Question: I need help and I am not sure if anyone else has this kind of problem. I recently lost 65 pounds, and everyone tells me I look great. I have met people in person and through OKC and all is well until they find out my little secret – that I carry the skin of my former fat self wherever I go. I hide flabby skin on my arms and stomach underneath cute clothes and attempt to lead a normal life! I love fashion and wearing whatever I want has never been more fun. To guys, i look like just another pretty girl. BUT, Getting intimate is tough because my body has been through a battle.
And it isn’t pretty.
I met with a plastic surgeon who said all of the skin would have to be cut off which would leave huge knotty scars down my arms and across my stomach… Plus it would be outrageously expensive. No matter how much I work out, this skin will never go away or tone up- it’s beyond that point (according to the docs).
How will I ever get anyone to love the new me if I can’t escape my old fat suit? Do i warn guys? It is not right to lead them on, right? Please help me!!!!
A few years ago, I remember reading a post written by a spectacularly douchey guy whining about how a woman he had met online, that he traveled a few hours to meet, turned out to have extra skin due to a recent weight loss related surgical procedure. He was oh so offended that the woman “made” him drive all this way only to end up “having breasts like pillow cases. He had sex with her anyway, of course. But he made sure to run to his blog like a 16 year old girl and bitch about this massive deception. He wouldn’t explicitly tell anybody in the blog post what had transpired. Instead, he did what most flaming attention whores do and suggested people write him individually to hear the full story in all its gory detail.
I share this little tale because, sadly, people like this actually exist. Telling Anna that the right guy won’t mind and will love her for who she is would be as damaging as the blog post that guy wrote. PS? The girl he was discussing knew about his blog and could read his cruel and self-absorbed words. Talk about wanting maximum impact. Anna is right that some men will be angry that she never revealed her not at all uncommon situation. They will feel duped. But what they’ll really feel is shame. That male blogger was so full of self-hatred for sleeping with this woman that he projected all of it onto her. People do this. It doesn’t stop after high school they way we’ve been led to believe.
Anna, get the surgery. The money spent will be worth it. Do it over time if that’s the only way you can afford it. Ask your parents for a loan. I bet if your parents have the money, or even if they don’t, they’ll do whatever they can to help you through this. You should also talk to a therapist to help you come to terms with the “new you.” You’ve been through a major physical and psychological transformation. Anyone in such a position should seek counseling to help them with the transition. Take a proactive role in solving this. That’s going to help alleviate some of your psychological discomfort. But before you do that, you have to let go of the shame you carry with you. If you can do that successfully, you may not even need the surgery because you’ll have accepted yourself as is. Whether you get the procedure or not, this step is crucial. We all have secrets and things we’re ashamed of that keep us stuck. Some of us carry these scars externally, some carry them internally. But we have them. There really is nothing more detrimental to successfully forming emotional/physical connections than shame. It weighs you down and keeps you in the constant state of fear and anxiety. What if they find out? What if they judge me? What if they learn I’m a mess?
I can’t concisely express how liberating it is to get to a place in your life where you don’t give a shit what people think about you. Okay, so you were overweight. So what? Lots of people are overweight. You did something about it. That’s an accomplishment for which you should be proud. The extra skin you carry can be removed. It’s not permanent. The scars can be treated. And even if they’re still visible, I’ll bet any amount of money that you will be far more aware of them than others who see you naked.
As for how to handle things in the interim, just explain to men – before things get physical – that you recently lost a lot of weight. You don’t have to paint a graphic picture. Just let them know what to expect when they see you undressed. Do I think that disclosure is a must? Yes, because those men deserve the option of deciding if that’s something they wish to deal with or not. Truth? Not every man will accept it. That’s why you need to choose your partners wisely. If a man seems particularly shallow, then he’s probably not someone you should let in on your little secret. Emotional scars take much longer to heal than physical ones. I can state with confidence that many guys have already dealt with this in some way or another. In fact, I think this is more common than you think. Even men suffer from it.
When my Ex, J, and I started dating last fall, he took forever getting all his clothes off the first time we slept together. It was clear that there was something he was trying to obstruct from my view. I didn’t push the issue. One morning, about 2 weeks after we started dating, he was in the bathroom shaving. I knocked and asked to pop in because I needed to brush my teeth. He had just gotten out of the shower and didn’t have his shirt on. He let me in and,for the first time, I saw his bare back under the light. He had a series of bumps and scars all over his back. He explained that he had begun taking prescribed medication about a month before we had met and had had a serious allergic reaction to it. Obviously, he was self-conscious about it. Was it jarring to see at first? Yes. But pretty soon I stopped seeing it. It didn’t make me want him any less, or hug him any less close when we’d sleep, or not want to scratch his back as we lay on his couch watching TV. If anything, the revelation made me feel closer to him.
It’s hard to open ourselves up like that. But when we do we usually learn that the thing we were so ashamed of, to other people, really aren’t that big of a deal. We just build them up in our heads for so long that they seem that way.