I didn’t tell my parents, who were in China, because I didn’t want to worry them. His parents came to stay in the hospital for the first round of chemo and then took him back to his home hospital where they could better care for him for the next 7 months. It has been over a year since the diagnosis, but every time I think of it I burst into tears. It’s the kind of pain and fear that you don’t think will ever go away.
He was diagnosed two months after I found my current job, which took me six months to find after I graduated with a Master’s degree. I kept working when he was gone for chemo, but I was his moral support and, later on, found out that I was his only support besides his family. None of his friends at home went to visit him. I flew there once and swore that I would never go back. So in 7 months, I visited him once on the other side of the country.
At the end of May I met a guy at a party. I guess I was desperate to talk to someone and he seemed to be very caring. We both had very strong feelings towards each other and enjoyed each other’s company very much. So, I cheated on my boyfriend with this new guy. I told my boyfriend the next day in terror and regrets. He forgave me, we still loved each other. But I was so drawn to this new guy that I no longer find my boyfriend attractive. I love him like family, but I don’t want to have any physical interaction with him — not even kisses. I tried to end things with the new guy, and we had many ugly fights. He called me names and I called him names. One night I even called the cops on him. However, I kept going back to him and I can’t resist his physical attraction. My boyfriend came back in August and we were “together” again, but I still see the new guy whenever I can.
I’m doing this all behind my boyfriend’s back; I know what I’m doing is wrong and that I’m hurting both guys–as well as hurting myself–but I can’t stop it. I can’t make up my mind on what to do, which one to choose, or whether to choose no one. I’m stressed out over job-hunting and my career-development, and I know that, if I can end my feelings for the new guy and hopefully rekindle them for my boyfriend, I can marry him and become a permanent resident, which would help my job search a lot, but I can’t control my feelings; I can’t commit. My boyfriend still wants to marry me, but only on one condition: that I love him with all my heart. I love him, but I can’t convince myself to marry him.
I don’t want to marry him not only because of post-cancer stress, but also because he lost ability to have kids — he had some sperm frozen before chemo, but I don’t know if I want to have his kids. I don’t know if I want to live in fear and worry that one day my kids will commit suicide or have cancer, and I don’t want to be like his parents who had to go through all of these things. Life is hard enough without all that trouble. — Post-Cancer Uncertainty
Please be a decent person and break up with your boyfriend. You don’t see a future with him, you clearly aren’t in love with him (and I question whether you love him at all, really), and you are only entertaining the idea of marriage for the residency status it would grant you. And it seems even entertaining the idea of marrying him makes you cringe. After everything your boyfriend has been through, doesn’t he deserve the chance at happiness? Doesn’t he deserve the chance at finding someone who knows the song in his heart — someone who won’t be scared off by his past and by his family and by the small chance that he, like anyone else, might pass along some of his burdens to his kids? That person may exist for him, but she isn’t you. Your boyfriend might be able to find her, but probably not as long as you stand in between him and whoever she might be.
Move on. Shift your focus from supporting a sick boyfriend, which I’m sure must have been stressful, to figuring out your own shit. Keep job-hunting and developing your career. Keep trying to create a life for yourself here. But do it for you and do it without the distraction of dramatic, stressful relationships.
The answer you want is neither. Neither guy is right for you. As someone once said: life is hard enough without all that trouble. There is probably someone out there who knows the song in your heart and you might find him, but not as long as you stand in your own way.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.