Have you thought about your partner…?

A blog by Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Marc Pacifico

So…you’ve made the big decision that you want to go ahead with the facelift you have been considering for many years; you have seen your plastic surgeon, and feel confident to proceed…yet your partner seems either against you doing this, or at best, unsupportive. This can be de-motivating, upsetting and can make some people quite upset.

However, in my experience, if we take a minute to analyse why this may be the case, it might really help generate some essential conversations and improve communication and support between you and your partner.

Fundamentally, from my observations, there are two principal reasons why partners might appear against your facelift plans:

  1. They are afraid that you will come to harm, from a totally elective procedure (“unnecessary” in their mind perhaps?)
  2. They are afraid that you will look different/weird/operated on.

The first reason is probably fairly self-explanatory. There might simply be a lack of understanding and empathy about why you might want to have a facelift in the first place. In other words, an inability to see things from your perspective – through your eyes. But more than that too – as a past patient of mine eloquently said: “No-one knows what its like to be in someone else’s skin”. It’s that core appreciation of “the why” that might help here. Really trying to explain how you feel, perhaps feelings of invisibility, feelings that pervade on a day-to-day basis, feelings that put a small but persistent weight on your shoulders day in day out.

If this could be modified, your feelings of self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth and overall positivity would be transformed, effectively giving you a new lease of life. Having a conversation to explain these deep-seated motivations might just help your partner appreciate that this is not simply a trivial and risky decision, but actually a major life decision that will have positive repercussions for some time to come.

In terms of the second factor, we can see that there are still more nuanced emotions and feelings that might subconsciously being elicited, making your partner feel uncomfortable – but perhaps without realising why they are feeling like this.

I remember a great story from a patient that illustrates this perfectly: I saw her a couple of months after her face and neck lift, and was aware that her husband was very against her proceeding, and had not been particularly supportive after surgery. However, she said that had totally changed, and now he couldn’t be happier with her decision. “What happened?” I asked. She told me she knew exactly the moment his attitude changed. They were out at the theatre with his oldest friend (who was unaware she had had surgery), and she went to the bathroom during the drinks interval. Whilst she was away, her husband’s friend turned to him and commented on how amazing his wife looked that evening, and he hadn’t see her looking like this for years. That was it! That was all it took to subconsciously tell the husband that his wife looked great, looked natural and didn’t have any hallmark of having had anything done.

Unbeknownst to him, he had subconsciously been fixated with the fact that, knowing she had undergone facial surgery, everyone else must see this too and she must look to everyone like “she had had work done”. In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth – she looked natural, with no signs or stigmata of having had surgery – he just needed to have heard it from an independent trusted source to enable that change to happen in his mind.

Sub-consciously, many partners will be having further thoughts going through their minds: What will his friends think of him if it is obvious his wife has had a facelift? Will he be a laughing stock? Will people talk behind his back? These thoughts might leave him feeling uncomfortable and out of control (even if he can’t put his finger on exactly why) which might result in that sense of lack of care and support.

Personally, I find this totally understandable, particularly when we are inundated by the media showing strange looking celebrities and people who have been pulled and lifted in very unnatural ways.

Perhaps the best way to tackle this from the outset is to insist that your partner joins you for the pre-operative consultation process, so they too can see plenty of before and after pictures of your surgeon’s other patients, to be reassured that the results are achieved are harmonious and natural.

If you are able to address these two main areas – safety concerns, with an in-depth understanding of why you are making this decision; as well as allaying fears that you will look unnatural and operated on following surgery, in my experience, you will go a long way to getting the support you deserve for this big life decision.

I hope you have found my thoughts helpful and useful – I always welcome feedback!

Purity Bridge Team