Dating huh? Never something I thought I’d be writing a blog post about. But as I’m currently in the throes of divorce, dating is something I might embark on in the future. Eeek.

From my years of volunteering and working at the charity, I’ve seen all sorts of chat about dating in our closed Facebook group and received emails from individuals who were anxious about dating for various reasons - worried about being accepted by potential new partners, worried about when is the right time to tell someone they have alopecia, worried about their appearance or lack of hair being judged harshly on dating sites, worried about being intimate with a new partner for the first time and their hair loss being visible. To name just a few worries!

Do I now have all this worry to look forward to?! I’m not gonna lie, the idea of dating is daunting as hell. I’ve never really done it. I’ve reached my mid (to erm...late!) thirties and have only had two long-term partners, my last relationship being nearly 13 years. The idea of a first date with a new man - aargh! What do you even talk about on a first date?! And where do you meet potential new love interests? I met both my previous partners in the workplace. Today I mostly socialise with friends who are in relationships; I’m at that age when many people I know are settled down or settling down. When I'm out with a group of friends, I'm not looking for love. I'm out to have fun and enjoy the company of my friends.  In 2019, is my only option for finding a new significant other to join an online dating site? Putting myself up on a dating site sounds like a totally alien idea. And totally scary. After all, aren’t those sites all about instant attraction and snap judgements based on the photos you upload? Do I upload photos of me without hair? Wearing a wig? Both? Anyway, I don't need to think about this right now. I'm in no rush to get into a new relationship!

But I’ve been thinking, ahead of writing this blog post, about how I feel about my alopecia in relation to dating. I don’t think any of the insecurity I feel about dating relates solely to my hair loss. Ok, there are days when I feel unattractive and anything but sexy. But don’t women and men with full heads of hair have days when they feel this way too? Yes, i'm pretty sure they do. I'm pretty sure that my lack of hair will not prevent me from finding dates (and who knows, perhaps even love) in the future. The only thing that will stop me is if I don’t have any confidence in myself; if I think that beauty, self-worth and sexual attraction are all based on having a full head of hair, beautiful brows and luscious lashes. But I don’t think that. I really am more than the hair on my head, or lack of it. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself of that!

And if there are men who will dismiss the idea of dating me based on what I’ve not got on my head, well that’s their loss! They’ll be missing out on a kind, friendly, fun, intelligent woman with sparkling wit, oh and did I say I’m very modest too?! ;-) Haha. 

When alopecia strikes, it’s natural for our confidence to be knocked. It's a big thing to deal with. Hair loss can have a huge impact on feelings of femininity, masculinity, sexuality. But perhaps we need to remind ourselves that our hair loss does not make us unattractive to potential partners. Only our lack of confidence in ourselves does this. After all, there is nothing more sexy than someone who is confident in who they are.

If you’re struggling to gain that confidence with your alopecia, consider getting along to one of our groups or events. Meeting others who have faced the same challenges can really help to give us a boost.

Alopecia UK has a charity stand at The Dating Show Live in June. We’re looking forward to attending and raising awareness about alopecia with a new audience. We hope to have lots of conversations with attendees about dating and perhaps give confidence to anyone there who is living with a visible difference. Celebrity Gail Porter will be there and it's actually thanks to an introduction from Gail with event organisers that we're attending. Jen and I are looking for a few volunteers to help us out on the charity stand. If you’re interested in putting yourself forward to help, please complete this short form.

Alopecia UK has also been given a special discount code for The Dating Show Live. If you’d like to come along to the event, you can get 15% off the full price if using this link.

Finally, you might be interested to listen to this podcast about Visible Difference and Romantic Relationships from Appearance Matters, the official podcast of the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR). Researchers at CAR have done studies looking at visible difference and intimacy and we’re looking forward to including representatives from CAR at our Big Weekend in Bristol later this year.