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Full Disclosure, Part 3

by The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way,

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

Chris    The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy

First off, congrats on beating the cancer! I’m happy to hear you’re in remission and out dating again. You ask a good question, but I caution you not to worry about it too much. I wouldn’t suggest you lead with, “Hi, I’m AN. I’ve just gotten over a battle with cancer and am incapable of having children. So, what do you do?” It usually takes some substantial progress in the dating timeline to get to the stage where you seriously discuss marriage and children and such. There’s usually plenty of time during the natural dating process where the subject of your predicament can come up without feeling forced. That said, there’s also no need to deny your situation if it comes up sooner rather than later. So relax and don’t stress about it. After all, you’ve had enough troubles lately.

And don’t worry if a guy says he wants to have his own children and doesn’t think he’d ever adopt—he may change his mind if he feels you’re the incredible woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Or not. The point is, you can’t really know and it doesn’t make sense to pull all this heavy stuff out early on. You are able to adopt and you seem to have a strong, practical attitude on your dating life and your future family life. My wish for you is that you find a guy who shares this with you. May your new cancer-free life be enjoyable, long and full of love.

Check in tomorrow for the gay woman's perspective by Jody Fischer.

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 rbrown@realgirlsmedia.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.