Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Have a Brain Tumor and My Ex is Picking Fights With Me”

I’m a 24-year-old woman and my on-again-off-again girlfriend (20) and I are currently “off” after a rocky, two-year relationship. This past year we have been long distance and can no longer visit each other. I have a brain tumor and am undergoing treatment, and she works and goes to classes. Before my diagnosis we agreed we love each other and would like to try to work things out; then, I got diagnosed and we decided to wait until my treatment is done. In the meantime, we are in constant contact. She is working on her degree and I’m doing lots of community volunteer work to help keep me sane before I get too sick or exhausted.

She has done things that have hurt me during this time: sleeping with her old flame (I can’t and won’t hold that against her since our status is on hiatus, but I can’t help that it hurts); using guilt trips against me; and starting fights with me. She feels lonely and confused and I don’t blame her; so do I. I’m going through treatment alone despite the fact I live with my family. I try very hard to accommodate her feelings and empathize with her. I put together information packets for her on what I’m going through so she can try to understand a little better. Even though it’s mentally exhausting to organize information (especially when my brain randomly forgets the meaning of certain words), I still try, because I care about her and her feelings.

I’ve been hallucinating from insomnia, experiencing vomiting fits and radiation burn pain. My decision-making skills, thought processes, logic, and rationality get lost in exhaustion. I feel like I’m cognitively-impaired and she doesn’t seem to understand the difficulties it presents nor appreciate how hard I do try. She tells me that she wants a solid commitment from me and needs affection and support and for me to be more loving. I try very hard, to give her the emotional support as my role throughout life has been the peacekeeper and appeaser, but what if I can’t be that right now? I feel misunderstood and so drained, from everywhere — my family, her, the illness, watching time go by while I can’t put my degrees into practice. What can I do to feel better? — Losing Patience

First of all, I’m sorry about your diagnosis and the challenges you’re facing. It’s totally understandable that while you undergo treatment, you’d want to put a rocky, long-distance relationship on the back-burner. What doesn’t make much sense, though, is why you are treating the relationship and this woman — who you say is an “ex” — as if it’s very much “on.” You’re in constant contact, you’re going out of your way to provide her as much information and a sense of understanding about what you’re going through, and you “try very hard to give her emotional support.” That’s not what a relationship that is on hold should look like. You are way, way too involved with this woman to have the emotional distance necessary to focus on yourself, your treatment, and getting better.

I get it: you’re lonely and confused and scared. But you’re clinging to the wrong person for companionship, support, and understanding. Your ex has shown you over and over that she can’t or won’t be those things for you. Maybe she will someday. Maybe not. But she isn’t right now, and right now is what you need to focus on. So instead of turning to this emotionally draining person for support — a person with whom you have a two-year history of rockiness, turn to people who can appreciate what you’re going through. Ask your doctors, nurses, or hospital/clinic staff to point you to a support group. Connect with others who are going through what you’re going through or who have been down the same path before. Instead of “trying so hard” to explain what you’re experiencing, reach out and lean on people who already understand. If you don’t have family or other friends who can give you the emotional support you need while you undergo treatment for your brain tumor, create a circle of fellow patients.

When you’re better, you can re-evaluate whether you’d like to give your relationship another shot. And I hope good health and healthy distance will give you a clear perspective. Your ex is a girl who, when you were undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, demanded affection, support, and more love from you while she slept around, picked fights with you, and basically treated you like shit — all while you were experiencing unimaginable physical and emotional trauma. That’s not what love looks like.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

57 comments… add one
  • theattack

    theattack September 23, 2013, 10:06 am

    WWS, but I have to wonder what the ex has to say.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 2:41 pm

      Huh? Why? She sounds beyond awful…

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 2:53 pm

        I have no doubts that this LW needs to move on from her, because she’s not good for her right now at all. I just don’t think this LW gave us enough information to label the girlfriend as a total monster. These are her faults listed in the letter:

        using guilt trips against me
        starting fights with me.
        she wants a solid commitment from me
        and needs affection
        and support
        and for me to be more loving.

        The last four items are completely normal needs in a relationship, although they’re insensitive right now while the LW is going through this. I don’t think it makes her a monster though, especially when she’s an immature 20 year old, and when she’s long distance and probably doesn’t see how bad the LW’s health has gotten. Without knowing more about the fights, those might be normal too. If she’s actually out to pick fights with the LW, then yes, she’s awful whether the LW is sick or not, but I’m just hesitant to believe that someone is out of the blue starting one-sided fights. It takes two. The guilt-trips are a harmful communication pattern, yes, but it’s not uncommon, and I don’t think it makes her a monster. It does make her unhealthy for the LW right now though. LW needs to MOA, and I really do feel for her. I’m just not ready to say the girlfriend is being horrible without hearing her side of the story.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Also, it’s really hard to be a good partner for someone who’s going through an illness like this, and I would never expect a 20 year old to know how to do that. I doubt it’s a character flaw as much as it is inexperience and naivety. I don’t think she’s a bad girlfriend in general without knowing more, but I do think she’s a bad fit for the LW at this time.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle September 23, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I totally agree with all this.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 3:35 pm

        Um… Not if one partner is battling fucking cancer. Those things are so vapid it astounds me — given the situation. Its all Me! me! me! Ugh. Maybe it is true. Maybe 20somethings truly ARE the most Narcissistic and entitled of all generations…

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 3:53 pm

        Don’t pretend like you want to engage in an actual conversation about something if all you want is another excuse to say unkind things.

        I’m not saying the girlfriend is in the right at ALL. But she’s not a morally bereft, cancer-loving, attention-seeking, fight-picking asshole like everyone is making her out to be. All that matters is that the LW moves on and finds the support she needs elsewhere.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed September 23, 2013, 3:56 pm

        Well she’s kind of acting like an ass. She may not always be one. But in this case…kind of a major ass.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:03 pm

        I just can’t agree with that without more information about the guilt-tripping and the picking fights. Yes, she needs to be more sensitive and supportive, but for all we know about the fights or the guilt-tripping, the LW could be mistreating the girlfriend and being upset when she reacts to it. Relationships don’t stop because of cancer. They go on, and yes, cancer is terrible, and it means that you need more empathy from those around you, but it doesn’t give you a pass to get away with everything either. I have a hard time believing that all of this stuff occurs in a vacuum.

        Then again, maybe the girlfriend really is just being self-centered and mean, and maybe she is being an ass to the LW. Maybe I should just take the LW’s word at face value. There’s no way of knowing for sure what’s going on. I’m just not going to say something disparaging about someone if it’s unfounded.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed September 23, 2013, 4:04 pm

        That’s fair. But they are off at the moment. There’s no reason to go through this. They aren’t dating. And if the LW was upfront about not being able to do what the ex-gf needs…then she’s been even more of an asshole.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:08 pm

        I agree completely that there’s no reason for any of this. That’s why I think the LW should move on. But a person doesn’t have to be an asshole for you to need to MOA. Sometimes things just aren’t working.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed September 23, 2013, 4:09 pm

        Oh I agree, but I do think the ex is king of being an asshole about the situation.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 4:19 pm

        They aren’t even fucking dating and yet the ex is making this ALL about her. “What? You’re in a struggle of life and death?! Well, too bad for me! What about me?! Whaaaaaaaaa!”

        Honestly. That anybody would even attempt to defend such nonsense blows my fucking mind.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:22 pm

        That’s not even an argument, Mark.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 23, 2013, 4:24 pm

        I really don’t think TA is defending the gf.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Sure sounds like it. And if you fail to see the obvious argument — then I give up.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Thanks LBH. I’m definitely not defending asshole behavior. I’m just questioning whether or not the LW’s description of all of this is accurate.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 4:27 pm

        Aka: defending the asshole. 😉

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:33 pm

        AKA, I’m really not going to discuss this or anything else with you until you can form actual straight forward arguments. I’m not arguing generalizations or baseless statements or assumptions or accusations with you, Mark. Life is too short for fighting with a brick wall.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 4:38 pm

        What? Only YOU are making assumptions here in that you assume the ex is somehow justified in Constantly picking fights with her ex — who is battling brain cancer no less…

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:42 pm

        No, I’m not assuming she’s justified. I’m saying that either way could be true. You’re not even listening to what I’m saying, but you’re more than willing to jump on me for it.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:16 pm

        “And if the LW was upfront about not being able to do what the ex-gf needs…then she’s been even more of an asshole.”

        This just made me think that we don’t know what their relationship was before the diagnosis, or what their breakups were like, or anything. They’re not even together, so the girlfriend isn’t expected to act like a girlfriend anyway. I think if my ex sent me information packets about his health conditions after we broke up, I would be annoyed rather than jumping to support him. Their relationship was already rocky, so all of that past is contributing to what’s happening here now. Two years of a rocky history is a lot of missing information when all we’re getting here is that she’s unsupportive and argumentative. The LW might have been upfront that she can’t give what the girlfriend needs, which is fine, but we don’t have timelines here or details of how these conversations took place. It’s all just random, meaningless information to me at this point.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed September 23, 2013, 4:19 pm

        Right, but if she’s asking for girlfriend behavior, then she should act like one as well.

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      • theattack

        theattack September 23, 2013, 4:24 pm

        I agree if that’s how the timeline is. We don’t have that information though. We just know that the girlfriend wants more, the LW can’t give it to her, and the girlfriend is not being involved or supportive. Without knowing what order that all goes in, I can’t blame anyone.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow September 23, 2013, 10:13 am

    I’m so sorry you are going through all of this, LW, but Wendy is right. If she is emotionally draining you, then you need to find some other means of support and to get some distance from her for your own peace of mind. I wish she could be the person to help you get through this, but she has proven that she can’t handle it. It’s sad. I’m kinda pissed FOR YOU that she isn’t more understanding and supportive when you need her most. I’m sure it’s difficult for her to see someone she cares about going through this; her behavior might be the result of fear and grief that she may be losing you. But that doesn’t make it okay for her to put all this extra stress on you when that’s the absolute last thing you need in order to heal.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs September 23, 2013, 10:18 am

    LW….i’ll give you another take….as i am a molecular biologist i can tell you that the last thing you need right now is stress….you need your immune system to be as healthy as possible right not to help you fight the tumour and get better….your ex is causing you stress and this is not healthy….please for the sake of your health right now, put some distance between you and this woman and surround yourself with your friends and family who can offer you support as you focus on getting better and fighting this disease…..get well soon 😀

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  • avatar

    Christy September 23, 2013, 10:19 am

    LW, you get to be the needy one now. You’re the one going through a hard time; you’re the one who gets to be on the receiving side of the relationship for now. She’s obviously not interested in being on the giving side. She’s not. Please, please, try to find a support system that’s actually going to support you, not one that’s going to take more energy to deal with.

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  • avatar

    j.walker September 23, 2013, 10:28 am

    I like that Wendy didn’t let the brain tumour detail influence her answer. My knee-jerk reaction would have been to coddle the LW and chastise her ex for being so terrible to someone with such an illness. Instead, Wendy took the letter for what it really was about: Someone who needed to let go of their toxic ex girlfriend, and advised her about that before even getting into the subject of her brain tumour

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle September 23, 2013, 10:32 am

    LW, I’m so sorry for your diagnosis. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, & how scary it must be.

    To your relationship, though, eesh, WWS. I understand how on/off relationships can get stuck in weird, in-between stages, but you’ve got to flip the switch totally to “off”, since, as you say, you’re currently on hiatus. That means no constant contact, no trying to be supportive (that goes for both of you) & no putting together information packets for her. That just should NOT be your responsibility right now— although I understand your motivation is probably tied to wanting someone to accompany you through this tough time? But I’m sorry, your ex is not, not, not that person.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass September 23, 2013, 10:33 am

    Your ex is a selfish, thoughtless woman. You shouldn’t be making room in your life for her. Focus on getting yourself healthy and then find someone who loves you, not what you can do for them.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki September 23, 2013, 10:38 am

    LW, I’m sorry about your health problems and I hope that you are able to successfully complete treatment and go on to live a great and happy life.

    In order to do this (live a happy life that is), you need to minimize your stress right now and recognize that your ex and your relationship with her is toxic. Even if you weren’t going through something so physically and emotionally draining, your relationship with her seems like it would still be toxic. Sometimes you just have to let go. Step back and re-evaluate the relationship. Find other means of support (support groups, your volunteer work, etc). At this point you need to take control and remove your ex from your life. It may hurt at first, but I think you’ll see that it lessens the stress of being in a tumultuous relationship and will give you the freedom to focus on yourself and your recovery, which is what you need to do right now. Sometimes we forget that we can put ourselves first and this is a great example of when we NEED to do just that. Good luck.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra September 23, 2013, 10:40 am

    I think this is also a pretty big maturity issue. She’s 20 — an age where most of us think we know everything about life when in reality we know NOTHING about life. I’m 25 and I just laugh when I think of the person I was at 20. It’s ridiculous how much you grow and change during that short amount of time. She seems to be craving attention from you, attention that you physically can’t give. The fact that she slept with an old flame obviously bothered you because you’re treating this like the relationship is “on” right now.

    Do yourself a favor and get some space from this woman and surround yourself by family and friends who truly love you and truly care about you. You don’t need this added stress in your life. Let her go for now. After things are much more settled with your tumor, reevaluate if you *truly* want to be with her. Good luck, I wish you all the best.

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    • avatar

      lemongrass September 23, 2013, 12:28 pm

      I disagree that her ex should get a pass for immaturity. Maybe at 10 you could get away with being that selfish but at 20 you should damn well know better than to treat someone that way.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra September 23, 2013, 12:48 pm

        Oh I DEFINITELY didn’t mean to say she got a pass for being immature. Quite the opposite, actually. She’s being a complete bitch and I really think she needs to be out of the LW’s life, probably forever. I simply meant to point out the fact that 20-year-olds can be mature and attention-seeking. I know I was at that age.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra September 23, 2013, 1:23 pm

        20-year-olds can be IMMATURE. Ugh, I should really proofread…

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. September 23, 2013, 10:42 am

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I imagine it must be very frightening. Wendy’s right. You need to focus on you now. You will need all your strength to fight the tumor and get better. Any energy you give to your ex you are taking away from yourself. Please follow Wendy’s advice and find someone to support you who understands what you are experiencing. Good luck in your recovery.

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  • avatar

    Sophronisba September 23, 2013, 10:46 am

    LW, absolutely let go of this energy-vampire ex! If she gave a rat’s patoot, she would already have all the information and be gathering resources and making every effort to make sure YOU are feeling loved and cared for, not the other way around! If you wanted a glaring window into her character, you’ve got one now, so don’t waste another instant worrying about her. Your treatment center should have a social worker or ombudsman who can help you find the right resources, support group, financial aid, etc. There’s alot out there and someone with experience can help guide you to find groups or services that can make this difficult journey a little easier. Please don’t hesitate to seek them out. I wish you a speedy recovery and all the best!

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  • avatar

    Breezy AM September 23, 2013, 10:47 am

    Yeah, you need to get rid of her. She’s too young and immature to be a support person. Forget the relationship thing. You gotta concentrate on you now. And just, don’t even talk to her. Seriously. Go full no contact. You just can’t be bothered. There’s such a pressure in our society to always talk and people act like going no contact on someone is such a heinous offence… no. It’s actually sanity saving. ANd I don’t mean do it in some dramatic “I shall never talk to you again!” way. I mean just, tell her you don’t have time for a relationship right now or the ability and you’ll contact her when and if you do. And then stop thinking about her at all. I know, people always say “but it’s not easy to not think about someone!” I never said it was easy. But don’t allow yourself to wallow in psychosocial drama over it. Just go make cookies or do whatever your “thing” is.

    And don’t get sucked into crying drama when you do tell her “um, later” because that’s defeating the purpose! Just calmly and firmly say you’ll be contacting her later. Don’t argue justify defend or explain your decision. Just say I’ve made this decision because I’ve got to concentrate on my health now, and this relationship isn’t helping me to do so, and it’s not helping you in your goals either. Don’t get sucked into “but but but we can be friends!” because no you can’t. Not right now. It’s too easy to fall into the same patterns.

    I hereby give you permission to put you first and not feel bad about cutting her off.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo September 23, 2013, 11:00 am

    I wanna reach through the internet and give this LW’s ex a smack upside the head. LW, focus on getting the help you need to survive this illness, and sometime in the distant future reflect on why you would involve yourself with someone so self-centered she picks fights with and demands commitment from a person with a very dangerous health condition.

    Good luck and best wishes for your recovery.

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  • avatar

    starpattern September 23, 2013, 11:05 am

    This is so heartbreaking. If I received a serious diagnosis, I think my first order of business would be to go break down in front of someone I love and trust. It especially sucks that instead of asking what YOU need, your ex is demanding support from you. Wendy’s suggestion is good, and what some of the other comments are saying about minimizing your stress level is so important. Try to find a few good people through the support groups or your volunteer activities who, if nothing else, can help distract you and keep you laughing for a little while. It is important in general to surround yourself with positive people, so I imagine that will be even more important now.

    Wishing you the very best of luck with your treatment!

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  • avatar

    Elle Marie September 23, 2013, 11:05 am

    WWS.

    I’ve noticed a lot in the lesbian/queer women community that there is this tendency for people to hold onto exes. Maybe part of it is that they tend to be smaller communities, in an everyone-knows-everyone-else kind of way, but my personal theory is that it feels SO hard to meet people you are attracted to, who are attracted to you, that no one wants to let go. Even when the relationship is clearly toxic and OVER.

    My personal policy has always been to never be friends with exes. I’ve seen some people successfully be friends with an ex but only if a LOT of time has passed since the relationship ended. With any kind of relationship, whether it’s a friendship or something more, it’s always good to step back and assess the costs/benefits of the relationship. Is this person making your world bigger and better? Do you feel enriched by the relationship, or just drained? When you are in crisis and need support, is this person willing to be there for you? If this person is in need of support, do you like them enough to go out of your way to provide support? If a relationship isn’t working for you, please please please don’t be afraid to let it go. There are so many other people out there who will love and support you. You deserve better.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. September 23, 2013, 11:33 am

      Your personal theory also applies to the straight community as well. That whole attraction vortex is heady stuff and it’s easy to get stuck in it. People need to know that it’s totally okay to cut someone off if they don’t bring anything positive to the table.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery September 23, 2013, 1:10 pm

      Yep, I’ve never been able to be friends with any of my exes either, sans one. They all sucked the life and self-esteem out of me, and the end was brutal. Why keep that around?

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 2:43 pm

      Its fine to be friends with your exes… But nit if they as soul sucking monsters….

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  • avatar

    Taylor September 23, 2013, 11:15 am

    *Hug*

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  • avatar

    Bunnycsp September 23, 2013, 11:28 am

    LW, I was in this relationship and I regret it over a decade later. Slightly different set of circumstances but it was painful on both sides. This was 11 years ago. I was in college and was in an on again off again relationship with a guy. When we were off again, he was sent to Iraq right when the war began. I felt obligated to be supportive and he was dealing with things that were way beyond my comprehension at 22. He would tell me stories of cleaning up after roadside bombs and I was dealing with finals. He was angry at the world and his situation and I was not ready to deal with the pressure nor did I feel like I should because we weren’t “together”. Plus, everyone I spoke to would say that I was a terrible person for wanting to leave someone when they were going through so much. So, I would try to be there and support him but then would go on dates since we weren’t exclusive. It was a mess. When he got home, it was one of the worst fights I have ever had because we weren’t breaking up because we weren’t a couple but we weren’t friends really. I apologized to him 7 years later for my actions. We both now believe, looking back, that we should have never stayed in touch while he was away. I would say to save yourself a lot of pain and hold on to the family you have locally. Open up to them. No one can understand based on a long distance relationship that is relying on texts, emails, and phone calls. How can she understand you based on a second hand email accounts or articles? The people who can relate is the family in your home and people in a support group. Let go of this drama and focus on yourself.

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  • Jess

    Jess September 23, 2013, 11:35 am

    Here’s an opportunity for me to whip out the old “cancer card” and give it another run. While I’m at it, I can pull out my “boyfriend treated me like crap when I had cancer” card too.

    Firstly, being a caregiver (I use the term loosely to mean the significant other of a cancer patient) is not a picnic. It’s not clear whether the “ex” is involved in LW’s care, hospital visits, etc. Maybe being on a break simply means they don’t see each other in person or have any intimacy (and um, there’s not much to be had when you’re doing chemo and radiation). That’s not clear. But, before I launch into my finger-wagging, I did want to say that being a caregiver legitimately sucks. Cancer patients aren’t angels and they aren’t stoic, brave, and inspiring 24/7 even if they manage it for the rare social gathering they attend. Cancer patients can be whiny, unreasonable, stubborn, demanding, and inconsistent. But they get care, cards, lapel pins, pats on the back, and the knowledge that their plight is considered legitimate all the world over. Caregivers get squat.

    Disclaimer out of the way, here’s my message to LW. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO HOW SOMEONE TREATS YOU WHEN YOU ARE ILL. It will save you lots and lots of time. As they say in the cancer circles, “don’t waste your cancer.” It has a lot to teach you. How a person treats you when you are ill tells you how much empathy they have. And this thing, empathy, is the thing that you’ll need when one of you loses a job, has a miscarriage, loses a loved one, or struggles with mental health problems. Life will continue to deal you shitty hands (as well as great ones!). This is a great time to assess if this person is someone that builds you up or drags you down when the going gets tough.

    There are plenty of people who will excite you, tempt you, and inspire the fun-loving side of you. Fewer people who will stand by you, support you, and most of all UNDERSTAND you. For a life partner, you need BOTH. You need a person who tempts, excites and inspires you AND supports and understands you. Finding this combination isn’t easy. It’s rare. And that’s what makes it so special when you find it. That’s what makes you want to grab the person by the hand and pronounce your love in front of all your friends and family.

    If your ex isn’t this person, let go now, and focus on your health. As Wendy said, find circles online for support. There are so many great ones including Stupid Cancer (I’m Too Young for This): http://stupidcancer.org/ With a little research, you should be able to find local cancer patients to befriend as well. I promise you that when this is all said and done, you will lean heavily on these people and will want and need to have others in your life who get it. Surviving cancer puts you into a special club and it will be critical to your psychological recovery to have these people around you.

    One last caveat: Being around doesn’t equal support. Don’t let your ex play a guilt trip by saying she stood by you in your darkest hour. Standing by is not the same as loving, supporting, and understanding.

    I wish you all the health in the world my dear. *hugs* from a cancer alum.

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    • avatar

      bethany September 23, 2013, 11:40 am

      WJS.

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      • Jess

        Jess September 23, 2013, 11:49 am

        Thanks friend!

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  • avatar

    bethany September 23, 2013, 11:35 am

    Wendy’s first paragraph is spot on. You say you’re “Off”, but you’re acting like you’re “on”, and it sounds like you are expecting her to act like you’re on too.

    You need to quit focusing on her, and focus on yourself right now.

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  • avatar

    painted_lady September 23, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Why did you decide to be “off” during your treatment? My guess is, either she decided it (and if she uses cancer as a “this is why I can’t be with you” then rest assured that this woman is NOT someone you can depend on) or you decided she would be too much stress in your life. And if the latter’s the case, you really ought to quit letting her stress you out.

    Either way, though, this is not a woman for whom “love can keep us together” is exactly applicable. She can’t handle being a caretaker, she can’t respect your needs, and she can’t put her own desires aside long enough to let you heal in some tranquility. This is not a woman you should be with. Tell her so, if you need, but then stop seeing her, stop answering calls and texts, block her on Facebook, and let her go. Whether or not she’s a good person, she’s not good for you. Where you are concerned, she is not dependable in a crisis, she is not understanding, and she is not compassionate. Please let her go before you do further damage to your health.

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  • avatar

    llclarityll September 23, 2013, 12:12 pm

    At 20 years old your GF may not have the coping skills to be able to handle what’s going on with you and in her own life. That doesn’t mean she gets a pass, but just recognize that you are 4 years older than her, and when you’re in your twenties, 4 years is a huuuuge gap, just throwing it out there.

    I’m going to take the Wendy approach and set aside your diagnosis for a quick sec. Because your letter answers your own question if you take out your current health state. You’re exhausted, emotionally drained, worried, frustrated … and ON TOP OF THAT HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR!! Why in the world would you continue to put your very valuable energy into this woman? It is baffling to me why people stick around when they are admittedly miserable, but to stick around in this circumstance is just plain cruel to yourself.

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    HmC September 23, 2013, 12:44 pm

    I think that if a relationship is causing you more pain and hassle than comfort, then it’s not worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I think if you’re married and/or have kids and problems crop up, as problems do, you shouldn’t immediately throw in the towel. But if the problems are long term enough that you call your relationship “rocky”, “on and off” etc. and you’re freaking 24 years old and dealing with a brain tumor, I seriously think you just need to let the relationship go. I know it’s hard to love someone and not be with them. But your happiness, or lack thereof, is a serious problem. You are not going to get this time back that you are spending in a rocky, unhappy situation with this girl. There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with her, or you, and you could love each other very much. But if you can’t have a functional relationship wherein you’re both satisfied most of the time, you are wasting your precious life.

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    MsMisery September 23, 2013, 1:07 pm

    “I try very hard to accommodate her feelings and empathize with her.”

    You don’t need to accommodate $#it right now, except your own feelings, needs, and health. Anyone who doesn’t understand that should not be in your life. It sounds like this woman is too immature to be in this relationship, even without the burden of your health issues.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 23, 2013, 2:38 pm

    So much for a brain tumor putting things in proper perspective. Your on again off again ex should be off permanantly. Honestly? She sounds like a complete bitch. MOA. Focus on you and getting well. Cut cunts out of your life…

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay September 23, 2013, 3:42 pm

    You shouldn’t have to try that hard to make someone care about you. Others mention that maybe she doesn’t have the skills to cope with this, which may be true. But regardless, she either can’t or won’t do what she has to do, so I think you should move on. It’s good to have a support system, but if you have to entirely create it and enforce it yourself, it’s not worth it.

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    Lucy September 23, 2013, 9:48 pm

    LW: Your only priority right now should be yourself. Your ex doesn’t get to need ANYTHING from you right now. Not. One. Single. Thing. So stop trying to provide her with anything and focus solely on your own health. It’s not clear why you’re going through treatment alone despite living with your family, although I suspect that subject would probably be ripe for another letter. But you need to surround yourself with people who are supportive, and distance yourself from people who are demanding and stressful.

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