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when cancer affects your marriage

In the days following a person’s cancer diagnosis, the partner or spouse will usually be fully invested in seeing his or her loved one through the crisis. It’s not unusual for couples to go to every doctor appointment and chemotherapy session together, or to see a partner taking charge of medications, housework, children, scheduling, meals, and a host of other duties with neither hesitation nor complaint.

But then, after months or even years of devoting one’s time and energy as partner and caregiver, feelings of resentment and anger can begin to seep in. Suddenly, fractures in the relationship start to form, bringing in doubts as to whether the marriage can actually survive the cancer treatment.

As disconcerting as these feelings may be, it’s important to know that they are completely normal. We may not like them — they may even mortify us — but working through the feelings together allows you to keep your marriage and personal relationship intact.