My partner has changed so much and it breaks my heart

I'm sorry if this is a long post, but I need to get this off my chest and see if anyone else has had this experience, or if I am truly insensitive like he's accused me of being....

My partner and I have been together almost 2 years, we were literally in the middle of moving in together when he got diagnosed with HPV18 (throat cancer). It absolutely broke my heart, he is such a good man, regularly goes to church, and has been an absolute rock to me in all the time I've known him.

He decided that he would stay with his sister during his treatment, I did ask if he could change hospitals and I would take care of him, but he refused. I was upset but I understood, and supported his decision. In the run up to the beginning of his treatment I put together a huge box of supplies, from neck fan, room humidifier, lotions, soft foods, anything I could do to 'help'.

He made it clear he didn't want to see me during the treatment period as he just wanted to get it over and done with, again not something I agreed with but I respected his decision. 

He was very loving for the first few weeks, talking about marriage, holidays, moving in together ect once all this was over, we corresponded via text multiple times a day, he was very vague in regards to his experiences, which led me to thinking that he was covering up the reality in order to protect my feelings, I said nothing! Just continued to support him from a distance. 

In the last week's if his treatment (7 rounds of chemo, 30 rounds of radiation) he has been cruel! I've been called a heartless ***, queen if insensitivity, and he's even mentioned my weight!!! 

This all started because I mentioned that my children were away for the weekend and if he felt up to it, the invite was there for us to see each other. Bear in mind I have not asked to see him in 6 weeks because he's made it clear he doesn't want me to see him like this. 

He then bombards me with, have you any idea what I've been through these last 6 weeks, this is not about you it's about me, have some respect and understand what Im going through, put yourself in my shoes and the suffering I've been through...

Then this weekend was the worst.. I go to a slimming club every week, and while I was there this week he asks.. are there many other fatties at club today? It stung but I ignored it. Later in the day he asks what my plans were, I said I didn't have any and his words were .. a few mountain climbers or squats wouldn't go a miss?!?  Again I didn't bite I just ignored his cruel comments. I text him goodnight and left it at that. The following day he mentions I was moody the previous night, I explained I wasn't moody I was upset, and he said, you get offended too easily. 

Followed by I need to grow up, I should consider what he's going through, he then proceeds to end me a picture of a bloody tissue telling me this is what he's going through and I'm not helping. But what concerned me the most was how he mentioned he was going to come and see me next weekend, but that will have to be out on hold now. I feel like I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship, and after experiencing that for 12 years, I refuse to go there again.

For clarification, I have done everything he has asked of me in the last couple of months, I've given him his space, but reminding him I'm still here and how much I love him. I've told him how proud I am of him. I've been understanding, even though I've missed him incredibly I haven't made it an issue. 

But I'm now at a point where I'm depressed, I'm tired of trying to keep him happy when I'm as miserable as can be, I did try and tell him how I felt, but that was a huge mistake because I was selfish and only thinking about myself. 

One day he loves me and he's talking about us going on holiday, the next he's reminding me of my selfishness and insensitivity. Honestly I love the man he used to be, but I'm not keen in this new spiteful man he's become. 

Please someone tell me he will stop this once he has recovered from his chemo and radiation,  treatments finished a little over a week ago, is there a light at the end of this tunnel or is this who he is from now on? 

  • I'll start this off by saying, a cancer diagnosis, and the succeeding treatment doesn't give anyone the right to resort to abuse whether it be verbal or physical. Right now you fall into the former bracket, you're enduring a verbally abusive relationship.

    This isn't defending him at all, but a cancer diagnosis and some of the treatment people receive can change someone's personality. Treatment wise, the biggest culprit are steroids. However, this is temporary. My wife was a nightmare at times on them. But i pushed through it. But we were re warned about this. Hormone levels can also greatly affect things too. But i have zero idea what his treatment involves.

    When faced with our own mortality, some people can simply change. It's not uncommon for some people to push those closest to them away as to spare them the gory details, so to speak. It can also be a pride thing because some people simply don't like exposing their current weaknesses.

    But the long and the short of it is, none of this gives him carte blanche to abuse you or anyone. If you still have some fight in you to put up with this, you can always step back a little the next time he does it. By the tone in your post, it seems not only are you putting his plight first, but there's a part of you that think you somehow are deserving of this sort of treatment because he's the ill person. Personally, if it was me, and i was getting that level of abuse, I'd take a step back and tell him I'm not a verbal punchbag. Let him come to you to apologise. I think he knows he can get away with saying nasty stuff to you and knows you'll still be the person that will jump to his tune and go running to him with your tail between your legs. The next time he does it, tell him you're no longer gonna sit there and be abused, and if he wants to talk to you, he is the one that needs to apologise. Also needs to stop it completely thereafter.

    You need to live your life too.

  • Hi  i am sorry you are experiencing abuse from this man.

    You say you had this happen to you before and I think unwittingly you found yourself with another charming man who may have turned abusive once you were living together/ controlling behaviour is as you know part of the abuser pattern.

    Speak to Womens Aid and get some support....cancer is awful And can alter behaviour tru but can also enhance what is there already 

    Safety first and you deserve love and kindness