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!
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* Reprinted with permission from Debbi Fuller.

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Debbi, love this advice...wise and spot on.  I told my now-husband of 25 years ago that I MIGHT lose all of my hair.  At that time we had been dating for 4 to 6 weeks (can't recall exactly) and I had all of my hair, but since I had a history of erratic alopecia, I wanted him to know that it was very likely that I would need to go back to wearing a wig in the future. Of course it was an academic discussion since I did have my hair then, but I really pushed him to consider me bald and how that would make him feel.  He was and continues to be very supportive of me...with full head of hair, ..with only tufts of hair...and now with no hair.  

You totally did the right thing None!  If he'd been a jerk, you'd have avoided a lot of heartache but he was a GOOD guy and you KNEW that going in!

Thanks so much None!  I was hoping that this would help people.  Glad you like it!

I know this post is old but it is still relevant!! Thank you for sharing this with us. I could not agree more with your advice. As a 56 year old single woman with scarring alopecia, the thought of getting out there and dating scares me so much I rather not even try. The dating scene is brutal as it is let alone having a hair loss issue! But after reading this...I have a smile on my face. I have a new perspective and a much better attitude. I AM worthy of a healthy, loving relationship with a man who can see the "whole person" and inside my soul. One who is worthy of me as much as I am worthy of him. This post gives me new hope that there ARE good men out there who are mature and deep enough to see past superficial attributes of a woman and love her for who she is on the inside. There may be a lot of rejections on a 3rd date when my condition is disclosed. What a great way to filter out the trash and give allowance for the gems out there. Again...thank you for sharing this!!!

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