Hey there, I just had a questions about relationships and alopecia. I’ve been seeing my girlfriend for over a year now, and she still hasn’t told me about her alopecia. Every month or so she tells me she is going to go dye her hair, but I know she’s actually going to put her new wig on that she has ordered to her mothers house. I’ve known since we started dating, my sister used to be good friends with my girlfriends sister and she told my sister years ago about her condition so when I started dating her my sister told me about it. It doesn’t matter at all to me, she could walk around without a wig on at home, or where ever. She won’t shower with me, and would rather sit in her soaking wet wig for the day after showering rather  than dry it off on a wig stand. Is she ever going to tell me? Should I not bring it up that I’ve known the entire time?? She gets extremely mAd when I touch her hair and I just want to move on from all of that and make her know that she has nothing to worry about with me. We are having a kid after all.

should I just leave her be?

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Coming from a person with Alopecia Arreata, it’s a very sensitive subject for a person. Even more so for a female. I’ve had partners in the past reassure me that it wasn’t an issue and I believed them, it was solely on my part with self confidence and having no confidence that I wouldn’t take my hat off. I know this isn’t of much help, maybe there is someone else who has had some success with this. 

wow, this is an amazing story and very sad that your girlfriend feels she has to hide this! I can't imagine! I personally feel that you should talk to her about this. Unfortunately, since you have known for so long, it may make it more awkward. Only you know your girlfriend and your personal dynamics. She may get mad and never get over it or she may be relieved! I was already married when I develope Alopecia. I was completely bald/hairless for 2 years. My husband was my rock through all of it. He loved my bald head and made me feel sexy however I chose to be that day... wig, hat, scarf or bald! 90% of my hair has grown back over the last year but to be honest... there are days I miss being bald and badass!

 

Please talk to her, but do it gently. Let her know that you love her and think she is beautiful. Let her know that you want to support her. My husband’s love has been one of the greatest gifts my hair loss has given me. I think she’s lucky to have you. Go slow. Give her time. 

Hi Jimmy, 

I'm so sorry to hear about what sounds like a really difficult situation. I've had alopecia for most of my life and have been with my boyfriend for 9 years...half of which have involved me being almost bald. In fact, he was the one who shaved my remaining hair off! I used to wear wigs but they just made me feel ashamed and anxious all the time - I was terrified people would realise the truth. Eventually though, opening up about the problem to the people I loved was the best thing I could've done. It gave me the confidence I needed to ditch the wigs and to be comfortable in my appearance: I've even set up a website now to empower people living with the condition! I'd normally say to give your girlfriend time and she'll open up when she's ready. But it's a tricky one as your support and love could be exactly what she needs to come to terms with it. Could you subtly mention another person with alopecia in the media who you admire? Even dropping a comment about how beautiful Gail Porter looks, how brave you think she is. Or similar, maybe that wouldn't work. Whatever way you bring it up, you just need to remind her how beautiful she is, with or without hair...and that there's so much more to her than hair, that's not why you love her! If she does feel ready to open up about it and wants to read about someone who has gone through the same situation, my blog is: https://ladyalopecia.com/. Best of luck with it, and I hope your girlfriend is able to open up to you soon.

Wow, I feel bad for you both. Personally I couldn't stop talking about it when it started 15 years ago but that didn't help me feel better, I was just searching for answers. I still felt so

ugly in front of my husband if my head wasn't covered and I've known him since I was 15! I knew deep down he didn't care but I sure did. I personally can't see how you can continue to avoid the conversation, it has to be eating her up inside. There has to be gentle way to address this. She will probably still hide her head from you but at least it will be honest. Good luck, Kathy

Some women might disagree with this advice, because it can be an incredibly sensitive subject. When I first started dating my first boyfriend, I struggled with telling him as well. Your biggest fears when you're in this situation are that your partner won't accept you, they'll find it weird, or they won't want to be with you anymore. Even if it's completely illogical, your brain just goes to the worst-case-scenario. But it sounds like you already know, AND accept her completely how she is. So my advice would honestly be to bring it up to her in a very gentle, non-confrontational, and supportive way. Sit her down and tell her that you've known and love her just the way she is. Don't pressure her to take it off in front of you, but let her know that you find her beautiful no matter what, and that if she ever wants to take it off in front of you, you wouldn't care at all.

She might be alarmed by the conversation at first, but if I were her in that situation, I would ultimately feel like a huge weight was lifted off my chest because it would prove that everything I'd been worried about was never an issue in the first place. And hopefully, having this conversation will help her to see that she CAN open up to you, and maybe even eventually get comfortable taking the wig off in front of you as well.

If you have this conversation with compassion and patience, you'll be able to let her know that you're there for her no matter what, without pressuring her to take the wig off, or do anything she's not comfortable with yet. 

I completely agree! She’s likely scared that you won’t accept her or you’ll look at her differently. Especially if she’s pregnant, many women already fear that their partner will no longer find them attractive after having a child. Now is great time for you to broach the subject with love and support. Give her time if she doesn’t respond well initially. It’s hard to let down your guard when you’ve had your defense up for so long. You’ll both be so happy to not have this secret between you anymore. 

Hi there! I wanted to say what an awesome person you are for reaching out behalf of her feelings! =)

Alopecia is a very touchy subject, and it took me some time to come to terms with it. Are there other people in her family that you are close to that you can go to with this question? Every person is different, but I personally would think that she may feel relieved (not right then and there in the moment when you guys have the conversation,) to know that you love her no matter what. She may feel like the cover up has gone on for too long and she may not know how to bring it up... If you do choose to tell her about it I would pick a time where you have the rest of the day/evening together and let her know that you didn't "figure it out" because she might feel like her wigs aren't hiding it and that alone is something that creates great anxiety. You should be honest with her, maybe approach it with something like, "this is coming from a place of love and support and I want you to know it has never changed how I feel, not in the beginning, not now..." I know I was mortified with outing myself with my alopecia, but once I did, I felt a huge sense of relief knowing that my friends, family and husband have my full support, and that they're all very sympathetic of the condition.. I don't know your girlfriend obviously, but I know how she feels with not wanting to talk about it. I hope this isn't the wrong advice, but I really think you should talk to her about it. Maybe you can go about it in a way as to say, "I want to learn about this and go through this WITH you, you don't need to do this alone, we are a TEAM and I love YOU for YOU and I want to support you through this." Since you two are having a child, there will be, without a doubt, a day where you accidentally "discover" her alopecia, and that will be more mortifying for her than a conversation prior to. I still hide in my bathroom sometimes even though my husband knows about it. I will slam the door and cover up my spots before I let him in, even though he's known about it for years... it just depends how sensitive i'm feeling about it that day. I wish you luck! You're very awesome for being so sensitive to her feelings, you obviously care about her so much! Let me know if you have any questions... Be honest with her.  Good luck!!!

I think I would turn it around and ask myself if a relationship is built on trust and honesty or not. It may well be she would prefer not to touch the subject, but talking it over and clearing the air I think will remove some tension that is not supposed to be in a relationship.

I think there is more to the subject than "just" alopecia. Show her that blad is beautiful too :-)

Jimmy, you sound like a sweet, wonderfully sensitive man and reaching out to our community was a classy thing to do!   My feeling is that it is time to bite the bullet and plan on having an honest, loving conversation with your significant other.  It's really not even about hiding her hair loss anymore, given you two are about to become parents; it's about strengthening your relationship for the joys and challenges that are ahead of you.

Honesty is the foundation of every good relationship and you need to honor your commitment to each other by speaking the truth. Starting out with your declaration of love and devotion to her, I'd simply say that you have known about her hair loss for a while now.  As it obviously doesn't matter to you, there is no need to expend the energy to hide it. Take the power away from Alopecia by acknowledging it but not letting it rule your lives. Looking at the Big Picture, there are many more important things in life!  

Wishing you both all of the blessings life will be bringing you, 

Hi Jimmy,

Sounds like your girlfriend is quite private about it, which is totally fine. It is a very difficult disorder to deal with psychologically. In my opinion I totally agree that it will be very liberating for your girlfriend to come out in the open and discuss it with you, but it should ultimately be her decision. I think if you reiterate that you love her not only for her appearances and mainly because of her inner beauty and personality, that will give her more strength to have the discussion. I think if you approach it in a way that lets her know that you are aware that she may have a condition and that she doesn't have to tell you if she isn't comfortable, but you are ready to give her support if and when she needs it. I think it's important that she instigates the full discussion when she is ready. Don't force her to have a conversation if she doesn't want to. And I definitely wouldn't push her in any way to show you her bald head (this is 100% her decision). I personally have hang-ups about showing my boyfriend my bald head. He knows that I have alopecia universalis and I told him early on in our relationship (I tell most people that I see on a regular basis - mainly because I change up my hair so frequently), but I change my wigs in private and have a cute yetti hat that I wear around the house if I need a break from wigs. My reasoning is that I don't feel as sexy or confident in my bald head (I don't feel like myself) and I think every person is different in this way, so no reason to try to make her comfortable doing something that doesn't represent how she wants to be seen by you.

Best of luck!

OMG. What a lucky girl she is!

You should tell her long time ago that you know about her alopecia. It would be such a relief for her!

I can imagine how uncomfortable it is to wear a wig non-stop. Just tell her that you love her with or wthout the hair and that she looks sexy without a wig to boost up her self esteem. Good luck.

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