Debbi FullerFor those of you who are dating and don’t know how to broach the subject of your alopecia with a new person, this is my best advice: You tell them on the third date, without fail!

When you go on a first date with someone, you’re just checking them out and seeing if they are worth getting to know. You definitely should not be getting so close that they need to know about your hair – right?

On the second date you are evaluating them for possible future relationship material. Ask all the right questions; find out if they are good to their Moms, etc.

If you both like each other enough to go on to that all-important third date, then it’s time to tell them about your alopecia.

For one thing, you don’t want them to put their hand on the back of your neck and be surprised that there’s an edge there, but, most importantly, if you wait longer, the alopecia becomes the elephant in the room.

You know that you have to bring it up, but the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to do. If you let it go until you’re really involved and the person can’t handle it, you feel devastated and miserable because you let yourself get close to someone who, in my opinion, is unworthy of you in the first place. Now you need a shrink to get over the experience!

Don’t do that!

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 this 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 worthy of your love and affection needs to be able to cut the mustard. Anyone who would not want to date you just because you have alopecia will disappear at the first sign of trouble on any front. What would happen if you got seriously ill with, say, breast cancer, and had to have a mastectomy? He’d be out the door. 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!

As to how to broach the subject, don’t make a big deal about it.

Say something like “By the way, before we go out again, I need to tell you that I wear a wig because I have a condition called alopecia areata. Have you ever heard of it?”

If they say yes, then get into a discussion of how and why and find out how much they know. If they say no, then tell them about it.

Tell them that you are totally healthy; that it is an autoimmune condition that only affects your hair; that one out of every 100 people will get the little round patches during their lifetimes; that you are just one of the lucky ones that got totalis!

Be funny; make sure that you don’t make it a big serious thing.

You’ll be able to tell by the way the discussion goes if the person can handle it or not. If they can’t, no big deal; there are plenty of better fish in the sea. If they say “No problem, your hair looks great!” then make another date!

Finally, if you decide to continue seeing each other, don’t wait long before the ‘unveiling’. Anyone that you continue to see will want you to be comfortable enough to take your hair off in front of them. You want to be yourself, hair or no hair.

I know people who have been married and had children who never let their families see them without hair. This makes your life very complicated and stressful when it doesn’t have to be.

You can wear your hair when you want to, and take it off when you don’t! Everyone just adapts to it and, after a while, they won’t even notice if you have hair on or not!

My husband never even notices when I change from long hair to short! He volunteers me to take off my vacuum to show strangers my tattoos! That’s the kind of love and acceptance you deserve.

Don’t live your life in fear of people finding out. Take the bull by the horns and show them! They’ll think you are great and, if they don’t, you don’t need them in your life.

You are worth it!
__________________________

* Reprinted with permission from Debbi Fuller.

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Great advice. My daughter is a long way from dating, but when she is older I am going to tell her this. If it is all out in the open you will find out real fast what kind of person you are getting involved with. I think a good person will appreciate the honesty.

I agree with the third date rule and used it when I was single and dating. We've discussed in our local NAAF support group how sharing our alopecia areata is a good litmus test for character in the perso we're dating.

Great advice
Well said Debbi!!

Well said,Debbi Fuller. Brilliant advice that will work for everybody. x

So glad I'm not dating:)) I don't wear wigs. So everyone I meet knows right away that I don't have any hair. If they choose not to know me because if that, then good! I don't have time for superficial people! Men or women :))

My point exactly Marianne! You go girl!

Thanks Debbi:) my husband told me that he didn't marry me for my hair :)))

Great article, Debbi, and much appreciated.

Best -
Adrienne

Thank you for tis advice and support. This has been a huge issue for and actually has kept me from dating. I am in my 60's at a time when beauty begins to wane anyway and my thin balding scalp makes me feel very unattractive. I do wear a wig or a cap when in public and I want to look normal but often I don't when I'm doing things like mountain biking, skiing, and zumba where my head gets totally sweaty. I leave my cap or helmet on because I don't want people especially guys, to see. I have been thinking about the online dating game, and think the 3rd date rule really makes good sense, if when it comes to that. I also need to concentrate on the fact that I have a lot to bring to a relationship, I'm fun and energetic, a pretty good cook and a great companion. I need to outgrow the tired old notion that it's all about looks. I'm in shape and not bad looking for my age. That's way more important to a relationship and much of it is just getting used to going without around new friends.
Thanks again. I'mgoing to read this everyday!

Yippee!! That's why I wrote it! It's all about your attitude. People love a confident person - with our without hair. I hope you find some great guys to date! If they love you for WHO you are and not what your hair is like, you'll meet some great men!

Dear Mountain Gal,

60's is a great age for woman because by this age she is not only really clear about what she wants, but even clearer about what she doesn't want. I have found that with most men and this condition, it's all about 2 things:

1. How you feel about your condition and how comfortable you are with it before sharing it with others.

2. How you present it. Men especially need time to process things a bit differently than women and we need to be conscious of that.  The way you present your information has everything to do with the way the other person receives it. 

Above all, I have felt it is most about the actual connection and the trust you feel is present with that person that matters most which I have found takes time. 

This may or may not happen in 3 dates. Although I appreciate Debbi’s advice and understand her approach,  I don’t believe in the "3rd date" rule always applies as that has not always worked of me.

I have never had a time limit on it. I have always felt that the more you get to know someone, the more insight you receive about them, their level of depth, and the more in control you are to decide when, or if, you want to let them in and the more in control your are to handle any situation that arises.

So don't be afraid to take your time and approach the situation slowly. There is no rush. Nothing works well when we come from a place of need. Desire is always good. Chemistry rocks!  However nothing is more of an aphrodisiac than confidence. That comes in time.

I hope this helps. 

 Blessings,

Amy

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