What’s scarier than having the STD talk? Facing the reality that you or your partner might have brought an STD into the relationship.
Sexually transmitted diseases are not a joke. Some of them are dangerous and fatal. If you or your partner haven’t been tested, it’s best if you get tested as soon as possible.
You may think there’s no need for it because you and your partner are loyal and committed and whatever else you call it, but STDs don’t discriminate according to your values. They hit you when you least expect it and when it does, it’s not just your health that’s on the line.
When does an STD scare happen?
An STD scare happens when you or your partner start to experience symptoms akin to those of an STD. The most common symptoms that signal you have an STD are: itchy genitals and burning pee. The problem is these symptoms are also present in health issues that aren’t caused by STDs.
When you or your partner discover that one of you has these symptoms, the first thing that pops up in your head is an STD is present. Because of its prevalence, you can’t help but think an STD is the only reason why you would develop symptoms like the ones we mentioned.
Although mild STDs and STIs can be treated with prescription medication, there’s no medicinal cure for the judgment and mistrust you’re going to feel when you and your partner face this issue. [Read: STDs 101 – The most common STDs and their symptoms]
What to do when you discover these symptoms?
The first thing to do is set an appointment with a doctor. Telling your partner is not the priority because this problem concerns you and your body. Of course, you should still tell your partner, but only if you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your health is taken care of.
Telling your partner is necessary because they might also have an STD. Apart from that, they will wonder why you’re refusing to have sex. You can lie, but that really isn’t a good option if you want an open and honest relationship.
Don’t tell your partner you have an STD unless the doctor says so. Just tell them you’re experiencing some symptoms you need to get checked.
What happens when you tell your partner?
Most people will immediately assume that you have an STD or STI and deny that it’s from them. There’s the possibility you will be accused of cheating, so here’s what you should do when that happens:
#1 Ask your partner to give you the benefit of the doubt. It’s going to hurt once your partner starts accusing you of cheating, or if you’re in a new relationship, they’re going to accuse you of bringing an STD into the relationship. Asking them to give you the benefit of the doubt will delay the progression of a fight that has no bearing. If they refuse to give you a chance, let it go. They’re probably overwhelmed with the situation and cannot process the fact you might not have an STD. [Read: Why does sex hurt? 15 quick signs something’s not right]
#2 Get tested immediately. In cases like these, the only way to rule out an STD is to get tested. There are several tests you need to take like ones for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV. The first two are the most common STIs people can acquire. Testing for HIV is necessary because it takes a long time before the symptoms show.
#3 Don’t say “I told you so.” Once your tests come out clean, it’s time to tell your partner about the results. If you don’t have an STD, you probably have an urinary tract infection or an allergic reaction to something unrelated to sex. Trust us. It happens. When you tell your partner about the results, don’t rub it in their face. If they were tested before you started dating, reassure them you’re both safe, instead of making them feel bad about not trusting you. [Read: 10 subtle ways to ask your partner to get tested for STDs]
#4 Talk about what just happened. If your partner accused you of cheating, a negative STD test won’t repair the damage it did to your relationship. You need to express your sadness about the fact they didn’t trust you. Assure them that you don’t hold it against them. If you really need to, ask them for an apology.
What happens when you tested positive for an STD?
If you know without a shadow of a doubt that you did not cheat, then you probably got that STD from an old flame or your partner. Some STDs can last for months or years when untreated. The scary part is some of them are asymptomatic, which means you won’t see or feel anything if you’re a carrier or have an extremely efficient immune system.
These hidden symptoms can also manifest in your partner. When that happens, you should both go to the doctor and get treated at the same time. Getting the medical help you need is easy. Surviving the fact that one of you got an STD is a bit harder.
Before you start biting each other’s head off, here’s what you should do:
#1 Get tested. If you’re both positive, it’s going to be hard to determine who the original carrier was.
#2 Get treated. You both need to get treated at the same time, or you’ll end up passing the STD back and forth because one of you wasn’t healed before you started sleeping together again.
#3 Find out where you got it. Yes, you’re in a committed relationship with each other. But what about before this? It’s going to be pretty awkward, but you need to face the truth about where either of you got the STD. The easiest way to do this is to call your exes. [Read: 15 painfully embarrassing things that can go wrong during sex]
#4 Talk about how you feel. Express the fears that hit you when you found out. Admit whether or not you felt betrayed. Accept the fact it’s happened and you’re doing something about it. It’s not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your relationship. Just be open and honest with each other so you can fix these broken bonds as quickly as possible.
#5 What about shame? The fact that one of you acquired an STD can cause you to feel embarrassed or ashamed. If you can’t let go of those feelings, you’ll need to tell your partner so you won’t end up bottling your emotions.
Can your relationship survive an STD scare?
People in relationships face the challenge of accepting each other’s past. When the past comes back to bite you in the butt, you and your partner will be forced to consider your feelings and your stance on the matter.
Before you start thinking thoughts that can ruin your perception of the person you love, accept the fact that mistakes happen. It’s what people do to make up for it that matters. If you or your partner can’t accept this kind of situation, it’s probably best to let each other go. If possible, try to understand that your partner is not defined by the hand they’ve been dealt. Your relationship is defined by how you and your partner can handle adversity.
Keep in mind that an STD scare is a minor problem compared to the challenges you’ll face as a couple. If you can’t survive this now, how do you think you can cope with living together for the rest of your lives?
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Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...