HOW TO DISCUSS STD WITH YOUR PARTNER. So, you have a sexually transmitted disease. Getting that positive result from the test can be such a scary experience but when you think about how you’ll tell your partner, well, that thought is even more intimidating.
If you are in a steady relationship, you’ll be scared of jeopardizing it and if you are just re-entering the dating world, you’ll be worried about the fact that if you lay it out on the table for any potential partners you could be sabotaging the relationship before it even takes off. Having “the talk” about STD statuses fills people with complicated emotions and many try to push it under the rug in the hopes that they can “fix it” on their own or in the hopes that it’ll go away.
So before we talk about how you’ll discuss your status with your partner, let us first look at why you should.
First of all, your potential partner or spouse has every right to make informed decisions about their own health so talking about your status will open the door to protective practices and informed consent so that transmission can be reduced.
If you don’t talk about it for fear of being stigmatized or because you don’t want to hurt your partner, you’ll be preventing them from getting the treatment they might need and putting their health at risk.
Now, you’ve gathered the courage to tell them, but how?
Before talking with your prospective partner or spouse, first, look at it from their perspective, think about what you want to say and consider their possible reactions. Gather facts about your status from your doctor which will help you to navigate the nitty-gritty aspects of the conversation.
Pick a time where you can both have the conversation without interruptions and consider starting the conversation by discussing safe sex and getting tested, this way you can dispel some fears and stigma. By picking the right place and time and arming yourself with the proper info, you would be able to make the challenging conversation go better.
Remember, it’s normal to be nervous but here are a few tips to help you discuss it with your partner.HOW TO DISCUSS STD WITH YOUR PARTNER.
EMPHASIZE THAT YOU CARE AND WANT TO PROTECT THEM
It is said that respect is at the heart of great sex. No matter if you and your partner are just hooking up or have been together for ages, respect matters. Respectfully starting the conversation about your sexual health shows you are being considerate. For example, if it is your current partner you can start by saying something like, “I care about you and your health. I tested positive for STD and I think you should also get tested to see if you are okay.”
If it is a potential partner, you can say something like, “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and before we go any further or have sex, I wanted to discuss protection and STDs because I have STD.”
FRAME IT POSITIVELY AND BE INFORMATIVE
Many people will struggle with shame and regret and while showing your anxiety is very normal, if you start the discussion as if the STD is embarrassing and has ruined your life, it can lead to your partner reacting negatively.
Whether it is incurable or curable, if you frame it like it is the worst thing to ever happen to you, your partner will start thinking the same way too, so try imagining that it is you receiving the news and act accordingly.
Rather than treating the STD like it is some dark secret or a sin, be direct, matter of fact and calm about the implications to your health and your sex life. If it is curable, discuss your medications, then wait until you have completed the treatment before having sex. If it is a lifelong STD like HIV, let your partner know the medications you are on as well as the value of using protection like condoms.
LISTEN TO YOUR PARTNER
Different people react in different ways. Your partner may be the type that takes the news in stride and is happy you were brave enough to share. Or they may be the more emotional type that reacts with disbelief or criticism – or even accuse you of sleeping around.HOW TO DISCUSS STD WITH YOUR PARTNER.
Either way, respond to any concerns they may have and be mindful of their fears. Offer resources and support and let them be aware of your commitment to a healthy lifestyle that reduces any risk such as getting the proper treatment, using protection and being tested regularly.
IF THEY NEED SOME SPACE, GIVE IT TO THEM
When the conversation is over, chances are you’ll be feeling vulnerable and you’ll be tempted to seek immediate reassurance from your partner. However, you must avoid putting pressure on them to make a swift decision about the future.
Say what you have to say, hear what they need to say, and then give them some space – if they need it. Let them know it is alright to take some time to think about it, that they should let you know if any other questions come up, and wherever they want to go from there, you should respect it. This shows confidence and leaves the conversation open.HOW TO DISCUSS STD WITH YOUR PARTNER.
It can be difficult to know exactly when or where you got the STD but before casting blame or questioning trust, try not to jump to conclusions because some people could have gotten them from a previous relationship – some infections may take several months or years to manifest – or from other sources without their knowledge.
However, if there was cheating involved, now is the best time to be honest.
Yes, it is tough to open up about your status, but it’ll be worse if they find out later when you don’t say anything. Discuss the facts, talk about protection and transmission and whatever the outcome is, have pride that you had the talk because the most important thing is protecting both your health and that of your partner.