“I am honestly heartbroken right now,” a woman admitted in an AITA Reddit forum. The woman is a 24-year-old breast cancer survivor who had a mastectomy to remove her left breast. After the procedure, she started wearing silicone padding because she felt self-conscious.
The padding helped disguise the fact that she didn’t have a left breast and her long-distance boyfriend of three years had not noticed. When he eventually did, he ended the relationship and caused a lot of heartache.
The couple had met in-person ‘a couple of times,’ but the majority of their time together was spent apart so he never knew about her mastectomy.
“We had met a couple of times but we just enjoyed each other’s company,” she explained. “He knows I am a cancer survivor but doesn’t know about my breast.”
“I have had my left breast removed and there’s just a scar there now.” she wrote.
Her long-distance boyfriend is 23 and after years of long-distance dating, the woman decided to move in with him.
The couple then, ‘tried to have sex.’
“I said tried because the moment he laid eyes on my breast his face went white and he refused to touch me further,” she explained. “He said I had cheated him and that I should have told him earlier about my breast.”
“I told him that I didn’t think it was important since he said he loves all of me and that he thought I was beautiful,” she said.
The couple was in a long-distance relationship for years and interacted, almost solely, on a verbal and an intellectual level. For this man to be so superficial is shocking. Yes, she probably should have warned him about the mastectomy, but it seems like an overreaction.
After her boyfriend discovered her mastectomy scar and shunned her, she initially felt ‘like a horrible person.’
The woman wrote, “I am honestly so conflicted right now and I feel like a horrible person.”
“He says he can’t be with me anymore, he didn’t know I was lacking a breast because I looked fine in my pictures,” she wrote in an update.
The boyfriend ended a three-year relationship because she did not have a breast and this sparked a debate.
Commenters voiced opinions that were on the side of the OP (original poster, the woman in this situation) and others thought she should have told her boyfriend beforehand. They argued that three years is a long time to keep a mastectomy from someone.
In response, one person wrote:
“This verdict seems incredibly harsh – I imagine that yes, seeing a body without a prosthetic for the first time can be an uncomfortable experience for some and absolutely it would have made things smoother if OP had of sat down with her partner in person and explained the matter before it came to sex. It’s a long time to wait to tell a partner but everyone deals with their trauma differently.
With that said, I disagree with labelling her TA here – a cancer survival journey is a very very personal, emotional and often traumatic experience and the OP is under to obligation to disclose any details of this with anyone at any point. If she chooses to wear a prosthetic breast to regain some of her normality, for goodness sake, she shouldn’t be expected to relieve her experience for the sake of explaining the situation to everyone she gets close to.
NAH. Partner is within their rights to be shocked, OP doesn’t have to disclose her body details to anyone.”
While we mostly agree with this assessment of this situation, we think the blame’s shared.
“I can understand feeling hurt that in a three-year relationship my partner didn’t trust me enough to tell me something personal, and has hid something for so long,” empathized one reader.
“Because not telling him was a conscious choice on your part. Shock can cause people to react differently than normal. If you had told him long ago, he would have had time to process and it wouldn’t be as big a deal. But if he’s just upset you only have one breast, he’s an a–hole for that,” the comment concluded.
There’s no black and white in this situation.
This is a complex situation. A person navigating their own trauma and insecurities after surviving cancer deserves compassion and a level of patience that this boyfriend could not provide. In his defense, three years is a long time for her to not share this information. If the OP was really self-conscious about her body, as she wrote, we’d hope she’d feel comfortable talking about it with the person she was about to move in with.
Advice: Don’t keep secrets! If you’re serious about someone you’re dating, be open with them and build trust. If you don’t feel open enough to share, you need to work through the issue yourself. If you’re in a relationship and feel like the other person is keeping you from sharing your truth, drop the other person. Don’t waste your time on someone who would dump you for something out of your control.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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