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Weekly Blog: Dating in the time of prostate cancer

Community Manager
Community Manager
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So, here’s a curly question I haven’t seen addressed in any of the prostate cancer literature I’ve come across so far.

Nearly a year out from the end of a 20-year marriage, re-partnering is honestly the furthest thing from my mind, as I recalibrate my life’s path while managing a stage four prostate cancer diagnosis. At age 58, the last time I was single and dating, the Y2K bug was perhaps the greatest global threat and Donald Trump was a few years’ away from achieving mainstream celebrity as a reality TV show host. It was, in short, a very different world.

Friends threaten to post a Tinder profile for me and the very idea gives me shudders of anxiety. I’m encouraged to move on, get back on the horse, dive in the deep end, and other useless metaphors for subjecting myself to the indignities of the 50-something, divorcee, single scene. Becoming a Buddhist monk has suddenly become an attractive lifestyle option.

For a bloke in his late 50s, this is a baffling conundrum. I miss female companionship. I’m not someone who really delights in all-male social settings. I like women, have always had female friends, and even as I nurse my post-separation wounds, the idea of meeting someone to share a meal with or take in a movie or see a band has its appeal. With the encouragement of some close mates, I’ve been out for coffee with a woman I met on Instagram of all places, and shared dinner with another woman introduced to me by mutual friends, which has all been pleasant enough. But it just all feels a bit odd, like we are play-acting.

And if I were to become interested in one of these new friends, what then? At what stage in a new and formative relationship would one break the delicate news that any physical consummation of this new pairing is entirely beyond me? Sure, there are many forms of intimacy, but this particular side effect of hormone therapy feels like a difficult topic to broach. Once we’ve established star signs, hobbies, where we stand on the great social divides of our times like Covid vaccines and Trump, at what point does one announce, “By the way, in the interests of transparency, I am effectively entirely asexual.” Feels like a bit of buzzkill, when the stirrings of new attraction are just beginning to arise.

I’d like to think I’m open to loving again. I enjoy being in relationship. I’m not one to rejoice that I now have unfettered time to watch football, surf, eat pizza and chug beer with my pals. Are there women of my generation who would be content purely with companionship? I’m a long way off being ready to cultivate any new relationship but I have no idea how any of this would work if and when the time comes.

I’d be interested to hear from any of my PC comrades who have successfully re-partnered and how that all played out. In the meantime, I’m enjoying becoming re-acquainted with myself, who I am outside of a long-term relationship, and where my life’s path might take me if I allow myself to be entirely selfish and simply follow my instincts and interests. I still haven’t ruled out monkhood but as an incurable romantic I remain open to love. How are the rest of you in a similar situation faring?

About the Author


Tim Baker is an award-winning author, journalist and storyteller specialising in surfing history and culture, working across a wide variety of media from books and magazines to film, video, and theatre. Some of his most notable books include “Occy”, a national bestseller and chosen by the Australia Council as one of “50 Books You can’t Put Down” in 2008, and “The Rip Curl Story” which documents the rise of the iconic Australian surf brand to mark its 50th anniversary in 2019. Tim is a former editor of Tracks and Surfing Life magazines. He has twice won the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Culture Award.

Tim was diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic prostate cancer in 2015 with a Gleason score 9. He was told he had just five years of reasonable health left, but seven years on, at 57, he’s still surfing, writing, and enjoying being a dad. His latest book, Patting the Shark, also documents his cancer journey and will be published in August. Tim will be sharing weekly insights into his journey to help other men who have also been impacted by prostate cancer.

Help is Available

Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenursing Service

If your life has been impacted by prostate cancer, our Specialist Telenursing Service is available to help. If you would like to reach out to the PCFA Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenurse Service for any questions you have about your prostate cancer experience, please phone 1800 22 00 99 Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, Wednesday 10am-8pm (AEDT).

Prostate Cancer Support Groups

PCFA is proud to have a national network of affiliated support groups in each state and territory of Australia consisting of men and women who have a passion for assisting others who encounter prostate cancer. This network is made up of over 170 affiliated groups who meet locally to provide one-to-one support, giving a vision of life and hope after treatment. Call us on 1800 22 00 99 to find your local group.

MatesCONNECT Telephone-based peer support

MatesCONNECT is a telephone-based peer support program for men affected by prostate cancer. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, our MatesCONNECT service can connect you to a trained volunteer who understands what you’re going through. All of our volunteers have been through prostate cancer. Simply call us on 1800 22 00 99 to be connected with a volunteer.

Newly diagnosed? or need to find more information? Access the PCFA resources here.

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