If your hyperhidrosis affects your hands, dating can be intimidating. How are you supposed to address the fact that your hands are sweating when you hold your date’s hand for the first time? Not to mention the fact that I know you’re probably worrying about this scenario long before it even happens, like when you’re getting ready for your date.
One of my readers in Australia (Australia! Isn’t that awesome?) asked me about dating with hyperhidrosis. So, let’s talk about this social scenario that many people with excessive sweating may not like all that much, or may even avoid altogether because of their sweaty relationship to their own body.
Sweating While Getting Ready
For women, this can be a real problem because we’re already trying not to sweat everywhere else while we’re getting ready. The routine for us probably starts with plenty of time to spare. I don’t like to be rushed when getting ready – being in a hurry makes me sweat. We blow dry our hair, and then we might use a flat iron or curling iron, all of which generate more heat than we’d like, especially on the back of our neck. So then the hair on the nape of our neck gets wet again, even though we just spent torturous minutes under the blow dryer to get it dry. Summer with hyperhidrosis is extra challenging with the hair and makeup routine. Ladies, you do get ready with a fan blowing on you and a hand towel draped over the counter for intermittent hand wiping, right? Can I get an amen?
I always stand on a towel when I get ready. Bare floors don’t work too well for me, so I need something to soak up the sweat from my feet. And then there’s always the fun part of picking off all the hair that’s now stuck to your sweaty feet after you’re all done getting ready.
So, you’re nervous about your date (most people are regardless of whether they have hyperhidrosis), you’re trying not sweat as you get ready for the date, and then you arrive for your date, where you’re nervous about the initial meet and greet because you know it will probably involve a handshake. But you’re not sweating because you’re nervous, you’re nervous because you’re sweating. There is a distinct difference between the two.
The Dreaded Sweaty Handshake
In the past when I’ve met someone, I would always apologize for my wet hands right away. But why do you have to be sorry for something that’s not your fault? I usually would just leave it at that, but sometimes you can take the conversation a step farther and actually explain up front why your hands are so wet. I’ve had people shake my hand and remark, “Wow. Your hand is really wet!” Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Instead, you can try, “Yeah, I have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. It’s excessive sweating that typically affects the hands and feet.” or some derivative of that. Other times, you can bring up the topic later in the date when you’re talking and getting to know each other. Your hyperhidrosis doesn’t have to be the main focus of your conversation, but if it bothers you that much, get it out in the open right away. When you let out your sweating angst, it can set you free.
Talk About Your Hyperhidrosis
You don’t have to tell your entire sweaty story on the first date, but a general mention of it is usually a good idea. If the person you’re on a date with doesn’t receive it well, then that’s the not the person you want to have another date with. It takes a lot of courage to share your hyperhidrosis with someone else. So show up. Show up for yourself first and foremost, which will give your date permission to do the same. No one is perfect, and by sharing a part of yourself that can be difficult to hide you create a scenario for authenticity. You’re saying to the world, I’m real. I have things I don’t like about myself. Yet I’m still here, doing what I can with what I have right where I am.
If you’re like me, your hands don’t sweat ALL the time, just a lot of the time. Tell your date that you’d like to hold hands, but that there may be some times when you need to pull away if they start to sweat. Once your hands calm down again, then you can grasp the other person’s again. Some people may not even care when your hands start to get wet. For me, it makes it worse so I like to let go for a few minutes and get dry again.
Ideas for Less Sweaty Dates
Do not avoid dating because of your hyperhidrosis. Actively seek treatment for hyperhidrosis, and in the meantime, ask for what you need when you date someone. If you prefer indoor activities where you know there will be air conditioning, for example, then do some indoor dates for awhile until you’re comfortable enough with the other person to begin to venture outdoors. Go on early morning or evening dates when it’s cooler out. Go up to the mountains, down to the beach at dusk, up to the lake to watch the sun rise or set, or look for windy days when you know the air flow will be good.
What a Good Date Will Do
Dating is possible with hyperhidrosis. There are people out there who won’t care about your sweating, so it doesn’t have to be an issue for either one of you. Or, they will care about you, and by default care about your condition enough, that they will think of ways to help you cope with it. They will blast the AC and cool the car down before they let you get in. They will run the AC in their house when you are there, or turn on the ceiling fan, or let you sit next to the open window in the room since the breeze is blowing. They will carry your dinner plate through the buffet line at a wedding reception and pile the food on for you because lines, and handling utensils before and after other people, are a trigger for you. They will do a “hand check” and lightly caress your palms; when you ask them why they’re doing so, they will say “Because if you’re sweating, it lets me know that I could be doing something differently to help you.”
How do I know all of this is possible? Because I’ve lived every single one of these scenarios.
But here’s the secret to all of this: You, and you alone, must first believe you are enough exactly as you are, hyperhidrosis and all. If you don’t believe it, then how will your date?
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