“It continues to amaze me which men step up and which men don’t, when their significant others are battling breast cancer,” my reconstructive surgeon said.
Your doctor can tell you how to best equip yourself to fight the disease or prevent a recurrence, but there’s no guide for how to make your partnership work in the midst of a health crisis. Some relationships flourish, and some flounder. You might think that you know what commitment entails or what it means to truly be there during the toughest of times, but it’s all speculation until you’re in that situation.
I had assumed that my most recent relationship would end around the time of my double mastectomy in late April. The Man and I had only been together for two-and-a-half months, after all. It was unrealistic for me to expect that he would be there for me during my surgery and recuperation.
Thankfully, I was wrong. So very wrong.
I found a man who isn’t just around when times are difficult, but a man who is present, helpful and loving. He takes initiative, and he tells me how proud I make him. He reminds me that being a survivor is sexy and that I’m strong.
I’ve been far more private about this relationship than I have with any other relationship. Some of it stems from how my career and brand have changed over the past three years. Another contributing factor is that I no longer seek volatile partners in intense relationships with every detail to later be shared and dissected online. Life has thrown me enough drama. I look for stability now in my personal and professional life, and I want to hold it close. And, finally, I’m involved with a humble man who is very private and views our time together as sacred. I respect that and would never do or post anything that would disappoint him.
With that said, I appreciate that many friends are readers, and quite a few readers have become friends. Given how many of you have prayed for my health and rooted for my happiness, I feel comfortable sharing this with you all —
There are those who leave when the going gets tough.
There are those who think that just showing up is enough.
And, then, there are those few who innately know what to say and do to make a situation better. There are those select people who value intimacy far more than they value sex and who take the time to communicate and build a solid foundation. These are the people who stick around and give of themselves unconditionally when others would walk out.
Thank you, mi amor, for being that rare man.