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How can I start dating again after cancer?

Ariel & Shya Kane
Psychology
We have worked with men and women across the globe that are looking to date after significant life-changing events. We admire the courage it takes to go for what you want in your life and offer the following tips to support you in having the experience be fun, enlivening and fulfilling:
  1. Have Fun. So many men and women are so busy looking for trying to find "The One," Mr. or Ms. Right, that they forget to have fun. Who are you more likely to be interested in: Someone who is enjoying himself/herself and taking pleasure in the moment or someone who is trying to fulfill an agenda? If you recognize and sidestep the trap of trying to achieve a relationship, you may discover yourself having so much fun with someone that a relationship simply and beautifully happens.
  2. Flirt-Flirting is when you communicate in a fun and authentic way, feel good and have others feel good about them in your presence - not to mention, its fun. The best place to start is everywhere! If you begin to let yourself have fun with the person you buy your coffee from in the morning or the ticket seller at the movies or the person in the checkout line, you will begin to relax and be more yourself. Being you is really attractive.
  3. Listen-Truly Listen. True listening requires being in the moment and letting go of your point of view, your thoughts, and your agendas. In order to really listen, you have to let go of what you think, know and want to say in order to really let the communication come in. Get interested in truly listening to your date rather than listening to your thoughts about what he/she is saying and you will naturally have a genuine experience of who that person is and vice versa.
  4. Be Kind to Yourself. We often find fault with ourselves and think we should do our lives differently or better. This poses 2 distinct challenges: 1st anyone who finds you attractive has a major strike against him/her for finding you attractive with all of your "faults"–he/she must be deficient or at very least have bad taste and judgment! This misconception sets you up to start unwittingly looking for what is "wrong" with anyone who is interested. The 2nd challenge happens once someone is in a relationship with you. By extension you will treat him/her as you treat yourself in your thoughts. So if you are out to fix yourself, your partner is destined to be your next "fixer-upper" project. If you are kind to yourself you are far more likely to be kind to your partner, which will create a solid foundation for any relationship.
The following are some steps you can take to move towards dating and the development of new relationships:
  • Get involved in activities where you can meet people and practice your social skills.
  • Go to a support group to talk about dating with other survivors.
  • If thinking about dating overwhelms due to body image and emotional concerns, talk with loved ones, trusted friends, other survivors or a licensed counselor.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and experiences with dating after cancer.
Cancer survivors sometimes have to deal with issues that can make dating more complicated. Some may struggle with body image issues and live with uncertainty about the future. Others may have a hard time accepting the changes that cancer has caused in their lives. Dealing with all of these concerns on your own can be difficult. Trying to date someone and share intimate thoughts and feelings about these issues can be difficult.

But cancer support groups provide a safe environment to share experiences with other survivors, learn new ways to handle difficult situations, and talk about emotions. Ask your healthcare team to refer you to an appropriate group or contact a nonprofit cancer organization to learn more about groups in your area.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.