Monday, July 11, 2011

Post-cancer dating......

Dating and cancer - not usually two words that go together and I still haven't found a brochure on the topic. I typed 'dating after cancer' into google and the first topic that comes up is 'cancer and divorce'. Once again, it is aimed for women who are older, have been married and have had kids. Once again, that is not me. There are some articles on the topic which are more relevant, but you do have to go searching for it.

I have been talking to the psychologist at the Cancer Council about getting back into dating. I have found that my poo-poo feelings have been exaggerated (yes, that is a technical term) and I take longer to bounce back. I have had a lot of disappointment when it comes to dating in the past, and I am not sure I am ready to launch back into that. I feel that the past 18 months have been bloody tough and I have had enough to deal with, without adding the messy world of dating to it as well. There is the issue of when to tell a new guy about what has happened and what it means for the future. There is a very high rate of return for the type of cancer I had and I am still unsure about whether I can have kids. Whilst I recognise that this is not the best conversational opening for a first date, it has to come out at some point. I am not ashamed or embarrassed about what has happened and am open to talking about it (clearly!!!!) - but when and how do you bring it up?

I have been saying for months that I wouldn't start dating until I had a fringe. I have been hiding my fringe under a headband for a little while now and today I wore my hair in a slick back ponytail for the first time since January 2010, so I can't use the fringe excuse anymore. After talking to the psychologist about this for a while, I thought I was ready to give it a go. I had the opportunity to go on a date with a fellow who I have only known for a few weeks. All seemed to be going very well and we were getting along great. He asked me if I had any tattoos and I immediately thought of my radiation tatts. Since I have the worst poker face in the world - he questioned what that look on my face meant. I am a pretty good judge of character (I wouldn't be a very good recruiter if I wasn't) and I felt comfortable enough with him to tell the truth. He had also previously admitted that he had googled me and actually quoted recommendations from my LinkedIn profile. I may be guilty of having typed my name into a search engine to see what pops up and I know that the first thing that comes up is the article on the ABC website about this blog. There are also results for the Mother's Day Classic walk and this blog. I can't imagine anyone googling the name of the person you are about to go on a date with seeing 'blogging my battle with cancer' and casually skipping over that to the LinkedIn result. I said that I do have tattoos, but they were for medical purposes not cosmetic. He naturally asked why and I told him that I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2009, but then quickly followed that up with that I had finished treatment and totally kicked its ass (I still smile when I say that)!!!!! Anyway, long story short - the date ended well and he was keen to catch up again the next night and the night after that. I already had plans, so we said we would catch up the next week. Anyway, after an email and a few text messages I still haven't heard back from him. Part of me thinks that I shouldn't have told him about the cancer thing and the other part of me thinks that he just didn't like me - which clearly shows poor taste so he is not worth worrying about anyway.

So, I thought that when the next opportunity presented itself, I wouldn't be so giving of information. This opportunity came when I was celebrating the Reds historic Super Rugby triumph last Saturday (woo hoo - this also makes me smile)...I met a new fellow. He had no idea of who I was and what had happened to me, which was refreshing. Like the last time I was fun, flirty and charming, well I thought so! Anyway, he also expressed interest in catching up again and we exchanged numbers. It's been a few days and still no follow through, will keep you updated on that one.......

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