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No one has seen the real me for 12 years

Dear Dr Lukats, I’ve recently met a great guy through an on-line dating website, we get on really well, are deeply attracted to each other and both want an exclusive relationship.

We’re now at the stage where it would be natural for one or the other to stay over, except there’s one thing stopping this from happening. Me and the thought of my boyfriend seeing me bare faced with not a stitch of make-up on sends chills down my spine.

My make-up dependency, or mask if you’d prefer to call it that, started when I was a teenager, you know when girls start to experiment with how they look. I loved buying make-up and trying out new styles. By the time I’d reached my early 20’s I wouldn’t be seen dead without my full slap applied. Generally speaking it takes me about 30 to 40 minutes to apply my make-up in the morning. Now don’t get the idea that I look like a painted lady, I don’t, I try to look as natural as possible and use only natural tones.

Anyway back to my dilemma. I’m now 31 and not one person has seen me without my make-up on since I was 19, and that was my mother. Even when on holiday I apply tinted moisturiser, bronzer, lipstick and mascara before hitting the pool or beach.

Deep down I’m afraid that my boyfriend won’t find me attractive au natural. What should I do?

I can understand you're really worried right now, but there will be a way through this.  It sounds like you haven't been together all that long, but it's clearly long enough for you both to have strong feelings for one another. 

I'm guessing perhaps it's been at least a month or two, maybe longer.  However long it's been, you're clearly not going to end the relationship in favour of keeping up the current façade.

Basically, unless you want to avoid staying overnight all together, you have two options.  The simple answer is to just go for it and worry about the practicalities later.  You could leave your make up on when you go to sleep, but I somehow think the results would be rather unattractive the next morning.  Or you could get up quickly the next morning and get your make up on again – even if it's just the natural version rather than the full 40 minute make-over.  Personally, I think jumping up at 7 am to put your make up on before you've even had a cup of coffee might come across as a bit strange, but if your boyfriend really cares about you, I'm sure he'd overlook that.

Alternatively, you could gradually start wearing a bit less make up each day.  In a few weeks time you'll be much more natural, but toning it down gradually should minimise your anxiety so it's not such a panic-inducing shock for you. 

Whatever you choose to do, it depends what your ideal goal is.  If you could be free of self-doubt and anxiety, would you ideally like your boyfriend to see you with no make up on, would you prefer that he never sees you without make up on, or would you like to reduce your dependency on make up so that you don't feel compelled to spend 40 minutes each day putting it all on?

If you think your daily make up routine has all got out of hand and you'd like to tone it all down, irrespective of meeting your boyfriend, then now's a good time to do something about it.  Why not strike while the iron's hot?  You could easily invest in a make up lesson or just go to one of the beauty counters and learn how to do it all in under 10 minutes so it doesn't have to be such a prominent part of your life.  But is this what you want, or do you enjoy taking all this time and effort over your appearance?

As for what your boyfriend will think of you with no make up on, If he cares about you, he'll think you look fantastic with or without your make up on.  Even if he does think you look better with your make up on, he's hardly going to dump you because you're not perfectly made up first thing in the morning.   In fact, if you can let him see you bare-faced, even if just for half an hour in the morning, you'll feel much more relaxed about the whole issue and the chances are it will bring the two of you closer together.

Belfast Telegraph

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