My name is Sarah. I’ve already been in contact with Mik Scarlet and he referred me to this page.
I have been made to feel unattractive/ugly from quite a young age, and was subjected regularly to sexual abuse from the age of 4. Needless to say I grew up with a very warped view of physical intimacy and a feeling of being undeserving of being in a relationship. My marriage ended due to violence on his part, which stemmed from our lack of communication and my inhibitions on a sexual level stemming back to my childhood and the associations with molestation and abuse. This element led to the end of my next long term relationship which started shortly after my marriage ended.
I was a carer for 9 years and I am now in my mid 50’s. I know it is never too late for love but part of the reason I have given up looking is because of the issue raised by Dr Phil which led me to contact Mik – the fact that as I age my care needs will either outstrip my partner, or I will end up trying to care for my partner when I am no longer physically able to do so-and social services will separate us, leaving me alone and vulnerable at a late stage in life.
So with all that said, is it worth it? I still consider that people would perceive me as ugly, because I recently saw a comedienne who looked exactly like myself giving an interview representing women who are “proud to be ugly”, thus confirming that I am doomed to be perceived that way by society’s gauge of attractiveness! Leaving my disabilities out of the equation of course, relationships always start with physical attraction, before you go deeper…
Your thoughts/advice would be most appreciated.
Many thanks for writing in to us and being so honest and open with a difficult topic.
The first thing I’ll say is… Dr Phil has a lot to answer for!
I’m a wheelchair user and needing a bit of extra physical help/care/support is absolutely part of my package when it comes to relationships. The men I’ve been in relationships with have had to ‘step up’ on a practical level, whether that’s meant lifting my wheelchair into the car for me, or helping with cooking, cleaning and even helping me to wash and dress on my more difficult days.
Do I think they value me any less as a lover?
Absolutely not. In fact, I’d argue that practical intimacy often makes sexual intimacy even stronger! It also upsets me that people tend to never see what us disabled people do for our partners, too. Since meeting me, my boyfriend has travelled to 4 continents, left a job he hated and started one he loves, moved house and made some amazing new friends. He’s done these things for himself, of course, but emotional support and encouragement from me has definitely played a part. What I’m trying to say is don’t ever underestimate what you can provide in a relationship – physical care and support is but one part of many, many successful partnerships.
On the topic of attractiveness
It sounds cliche but everyone possesses so much beauty in their own way. I know many people who aren’t conventionally ‘pretty’, but their fierce fashion sense, brilliant humour or passion for what they do make them incredibly striking and attractive. I was watching ‘Queer Eye’ this weekend, and something brilliant was said: ‘You’ve done all you can if you present yourself to the world in the best way possible every day’. We think we will be happy with ourselves once we’ve lose weight, got a boob job or have enough money for expensive make up and jewellery, but if we do the best we can with the body and resources we’ve got at this moment, there’s a quiet confidence in that that I believe with radiate from us into further attractiveness.
Keep fighting the good fight and believing that trying again is worth it. Having the confidence to open up and write to us already says a lot about the honest and passionate person you are.
Hoping this helps, and please do get in touch if we can help further in any way.