By Chris Bustamante, DNP, NP-C, Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and Founder of Lushful Aesthetics

With aesthetic treatments becoming more mainstream, it’s very possible either you or your current or future partner have had, or at least considered, a cosmetic procedure. Discussing it, though, can be a sensitive topic given there can still be a bit of a stigma associated with it and people may be hesitant to share their true thoughts. While many people pursue these treatments to “stay fresh,” others seek them out to overcome a real insecurity. But no matter the reason, getting cosmetic treatments and procedures, as well as whether or not to disclose them, is a personal choice. If you’re looking to have a conversation about them with a date or partner, here are some tips to navigate a potentially intimidating conversation. 

Tip 1: Consider how you feel about getting work done.

While it may seem like talking to others would be hardest, it’s often actually the conversations that take place in our minds that typically are the most challenging—and important. Acknowledging and understanding your own feelings is a fundamental aspect of self empowerment. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable with some aspects of yourself. Know that life is a journey to experience an ever changing cascade of self awareness and you should respect your individuality both physically and emotionally. Accepting yourself doesn’t imply never wanting a change. We live in an age of medicine where changes can be performed both surgically and non-surgically to deliver tasteful and natural results. If this appeals to you and you’re able to afford a provider that delivers safe and effective treatments then that’s an avenue worth exploring—only if it’s something you truly want for yourself, not others.

Tip 2: Avoid passing judgment. 

While many cosmetic treatments such as Botox and lip filler have become quite mainstream to the point that it’s often a casual conversation amongst friends, other aesthetic procedures such as penis filler, rhinoplasties, jawline filler, and liposuction can feel intimidating for people to talk about. The question comes down to “How open should you be about past procedures?” This will vary from person to person. Ultimately I see nothing wrong with revealing some aspects of work you’ve had done while keeping other procedures private or just shared with a small group.  Just try to refrain from speaking negatively about any procedures, whether you would get them or not, because you never know what people have done or considered. 

Tip #3: Test the waters with a trusted friend. 

If you’re insecure about discussing your interest in cosmetic treatments with a partner, sometimes it’s easiest to start with a close friend. Although many people’s partners are also their best friends, they often have a different type of relationship with platonic friends that can feel more comfortable to discuss sensitive topics. Think of this as practice for the conversation with your partner. Once you drop the big news let it just play out from there. More than likely your friend will respond in a way to support you. But it also opens up the conversation for you to explain some of your apprehensions around telling your partner. It’ll likely feel like a huge weight off your chest! 

Tip 4: Assess your partner/future partner’s perspective. 

Create a positive and open environment that feels non-judgemental. Start with saying how you feel about cosmetic treatments. See what their reaction is to the subject and who knows, maybe they’ll start talking about their own friends or themselves getting cosmetic treatments in a positive light. If the conversation feels positive you can move onto the next step. If the conversation feels judgemental and close minded, consider circling back to the topic a few more times with lighthearted dialogue to let them know that you think these procedures are okay to do and you’d never judge them for doing it. 

Tip 5: Don’t wait too long to have the conversation.

Okay, so you’ve set the stage and you’re going to tell your partner something you’ve done or want to do that may feel more private. I think the most vulnerable way of starting this conversation is saying something like, “So I’ve always felt insecure about my nose growing up, so I got a rhinoplasty at 24.” Letting them know you did something to change feeling self-conscious is allowing them to be a part of that journey with you and shows them you trust them to accept your emotional and mental health. Now, if it’s not so much coming from a place of you having done something for an insecurity but rather a preference, that’s perfectly fine too. In those scenarios I would recommend just laying it all out. For example:  “Honestly as much as I enjoy fitness classes and eating healthy I wasn’t really ever able to get a six pack, so I said f*ck it, I’m getting liposuction. Best decision I’ve made for myself.” It lets your partner know that you felt empowered to make a decision for yourself even if you didn’t necessarily feel “insecure” prior. Everyone has their own reasons for getting cosmetic treatments done, and there’s surely nothing wrong with any reason that makes you feel good. 

Tip 6: If all else fails, agree to disagree.

Relationships are complex! Two people with two different personalities and perspectives come together to build a strong relationship, and it’s hardly ever the case that they always see eye to eye. If you open up to your partner about your interest in having, or past experience of having had, a cosmetic treatment and they don’t share the same interest, agree to disagree. The most important part of a relationship is open communication and it doesn’t always mean that you are able to change your partner’s perspective. If they don’t agree with you having a cosmetic treatment they should respect you for your decision to have it done. Ultimately, a supportive partner should respect your decisions about your body, even if they differ from their own opinion.