February 13, 2019

How Do I Address My Wife's Hair Loss?

Hey, Bonita…

Hey Bonita,

I love my wife, and I think she’s beautiful. However, I noticed she is starting to lose her hair. She is still very young and has thin hair, which I think is somewhat genetic in her case. Are there any things I could help her do/get to prevent her hair loss or help her grow more? I’m also nervous about bringing it up.

I can imagine! I think we get a lot of messaging telling us that our partners are supposed to compliment and satisfy us perfectly in every way, which can lead to feelings of nervousness or guilt around even noticing a not-so-appetizing change in our loved ones. Talking to our boos about their bodies can be tricky. What if she hasn’t noticed it herself? What if she has but doesn’t care? What if she gets really pissed at you for mentioning it at all?

I think we are allowed to talk about our lovers’ bodies in ways that genuinely relate to their health and wellness. I’m not talking about dudes who lovingly harass their girlfriends into anorexia or CrossFit addictions over 15 pounds of nothing—those men suck, and they will always be out of their lane on that particular issue. But you mention her youth and what that could mean for her hair loss, and I don’t see this as you trying to police a woman’s appearance. Hair loss in young women can be signs of thyroid issues and other health problems that I really shouldn’t try to give advice about, seeing as how I’m a columnist and not a doctor. To that point, I think she should see a doctor if it’s really an alarming amount of hair loss, or if you’re noticing other physical changes.

But first, I guess you’ve gotta broach the subject. You already know best how to do that. This is your wife you’re talking about, and you’ve probably had some pretty tough conversations as a couple. Even if the look of her hair loss is bothering you, it’s gonna be in your best interest not to mention her looks at all when you bring this up. I have a good cis-woman friend who started losing hair in her mid-20s, and it turned out she had thyroid and hormone problems galore. This could point to something rather serious with her health, so keep the conversation focused there—without going too serious, because you wouldn’t want to scare her.

You know how to talk about awkward or difficult stuff with your wife. Be confident and stay focused on your love, your partnership and your concern for her health, then roll up your sleeves and get into it.

I just started dating someone, but it's not ideal, to say the least. She is a great person, but she's also my professor. I'm worried about the implications of our relationship, but I want to see this through. Any advice on how to navigate this? This is a first for us both. Thanks!

I couldn’t find good information on Piedmont College or Athens Tech, but UGA has a very clear policy about student-teacher relationships, and it basically amounts to, “Don’t do it.” If you are currently in her class, you need to withdraw immediately to no longer be violating the university’s policy.

But that’s no guarantee that there still wouldn’t be professional repercussions for her, either. She might just be disciplined quietly, or she could lose her job. An investigation alone would be poisonous for a teacher’s professional reputation, whether they found her in violation of policy or not. It would undoubtedly affect the way her colleagues view her, and it could impact the perception of her scholarly work. For you, there wouldn’t be many concrete consequences.

The heart wants what it wants, but this is a bad move, and I cannot get behind anyone having intimate relationships with people they supervise in any way. My only real advice to is tell no one else about this.

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