Talking with your partner

Talking about cancer is not easy, but keeping your feelings bottled up can take a toll on any relationship. It is important to be open and honest with your partner as well as being sensitive to each other’s feelings. This process may involve intense emotions, but it is a necessary one in your journey through cancer. Some tips for good communication include:

  • Active listening, which involves concentrating on understanding what the other is saying without judgement or anticipation.
  • Asking questions to clear things up.
  • Using “I” statements instead of pointing at one another.
  • Avoiding criticism, sarcasm, name calling, and insults.
  • Taking time to think about what is being said.
  • If necessary, finding a neutral mediator to clarify different points of view. (ASCO)

When it feels like talking is too hard, it is also possible to share your feelings without talking. Other ways to do this are by writing a letter, expressing them through social media so that others can read about it, or sharing a journal, painting or other artistic expression. Sometimes it can be useful to find someone to speak for you such as a counsellor, a friend or another family member. (CCS)