For women who have battled breast cancer and gotten a mastectomy, navigating the world of dating, after it’s all over or while it’s still happening, can be an extra challenge that they never expected they’d have to face. From rude questions to having to share intimate details about their body with someone who is practically a stranger, read what these five women say about what dating has been like after their mastectomy.
1. It Was the First Thing I Admitted
"I found out I had breast cancer when I was 47, just three years after I had gotten divorced, and just a few months before I gave in and decided to try online dating. When I found out I had breast cancer, I Immediately decided to write that on my profile. I wanted that to be something I was open and honest about. When I got a mastectomy, a few months later, I didn't write that on my profile, but I did make it a point to share it on the first date. I wanted to be honest and very open with the guys I met. I wanted them to know what I had went through and what my body looked like after and if they were scared or turned off, I wanted them to leave as soon as possible." - Cheryl F., 50
2. I Had to Rediscover My Sexuality
"I had a double mastectomy at age 40. I wasn't married and wasn't big into dating for a while after my breast cancer diagnosis and the surgery. About a year after it happened, I met a guy (through a friend of a friend) and we really had a great time with each other. We took things pretty slowly, but when we finally decided to get intimate, I had a hard time accepting my body, and figuring out how to lose myself in the romance. I was very self conscious and wouldn't allow him to look or touch be from the waist up. I'm thankful for his patience and acceptance, but my personal adventure toward being comfortable having sex again took over two years." - Michelle S., 43
3. It Took Me a Long Time
"After my mastectomy, I gave up on dating. I was widowed for five years and had an active dating life before, but after, I had no desire. Both of my breasts had been removed. I lost my hair from chemo. I felt so unlike myself. It took me four years, and the help of a support group I joined of women going through something similar, to get back out there. Since all of this, I haven't gotten remarried, but I did find myself in two long relationships, where both men were completely okay with my body and my lack of breasts. That was reassuring because It was not what I expected." - Diane A., 49
4. There Were Some Rude Questions
"Dating is hard enough without having had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. When I tell guys that, only the guys I'm serious about and may sleep with, they ask me the rudest and dumbest questions. One guy asked me why I didn't go for a D cup when I got reconstructive surgery. Another asked if he could touch them because he's never felt fake boobs before. Some comments are just nasty and make me want to never date again, but there are nice guys out there too." - Laura D., 39
5. I Was Proud of My Scars
"Going topless was my new favorite thing to do after my mastectomy. I know this sounds crazy, but after the pain I went through and becoming a breast cancer survivor, I didn't want to spend my days embarrassed about my chest. I would proudly take off my top and show guys what my boob-less self looked like. I'd let them touch my scars and ask any question they wanted. I was proud to be a survivor and this mindset I had made me accept my new reality faster." - Cassandra B., 45
Personal Space is Bravo's home for all things "relationships," from romance to friendships to family to co-workers. Ready for a commitment? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.