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Nothing truly prepares you for the news of prostate cancer, particularly when it involves your partner. Undoubtedly, your partner looks to you for support and validation, so it is essential that you attempt to muster the courage and fortitude to be that rock he needs during difficult times. Here are some general guidelines that can help you gain the necessary strength to carry both of you through this crisis and support a partner who has prostate cancer.
- Commit to work together as a team. This illness is both of yours to fight, so seeking resources, attending medical appointments, and adapting healthy lifestyles should become a joint effort. Mindful interventions such as meditation, holistic nutrition, and peaceful practices may become meaningful partner activities during this time.
- Keep communication lines open. Active listening skills, calmness, and openness are desirable strategies for partner communication during times of crisis. Don’t assume you know what your partner is thinking; he may shut down out of fear or internalized anger, or he may become outwardly explosive or irrational at times. Your partner may need space and solitude, or may need you to remain close. Ask your partner what would help him feel more at peace, and act accordingly.
- Broach sexual concerns with honesty, enduring love, and devotion. Consider how you would hope your partner would react if it were your diagnosis. Most relationships become deeper and stronger when a selfless attitude prevails.
- Prepare for an emotional roller coaster. If your partner is accustomed to being in control of his life, he may feel on the verge of decompensation for a period of time as he strives for acceptance. During this time, encourage him to feel the pain with you, and not to evade it or disguise it. In dealing with any kind of trauma, the best outcomes are achieved when people truly allow themselves to feel their authentic feelings in a safe, relaxed, and peaceful environment.
Take care of yourself. Make sure you seek the support you need, whether in the social realm, spiritual realm, physical realm, or all of these. If you allow your own health to falter, you won’t be of much help to either of you. Let him know what you are doing, so he can support you in this endeavor.