The Student Room Group

My mum has stage 4 cancer and I don’t feel my boyfriend is here for me, what do I do?

My mum was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer a couple months ago, and I then became her carer shortly after. My boyfriend of 4 years, lives an hour or so away from me so more often than not we need to call to keep in contact. There’s often updates about mums health or I need to call him so I can vent and talk everything through when I’m feeling so much. He’d been avoiding calling me, cancelling our scheduled calls to go out with a friend instead. I have to schedule them in atm because I’m caring for mum most of the time, I only have certain evenings free. He’ll cancel coming to see us a good few times now due to various ‘I’m not feeling well enough’ comments despite then going out to see a friend on one of those evenings he was going to get a train here which made me feel a little upset.

He recently admitted that it’s ‘hard to watch’ seeing my mum so ill, so he doesn’t really like coming here for that reason. Then he also said recently that he doesn’t like calling and finds it hard to hear about everything and that it affects him too and he doesn’t have the energy for it.

I completely understand that this affects him too, And not disregarding that he has bad days and he needs his time. That’s okay but I really feel I’m on the back burner, and I’m struggling to figure out if I’m just being sensitive. I was having a really hard day not long ago, I had some bad news regarding mum and I needed to tell him, so I texted him that I had something important to tell him so I called him. The call started off with a ‘whatever you’re going to say make it quick because I need to go back downstairs’ which started me off feeling worse. I told him the news, he asked me when I found that out, I said ‘just now’ in an anxious and a raised tone as I was on the verge of tears. And his very quick reaction was ‘why are you talking to me like that? Disregarding the news I had told him. I think I just said something like ‘like what? I just told you something awful and you’re concerned about the tone in which I told you?’ I left the call feeling awful and he messaged me saying ‘I’m always here if you need to talk to me especially through these times but I’m not going to be spoken to unfairly.’ I was just sitting there in shock, followed with ‘I’m not in the mood to talk to you now’ when I tried to text him to sort it out. I just need to write these things down because these sort of things have happened and now I’m starting to question if I’m in the wrong. I just need some advice.
You should have a completely candid discussion with him or send your feelings in a text or letter if you think talking to him would get you nowhere. I obviously don't know all of the details, but it seems like he is showing you exactly who he is. You don't need all of his nonsense when you're already going through a difficult time.
Original post by Anonymous
My mum was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer a couple months ago, and I then became her carer shortly after. My boyfriend of 4 years, lives an hour or so away from me so more often than not we need to call to keep in contact. There’s often updates about mums health or I need to call him so I can vent and talk everything through when I’m feeling so much. He’d been avoiding calling me, cancelling our scheduled calls to go out with a friend instead. I have to schedule them in atm because I’m caring for mum most of the time, I only have certain evenings free. He’ll cancel coming to see us a good few times now due to various ‘I’m not feeling well enough’ comments despite then going out to see a friend on one of those evenings he was going to get a train here which made me feel a little upset.

He recently admitted that it’s ‘hard to watch’ seeing my mum so ill, so he doesn’t really like coming here for that reason. Then he also said recently that he doesn’t like calling and finds it hard to hear about everything and that it affects him too and he doesn’t have the energy for it.

I completely understand that this affects him too, And not disregarding that he has bad days and he needs his time. That’s okay but I really feel I’m on the back burner, and I’m struggling to figure out if I’m just being sensitive. I was having a really hard day not long ago, I had some bad news regarding mum and I needed to tell him, so I texted him that I had something important to tell him so I called him. The call started off with a ‘whatever you’re going to say make it quick because I need to go back downstairs’ which started me off feeling worse. I told him the news, he asked me when I found that out, I said ‘just now’ in an anxious and a raised tone as I was on the verge of tears. And his very quick reaction was ‘why are you talking to me like that? Disregarding the news I had told him. I think I just said something like ‘like what? I just told you something awful and you’re concerned about the tone in which I told you?’ I left the call feeling awful and he messaged me saying ‘I’m always here if you need to talk to me especially through these times but I’m not going to be spoken to unfairly.’ I was just sitting there in shock, followed with ‘I’m not in the mood to talk to you now’ when I tried to text him to sort it out. I just need to write these things down because these sort of things have happened and now I’m starting to question if I’m in the wrong. I just need some advice.

He sounds bored or sick of you, his partner of 4 years, telling him about your mum’s deteriorating health. Avoiding you when you need him is evidence that for better or worse, in sickness and in health, he will not be there for you.

Can you talk to other people about this without drama instead, like friends?
Some people just aren't very good around around serious illness. You clearly understand this and are cutting your partner a lot of slack because of the time you've been together and the depth of your feelings for him.
However, there is usually a tipping point when such a lack of support becomes destructive for relationships. You may not be at that point yet but you are likely to be at some point.
As your mum has stage 4 cancer, there are some tough times ahead, including dealing with the anxiety around blood tests and CT scans, and dealing with the side effects of chemo, surgery and/or radiotherapy.
The sheer emotional impact of having advanced cancer is extremely challenging for not just the person who has it but the people close to them.
So, your partner's behaviour is a bit of a red flag. In my experience, people don't suddenly change, even if they are capable of acknowledging their shortcomings.
I am wondering if you might look into developing your own support structures. There are lots of fantastic patient/carer forms linked to cancer charities, plus organisations like Maggie's and Macmillan who offer support. Facebook also has some excellent private cancer groups. There is a wealth of compassionate support out there from people who either have cancer or are close to someone with it.
Original post by Anonymous
My mum was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer a couple months ago, and I then became her carer shortly after. My boyfriend of 4 years, lives an hour or so away from me so more often than not we need to call to keep in contact. There’s often updates about mums health or I need to call him so I can vent and talk everything through when I’m feeling so much. He’d been avoiding calling me, cancelling our scheduled calls to go out with a friend instead. I have to schedule them in atm because I’m caring for mum most of the time, I only have certain evenings free. He’ll cancel coming to see us a good few times now due to various ‘I’m not feeling well enough’ comments despite then going out to see a friend on one of those evenings he was going to get a train here which made me feel a little upset.

He recently admitted that it’s ‘hard to watch’ seeing my mum so ill, so he doesn’t really like coming here for that reason. Then he also said recently that he doesn’t like calling and finds it hard to hear about everything and that it affects him too and he doesn’t have the energy for it.

I completely understand that this affects him too, And not disregarding that he has bad days and he needs his time. That’s okay but I really feel I’m on the back burner, and I’m struggling to figure out if I’m just being sensitive. I was having a really hard day not long ago, I had some bad news regarding mum and I needed to tell him, so I texted him that I had something important to tell him so I called him. The call started off with a ‘whatever you’re going to say make it quick because I need to go back downstairs’ which started me off feeling worse. I told him the news, he asked me when I found that out, I said ‘just now’ in an anxious and a raised tone as I was on the verge of tears. And his very quick reaction was ‘why are you talking to me like that? Disregarding the news I had told him. I think I just said something like ‘like what? I just told you something awful and you’re concerned about the tone in which I told you?’ I left the call feeling awful and he messaged me saying ‘I’m always here if you need to talk to me especially through these times but I’m not going to be spoken to unfairly.’ I was just sitting there in shock, followed with ‘I’m not in the mood to talk to you now’ when I tried to text him to sort it out. I just need to write these things down because these sort of things have happened and now I’m starting to question if I’m in the wrong. I just need some advice.


Maybe seek some online support via a cancer charity to assist you at this very distressing time.

Try to take a little time for yourself to deal with everything you have going on. Online air hugs 💙

Quick Reply

Latest