Chapter 1: Exploring feelings while living with a serious diagnosis

A need for closeness and intimacy

We talked about how our paths were diverging and what was important to each of us. It was important we could be honest with and trust each other.

Touch and intimacy are essential human needs that affect all of us regardless of age, gender, and the nature of our relationships. Couples who have less opportunity to hold each other may miss that physical closeness. Sometimes the healthy partner in a relationship may miss sexual contact and feel guilty for feeling desire when the person who is ill is suffering. Such desire is normal and natural. Any form of closeness between couples can provide an opportunity to express affection, devotion, and love, such as sitting close or a sharing a gentle hug.

Spending time alone to explore and discuss intimacy may help. Finding ways to ensure privacy should also be a consideration in any setting.