I am totally heartbroken and feel like I have been betrayed by someone I really believed loved me. Recently, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and am now undergoing chemotherapy. I told my boyfriend of two years, Joe, of the diagnosis and told him that the doctors said things looked very positive for me. I know that I’m a fighter; I refuse to let this cancer get the better of me and know I have many good years left to live.
What has me totally depressed and heartbroken is the fact that soon after I told my boyfriend about all of this, he informed me that he thought we should date other people! This took place about two weeks ago and I haven’t heard from him since! This is so hard for me to believe, that someone I thought loved me would just disappear at one of worst times of my life. Did he ever love me? If he did, how could he act this way? I don’t know what is worse—feeling betrayed or feeling like an absolute fool. Can you help me?
I will tell you that although I know you find this hard to believe, yes, your boyfriend did (and does) love you. The problem is, how you and I may define love does not translate into the same definition for Joe. One reason Joe had a relationship with you is because he admired your many positive qualities. He realizes that one of your qualities is strength and he secretly believes that he lacks this in himself. Therefore, he was much attracted to you because of this.
Joe rightly suspects that you are now becoming a different person, a person undergoing a change because of a catastrophic illness. Where you and I see this as a circumstance that will showcase your strength and optimism, Joe sees it as something to be feared, a circumstance that will change the relationship between you and himself. And he is correct in this. Your strength, for a time, will need to be devoted to yourself and not to those around you.
I know that you feel betrayed for two reasons. One is that Joe is certainly not displaying some of the qualities that you feel he had. This is certainly a grave disappointment, which makes you feel as if you have been “played for a fool.”
The other reason is that you know, definitely, that if Joe were to tell you that he had been diagnosed with cancer, you would be there for him even more strongly, if that is possible. To you, love means being there through thick and thin for the other person, and Joe is not only not providing support that you so earnestly need but he has completely removed himself from this picture.
I can also tell you that once you have completed chemo and life has returned to a more normal pattern for you, Joe will once again get in touch and attempt to resume the relationship. Of course, it’s up to you if you choose to do this, but I cannot predict that you will find this possible. You have been betrayed and abandoned, to your way of thinking, and this is completely understandable.
My prediction for you is that you will go on, not resume the relationship with Joe, and will accept the comfort and support of others around you. Joe may or may not experience growth and a degree of empathy. However, this is not your problem. You will deal with the challenge life has given you and go on to become an even stronger individual.
Tansy ext. 5289