Alopecia: Dating & Relationships, How to Navigate and What to Do
Alopecia creates insecurities much more I believe than other autoimmune diseases because with the majority of them, there are no visible or apparent symptoms that are as drastic as hair loss. Everyone is 'normal' looking for the most part and does not go through the balding patches, or total hair loss or loss of eyebrows one day and lashes the next. Alopecia is, I believe and feel, in its own category. Yes a lot is going on - on the inside, emotionally, physically, mentally, and you cannot help how your body reacts, the somewhat slow process of healing, and how fast hair grows back. (you can only support it) You might feel misunderstood- because you are- no one gets you! Not your family, friends and even the person you are currently crushing on. No one can really help, and the only support they can offer is a hug, encouraging words and thats about it! I've been there! I totally understand... there were times where my family was looking at me like I was an alien, or when my boyfriend now husband was quiet, just listening patiently. No one gets the frustration or anxiety building up inside you. But I do. I get you. I've been there. So instead of trying to insist that people understand you, it's better to educate and impart knowledge of your new healthy lifestyle, diet and way of life and attribute it to your healing process with alopecia. They can learn, and support you by doing the same or at the least, encouraging you to keep on track.
You can support your body and help it heal and you can get on the right path towards healing. But what do you do in the meantime?
Dating is a dance between two people which in its own right is exciting, new, fresh and full of potential. Breaking the news about a health condition and other important topics should come up sooner rather than later, when you feel it is right, or when things are getting serious and things are going to the next level. Dating is a word that has many meanings and definitions. For me personally, dating equals getting to know someone, an acquaintance ~ in which you frequent for coffee or lunch. Not necessarily giving all access to without certain milestones and rights of passage. Depending on who you feel warrants your precious time, attention, and resources, you should consider this person and be honest with them- educate them as much as possible and bring them up to date on how alopecia fits into your current life and what that means for each of you.
Alopecia isn't a death sentence. So education is key and getting someone on board with a healthier lifestyle is also key to staying on course and having a nurturing environment around you.
These conversations will be crucial in helping your partner/current crush understand you better, support you better and even test the relationship a bit. If they are willing and able to stand by you regardless of where your hair is, then you have a true human that is compassionate and cares. All in all, you want someone who faces adversity head on, not one who shy's away from it, or runs in the opposite direction out of ignorance, insecurities or other superficialness.
My story with alopecia started right when I met my now husband. We met in July and in November my hair dresser had caught it but didn't make a fuss about it so neither did I. I figured it would grow back. By May of the following year, I saw my normal hairdresser and he called me out on it- told me it was Alopecia and sent me to look into it. It was right then and there that I started researching everything and realized the clogging of the drains, how I was feeling all made sense. At the time, we were still dating, but we had plans to get engaged and married. He couldn't tell I had alopecia- only when I showed him my bald patches. Because they were mainly in the back of my head, he would take pictures - keep track of it- and even put on the ointments, hair oils, and every other concoction I would create. Instead of being weird about it, he supported me in learning everything there was to learn about it. He never stopped me from trying new things, buying products, books, etc to get more info, to get more help. Even when it came to seeing doctors in California, Colorado and in Europe- nothing was off limits. As much as I wanted I was able to do. Thankfully, after two years and half, my alopecia began to grow back, reduce in size and fully regrow back to normal. Its more than just my hair, it's also my overall health that has improved, changed and is supported by my daily habits and activities.
Families and friends, as much as they love you and care, it's hard for them to understand and to put themselves in your shoes. We cannot expect them to know how we feel or how it is going through alopecia.
Here are some tips in opening up to family and friends, and current partners about alopecia:
- Talk to those who you want to tell in a quiet and safe place- like your home or backyard. Make sure you feel safe and comfortable when doing so.
- Be knowledgeable about alopecia, let them ask questions
- Create a plan of support with them. Tell them how they can support you better. Come up with ideas together.
- Don't have a pity party. Telling someone about your current condition, does not mean it's a life sentence. This can be reversed. You can heal. You can embrace it and be the best YOU possible. There are many routes with alopecia. You get to choose the way you empower yourself.
- Ask them to join you on the diet and lifestyle changes as a challenge- getting as many people involved creates healthier lives all around.
In Helping clients with alopecia, both adults and children, I see that the learnings they obtain through my program enable them to create healthier households and families. The knowledge and love spreads. Use the new learnings as a challenge for those that don't have alopecia to better their health and hair ~ to improve their health and wellness.
Use Alopecia as an excuse to start healthy habits with those you love. Try a new workout or recipe with that new person you are dating.
- Be vulnerable. It's ok to cry and to feel shock, despair and sadness with everything that is going on. I know- I have been there. Know that this too shall pass. Lean on your loved ones and even on that special person, for hugs, emotional support and see how they respond. You want someone caring and supportive around you, not the opposite. This gives your new relationship a chance to grow in a nurturing environment. Alopecia isn't easy, but with my program, the right support and environment, you can overcome this and reverse it. Keep the positivity going and share this post with someone you love.