What this board needs to understand is that people don't care about braces as much as some of you think. Reading posts on here you'd think it's an absolutely catastrophic ordeal socially when it's not. Your friends, family, and potential lovers aren't gonna care if you're braced. That's not just wishful thinking, I'm telling you this from personal experience.
You are completely right about that. My orthodontist and I are literally the only 2 people in the entire world that cares that I have braces. Literally the only 2. I think about this all the time when I have second thoughts about what I've done, mostly just because of the mild discomfort and sometimes major inconvenience. Even my wife forgets I have them.
This is just my opinion, and others have said it a million times, but braces are only a big deal to those who have them. It's almost like a co-worker getting a really nice new car. I notice it the first couple of days, and then forget about it. Meanwhile, they are the ones that are left to pay for it each month, maintain it, etc. After a few days, the new car is their concern, not mine. Though it might consume their lives, I won't give it a second thought.