Perfect-Blue • 06 Ιούλ 2018

Does hiding Cosmetic Surgery count as 'cheating'?

Would you ever consider getting a procedure done without telling your partner? If you wouldn’t, you’re not alone! Along with an increase in plastic surgery procedures comes a new type of cheating. More women, and men, are having procedures done and are telling no one about it. Here, we discuss this emerging behaviour in the context of an already established couple relationship.

The statistics on cosmetic surgery generally are very clear. Professional associations record careful data and demonstrate that all kinds of youth-enhancing procedures are on the rise. What is less clear is how many patients are hiding their surgeries from everyone in their lives. Anecdotal evidence and small surveys show that this number is also rising. Evidence shows that one-third of patients are opting to hide their surgeries from other people, including their partner.

One could reasonably argue that this practice represents a new kind of infidelity. The cheating begins with money. Many patients report that they don’t want their partners to know how much money they are spending on elective surgeries. They worry that their spouses won’t approve, so they use cash or a combination of credit cards and cash to hide the total amount. Or, they spread the expense out over several credit cards to fool a spouse.

Aside from the financial issue, it’s difficult to gauge why people would want to hide their surgical procedures. Some may be afraid of disapproval, aside from the cost. Women are more sensitive to appearance as they age and many men fail to understand the importance of looking youthful. Some women may think that plastic surgery will prevent their spouse from cheating, but want to keep the details of maintaining youthfulness a secret.

So how do people hide surgeries from an intimate partner? Some wait for their partners to travel for work, e.g. a long business trip. A big procedure requires time from which to recover, and travel can be the perfect way for a woman to get her work done, recover and have her husband be none the wiser. Others only go so far as to hide minor procedures, such as Botox injections or minor liposuction. Many women report that their husbands fail to notice small changes.

Is secret plastic surgery then cheating? Not in the traditional sense, but many people would feel that it is wrong to keep such an important secret. Changing your appearance without informing your partner is indeed a big deal. Small secrets in a relationship are normal, but hiding surgical procedures is certainly not. If one chooses to go down this path, it would be wise to first carefully consider all implications, in the event that the truth does come out in the end.

Of course, the idea of using plastic surgery as a means to secretly change ones’ looks is not limited to the context of a mature partnership or relationship. It is well encountered among younger people that seek new partners or generally aspire to changing how others in the society perceive them, based on their external appearance. In this context, ‘cheating’ with cosmetic surgery may even be more hotly debated, partly due to the fact that new friendships and relationships are built on secrets. However, as the taboos surrounding plastic surgical gradually fade away in our society, so do the stigmas associated with it. It is then not unimaginable to think that a time will come when having cosmetic procedures will be considered and accepted as fully normal behaviour. And that openly talking about it will not only be unimportant or trivial, but also boring. This would surely enhance the grey nature of the debate, in case there is still one around.