• My husband is becoming very distant since diagnosis. We can't seems to talk about anything at all without arguing. Please any advice?

    Asked by DEB_INDY on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    My husband is becoming very distant since diagnosis. We can't seems to talk about anything at all without arguing. Please any advice?

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I think you have answered your own question. If every conversation ends in an argument, becoming distant is a pretty natural outcome of that. Maybe some analysis of the arguments might help? What seem to be the triggers? Are either of you being defensive? Is there a way to recognize/predict when talking is about to become arguing and redirecting it? Is being right more important than not being confrontational? Once you can get a handle on those things and start having conversations without arguing, the distance might resolve itself. Or if it doesn't, at least you can have a conversation about it without it turning into an argument.

      over 8 years ago
    • DavidandMarty's Avatar

      Deb, it sounds like my life, but it was my father whom I was with when he passed and I too lost my fists husband to lung cancer and now am loosing my second, who was my high school boy friend and we got together after 35 years! We have just had our 15th wedding anniversary in April and both our 65th birthdays were celebrated (?) in the hospital. I told David when he was first diagnoised that NO MATTER what he or I were feeling we HAD to talk about it since we would never be on the same page, that I learned from the first cancer journey i had with Bill. But David isn't a great communicater either and keeps a lot inside, well at least until last night. Yesterday the doctor told us that he was stopping the chemo (David had been in remission for 5 years and in feb of this year it came back) and that he has about 3 months of life left. Boy did we ever talk last night and make lists....He wants to sell all his tools and guns and I want to go Around the World in 80 Days! So see, no one is ever on the same page.
      During these past months I have had crumbling moments that David has seen, like beating the bed and wall with my pillow, sitting in a ball on the kitchen floor balling when he thought I was making dinner...I know it sound dramatic but he then understood the pain I had as well.
      We the caregivers have one of the hardest jobs in the world. Go get some Rescue Remedy at a health food store, it will help you and you can slip it in his coffee. Your husband is so in pain and doesn't know how to deal with it. The first time around with David's cancer at the three month mark of "remission" we had a big party maybe you should start planning yours!
      I hope and pray that your husband will come to understand that this is not a journey either of you chose, but it must be done together. I have never missed an appointment ( with my notebook and pre written questions and I also WRITE down the answers the doc gives since we ALL here things differently) a chemo or radation treatment. Maybe just show up and smile at your husband and tell him you just couldn't stand the thought of him doing this alone...I don't know. I hope I can help in some little way, if nothing else I am here.

      over 8 years ago
    • shauna0915's Avatar

      We, as caregivers, tend to catch the brunt of all the anger and aggression meant for the cancer. It's said we tend to hurt the ones we love the most. It doesn't make it right, but it's true in the "cancer world". My dad would get so aggravated with my step-mom over petty things. It could be because his tea was too hot, or not hot enough. Something was too salty or spicy or bland. He would just pop off for no reason at all. In the end, it was because he was scared... and proud. Pride is a dreadful thing when one is fighting cancer. It's harder for men to swallow than women.

      Marty (DavidandMarty) has a good suggestion... go to the health food store and get Rescue Remedy. It will help your nerves and calm him down too.

      You may just have to confront him and flat out tell him that you are hurting too and he's not the only one affected by the cancer. I'm a pretty direct person and I'd tell him to get over himself and quit arguing and yelling every time you try to talk to him. My partner is very similar in that she is unemotional and I'm overly emotional. I need hugs and attention and she wants to be left alone. Sometimes I just have to go off on my own and have my temper tantrum and get my screaming and crying out and come back and deal with her lack of emotion. It doesn't matter if it's my problem or hers, it's always the same... I'm the emotional one and she's stone faced. We've been together over 17 years and it doesn't get any easier. Yes, we've been through the whole serious illness thing... she has sarcoidosis. Now I have a nodule and a couple spots on my lungs and I'm trying not to freak out but I just lost my dad last July 4th to lung cancer, so I'm scared and she doesn't understand why. I talk about it with other people because I know she'll tell me not to worry until there is something to worry about. She doesn't know I cry myself to sleep sometimes because I'm horrified that I may have lung cancer on top of all my other health issues.

      Bottom line is... either tell him to shut up and listen or find another person to talk to about it. And...get the Rescue Remedy. It helps! Good luck!

      over 8 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar

      I think some distancing is normal. Since my diagnosis, I go back and forth being distant with people and being involved with people. One of the realizations that I had when I knew that I was Stage IV was that, although I had a lot of people on my 'support team', I was alone. I was the one who would suffer the effects of treatment and the disease.

      I did recognize fairly quickly the caregivers have their own brand of suffering and that my cancer affected others but even so , having cancer can make you feel very isolated, like other people who don't have it can't possibly understand (whether it's true or not). And then you withdraw.

      Connecting with other people who actually have cancer helps. If he is willing to either go to a cancer support group or even join this one (or one like it), it might help him cope.

      Best of luck.

      over 8 years ago
    • Marmalady's Avatar

      I needed to withdraw for awhile in order to assimilate the diagnosis for myself--and my darling husband didn't understand. Then a month later HE was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer--and needed lots of support from me. We got counseling and I think we both understand each other's needs better now.

      over 8 years ago

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