Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys share your experiences and help create change

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.

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 globlastoma 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.

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.

I can’t recommend the Relationship Support Service highly enough to help navigate the tricky ways in which a brain tumour diagnosis can impact on a relationship.

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.

You don’t need to go through this alone though. Relate offers a wide range of content to help people experiencing relationship difficulties and we’ve teamed up with them to provide Relationship Support Service for couples and individuals whose relationship has been affected by a brain tumour.

Find out more

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. 

These changes can seem even more worrying in the current situation, but it’s important to remember that if this is something you’re experiencing, your safety is paramount and the current social distancing (or isolation) rules don’t apply if you need to leave your home to escape 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!

Find out more

This content and our relationship counselling service have 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 and our Relationship Support Service have 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

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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.