I’ve always been a big romantic. I remember how disappointed I felt when I realized that love isn’t like the movies. I wanted so much to believe in fairytales and happy endings. I never thought I’d have to write my own…alone.
I didn’t date in high school in Macon, GA. I dated a little bit in college in Albany, NY. I went nuts dating in Los Angeles, CA, because I felt like a hottie. Then when I moved back to Atlanta, GA, my dating life somewhat fizzled.
For me, it IS harder dating in the South than it was up North or on the West Coast. Aside from the whole race issue, I feel dating is harder in this post-cancer body.
I was interviewed for an article about cancer and dating for Datingroo in the UK. Click here for article. In the article, I talk about the difficulties of not knowing what to say on dates anymore. I don’t know what to put on my dating profile anymore.
Now that my lower back issue should hopefully be resolved or at least feel less pain in the coming weeks after my spinal epidural injection and additional PT, walking and standing won’t be as much of an issue anymore.
I remember going on a date a year post-cancer and the guy commented that I seem to be walking stiffly. How could I tell him my body feels like a 500-year-old, and that it was taking everything I had to not show pain while we walked into the restaurant or getting up from the chair?
I’m a well-known talker, so the fact I’m often at a loss for words on top of not being able to find words (thanks chemo brain), conversation is hard and awkward when talking with a man on the phone or in person. I don’t know how to talk about trivial things anymore. My thought process (when functioning) is heavy. I’m not as light or carefree as I used to be.
I have a hard time taking a compliment from a man because I immediately want to correct him and let him know I didn’t always look like this. I looked better. I looked thinner. I still feel like an imposter in this body.
Zero sex drive
Scars like a railroad track
Radiation scars on left side of neck
Cognitive Issues (chemo brain)
Hair (though can wear straight now) is so much thinner
In this body, I don’t attract the type of men I’m attracted to. Instead, I get thugs or creepy old white guys contacting me. That’s why I deleted my dating profile two years ago. I’ve never thought of myself ugly or strikingly beautiful. I know I have a pretty face with a sparkling personality. The fact these types of guys are what I attract in this body, well, it was hurting my self-esteem.
The saying, “The right guy won’t care what you look like” is false. Men are visual. Heck, I’m visual too!
That’s why I’ll spend another year as my own valentine. Until I can learn to at least like this body a little more, I can’t put myself out there, even if just for fun. The rejection that comes with dating is hard. My current mindset is too fragile to handle it.
I’ll never love this post-cancer body, but I can learn to at least like it. Plus, I refuse to settle.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the single people both in cancerland and out.
Until next time,
This post originally appeared on Life on the Cancer Train. It is republished with permission.