In my time talking to women with alopecia, I hear a lot of the same questions and concerns. If you read through some of the biggest challenges facing women with alopecia, I'm sure you will see yourself in many of those comments.
Dating With Alopecia
But when us ladies really get talking and sharing stories of our alopecia, the topics that come up again and again are dating, relationships and intimacy. Some women start losing their hair and, as a result, lose all of their confidence. Other women with alopecia may have never had hair. It is so much a part of what we think of as beauty, without hair, it can be hard to imagine a partner finding you attractive.
Talking with Adrienne, whose story we will share next week, she told us just that.
"I kind of stopped dating when I started losing my hair significantly," said Adrienne, "just because it affected so much of how I see myself." But eventually Adrienne gained her dating mojo and as she started to meet men she had a whole new concern: When do I tell my partner about my alopecia?
When To Tell Your Significant Other About Your Alopecia
For Adrienne it was soon, but still after she knew things were getting a bit more serious.
"After 3 or 4 dates," she said, "I decided this is when you’re supposed to share things like your history and secrets." It wasn't easy, but at the end of one night she just went for it and told her boyfriend, Nick.
Nick's response to her was perfect: "Wow, that must have taken a lot of courage for you to tell me that. Thank you." I talked with him recently and he added a few more thoughts.
"My first reaction, obviously, was surprise," Nick told me. "Adrienne does her make up so well that I had absolutely no clue! But I had already recognized that she was something special and I would have to be an idiot to let something like hair change my opinion of her."
This was a huge success for Adrienne and Nick. And it matches advice you might have heard from Debbi Fuller of Fuller Hair. She calls it her Third Date Rule.
Tell them on the third date. That way, even if you get rejected, the most it takes to get over it is a glass of wine or two! At that stage, you can say to yourself, “Well, I’m sure glad I found out NOW that this person is so shallow that they can’t see me for the wonderful person I am.” Anyone who would not want to date you just because you have alopecia will disappear at the first sign of trouble on ANY front. You want someone who will truly love YOU for who you are and won’t judge you if you gain a couple of pounds, wear glasses, have spider veins, a sagging butt, or alopecia! The best people are the ones who see the real you, the person who is funny, caring, strong, hard-working – all those great qualities that you have!
The third date is that moment when things are starting to get a little more serious, so you're not wasting emotional energy on someone too early. But it's still soon enough that you don't feel like you're lying or hiding anything.
Is This the Right Partner?
And if your partner doesn't have a response similar to Nick's, then maybe he's not the right one for you. You need to trust your significant other and give them a chance to support you.
We heard something similar from Carol when we talked with her in March. She met her fiancée Jeremy online so he knew about her alopecia before they even met. As a result, alopecia has never been an issue in their relationship.
In the end, there is no one way; no right or wrong; no specific time line. You need to do what is right for you and your partner in a way you are comfortable with and a timeline you can handle. And keep in mind that it's never too late to dip into the social scene and raise your self-confidence no matter your age or relationship history.
We hope that the stories of Adrienne, Debbi and Carol can give you some guidance, as well as inspiration to know that you can find support in your significant other!
Photo credit: Foter