Dear V: My girlfriend’s contagious confession

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Dear V,

My girlfriend of three years just confessed to me that she’s had herpes the entire time we’ve been dating. She said that since it’s been in remission, so there’s a lower chance of me contracting it, and that the reason she didn’t tell me all this time is that she was afraid to lose me.

I’m devastated, and I don’t know what to do. Just yesterday, I was thinking about possibly proposing to her soon, and then I suddenly find out she’s been lying to me and putting me at risk the whole time we’ve been together.

What hurts even more than that, though, is she thought I’d leave her over something like that. If I had known, we could have just worked together and found a way to use protection that works for us. But she’s on birth control, so we’ve been having unprotected sex for more than two years.

I feel so violated. I want to try to make things work because I love her, but I don’t know if I can ever trust her again. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Betrayed Bobby

Dear Bobby,

Besides the fact that you now have to worry about contracting herpes yourself, you’ve got to decide what to do about being majorly lied to for years by someone you’re in love with. Not fun.

First step? Get tested. Find out if you’ve got a case of the herp, too. Hopefully your tests will come back negative, but if not, don’t panic. There may be no cure, but there are many treatments for herpes that will lessen or even eliminate your symptoms and you can still have a healthy sex life.

Sure, it might be a tad embarrassing to tell future partners, but it’s not the end of the world. Just like you said, anyone who cares about you will be willing to work through it and find solutions.

Now, for your girlfriend. She was dishonest with you and knowingly put your health at risk. Is this really someone you want to keep in your life, and possibly even marry? 

Personally, I’d say to dump your girlfriend and find someone who’s honest with you and doesn’t hide secrets. You need to know you can always trust your partner, and it sounds like you might never be able to get over this type of dishonesty.

However, if you’re dead-set on working things out, take it slow moving forward. Your girlfriend will have to prove to you that you can trust her again, and that takes time. Keep an open mind – even if you get a conspicuous burn or itch. And from now on, make sure to use protection.

-V

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