Hi Rene:

Wow I’m not sure where to start except to say I’m stunned. My husband of three years is threatening to leave me. Why? Because he hates my hair. Let me explain.

I’ve been growing my locs for several years. I always got compliments and I loved them. But as they got longer, they got heavier and became more work than I wanted to invest. So I cut them off. Now I have a TWA (Teenie, Weenie Afro). The problem is my husband HATES it! He says he feels like he’s looking at a teenage boy all the time. Our sex life, which had been fairly robust, has come to a screeching halt.

This doesn’t feel fair at all. I never said anything when he gained 25 pounds; I love him as much now as I did then.

I’m reaching out to you because I know you must have gone through something similar when you went natural. What do I do now? I thought he loved me. Doesn’t love see past the superficial and into the soul? I guess in my case, it did not. 

What now, Rene? Is hair really that big a deal to men?

Loc-less and Loveless in LA

Dear LLLA:

Oh man, I am so sorry to hear this and I truly wish I could say this is the first I’m hearing of it. Alas I cannot. I frequent several hair boards and this is a common topic for discussion.  I’m going to give you my take on what’s happening but then I want to open it up to the guys I call my “Man Panel”, Victor Hogan, Cody Williams and I’m sure you know Will Jones, aka Good Enough Guy.  I’m sure they’d be more than happy to lend insight as to what is going through the male mind on this one. But from my perspective, here we go.

MEN ARE ALL ABOUT THE VISUAL:  You’ve been married long enough to know that men are visual creatures. They can’t help it; they’re hard-wired that way. It’s almost the polar opposite for us, even when we date less than attractive men, the more we get to know them the more attractive they become. In your husband’s mind, he’s the victim of a “Bait and Switch”. He married someone with a ton of hair, now he’s waking up next to someone else. I’ll bet if you got him good and drunk he’d even say he feels a bit betrayed by the whole thing. I think you need to start with good old-fashioned conversation. Ask him what he’s thinking and make sure he knows the reasons you did what you did.

GIVE HIM TIME:  I know that when I first went natural, it took a second for my husband to get used to it. Hell, it took a second for ME to get used to it! But eventually I did (and Buff did too) and the person staring back from the mirror was not a complete stranger. But I need to make an important point. Buff supported me because he knew it was important TO me to follow this journey toward authenticity. That’s the foundation of a strong marriage, when you want your partner to be happy, even if it means a minor inconvenience for you. I didn’t love me with short hair, not sure what Buff thought of it either All I know is he bit his tongue and made me feel beautiful even when I felt like a 12-year-old boy.

YOU MIGHT HAVE TO REASSESS THE RELATIONSHIP: I know we all want to believe we married for better or for worse.  But in some cases, the things we thought were rock solid are anything but. Your husband didn’t marry your hair; he married the woman underneath it. But if he can’t see that, then I suspect he’s not the guy for you. Because if he can be sidetracked by something as minor as hair, what’s he gonna do when the real problems hit?

Okay, that’s my take, from the strictly female perspective. I need to hear from Victor, Cody, Will and any of my other male GEMs about what the heck is going on here.

And for the rest of you, if you have a question for Rene, she has answer. Click here and fire away. And don’t forget to join the conversation over on her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.