One of the most critical yet underdiscussed topics between couples is sexually-transmitted infections (STI). Even the idea that your partner may have one is something you’d rather not entertain because your feelings for him or her tend to cloud your rational thinking. And when you consider bringing it up, you risk being subjected to whatever reaction they may exhibit, which could be violent.
But your discomfort and fear of the topic is nothing compared to the consequences of not addressing STIs. If your partner turns out to have one and is not diagnosed early, chances are you have already contracted the infection as well, making the situation worse.
That said, if you’ve just started seeing or dating someone, you should muster the courage to ask them to get tested and get tested yourself, too.
Ways to Bring It Up
Ideally, the topic must be brought up before you and partner get intimate. It will be awkward, but you’ll feel much better after finally talking about it. Your partner might even appreciate it because it shows that you care for their health, and how it may affect your relationship.
When you open up the topic, make your intentions clear right from the beginning. Tell them that you’re only looking out for them and that you think the topic of STIs should be taken seriously. If you’ve already been tested yourself, talk to them about your experience to encourage them to do the same.
What if you tested positive for a certain STI? Then that makes the topic even more urgent. It will be hard, but you need to be honest with your partner. Share your struggles of beating the infection and recovering. That way, you’re giving them a positive outlook about recovering should they have an STI, too.
Talking About the Results
If one of you tests positive, it’s normal to feel disheartened and scared. This will be a turning point in your relationship — and it may or may not mean staying together.
No matter which of you has the infection, stay calm and remember that you’re not battling this alone. Millions of people are affected with STIs, so try reaching out to a support group to have someone understand your struggles from the same perspective.
Educate yourself. Find out how to manage the infection and where to receive treatment. For example, there is an effective online treatment process for herpes, so consult a doctor with your partner to verify if this will work for you.
If your partner is the one who got diagnosed, keep his or her condition confidential. STI is a very sensitive issue and only the infected people should choose who they want to confide in.
Possible Unfavorable Circumstances
Your partner’s STI is possibly a sign that you’re headed to a breakup. It could mean that they are being unfaithful, especially if as per your knowledge, you are their only sexual partner.
In other cases, fertility might also be an issue. Some STIs have an impact on a woman’s fertility, and if you and your partner want to conceive in the future, and it will have to wait until the STI is healed. If your partner is unable to wait, he may intend to walk out of the relationship sooner or later.
The worst-case scenario is the infected partner being abusive. The disease may render them extremely insecure, so they may react violently and intentionally transmit the infection to you. In turn, they will taunt you with derogatory remarks, making you believe that no one will accept you anymore but them because you’re both infected.
Because of the numerous possibilities that STI can bring, it’s stressed to couples that the topic must be discussed before getting intimate. If your partner reacts negatively to the point of expressing a dangerous behavior, take it as a sign that you should split up, whether or not he or she has STI.