I am 2.5 years post D-day, and despite continued legal conflict, I truly have achieved Tuesday. Good riddance to him and his OW; he’s her problem now, and I rarely think about either one of them.
Despite my present state, I’d like to revisit D-day with you so that you can understand what I’m facing presently.
After twenty years of pick-me dancing, my husband unexpectedly let me know that he didn’t think he loved me, and thought he probably never had.
Since he seemed confused, I was determined to help him remember with some solid-gold pick-me dancing, including a lot of sex over the course of one weekend.
I noticed at one point that weekend, a small lesion on his penis. I was naive and thought it wasn’t right, but figured it wasn’t life threatening, and I had more important issues to deal with at the time. Later, when I mentioned it to him, he smiled and drolled out “Yeah?”
Fast forward to a few weeks later: I kicked him out of my home because I suspected that he was “talking” to another woman, and I got an STD test. To be honest, I was sure that he hadn’t really cheated, and I was probably being dramatic when I decided to get the test.
When I received the call that I was HSV-2 (Herpes) positive, I was borderline suicidal. Not only did I have to face the fact that I had wasted decades with an ugly human as my mate and made him the father of my children, but I felt like a toxic waste dump site. (The medical technician who called me with my results was also less than empathetic, to say the least)
I was sure that no good person would ever want a “dirty” person like me. I hated that I had become a dirty person.
Fast forward to now. I am now much more educated about STDs, and specifically HSV. I’ve always been asymptomatic, and the people who have symptoms report that it’s typically nothing more than a mild annual inconvenience, which is easily treated.
I wish I that the information surrounding STDs was not so stigmatizing. Yes, HPV can cause cancer (and I empathize with the chumps who receive this in their severance package), but HSV is common and doesn’t impact a person’s health.
Fun fact: HSV-2 is the number 1 reason that contestants for The Bachelor are kicked off the show in the final phase of auditions. Like me, producers report that the contestants are shocked to find out their status because they don’t have symptoms.
Even HIV is manageable to the point of undetectability.
My hope is to let other chumps know that STDs are not the end of the world. My STD forced me to be more cautious before jumping into the dating pool, and taught me to be more open and less judgmental. Both of these outcomes were beneficial.
I ask you to please let newly discovered chumps know that an STD doesn’t define them; it doesn’t make them unloveable or dirty. Dating is still possible (you do have to disclose; there are some good YouTube videos on how to have the “safe sex” talk.) But even with an STD, my life is so much better than the life I had with a narcissist.
All STDs are treatable, even if they are incurable. I wish someone had been around to let me know all of this when I was diagnosed.
(Per my screen name, of course I thank you, that was always for the ex.)
Thank you for the compassionate public service announcement about STDs.
When infidelity is mentioned in the public discourse it tends to overlook the health risks. Pathogens kill the whole the Heart Wants What the Heart Wants Schmoopie narrative. And I suppose people assume chumps are sexless and affair partners are star-crossed and cheaters aren’t out there pollinating among us with their gangrenous genitals.
Fact is, to cheat on someone is to make unilateral decisions about their health. It’s denying a chump consent about what they’re exposing their body to — and that can have life-altering consequences. I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve gotten over the years where a chump learned they tested positive for an STD at their pre-natal screening. Or how many chumps couldn’t get their cheaters to STD test themselves. THE NERVE of you to ASK! Or felt, as you did, that their dating futures were doomed thanks to this parting gift.
You’re absolutely correct, STDs don’t define you or make you unlovable. Cheating does. I wish we could flip the script on this and direct the shame in the right direction.
To any newbie chumps reading this — make STD testing one of the first things you do to protect yourself after D-Day and retest after 6 months.
But, but! They used a condom!
Fun fact: Condoms are 98% effective at protecting against most STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea. However, condoms don’t protect you from all STIs such as herpes, genital warts and syphilis which can be spread from skin-to-skin contact.
So yeah, even the rare “considerate” cheater who uses protection is still risking your health. In my experience (29 million page views here folks, hundreds of thousands of posted stories…) cheaters don’t use protection. Because affairs live in magical reality free of consequences. HEY! Happiness is a barrier method!
Did you know that Planned Parenthood is largest single provider of reproductive health services in the United States? And that many, many women rely on this NON-PROFIT provider for their breast cancer screenings and other women’s health services?
They do essential work — including STD screenings. I send them $10 every month, and if you can afford it, consider that too.
(Do not derail the comments into an abortion discussion, please. Let’s keep it on STDs and raising awareness.)
Thanks NoThankU4U for raising this subject. Everyone start the new year with a swab! Protect your health.