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LL Cool Jane , 18 Nov 2012

When to tell potential romantic partners?

Hi Everyone, I was moved to tears today because I literally JUST found out that there's a term for this affliction, specific common behaviors and thoughts associated with it, and that there are other people who do it. I started when I was 14 and I am 26 now. I've had periods where it's gotten better, but now I feel it's worse than ever. It used to be my legs but they have healed pretty completely and now I just have a few light scars that I can explain away as chicken pox scars. Now it's just my arms, but it's really, really bad. I can't wear short sleeves, a swimsuit, or lingerie. I don't feel sexy when I'm being intimate with a man. I get so much anxiety and my heart races and I literally feel like I want to pass out at the thought of telling anyone. No one knows but my immediate family, my doctor, and a few of the guys I've dated. They have all been super supportive and loved/accepted me regardless of my condition, but every time I'm single again I freak out because it means I'll have to try to find someone again who will understand and the horrible moment when I have to tell them and god forbid, SHOW them. It makes my own stomach turn so the thought of baring all to someone I want to find me sexy is just impossibly hard. I feel like I'll never find anyone. I'm wondering--when do people typically tell their partners or potential partners? Like how soon into dating them? HOW do you do it? And do you show them or just tell them at first? I'm so mad at myself and I hate this. It's ruining my life and it's been like 12 years. The secrecy drives me crazy. I look at myself in the mirror and I can't understand why I can't stop. I've ruined an otherwise gorgeous body. Outside of this, I live a pretty normal life with a super successful career, lots of friends, very active, and I'm attractive too. Nobody knows what I'm hiding and it's so stressful to think about trying to find someone to be with for the rest of my life given the circumstance... I just want to stop. I'm taking steps to do that, but the scars may never go away completely. And in the meantime, I still have the need and desire to be intimate emotionally and physically; to have a boyfriend/husband, but I just feel so hopeless. And if/when it ever comes time to get married, the thought of not being able to find a beautiful wedding dress or lay on the beach with my husband on our honeymoon is just...devastating... Any thoughts or advice on the sig. other disclosure situation, or even on finding a sig. other who will be accepting to begin with, are much appreciated. I am so thankful I found this community. It sounds silly, but just knowing I'm not alone helps x500 trillion. It gives me new motivation and hope for recovery.
4 Answers
November 18, 2012
this is a good question because I'd like the answer to it as well haha i've never let a guy see my scars as of yet but to be honest I'm starting to think that maybe it's not as terrifying and terrible as we make it out to be.maybe I'm feeling optimistic because the holidays are coming up and I'm starting to relax more.i might change my tune during a more stressful time of the year haha but anyways here's my sort of experience with it. While I was kissing my boyfriend at the time he noticed my eyelashes (i have trichotillomania which is where you pull your hair,for me it's my eyelashes so they are thinning/missing in some spots) he looked at them and then whispered in my ear that he wouldn't tell and then kissed me again. It completely threw me off and a swirl of emotions like embarassment, relief, and joy hit me at once. It all depends on who you are with I guess. If it's someone who has regularly shown care for others in their daily life and with you then that would be a good possible indicator that maybe this person will be understanding. You said that you've already been able to be intimate with guys and that you have been in relationships with guys that are supportive so that goes to show that there are understanding people out's just the looking for them i guess that makes it difficult but even if you meet someone who is cruel about it at least they learned what the disorder is and maybe in their future they will grow to be understanding of it and other disorders.
LL Cool Jane
November 18, 2012

In reply to by reaching.higher

Thank you!! Even just knowing that these are legitimate mental disorders with a set of commonly defined behaviors and symptoms makes me feel better. It legitimizes it somehow; makes me not feel like just a crazy pathetic self-hating loser. There are chemical brain reactions going on that we have little control over. Also I'm starting to realize I don't have to rush and tell people right away like I used to feel. I used to feel like I would be deceiving people or leading them on if I let them fall for me without telling them right away. But now I feel like, it's a part of you that have to feel safe to reveal, and that safety only comes with time and trust and assurance that someone loves and respects you as a person. Everyone has secrets; things that they're not proud of they save until later; ours is just more out in the open/less socially acceptable so it feels like we're defective. It's so good to know that we're not :)
January 01, 2013
I have a very understanding husband. He tells me I am beautiful no matter what, it doesn't change his desire for me. He's even been with me after a binge picking session, and he just ignores it. I still feel bad about it. Been struggling with this since 9 years old, I am now 37. I've talked to doctors, counsellors, and recently my dermatologist, it seems it's not important, just stop. So I discovered this site, and that I am not alone. It has worried me for years intimately. I would stop and heal as best I could, then cover with makeup and hope it wasn't noticed. I decided this past week I was going to find a therapist that specializes in OCD, I had my first appointment this week. It is so embarrassing and strange to me even though I've been doing it forever. I keep asking myself, why do I do it? I feel so bad every time. I don't pick my arms so much anymore. Wearing short sleeve shirts this summer and getting some sun them helped and encouraged me to slow down, it feels good to not be so embarrassed. And it's not as noticeable as I thought. As far as my breasts, I am still struggling. I've done pretty well leaving them alone for the past couple of weeks, then today back to my old tricks. It's a process. If counseling doesn't work I may just try hypnosis. Thank you all for being here and supportive, we'll help each other through this.

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