- It’s normal to be nervous about dating. Unless you’ve
had lots of experience with dating, the whole process of dating may
feel scary. Most likely, when you first start dating you will feel
anxious and awkward, and make mistakes. This is normal for everyone
trying to learn any new skill. As you get more experience, you will
become better at it. Before you start dating, do lots of
socializing—just enjoy yourself with other people.
- Date yourself first. Before you try to date other
people, give yourself time to have dates with yourself. Focus on
yourself—do things to care for yourself and love yourself. Spend
quality time alone with your focus on yourself. Be curious about who
you are—explore your own thoughts and feelings and get to know yourself
inside and out. Explore your interests—what you like and dislike.
Involve yourself in life: try new activities and pursue the ones that
seem the most interesting to you. Do what you enjoy and what makes you
feel more alive.
- Love your body. Survivors may feel alienated from
their body—like they are living in a body they no longer recognize or
accept. They may have a negative body image and feel unattractive,
undesirable, and unlovable. Such feelings will make successful dating
and relationships impossible. Your job is to get to know and accept
your body as it is now and begin developing a positive body image. If
you have visible scars, look at them, touch them, grieve them, and then
love them. Any activities that get you moving and breathing can help
you connect with your body. Yoga, swimming, Tai Chi, martial arts,
dance, and any physical exercise will help. Massage and physical
therapy can help. Get enough rest and learn to eat healthy foods.
Pamper yourself—find creative ways to enjoy your body.
- Be your own best lover! Let go of judgments about
sex and your body. Learn more about sex and expand your understanding
of sex. Be curious and explore your erotic fantasies, desires, and
feelings. Let go of your old beliefs about sex. Spend time exploring
every inch of your body. Learn what kind of touch feels pleasant,
comforting, sensual, and sexual to you. Make time to practice
self-pleasuring. As you discover how attractive, desirable, and
loveable you are, others will see you that way, too.
- Dating is an experiment. Before you get too far
into a new relationship, bring up your history of cancer. Wait until
you’ve had a couple of dates, but don’t wait until serious feelings
start developing. Give an overview—don’t describe every detail or feel
obligated to answer every question. Keep it simple and stick to what
feels right to you. You will get rejections, but that’s because they
were not good matches for you. Don’t give up—dating is a series of
experiments that will help you find your ideal life partner.