Brain cancer ruined my relationship

Has anyone dealt with a relationship/ marriage breakup whilst dealing with cancer?

My husband has changed so much and his bad behaviour is getting worse that i cannot cope being with him anymore


  • yep,been sorry ur in the worst of it.before li was even diagnosed with malignant brain cancer,oligodendro glioma grade 3, hed changed so much i didnt know was a very miserable & desperate time.i have chronic m.e & was already struggling,but was stuck.a relief to find out it was the tumour responsible & not me! it affected his emotions,libido & memory,but as hes a soft thing never violent.if ur husband is,or aggressive,u really nd to talk to his doc.keppra made li nuts,tegretol m sex,no empathy,crap memory,separate rooms coz he kps me awake twitching ,talking in his sleep. Im tired & ill.wot a pair! BUT - after 24 yrs , then 21 months of brain cancer terror,were still here.accept & adapt is my motto.but if its really that bad & u fear for ur safety,get the hell loads of help out here,seek it out.u can always go back when things r calmer.u dont say wot type of tumour he has,different ones affect different people differently.i.e if he was always aggressive it may enhance those qualities.speak to his oncology doc/nurse - that's wot theyre there for. i so feel for can b a v bleak time. i keep li v busy so he doesnt have time to mope.if hes kicking at u ,kick back,give him a purpose,even if its to clean the bog! best of luck. : ) val sending u a big hug!
  • Hi, my husband was diagnosed in November 2013 with GBM 4. He had de-bulking surgery and was then sectioned due to a "psychotic episode". He recovered following treatment with steroids and underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In August it was confirmed that the tumour has regrown. His behaviour had been getting gradually more aggressive and angry and difficult to manage so I knew that something was up. The doctors had been changing his psychiatric drugs but to no effect. He then started being physically aggressive towards me and our children (4 and 6) so I had to leave the house to keep them safe. He has now decided that we have separated and moved in with his parents. He has started changing financial arrangements and seems to be making this a permanent thing. He has not discussed this with me and refuses to as it might make him "stressed" or "anxious" . This is so so sad as he is not himself any more at all. He is making strange decisions and he cannot be reasoned with. I am so so sad to hear that someone else might be experiencing what I am. Our children are desperate for him to come home and things to be normal again. Practically, I would suggest you see a solicitor to see about any arrangements you can make financially. Emotionally I have found our local hospice to be extremely helpful, offering counselling and practical support for me and for my kids. They also might be able to help you with care for your husband or some respite care for you. I just wanted to say, stay strong and once again I am so so sorry that you are going through this. I know how you feel. X
  • Have had almost 2 years of this illness as a carer and last year was awful.  I nearly left him as he was so unkind mentally.  Some how got through it and realised it was probably the steroids making the whole thing worse.  As we reduced the steroids he was nicer. Never at physical risk but mentally... 

    Have so much sympathy for you.  See if you can get some help from the agencies ready to help.  I got anti depressants for me which helped me cope, but it is very, very difficult.  

    Not your fault, please realise that. Do get some help.  The marriage is probably worth it.  Why should you have to look at living away or an increase in living costs?  

    I send you virtual hugs you really need them. mary x

  • I have deliberately sought out this group for this exact reason tonight. My husband was diagnosed in may this yr, grade2/3 underwent surgery, then radio & chemo and straight after his tumour had spread so aggressively across 3/4 of his brain, now grade 4 he is now palliative. Me & my 3 young daughters have faced some horrific behaviour, never actually physical but lots of threats and aggression. We are all walking round on eggs shells, the girls keep well away from him, and fear him, he falls out with us for the slightest thing, is so unkind to us but particularly to our dog. Currently I am sat upstairs as he is refusing to come to bed & sleep next to me. On top of my girls heartbreakingly having to lose their dad, we have to spend his final weeks/ months in this torturess situation, wondering what will make him snap next. I am totally exhausted with this terrible journey. It is like living a nightmare and although comforting to know others are experiencing it, my heart goes out to you all. Sarah. Xxx
  • Hi I am so sorry for what you and your family going through .....the tumour if in the frontal lobe changes a persons personality so much and they also lose insight to their problem ,makes them angry ( why me ) ,it makes them think the other person us at fault never himself and the medication makes them paranoid ,give hallucination and mood swings ,so how much can you fight but if you can hold onto his inner self ,fair enough but if not then get help for yoursel ,your children and for him too Please look after yourself Take care xxx Razia
  • Hi everyone, I too am glad to read these posts as my husband who has gbm 4 now has recurrence it's a year this week since his op followed by the usual 6 week chemo and radio, he has gone from sleeping lots to hardly sleeping at all, wants to go to shops every day just to buy the same thing he bought the day before when he gets something in his head he goes on and on about it, he is also losing his short term memory and forgets where he puts things so I am constantly looking for something, also he has become very cheeky but only to me, he has been put back on chemo and steroids and hopefully this
    will slow down his tumour and he will get back to his old self or is this just wishful thinking, he is 60yrs old, best wishes to all on this site xx
  • hi everyone,all your posts sound so familiar my husband had GBM4 and he did well for the first 2 years after diagnosis,but the last few months of his life were  terrible he wanted to buy everything he saw ,nearly bought a hot tub ,was horrible to all the children ( they are all adults) so they understood it wasnt him it was the tumour i was in trouble most days,he wanted to be out all the time so i was always driviing him about nowhere really.We went out for a walk once and he said he was going to throw us both under a bus ,it was a terrible time for my husband and all the family to see a lovely man go this way .Sadly he passed away in april this year and i miss him every day,i know its hard but try and make the most of the time you have got left together ,my husband was 64 years and had taken an early retirement 6 months before he was diagnosed .take care Elaine xx

  • I can relate to this completely :( my husbands tumor is in the left frontal lobe and he isnt the man I married anymore. He shouts at our children and can't cope with stress. His lovely personality has gone and I cry when I think about it. He was always , my BFG and now I feel like I have lost him. Hugs to you xx
  • Hi ,tumours on the left frontal lobe changes the personality to such an extent that you can't recognise the person whom you spent all your life with ,that's what happened to my husband ,such subtle signs that something was not right .their mood swings and anger etc are all due to the tumour and the confusion that boils in their brain is invariable .my husband used to say" my mind is blank ,I don't know how to think " ,I used to get so upset thinking how an intelligent person become like this .he was always polite and gentle and luckily we never so any aggression directed to me and our girls ,I am so sorry for all of you who are going through the tumour and the effects of it to your families .praythat you get the strength to go through it and seek help for yourselves and your partner ....combination of steroids ,keppra and chemo creates havoc with your emotions.....take care xx Razia
    My husband slipped away peacefully a month ago with dignity ,no more fighting with his thoughts.....RIP
  • My husband was diagnosed with a grade 2/3 brain tumour in 2012. He had de bulking, then another op a year later, followed by radiotherapy. In Sept 2014 he went missing. I then found out he'd left me and had moved in with another woman. They had been having an affair the entire time he was ill. He had been such a kind, happy man and he doted on our 2 young children but the tumour changed his personality beyond recognition. 

    He was so cruel and nasty and divorced me on the grounds of my unreasonable behaviour, despite the fact I'd been caring for him for 2 years. He's blames me for the cancer and frequently tells me that he wishes I had it. Unfortunately our children have had to witness his manic behaviour and it has deeply affected them. He began fitting at the start of the year and the abuse stopped due to him being too tired. I think he only has weeks to live now but his new partner won't communicate with me. It's all so very sad. 

  • I hope everyone is coping. My hubby still hasn't got back to his old self. I have accepted that his old personality has gone, my James isn't James anymore. Heartbreaking x

  • Hi there,

    Know this is an oldish thread but I'm currently at this point with my husband.

     He was diagnosed in march this year & had de-bulking, radiotherapy, chemo & has completed 1st chemo cycle. 

    The personality changes are so heartbreakingly difficult. We have 3 youngish children & it's tough fir then. 

    Just wondered though how long before diagnosis the personality Changes started- if at all. I can track this back to almost 2 years ago but at the time it could all be put down to other stresses. 

    Just intrigued


  • I am also new to the group and just joined this morning after searching on google in desperation. My husband has had MS for 15 years. He has GBM for 6 years and had a reoccurrence 3 mths ago. This has affected his walking and right arm. He is now in a wheelchair. I work full days and have two children. He is highly intelligent man who has become a stranger to me. His personality change has become unbearable. He snaps  at everyone and has become really unkind with his words. I understand his frustration but this is the hardest trial I have had to face through the years. He is a know it all so doesn't take advise and shouts at everyone. He is only 45 and I cant imagine walking in his shoes. I am not sure how much I will beable to take anymore.

    Any advise on how to cope will be appreciated

  • Hi I have just found this site, can I ask how things are for you now?

    my husband has just finished radiotherapy and due to start chemotherapy shortly his moods have changed dramatically his is also left frontal lobe. Xx

  • My husband also has a brain tumour ( right frontal lobe) his personality has changed so much, I hardly recognise him.i am writing this after he has just said the most hurtful things. I know this is the tumour and not him but, it is still very stressful to deal with.x

  • Hi, I can totally relate to what you are saying. I’m up here in bed on new yrs eve after the worse yr of our lives, my husband has gbm grade 4.. he has a stable mri 3wks ago. Normally I can take the mood swings and some of the things he calls me as this is not my husband, he was the kindest most caring man, and so I can let it go and when he apologizes eventually I hug him and tell him it’s ok, but I can’t this time, there’s a pattern, he has a good wk and the a bad wks, and what really hurts is it’s just me who sees this angry side. If his parents called tomorrow he would be all nice and I have told his mother the way he can be and she just says she never noticed and that really hurts. I feel guilty for being angry with him but I can’t keep taking the abuse!! 

  • Hi Millie, I have just read your post. I am so sorry you are going through this terrible ordeal. My husband is now in the last stages of brain cancer, he was diagnosed in 2010. After 2 surgeries, radiotherapy and 18 chemo, he has come to the end of treatments. I can totally appreciate what you are going through, brain cancer is the worst cancer you can get in my opinion, you have all the mental as well as physical deteriation to deal with. I am sitting here after just getting my husband showered and into bed. I hope can carry on, it is so stressful, I am sending love, even though I don't know you, I fully appreciate what you are going through x


  • Ah Millie. So sorry to hear this and on nye of all nights.

    sadly you’re not alone. I posted last year not long after my husband had been diagnosed. Was tough but things got better after he finished treatment. We had 6 months of normality which were amazing then he had a tiny recurrence and he had surgery in June. The last 6 months have been absolute hell and the last few weeks we have been at crisis point. Summer was awful as kids were off to and he was so angry and short tempered and verbally absuive to me. Things got better for a short while and then 2 months ago his nan passed away and think it tipped him. The mood swings have been getting worse and where befor he would have 2 goodish weeks one bad week it was 4 bad days 3 good. 

    Kids have heard awful things from him- squib were divorcing, I neglect him etc and all of this is only directed at me- occasionally towards his mum but she can walk away. I have no escape like you -am torn with guilt at feeling angry- knowing it’s nit really him but that also you are a human with feelings.

    Things got to a crisis point 2 weeks ago when my eldest son broke down at school & told the school he was worried I’d be hurt which meant the school had to report it to social services.  Felt like I had failed massively. Was scary but actually was what needed to happen. I’ve since been in touch with palliative care (which at first scared me) but they have so much experience with these mood swings and personality changes. 

    When my husband is ok he is so sorry for the awful message he send me and what he says and does but when he’s in a mood there is literally nothing anyone can do. 

    He caught a chest infection 21st December and has pretty much been in hospital since. It’s sad but also at the moment it’s helping. He’s getting treatment there for the chest infection, low platelets and mental support which is what he needs. And me! Just hope it’s not too late. 

    There is help out there Hun. Look for it and contact community mental health services and or palliative care communitubtram who offer counselling, psychiatric assessments etc. For both of you. No one every told us this and it should’ve been in place after the second surgery. 

    Sending a hug. 

  • Thank you so much for you reply and I am so sorry to hear that your husband has entered the last stages of this horrible disease. My Mam was diagnosed with lung cancer and her words were, anywhere but the brain. I never really understood this and little did I know I would come to live it and understand completely what she meant. 

    The thing with my husband is, he looks so well, he doesn’t even know the extent of what he has, he asks no questions and we are told nothing. Only what I have read myself and when I approached a nurse in the day ward, she told me they are the facts of what he has. I feel so lost. He tells everyone he has the ‘all clear’, when we are told ‘stable’ I am well aware he can never have the all clear, although he has surgery where they were happy that they got a lot of the tumour, 7wks of radium and the o the of chemo.  He is only 36, we have 2 girls, 5 and 8. We were both running a race when he became little dizzy and was diagnosed a few days later. I feel like he doesn’t ask questions but he’s an intelligent man and I think the fear of not asking is making him be the way he is, does that make sense. Did yee ask lots of questions? Should I ask on my own. I am really sorry as i know  you have enough going.

    Sending love back to you. 


  • I am so sorry to hear what you are going through also, it is such a cruel disease. It steals the person, it’s such a battle in every way. My heart goes out to you and your kids, we try to protect them as much as we can but they are living it too and know that things are so different, I have two girls and they are brilliant, but they are living it.  I feel like when he’s in bad form with me he will se on a complete high with the girls but it’s not normal and it’s not fair on them as the high come down and then the lows are where he can’t stand to be around us or like you said, just so irritable.

    yes he always apologizes too, and is genuinely really sorry but it’s taking longer each time for him to see the way he is being and the longer it goes on the harder it is to tell him it’s ok. He has taken the girls to his mothers for dinner today and I stayed at home as I cannot go and pretend, he will be in great form there today. And I can’t watch that after the Christmas we just had, I’m beginning to sound bitter now and I don’t want to be like this.. and to be honest I’m just happy with a break too. 

    thank you for the advice on the support that’s out there. I really hope that things get better for you and your family, 

    a giant hug in return..