Dating in Your 30s Is Hard Enough—Here’s What It’s Like If You Also Have Breast Cancer


Dating involves so many things that [we’re socialized] to say makes a woman a woman, right? Your hair, your breasts. They are part of your identity and can give you confidence. So if those change due to cancer, it can take a lot from you. But I’ve always been very confident in myself, and self-confidence can help you get through it.

I have had some good experiences. I have a person I’ve been friends with for a couple years, and we were intimate after he learned about my diagnosis. I’ve gone through chemo two times. This second time, now, is solely attacking the cancer, but the first time it went through my whole body, and when that finished I was letting my nails and hair grow back. And I was terrified of showing him my hair, because I’d only worn wigs when we were together. But one night, I really saw a different side of him. He asked to see my hair, and I was terrified. But he just looked at me and said, “I don’t ever want you to wear wigs in front of me again.” I’ll never forget that. Especially coming from somebody who I’m not necessarily in a relationship with but who is a good friend, it made me feel like he saw the beauty in me.

These days, I enjoy meeting people in person rather than from apps. I’m super social and I have no problem approaching somebody. And I get approached too, which always feels great. And interestingly, when my diagnosis comes up, it’s not as much of an issue. It comes up naturally. I’ll be wearing a blond wig, for example. And someone will ask, “Oh, is that a wig?” And I’ll say yes, and they often ask why. And I just tell them: I’m going through chemo. I’m really open. Sometimes people will definitely respond with something like, “Wow, I was not expecting that!” But I find in person it’s just really easy. But as corny as it sounds, it really starts on the inside, and I think that’s what people pick up on when we meet in person, as opposed to the apps.

I’ll admit there are some times when I grapple with a rollercoaster of emotions. But for the most part, I do all the work I want to do to make me feel as good as I want to feel. I love putting on my makeup, doing my hair, picking my outfit. I’ll do a smokey eye or wear a new wig. I’m into fashion, and I’ve turned to it so much since my diagnosis. When I was little, I told myself that if I became successful, I’d make my closet look like a store—with everything lined up and my accessories on display. Now my closet looks just like that. Putting together a whole look—the process just hypes me up.

It also challenges the idea that there’s such a thing as looking sick. I heard it all the time just after I was diagnosed: “Oh, you don’t look sick!” And I get it. People have a certain idea of what cancer looks like, but you shouldn’t assume it’s going to stop someone from doing what they want to do or how they want to look. That idea, that there’s a way a cancer patient is supposed to look, just puts them in a box. People don’t want to accept that you can be out at a bar, enjoying life. It makes them uncomfortable—because then they can’t imagine you as someone they can pity. And that’s the big thing with me: I do not want pity. That’s more disrespectful than anything—when I say I have chemo and someone automatically says, “Oh, I’m so sorry.

Right now I am going out and meeting new people, and I really have faith that those who do come into my life will see me for who the person I am and the strength within me. And I’m more excited for the moment where I get to invite that person in. Because that’s what an individual going through this deserves: Someone who can realize your strength, your potential—someone who is going to be by your side at the end of the day. And if you’ve just received a diagnosis like this, I need you to remember that: What you’re going through speaks so much to who you are as a person already. So walk into that date already impressed with yourself and the person you are—it’s what sets you apart from anybody else in the room.




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