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Adjusting to change in your relationship

If you or your partner has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, it’s natural for your relationship to change. The new practical and emotional challenges can put a strain on even the healthiest of relationships.

Here we’ll discuss:

How to approach relationship changes after a brain tumour diagnosis

Adjusting to your new role as a carer, rather than just being someone’s partner, is difficult for many people. Particularly for couples where this is a big change. For those diagnosed, there’s often guilt over feeling like a burden and anxiety about their partner leaving. And the fear they’d be happier if they did.

“I couldn’t leave him alone and go to work”

Stephen and Margaret discuss how a glioblastoma diagnosis has changed their lives.

Talking about these feelings can ease the strain, but what if the tumour or its treatment are making it difficult to communicate? If the areas of the brain responsible for speech and language are affected, finding new ways of communicating effectively can take significant time and patience.

Relationship changes you might experience

Personality changes are common for those affected by brain tumours. After experiencing mood swings, aggressive behaviour or loss of inhibition, people often report their partner feels like a completely different person to who they fell in love with.

It’s often uncomfortable, as you adjust to your relationship changing after a brain tumour diagnosis. It’s natural to feel sad about losing what you had or grieve for the loss of the future you’d planned together.

What to do if your partner becomes aggressive?

We know that, sadly, some people in our community have seen changes in their loved ones that have led to them being violent or aggressive, although this is rare. 

Your safety is the most important thing and you shouldn’t have to go through domestic violence.

If you feel you’re at risk of abuse, remember there’s help and support available, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services.

You are not alone!

This content has been created in partnership with Relate, the leading relationships charity in England and Wales. If you found this information useful, you might also find the following resources by Relate interesting:

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
Support and Information Services
0808 800 0004 Free from landlines and mobiles
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

This content has been created in partnership with Relate – the leading relationships charity in England and Wales.

A member of our Support & Information Team provides support over the phone to somebody affected by a brain tumour diagnosis

Get support

If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat.