Whether you are single or married, you are likely to wonder how your mastectomy will affect your intimate relationships. Your partner will also have concerns. You can help each other by expressing them.
Intimate relationships are built on mutual love, trust, attraction, shared interests, common experiences, and a host of other feelings. A mastectomy will not necessarily change these feelings. What it may change is some of the physical aspects of love-making-what's pleasurable to you and what's not. It may also temporarily affect your partner's and your attitude toward intimacy.
After mastectomy you will still be the person your partner has come to love and enjoy. You can bring new closeness to your relationship by talking about the changes in your body, accepting them, and reaffirming your joy of being alive and being together.
At first, there may be some awkward moments. It may be helpful to let your partner see your body soon after surgery to decrease the anxiety both of you feel. Sometimes a partner is afraid that touching a mastectomy incision will hurt you. Let your partner know what's comfortable to you and what's not.
Sometimes a partner assumes that you will not be ready for sex for some time after surgery. Women often interpret this waiting as rejection. You may prevent this potential problem by letting your partner know when you feel ready for sex, that you still need your partner, and that it is important for you to know that your partner still finds you attractive and desirable.