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thoughts on this anyone?

I have had cervical cancer twice, both times treatment was difficult, both before I was married. I had an abnormal PAP and was gearing up all month for a biopsy that scared the living crap out of me. Each time I feel less young and resilient. I had the procedure Friday, and thank goodness, no abnormalities, but there was a DNC just to take tissue to test all of my cells. My husband, knowing this history, did not even ask me on Friday how I was. He was very preoccupied with his elaborate St. Patrick's Day drinking and parade plans. He asked me if I was going to the parade, and I replied that I was still cramping and bleeding from the procedure. No response. Is this something men do to avoid confronting scary things? Could he just not care? What about me confronting scary things? This has not been so easy on me. I'd like some support, any ideas on how to elicit some empathy?

Sun. Mar 18, 10:15pm

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He was probably just as scared as you to find out if you were healthy or not. Even though men act tough, and strong, they are often just as fragile and emotional as women are! He probably wanted to be supportive but was scared that he may hear bad news. I would definitely ask him about it-and tell him that you really wanted a little support. I'm sure he'll fess up!

It sounds like you've been through a lot and I can imagine how scary it was to deal with this alone after having cancer twice. I hope you can talk to your husband about this and that he can be more responsive to your concerns in the future.

Congratulations for having no abnormalities!

Sunday, March 18, 2007, 10:51 PM

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Here's a selection of men's reactions I've personally experienced or witnessed first-hand during times of extreme difficulty (death, disease, violent crime, abuse, etc)

My father would go into a dissociative state, and he'd start babbling about trivial things like the last episode of his favorite tv show.

One ex reacted to bad news with accusations - in his world, someone had to bear the blame, and it was usually the victim.

Another ex had no clue how to react and would just kind of stand there mouth-breathing.

My male roommate bypassed the emotional impact and just could not stop asking questions (kind of like a gossip gathering juicy details).

One of my sister's exes responded to her trauma by hiding from her for 3 days. Another thought it was his duty to be a knight in shining armor.

Men who weren't so close to me have always reacted wayyyy better - "I have no idea what you need right now, but if you tell me, I'll do my best". They'd offer me a shoulder to cry on, a novel to escape in, a stiff drink, whatever sleeping pills they could get their hands on, you name it.

So while your husband wasn't the least bit supportive and has a whole lot to learn about handling the "in sickness and in health" part of his vows, his reaction was not unique. In several of the above cases, a long talk about the inappropriateness of their behavior yielded a much better scenario the next time something bad happened. So all is not lost!

Sunday, March 18, 2007, 11:50 PM

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When men don't know what to do, they tend to do nothing (at least in my experience). They like to please, though, so if you tell him what you need, you're likely to get it!

For example, "honey, I'm really not feeling well from the procedure, and I'm nervous about receiving the results. I'd really like some snuggle time on the couch with some good DVDs. Can you please go to Blockbuster and pick up some movies, and some takeout, and come home and hang out with me?"

Monday, March 19, 2007, 10:21 AM

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I agree on telling him what behaviors you need from him. Many people, including women, are clueless as to how to respond to scary situations. After years of telling my husband what I need, he's gotten pretty good at saying, "There, there" and giving me a hug.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 11:24 AM

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My husband is almost oversolicitous. In that scenerio I'd be swaddled in blankets on the couch while he fetched me chicken soup and mopped my brow :-) I keed a little there, but it's almost irritating. I think part of it is that I am a fairly strong, independant person so when he gets the chance to do a little fussing he rather enjoys it. I've had other guys react the opposite though. They tend to see me as the strong one and just figure I'll handle it fine and don't need them.

I agree with the other posters. Many guys really need it spelled out in plain terms. Tell him you're scared and you need some comforting. Ask him to take some time alone with you and just cuddle and be together (or insert desired activity). If he doesn't respond to that - then that's a sign that there may be more to this than a bit of obliviousness on his part.

Monday, March 19, 2007, 12:31 PM

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It has never worked for me to tell him what he has done wrong, if I did not speak up at the time. My advice is to forgive him from the very depths of your heart, knowing you are somewhat culpable for just expecting him to respond the way you wanted. In the future, tell him what you need him to DO. men have to DO things. Be direct, and specific, and stay away from any kind of manipulating or eliciting behaviours. Don't say, for instance, "My mum always made me a cuppa tea, when I was unwell," he wil NOT pick up on this. He will register the fact your mom made tea. Do say, "I have had a monstrous day, I would love you to make me some tea, please" You have given him something specific to do.

Men in general do like to please, as long as they are not being blamed (none of us like to be blamed) and given something specific to do rather than having to try to guess, or worse, being asked to feel, will usually comply with gusto.

I will say that I am scared, or hurt, or angered. I will tell him I need held, I want to listen to music, I want him to fix dinner. But I don't do it all the time. Sometimes, if there is something I need to hear, because I am particularly insecure at the moment, I will look at him and say to him, "tell me I am pretty" or "tell me I am worth it"

He will tell me, and I will count that, because I know he really does feel that way, he just did not know that I needed to hear it that moment.

and don't forget the Thank you afterward. Men love apreciation above all things. The more things you say thank you for, "Thank you for this holding time, I feel so much better and calmer" the more they will do, to be thanked for.

It does not sound like your husband has a long history of being a beast. I am sure he loves you dearly, and just did not know what to do

I am happy the procedure went well, and I am sorry you were frightened. Good Luck

Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 6:12 AM

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