#BloodCancerAwarenessMonth Q&A: "Is it crazy to think I deserve to find love before I die?"

Over the years, I've received thousands of emails about Bald in the Land of Big Hair, a memoir about my experience with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A cancer diagnosis brings a firestorm of questions, and as a survivor, I can sympathize, but I'm not an expert; many times I just don't have the answers. So this year during Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I've asked Ashley Rodgers (Masters in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling), to respond to some FAQs about the emotional and psychological aspects of the cancer journey. 

Q: My wife and I have been pretty unhappy for most of our 15-year marriage but stayed together because of the kids. Now I have cancer, and I feel like I'm wasting what might be the last years of my life. Is it crazy to think I should try to find love before I die?

Ashley says: Your desire to have love in your life is not crazy. It is natural to want passion and connection with another person. You can choose to dissolve your current relationship and look for someone new or you can try to rekindle what was once there between you and your wife. Either one you choose is okay.

If you opt to leave your marriage: When moving on from a long relationship, there are some important things to consider when looking for new love.

Take a break after the divorce to find out who you are as an individual. When you are in a long-term relationship, even if you are no longer close, you have grown as a person with someone else. You have to separate from that and see what it is you want now that you are single.

Be choosy. Don’t just go for the person who is the exact opposite of your ex-wife just because of that fact. Maybe you do want the new person to be different, but it is okay to want that person to have some of the same qualities that attracted you to your ex-wife in the beginning.

Look everywhere for a new relationship, don’t limit your choices to the bar around the corner. You may have been out of the dating game for several years; people meet love interests everywhere now. You can find people at the bar, the grocery store, the library, or park. This is important because this could help you find someone with the same interests or hobbies as you.

Here are a few tips on dating after divorce.

If you want to rekindle your marriage instead of moving on with a divorce there are many tools you can use to light that passion.

Start by listening to your wife. What is she asking of you, what kind of interaction dos she want from you? Find out and try to incorporate those things into your daily lives. Maybe she wants to be complimented on how she looks, or thanked for the things she does at home or for your children. If she is not sharing those needs with you anymore, start asking. Show her you are interested in what she wants and needs.

Take a trip down good memory lane. Remember some of the things you both used to do when you first got together. Make an effort to recreate one of those dates. Or, if you have been listening and your wife wants to do something new, try that instead! It will show her that you are listening, you are interested and that you want to build your relationship with new experiences together. Just remember to take strides toward the goal of rekindling your relationship even when it gets difficult.

If it took 15 years to get to where you are now, it may take time to get to where you want to be. But keeping your wife in the loop of what your goal is and how you are feeling with greatly assist you in your efforts.

Here are some tips on rekindling your relationship.

We welcome your questions and comments.

*No part of this blog or the book Bald in the Land of Big Hair should be misconstrued as or substituted for medical advice.

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