Questions about self-harm scars and dating, sex and intimacy cause many people with visible self-harm scars to worry: “Are self-harm scars a turn-off?” “Should I try to hide my scars from my partner?” “When is it appropriate to explain my scars to a partner, and how can I best approach this type of conversation?” What are the right answers to these questions about self-harm scars and dating?
The right answer for you will vary depending on a whole host of factors, including your self-harm history, where you are in self-harm recovery, and your partner’s familiarity with self-harm. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. You are in control of your own narrative and there is no obligation on your part to do things one way or the other. If you are having trouble with answering questions about your self-harm scars and dating, however, here are some general guidelines that I find to be helpful.
Self-Harm Scars and Dating Casually
Yes, self-harm scars are a turn-off to some people. This does not mean that those people are bad people or not worth our time. There are many reasons someone might not choose to date someone with self-harm scars, most of which are not related to vanity. Unless the person was rude about your scars, there is no need to take it personally (Keeping Calm When Others Put You Down).
The good news is, a lot of people — especially casual partners — will not mind the scars too much. In these cases, you may not feel the need to bring the issue up at all. If you do feel the need, or if your partner asks, you could say that the scars are from self-harm without going into detail. Another option is to make up another explanation for the scars, which either the partner will believe or take as a cue that this is not something you would like to discuss.
Self-Harm Scars and Serious Relationships
In a more serious relationship, or a relationship that seems as though it has the potential to be serious, you may feel that you want to talk to your partner about your self-harm scars more in-depth. There is no easy to way to broach this subject, but it is for the wellbeing of your relationship.
The good news, again, is that many people will respond with compassion, and respect you for having the courage to speak with them about it. Your partner only wants to know that you are okay now and that self-harm will not interfere with the relationship. How you approach the conversation is up to you, but it may be helpful to include the above concerns.
All in all, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with yourself and whatever decisions you make. Your scars will always be more noticeable to you than to anyone else, so your comfort should always come first. The scars are only a part of you and your story, and so should only be a part of your love life. There is no need to let them stand in the way of enjoying a variety of fun and fulfilling relationships.