In this advice column for Burn Support Magazine, a panel of experts draws on their personal and professional experience to offer guidance. They do their best to make it good advice, but remember that their opinions and views can never replace the diagnosis, treatment, or care of a licensed physician or mental health professional.
For this issue, the experts shared their answers to "frequently asked questions" they often encounter in their own practices.
It is many burned peoples' deepest fear that their scars will make them unlovable. Many dating apps have reduced their algorithms down to swipe left or swipe right, entirely based on a user's first impression of a person's face. In this world, how can burned people find love?
I am a psychologist and I am also a childhood burn survivor. My scars cover my cheeks, lips, neck, breasts, arms, and legs. It was not easy at all to date, and my heart was frequently broken. So, I am not here to tell you that finding love will be easy, because it may not be. But can it be done? Yes, it can. I am happily married now, with two wonderful daughters. I found love, and so do many other burned people.
It is important to become as psychologically healthy as possible. Get help to work on the trauma you have been through, to work through your sadness, anger, or anxiety. Psychologically healthy people are intrinsically attractive to others. Psychologically healthy people exude love, positivity, and care, and most people find that extremely attractive. Your personality can be your very best asset.
It is also important to get out there. You won't find love by hiding in your house—this is true whether or not you have scars. Meeting people is how people find love, perhaps through volunteering, religious communities, or shared activities. As a burned person, you may find it easier to meet partners in person, as opposed to on an app. I met my husband at work, for example. I don't think I have a swipe-right kind of face, but I definitely have a swipe-right personality (at least most days).
So yes, you can find love. You will have to work at it, but most people do. Besides, I think burned people are used to hard work. It probably took a lot for you to endure all your treatments, surgeries, and rehab. You already know how to do hard things. You can do the work, and you can find love too.
Dr. Lise Deguire
Burn Survivor + Clinical Psychologist