Making new connections before a major surgery
I am having surgery in a few months. It will have a profound effect (at least I hope so) on my physical appearance even though that is not the primary reason for having it.
Okay, I see I cannot start this in the middle. It requires some background.
Due to a difficult pregnancy and birth, I have what is called diastasis recti. Simply put, my abdominal muscles separated during pregnancy (very common) but instead of knitting back together over the 4 years since my daughter's birth, they have separated even more. I have a very severe case that can only be corrected with surgery.
Two primary doctors and four surgeons later, I am finally getting it done May 31. The medical reasons for surgery are diverse. My muscles are not where they should be and are also weaker than they should be, so it effects posture, lifting and even breathing in certain positions. The aesthetic reasons are more straight-forward. I look like I am 5 months pregnant and I can't wear normal pants. I hide it as best I can, but I am extremely self-conscious about it.
How does this have ANYTHING to do with polyamory? Well, as you can guess it makes intimacy dicey. I met a few people at a poly mixer this weekend, and there is a definite possibility of it developing into a physical relationship. The neurotic voice in my head was screaming "I won't look like this much longer!"
These people, a man and woman, both came on to me. So, they must not think I look hideous as I am right now. I'd like to explore this. But I am so scared and so very ashamed of my "deformity." They have not seen me naked yet and I honestly don't know if I can let that happen. My husband is the only one (other than doctors obviously) who has seen me naked since this problem developed.
I don't know what I am going to do. I don't want them to think I am rejecting their advances if I shy away from sexual contact. But I can hardly say "hey, just hang on a few months until I'm healed from my surgery and then we can play" without putting a spotlight on the very problem which I try so hard to disguise. Not to mention, I don't actually WANT to wait 6 months before I can enjoy being with them.
Adding insult to injury, they are both very fit people, so when I think about us 3 being together I start hearing that Sesame Street jingle "one of these things in not like the others..."
I am familiar with diastasis recti for two reasons: I used to be a bodywork practitioner, and I have a touch of it myself, though I've never had children. In my case, I had gained a lot of weight, which I carry mostly in my belly, and have a small tear in the rectus abdominus. I can feel it if I stick my finger in my belly button.
I also know a woman who had a child at 15 and, because she was living at home with her parents at the time, she tried to hide it by keeping herself covered up in tight clothing, and so on. Eventually she also tore her rectus abdominus when the baby got bigger and has many bumps up and down her abdomen from that (she's in her 50s now). I can honestly say all those stretchmarks and scars do not detract from her beauty. She has a lightness, confidence, and femininity that showed through all her scars. So, don't worry. You are beautiful. If someone is turned off by something like enough that to reject you, would they be the sort of person you'd really want to be with anyway?
Who says you have to jump in bed right away with people you're interested in, whether you have surgery pending or not? There is nothing wrong with saying to these suitors of yours that you are very interested but want to go slowly, and get to know them before anything physical develops. It's not usually my MO to wait, but I suspect it's a good thing to practice for those of us who usually do get sexual right away. Plenty people do like to develop friendships or relationships before having sex with someone, and two or three or six months isn't actually that long.
Think about it this way, you're having abdominal surgery at the end of May, which is kind of around the corner, really. It's only three months away. You can have one date a week or one date every ten days with both these people and still be getting to know them by the middle of April. You'll know by then whether or not you will feel okay with either of them seeing you nekkid before the surgery. You can tell them about the surgery and your apprehension about intimacy if you develop that kind of rapport with them. But you won't know if you don't let yourself go out there and date them.
Just date! Let yourself have a good time getting to know the people you're dating without projecting about where it will lead. I would say this whether you had these insecurities or not. Dating can be its own fun reward and not have a contract attached to it.
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