by The 4-Way Panel
About three years ago, I was diagnosed with stage two ovarian cancer. Luckily, my doctor caught it early and thankfully, I’m now in remission. Unfortunately, I can’t have children. I just started dating again about four months ago and I’ve been completely confused about whether to tell people about the cancer, and if so, when. On one hand, I think it’s better to disclose it early, so that I don’t waste anyone’s time if he knows he absolutely wants his own children and isn’t interested in adopting. But on the other hand, I feel like cancer is a heavy thing to drop on someone who’s in the very early stages of dating. I don’t want to freak people out and push them away. When do you guys think it’s appropriate to mention this to someone?—AN
The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox
First of all, congratulations on being a survivor! I’m sure if the same thing happened to me, I would want to shout it from my car window every day to anyone who would listen.
I agree with you. There’s no need to freak anyone out in the early stages of dating by telling them you had cancer. But then again, if you do tell them and they are completely freaked out, congratulations on getting a true character read from the guy.
Here’s the long and short of it: When you feel comfortable with someone, tell him. You’ll know if and when that moment arrives. But don’t beat yourself up about this one. The mystery and intrigue of dating is getting to know someone. If we all gave full disclosure on the first date there would be no need to get together for date number two. I’m sure whoever you go out with won’t necessarily offer up lifelong details on date one either.
As for the topic of not being able to have children, you’ll know soon enough if he’s someone you want to casually date a few times or someone who wants to build a life with you. When you run into the latter, you should think about the conversation. Don’t lose sleep until that happens, AN.
Check in tomorrow to read the straight woman's perspective by Rebecca Brown.
The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at email@example.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.