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Full Disclosure, Part 4

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

Jody    The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer

AN, you’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years. I’m so glad that you are living your life, getting out in the world and dating.

As to your question of when to tell a guy about your situation, I think it’s more a matter of when to disclose any big personal information. In my opinion, the early stages of dating are a time to see if you’re compatible. Is he easy to talk to? Do you feel like you can be yourself around him? Things like that.

The talk about kids and you being in remission seems like it should wait until you know if you like the guy. You mention wanting to be fair to him. Remember to be fair to yourself, too. I don’t think you’re doing either of you a disservice by waiting until you feel like you know that he’s a person you want to keep around in your life.

Turn the tables for a second. If he had been diagnosed with a stage two cancer and it was discovered early enough so that he is now in remission, or he could not have children, when would you like to him to share that with you?

Perhaps part of your confusion is not just about how to protect your potential mate, but also how to help guide your choices. You want to make sure that he’s also interested in starting a family and is open to adoption. This makes sense.

Finding a person who will love you for yourself as you truly are is what we all hope for. You deserve it, and I think the guy who finds you has found a treasure.

Check in next week for another Q&A series with The 4-Way.

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.