating After Breast Cancer: How to Talk About Your Boobs

In recognition of October being breast cancer awareness month, I am addressing this very common dilemma of  dating after breast cancer. Go here for more information about breast cancer awareness.

Today I’m sharing a question from a wonderful blog reader that I know will help many of you who are dating after breast cancer. As I told her, many women who come to me for coaching have lost one or two breasts to cancer. (Which really sucks.) Dating after cancer can definitely be a challenge, and “S” asks some great questions. Read on for our Q&A.

Bobbi:
I lost a breast to cancer and I am afraid I am no longer sexy naked (you can’t tell clothed, because I wear a prosthetic). The insecurity is holding me back from being the actively dating divorcee I would otherwise be. Is raising the topic the equivalent of the herpes conversation? Bobbi, you are so good at framing how to consider things. How do I should I be thinking about myself and how should I approach dating.

S.

…allow yourself to stop framing who you are based on your chest area. Instead, do work on getting in touch with all the other fabulous qualities that make you special and desirable. I bet there are many!

Hi S.
Unfortunately I have many, many clients who have survived breast cancer and have visible effects like you. But let me tell you that men – grownup men – really don’t care. They aren’t the 28 year old boys who only care about playing with girls’ boobies. They are looking for a partner and they, too, have likely been through medical issues, etc. Also like you, they have perspective on what really matters and what doesn’t in life. Sure, this isn’t true of every man you might meet; but if your picker is pretty well honed to finding ‘grownup guys’, it will be true.

So please PLEASE dump the idea that men won’t want you. It’s not true. And you only need one! And please also allow yourself to stop framing who you are based on your chest area. Instead, do more work on getting in touch with all the other fabulous qualities that make you special and desirable. I bet there are many!

And then, after you get to know a man and think he might be someone with whom you would be intimate, tell him in the way I suggest about anything else that’s scary. “Bob, there’s something I’d like you to know about me.” Don’t give him details, just let him know you are a survivor (or however you choose to express it) and that you had a breast removed. And then, tell him anything positive that came out of the experience. (I hope for you that there was some silver lining in your experience.) Share that with him and that’s it.

If he’s like so many other men my ladies have had this talk with (and like my husband when I told him that I had Multiple Sclerosis), he might be concerned, ask a question or two, and thank you for telling him. And then he’ll continue fantasizing about jumping into bed with you! Hope this helps.

Be good to yourself, S.  Bp

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