Q: I have so fallen in love! The woman, “Maria,” that I’ve been hoping for has finally shown up in my life. We have been seeing each other for almost a year. She is wonderful and I feel so lucky to have found her. Last night, she asked me to make our love a more permanent situation by having a ceremony and moving in together.
I think that I am ready for this move, but I have a few secrets that I haven’t disclosed to Maria, and this worries me.
When I was little, my teeth were not well taken care of, and even though I’m only in my mid-forties, I have dentures. They look really good but it won’t be something I’ll be able to hide when we are living together, or at least it would be very difficult.
Another thing that I have not told her is that several years ago, I had a little work done on my face. I have always been a very outdoorsy person, causing the sun to do a number on my skin. I had just broken up with my partner at the time and I wanted to do something for myself, so I had some plastic surgery done. I worry that if Maria, someday, looks at pictures of me in the past, she’ll begin to wonder how it is that I look younger today than I did five years ago, or even think that a picture of me is really one of my older sister, not me.
I also color my hair to cover up the gray. Maria thinks my hair color is natural. She told me early on how beautiful my hair was and I let her think – by not saying anything – that it was my natural color. My natural color is “mouse” brown, but now, a lot of it is gray – not even the pretty gray that some women get.
Then, the final thing is that I have a fake nipple. I had a nipple reconstructed after some breast surgery that I had years back. (This wasn’t my trying to fix something with plastic surgery; it had to be done because of the surgery.) To tell her about this would be very hard and humiliating because Maria doesn’t know that the reconstructed nipple has no feeling in it, since I’ve been “faking it.”
Up until now, I could hide all this from her, but if I live with Maria, I’m afraid she’s going to figure these things out, eventually – if not immediately, somewhere down the line. Maria is in her thirties and I’m not sure how this will go over with her. She is so beautiful and everything about her is natural, no fake or reconstructed parts like I have.
Do you think I should tell her now or hope that she doesn’t find out – or, at least, not find out everything? I love her dearly and don’t want to lose her.
A: I have some questions for you to think about to help you decide what to do: Do you want to constantly have to hide parts of your life, and worry that she’ll find out about the things you’ve told me? Wouldn’t that seem pretty stressful? Do you really want to have a relationship with her if these things really did bother her? Wouldn’t that make her a pretty shallow person? Do you want to start out your life together, based on dishonesty? What other things will you keep from her? How will you build trust, if you’re keeping secrets?
P.S. I have a few links on Facebook about keeping secrets in relationships that might be helpful. I must say, none of the alterations to your body strike me as a big deal. And it seems such a minor failing on your part regarding letting her think your hair color was natural and “faking it” when it comes to feelings in your nipple. If she’s half the person you think she is, she’ll be understanding and forgiving. Who knows, your confession may bring on a few admissions from her.
Jody Valley is on Facebook! Search “Dear Jody Valley.”