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Sexual Wellness

Dear Iris: Dating Again

Dear Iris,

I’m thinking about dating again. How can I let new partners know about the ways cancer has affected my body without sharing too much too soon?


Dear R,

This is an important step, and your openness and willingness to start dating again is something I hope you can give yourself a lot of credit for. There is no clear roadmap for when and how to share information with new partners about how cancer has affected your body.

Be patient with yourself and tell a new partner only what you are comfortable with discussing at first. Allow this partner to ask questions, but you set the pace about what information you wish to share.

Over time you may be comfortable revealing additional information. Be sure to ask what your partner is feeling or thinking and be willing to share your thoughts and feelings through an open dialogue. If you feel uncomfortable during intimate moments, speak up. There may be times you need to regroup after interactions that were less than ideal in your mind. You can learn from these situations and adjust your approach.

You can always meet with an Iris Mental Health Therapist to create a plan for dating or sharing information in ways that work for you. 

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Michelle Fingeret, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Fingeret Psychology Services

Dr. Michelle Fingeret has spent the last 18 years providing body image counseling to adult cancer survivors. As a psychologist specializing in body image and cancer, she’s worked extensively in both outpatient and inpatient settings providing therapy to individuals, couples, and groups.

This article meets Iris standards for medical accuracy. It has been fact-checked by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board, our team of oncology experts who ensure that the content is evidence based and up to date. The Iris Clinical Editorial Board includes board-certified oncologists and pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice providers, licensed clinical social workers, oncology-certified nurses, and dietitians.