Handle It: How To Tell Your Partner You Have An STD
Passing along the info to your new honey that you’ve got an STD is something you’re probably looking forward to about as much as attending your nephew’s 5th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Need hints on how to deliver the dirty truth? We asked Jill Grimes, M.D., author of Seductive Delusions: How Everyday People Catch STDs for some tips, after the jump…1. Time your delivery wisely
Though there’s no single right answer as to when breaking this kind of news is most appropriate, Dr. Grimes says there are some basic guidelines you can use to determine the best possible moment. “I’d caution against blurting it out in the first five minutes of meeting your date, but, at the same time, you shouldn’t wait until you’re in bed with him or her getting ready to get hot and heavy.” No matter when you do it, though, waiting until you’ve already done the deed is not only deceptive, it’s dangerous to your partner, and the future of your relationship, says Grimes: “In my experiences working with my patients, I have learned that people are far more likely to dump the partner who has an STD if they have already been intimate when the news is revealed,” she says. And before you share, she recommends making sure you sure you feel completely comfortable with and trusting of your partner, realizing that once you reveal your news, you will not have an ounce of control over whether or not he or she will choose to share the private info about your privates to others.
2. Prepare a script
This conversation isn’t one you want to enter into casually, so taking the time to plan precisely how you’ll break the ice will save you from mumbling and fumbling, not to mention making a complete ass of yourself. Grimes offers the following as some good ways of beginning the conversation: “I really care about you, so before we become more involved, there’s something I’d like to share with you”, “The most angry and hurt I’ve felt in a relationship came from my ex being too embarrassed to tell me something I had a right to know. Because I value our relationship and don’t want to make that same mistake with you, I want to tell you something…” “Is there anything about you that you wish you could change? Well, there is one thing about me…” “Have you ever done something reckless in the heat of the moment, and later on wished you could go back and do it differently?”, “Doesn’t it seem like yesterday that we were in college? Time has really flown by these last ___ years, and it’s amazing how we change with different life experiences…” and “Remember when I shared with you that my ex cheated on me? Well, the way I found out was when I went to my doctor…”
3. Don’t assume that your partner’s reaction will be horrible
While your news may come as a surprise, if you’re in a mature relationship, your partner should appreciate your honesty, Dr. Grimes asserts. She advises prepping your partner for a (relatively) favorable response by arming yourself with all the facts about your disease before you tell him or her. “Doing so will allow you to answer any questions, as they’re bound to pop up,” she says. And you never know – after delivering your news, you just might find he or she has something to share with you too. “With the prevalence of STDs, often, people are relieved and surprised to hear that their new partner has the same disease they do,” Dr. Grimes notes.
If he or she does freak after you reveal your news, consider that it could be a window into his or her true character. “In my experience, I’ve noticed that the same people who will ditch a relationship if the partner doesn’t make a certain income or dress a certain way will be out the door if they perceive the ‘merchandise’ as ‘damaged’- whether that is an STD, a prior marriage, the wrong religion, etc.,” Grimes says. The bottom line: if he or she is truly thinking long-term, your news will simply be seen as just one of many things that come with your, ahem, package.