You Feel Like a Leper
March 10, 2003 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
How do I tell my fiance, with whom I have had sex, that I have herpes? We discussed stds a long time ago and I said I didn't have any that I know of.
I must tell him, but its killing me about the risk of losing him. I feel like a leper. How do I handle this?
If I understand you correctly you told an untruth to your fiance. When you previously discussed STDS and said that you didn't have any that you knew of, it sounds like this wasn't true. Now you are caught in an awful lie.
If you admit to having lied back then, he will be furious. To lie now and say that you only just found out about having an STD, would be equally awful. How could you live with yourself for perpetrating such a lie?
I am afraid you are in a terrible bind. If you tell him the truth you risk losing him, that's sure. One way you might soften the blow is to say that you were afraid to tell him earlier on for fear of losing him.
I think it's important for you to realize that you aren't evil. You desperately feared losing this man and instead of facing those feelings head on and telling him the truth, come what may, you used a common defense mechanism called avoidance. Your lie was merely the byproduct of the defense in operation. Now, as you are learning, the defense mechanism not only didn't protect you, it is biting you in the butt, since your risk of being dropped is even greater now than it was then.
If you end up losing him, at least you have learned a very important lesson about yourself and how you operate under fire. You have also learned to be much more conscious of your tendency to avoid rather than face your fears head on.
I wish I had better news for you. You are going to need to decide what is more important to you. Living with yourself and having a clear conscience or lying to him so that you can continue living with him. . . but will you able to live with yourself?
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