Hey Arline, I’ve got a sitch. I’ve been cheating on my boyfriend and now I have an STD. But my boyfriend, who is clean, refuses to use a condom. Do I tell him I’ve been cheating and I have an STD, or do I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and not tell him? I’m afraid to tell him because we’ll break up and he’ll be like really sad. Thanks!!

Photo by: William Wrobel

Photo by: William Wrobel

Dear Reader,

I hope that you did not wait for the publication of this article to address this problem. It is crucial to tell your partner that you have an STD. Of course, this particular situation is complex in that you have been with your partner since before you had the illness. At this point there is nothing you can do to change your past actions. It is important to move forward in a considerate way because you are not the only person being affected by your actions. There are lots of reasons why your lover deserves to know about the risks of contracting an STD from having sex with you. I assume that you really care about your boyfriend because you are worried about making him sad. Consider how he would feel about finding out that you cheated by getting diagnosed himself. You should drop this article and go talk to your boyfriend about what is going on right away. If he breaks up with you, there is not much you can do, but if you are honest about everything now, he is more likely to understand. You cheated on him, and it is up to him to decide how he feels about that. Whatever the outcome, it is your responsibility to at least have the respect to tell your boyfriend that he should get tested. This is about more than emotions; STDs are a threat to a person’s health, so your boyfriend deserves to know. Bottom line, an STD is a big deal and if you have an STD, you should tell any new lover about the disease before having sex. Our bodies are personal and quite literally the only thing in this world that completely belongs to us. At the same time, it is very important that you are direct with your lover about how you wish to do things. You mentioned that your boyfriend refuses to wear a condom; are you okay with that? Again, when it comes to our bodies, we have to be in charge. Your boyfriend should not refuse to wear a condom if that is what you need to feel comfortable. I know that you probably feel conflicted with guilt from this whole ordeal, but that is no reason to alter your preferred safe-sex practices just to satisfy someone else’s preferences. My best suggestion is to talk to your boyfriend, talk to the other lover who gave you the STD and do your research. Get as much information as you can about your particular STD because there are many variations. Some are completely curable, whereas others are untreatable or life threatening. Any disease is best treated right away, so talk to your doctor about the best way to proceed. It is important for you to take time to yourself to figure out what you want. It sounds like you do not want to break up because you do not want your boyfriend to be sad. If you were cheating on your boyfriend, that is a good indication that your boyfriend was unable to satisfy all of your expectations of the relationship. It is important never to stay with someone just because you feel bad for them. Your happiness matters as well.  Good luck, practice safe sex and do not procrastinate telling your boyfriend any longer!

Sincerely, Arline Votruba