Scar Worries

5 Sep

Dear LetterBalm: I’m a guy in my 60s who has emerged from a long, contentious divorce. I’ve been seeing a terrific woman in her late 50s, and we have a lot in common. The trouble is, we’re moving toward the inevitable – having sex. I’m apprehensive. I haven’t told her that when I was 30, I suffered deep burns on my chest when I tripped and fell into a fire during a camping trip. It’s pretty gross. I’m self-conscious at the beach and at the gym, even after all these years. I’m afraid that when she sees me naked for the first time, she’ll be so disgusted by the scars, she’ll leave me.

–Burned

You had at least one woman who must have loved you in the earlier years of your marriage and your disfigurement. So, you’re not an exile from intimacy. You must be honest with your lady before you climb into bed. Ms. L.B. suggests that you may be needlessly obsessing about your scars; if you introduce the topic and share your concerns with her, you may be surprised at her reaction. Human beings can see beyond all sorts of physical inadequacies – open-heart surgery, cancer treatments, congenital imperfections – in those they love. The important thing is to be unashamed and relaxed. Schedule a private evening to introduce her to your body in a relaxed setting:

Glenda, I have to share some concerns with you. I need to be honest and open. When I was 30, I suffered an accident that left me with severe burns on my chest. The disfigurement is noticeable – and now you know why I keep covered up at the gym. I didn’t think it would be fair to you to let you see my body for the first time when we’re in bed. I want to show you my scars now, and we can discuss everything fully. I hope that’s OK with you. You can ask all the questions you want. I hope my body won’t shock you too much, but I’ll understand whatever reaction you have.

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