Your partner

You may want to ‘protect’ your partner by denying that anything bad is happening or avoiding it. Or they might want to do the same for you. This is quite natural. But it’s important to be as open and honest as you can.

Talking about it

Try to keep your relationship as normal as possible and don’t feel that you have to behave any differently than you would have before. If you feel angry, or full of despair, talk about it.

At first my partner kept crying all the time. I had to tell him that it wasn’t helping me. We had a huge row but afterwards he said he was glad I’d told him how I feel.

Stresses and strains

There will be times when you find it hard to get on. There are bound to be stresses and strains. Treatment, an uncertain future, feeling like problems are hard to resolve because there is less time or simply feeling tired and unwell can all take their toll on a relationship – and just at a time when you need each other most. 

Taking short breaks from each other may help to relieve anger or stress and can be a real boost. Talking to others separately may also help.


The situation can affect both yours and your partner’s interest in sex. Whatever the issues, try to be as honest as possible. You may be able to find a way to cope with the situation or you might decide to make more time for sex. You may decide to show each other you care in different ways, such as giving each other a massage. Or together you might decide that right now you and your body have other needs and priorities.

Reviewed September 2015. Next planned review 2017.