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My Ex Gave Me an STD

Dear Chump Lady,

It is now 7 months since D-Day. In 7 years, ex-boyfriend cheated with four women and only now “shows” some remorse over “hurting me.” However, there seems to be no acknowledgement over the health consequences of his affairs. At some point, when I expressed being upset over the STD he gave me, all he said was that he could have given it to me at any point.

Now I am ready to go out and date. However, I feel no one is going to want me as I have this STD, although common and not life-threatening at all, the lack of education on the subject means I will be prejudiced against and I really don’t want to segregate myself by using a dating site for people with STDs. Obviously if I got close enough to anyone, I would tell them before having sex that I have this, even if I have no symptoms but as there is a small chance, even with protection, of infection.

This is the part I am struggling the most with, accepting I have it, and that unlike him, I have a responsibility to let people know. (He knows but doesn’t tell or take precautions).

I feel that I will get rejected, judged, and that I will end up alone. I really need some advice. This is really bringing me down and I sometimes don’t feel like I should go out and meet anyone, why bother?

A Chump (AC)

Dear AC,

Before I get to the STD, let me just say if you’re 7 months post-D-Day and I assume 7 months post-break up (but maybe not?) — it might be a bit soon to think about dating again. You had a 7-year relationship with a serial cheater. It’s pretty normal to be feeling incredibly depressed about the human race now — the whole I will get rejected, judged, and end up alone is also a byproduct of infidelity, not just STDs.

Yeah, so you got a twofer on whole feeling like damaged goods. Sorry.

All to say, if you’re feeling like “why bother?” maybe that’s a sign you need to spend some more time healing and less time perusing Match.com. Shore yourself up and invest more in your general awesomeness than your datability now. I think if you do that, the whole panicky feeling of THE PLAGUE! THE PLAGUE! will lessen.

But right… the plague… let’s get to that.

You didn’t mention which STD he gave you, leaving me to make an educated guess between HPV and herpes. If it’s HPV, well it’s as common as having opposable thumbs. Hopefully you got a less serious strain of it. Generally your immune system fights it off, although as we know it can result in warts or cervical cancer if you’re unfortunate. Get those regular pap smears! If it’s herpes, my understanding is that there are great meds for this, and you can be asymptomatic for years, or work around an outbreak.

It sucks. Hugely. But it’s not a death sentence nor do I think it makes you undateable. It will make you more sensitive when you get to the awkward STD conversation — hey, public service announcement — I hope everyone is having the Awkward STD Conversation (ASTDC)! — you know, where it’s about to get intimate and you have a handy, time-stamped copy of your last STD test.

An aside — if you’re dating and sleeping with people, you NEED to endure the ASTDC. Do it for several reasons — a) to inform your partner about your state of health and b) assess their character. Are they doing the same for you? Are they cavalier about your health? Their own health? Are they considerate? Careful? Will they assume that all responsibility for birth control belongs to you? (Jerk) Or do they carry condoms and aren’t afraid to use them?

This is all important information we can overlook in the moment at which we feel  fabulously desirable with a passion that cannot be denied!

Deny it. Have the ASTDC first.

So, back to you, AC — if you’re willing to have that conversation you should be judged as a considerate person. One who does not make unilateral decisions about other people’s health. And I hope your partner is equally considerate. If he isn’t, then he’s not the person for you. Next!

It’s true, you may be rejected. But this can happen at any stage during dating, and it’s part and parcel of dating. He may reject you before, during, or after the ASTDC, but if he is a person of discernment, he will appreciate your honesty.

I think it is very likely, if you find a person who is really attracted to you, that he’ll accept that “small chance.” We all take risks when we date, there is no risk-free approach to finding love and sex. You have a treatable STD. You see that as an obstacle. Other people have things about them that they consider obstacles too. The single mom with three children. The guy with Parkinson’s. The veteran with PTSD.

The world is full of people who love and want to be loved. And it’s also full of horny people who want to get laid and will take their chances.

You’re not an impossible case. What you’re dealing with is another version of what ALL chumps deal with — paying the consequences for a cheater’s grotesque self indulgence. You could be the parent whose family home got foreclosed on when he left. You could be the dad paternity testing his kids. You’re screaming to the heavens what we all scream — It’s NOT FAIR! I don’t DESERVE THIS! Why did this happen to me when I didn’t do ANYTHING WRONG?!

Cheaters make unilateral decisions about our health and welfare. Major decisions that affect our lives, and can have irreparable consequences. This is why I hate the discourse that makes infidelity No Big Deal. Just a quick naughty. Just that sexy thing that edgy people do.

No, chumps get hurt. Cheaters endanger our lives and they fucking waste our precious time. We pay the consequences for actions we did not take.

He gave you an STD. Fuck him. Get regular medical care and be honest with your future partners — you would never be cavalier with their health the way he was with yours. Don’t let this keep you down and give up on love. It’s a shit sandwich and it’s not fair, but people overcome worse everyday. Be secure in the knowledge that you have values, you’re a good person, and you would never endanger anyone. That makes you a real catch — someone to cherish, not reject.

This one ran before.

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  • My ex gave my herpes as well. He’d been sleeping with a lot of women on the side, some of them sex workers. I once asked him about some symptoms I noticed on his body and h said they were a heat rash (!). I had my suspicions but by then of course it was too late.
    I was lucky enough to get diagnosed and be offered counselling at a really amazing clinic. What they told me was that herpes is incredibly common. Another was that worthwhile people don’t reject you because you have herpes, but they might reject you for not telling them you have it. I have had the awkward but very frank conversation with the two prospective partners I’ve had since and it didn’t put them off.
    I’m not saying rush into dating right away as you probably need some time to just recover and get to love yourself again, but please don’t feel like this is the end of the world. Sure it can cause you some issues and this is worth discussing with your doctor (especially if/ when you want to get pregnant) but the issues it causes are totally treatable.

  • I honestly can’t believe I never got an STD. He was cheating by his own admission for at least half our marriage. (I think the whole marriage).

    And it was the 80s and 90s when AIDS was building to epidemic proportions. But, I did the tests and I didn’t as far as medical tests could go.

  • AC, if he is recklessly and knowingly spreading an STD, you could report him to public health authority which deals with STDs, assuming there is one in your area. What a sociopathic rat bastard. I got the most dreaded strain of HPV from my jerk. I’ll give him some credit because he did feel bad about that. But your cheater doesn’t give a shit. How infuriating! I don’t intend to date, and my body fought it off anyway. If that’s what you got, get retested in about six months. You will probably test negative by then. If it’s herpes, my understanding is that you’re only infectious during an outbreak. Is that correct? They have drugs to control the outbreaks, so you just have to be diligent about that. I can’t see somebody who’s really into you rejecting you on that basis, especially if you explain how low the risk is.

    As CL says, wait a bit longer before dating. You’re still processing the trauma. An STD sucks the big enchilada, but there are worse things, like being with a serial cheater. If you’re free of him your life will only improve, whether you find another partner or not. Hugs to you, AC. On the spectrum of fuckwit awfulness, you got a really bad one, so it may take extra time to recover.

  • Ah, another member of the “my FW gave me this” club. For me, it was Chlamydia. I still remember the day my family doctor walked into the waiting room, looked at my chart, and very unprofessionally blurted out “I’m going to kill him” before she regained her composure and got to the business of what my next steps were.

    This was during the during his first full fledged affair. The one where he was light years ahead of me planning his escape with his secret GF and I had just had our second child, was hanging onto our marriage with white knuckles (“I love you! I’ll never give up on you!”(, and was still talking to him about everything. I know better now. I talk to him about nothing except business (money stuffbir kid stuff) and it’s been amazing.

    When I told him that I had Chlamydia and he should get himself and his (newly revealed) GF checked out he gaped, like a fish, in disbelief and assured me that “they hadn’t done anything yet” (he promised!) so it was impossible that they had anything. I was still an idiot in love but even I wasn’t prepared to believe that; I had only ever slept with one man my entire life so how did I get Chlamydia? He told me, with the confidence of what I now recognize is the hallmark of a seasoned liar, that hospitals are places full of germs and and I probably picked it up there when I had our daughter.

    Now, I still loved him madly at this point but I remember looking at him like he was INSANE. What was wrong with him? How could he keep splitting out outrageous lie after outrageous lie? He may as well have told me that aliens came down and gave me an STD–not him, not his saintly secret GF, and not the secret one night stand that he never told me about but I found out about years later… no, they were all as pure as the driven snow. The Chlamydia I somehow picked up was an accident from being in the hospital giving birth.

    I didn’t buy it; not then, not now. And I began to think my FW husband was… well… insane instead of merely an overconfident liar. CL’s metaphor of “any ardent conversation with a FW is like sticking your head in a blender” is the most apt description of that experience ever.

    I always, always, always encourage fresh chumps to get their bloodwork done. Get screened for EVERYTHING. And don’t tell the FW. The FW will just deflect by telling you and outrageous love or by getting defensive that you would even THINK they could possibly give you an STD: “You really don’t trust me, do you? How dare you!” Both responses really mess with your head. Get it out of the blender, don’t tell the FW, and go get tested pronto. Your health is too important; all other considerations come after.

    • “FW will just deflect by telling you and outrageous love” should have been “FW will just deflect by telling you an outrageous lie” Argh, autocorrect ran unchecked on this post. I should have proofread it before submitting.

      • My gp did something similar. I had told her what was going on in my marriage after I came out with a high score on a depression screening. The next time I saw her, the first words out of her mouth were “Have you divorced him yet?” I felt so supported!

    • So true!
      I saw the doc to get tested. What she told me was enough to scare me.
      One story was of a former teacher whose husband had become withdrawn and she took him to the doctor. Turns out he had HIV. Turns out she had it too.
      Next doc told me of lady who knew she was hiv positive but insisted on going to doc with new bf for test. When the doc saw her he asked why she was back when she already knew her status and she said she wanted the new bf to think it was her first time finding out.
      Another story of a whole family with HIV. Cheating father brought it in.
      Gotta love these shits!

      • Mine cheated through each of my pregnancies and it is scary to think what he could have exposed his unborn children to, and me. But they don’t care!!!!

    • I was diagnosed two months before our 49th anniversary and fuckwit tried to argue I’d had it 50 years and it had been missed by obstetricians during four pregnancies and a50 years of annual exams…..

        • “Wasn’t me, you must have just had that STD undiscovered for around 50 years or so” is a magnificent example of unrealistic mental gymnastics in action!

          • Mine told me if I had an std, he needed to know bc I must have given it to him. Talk about projection!

    • What a great doctor! My doctor was supportive too. She shared with me her story of escaping an abusive husband 30 years ago.. She waited until he went away on business, then packed up her stuff, took her young son, and fled the country to her family back home. The family circled the wagons and kept the bastard away from her, and he didn’t have the resources for an international legal battle. Her story helped me to be certain that if she could do that, I could certainly leave my fw, who isn’t violent. He was actually apologetic and took full responsibility for giving me an STD and hurting me so badly, so it had created a bit of unicorn hopium. But then I thought about how I was so unimportant to him that he hadn’t even considered the impact his actions could have on me, and it made me furious. He told outrageous, childish lies as well but not about the STD. He lied about relatively minor and even completely meaningless things, so I also questioned his sanity. For example, he would state a supposed fact, then as little as five minutes later say the opposite and deny what he had said before. I came to realize he genuinely did not remember what came out of his mouth because pretty much none of it was true. He cannot tell truth from fiction as he has lied to himself all his life.
      Leaving was the only sane option.
      Here’s to freedom from their crazy lies. 🥂

      • It really is vindicating, isn’t it? Having your FW constantly pushing the narrative that “I’m not cheating; there’s just something wrong with you right down to how you mysteriously and magically managed to give yourself an STD” instantly counteracted by a doctor quickly looking at a piece of paper and saying “According to the chart, your spouse is a cheating FW. There is no other explanation for the results of these tests.”

  • My ex wife had cut me off a little bit before D-Day and it helped me solidify what she was doing. Her sparkle dick AP has 5 kids with 3 women, so I called them both out on their bullshit. After I did, his ex wife and one of his ex baby mamas informed me that he has herpes. I didn’t think anything of it until I started to feel like shit. So I went in for an appointment and I talked with a doctor. She asked me what was going on and we got to talking about the ex wife’s affair. Only then did I realize how oblivious I was about STDs. She took her samples she needed. It added to the anxiety until the results came back negative. These people are truly sick and don’t give two shits about anyone else but themselves. To the newbies please make sure to get tested. My ex wife cheated through the whole 24 years we were together and STDs never crossed my mind. Being 3 years out now I take every precaution.

  • Yep. I got herpes. Pretty sure he doesn’t know where he got it from. One of the women he was cheating with was sleeping with 4 other men.
    This element of cheating is down played but cheaters are playing Russian roulette with our lives.
    I know of 2 women who contracted HIV from their cheating partners and died of AIDS. One of the women passed the virus on to her twin daughters one of whom died as a teenager.
    Cheating encompasses so much and is ultimately an act of destruction.

    • OMG. 😢 How awful. I have always thought people should go to prison for being careless and passing on HIV. As I see it, there’s no difference between that and killing or maiming somebody while driving drunk. In both cases they are being recklessly indifferent to human life. But for some reason that I don’t understand, fucking recklessly is more socially acceptable than drinking recklessly.

      • Philippe Padieu is behind bars for knowingly spreading the HIV. Oprah and Dateline highlighted his psycho behavior and all the women who joined forces to take him down.

  • From what I know about STD testing is that a person isn’t tested for all the possible STDs out there, only the most common ones. Also, when I last checked, a couple of years ago, men cannot be tested for HPV, but they can certainly spread it.

    My second husband swore he was clean before we ever had sex. He absolutely wasn’t. Right after we were married I got a very painful outbreak in a very personal area. A trip to the gyno confirmed herpes. When I got home, I confronted him. His response still gob-smacks me, and was the end of our marriage: “I didn’t think it was fair that I should have it and you not.” No remorse, just self-justification.

    There are so many liars out there…..

    • That’s how I understand the testing as well. And here they don’t test for herpes. I think I remember hearing that there was an antibody test- but if there is one ? it’s not in the regular testing package.
      I asked FW to get tested before we slept together and were officially in a relationship (standard procedure for me – I hate condoms) and after Dday. I figured he could go through it all.

      • I don’t think the HSV test is accurate unless they can take a swab sample when you have an active outbreak. A positive confirms you have it, but a
        negative doesn’t rule it out.

        • This is correct. There are antibody tests but they’re not always 100% specific to the strain (HSV 1 vs 2) and ultimately they don’t tell you where you were infected. Lots and lots and lots of people have herpes and never develop lesions and thus never know they carry the virus.

          It’s a shame that there is such a stigma around herpes given how common it is and is not life threatening.

  • My ex gave me herpes. I started dating almost 3 years after a 20 year marriage. I told one guy I was dating and told him I would answer any questions he had. He stopped talking to me. I was bummed out about the rejection. A month later he called. Just said he got a little scared. I choose not to pursue that relationship just because I had realized during that month I was not really into him. I was nervous the second time I told a potential partner. I told him 2 weeks in. I thought might as well get it over with and I really liked him. He didn’t care. He read up about told me it was no big deal. We have been married for 2 years and are building our dream house. The thought of it use to drag me down. I thought about it all the time. Now I think it sucks that douche bag couldn’t even wear protection but it hasn’t stopped me from living and enjoying my happy ending. TRUST THEY SUCK, and go rock your new life.

  • I live in Canada and they don’t seem to routinely test for herpes. The doctor explained why but I can’t remember the exact reasoning. STD testing and condom use is important but being chumped made me realize that even in a long term marriage sex is not entirely safe.

  • I also have the gift of Herpes. When he had his final walk through on the marital home. I left him a print out of the positive test results. I encouraged him and his latest “Friend” to get checked. I received in the mail a week later all this literature about how one can contract Herpes. He of course never once said HE didn’t have it. Soooo

  • Genital warts. There, I said it. Ex was gone for a few years when they popped up. He was my only sex partner. My OBGYN was so compassionate & a few years later found out she too had a cheater spouse. I had them chemical removed & had to go back several times in the span of a month as they kept appearing. That was 6 years ago & so far so good. Nothing like the searing discomfort of chemicals on your lady bits to remind you that THEY SUCK.

    Oh & ex had a vasectomy years ago so I guess he figured it was safe to stick it in whatever, wherever, whenever.

  • Hands up here for herpes

    Before he left I was in and out of the doctors as I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t imagine it would be a STI . I went for every blood and urine test and for an internal exam twice and I got told it was just a bad case of vaginitis ( not an sti just an infection)

    When I got bloods etc for the STI clinic and was told I had herpes I was sort of relieved as I now knew what was wrong and could get the proper treatment .

    This is what happens when your husband goes bare back riding in ho’s from his work

  • I got the gift of genital warts when we were first married. I was 24. When I first showed symptoms, my physician ex said he had just examined a patient who had genital warts, so that’s where I must have gotten it.

    “Weren’t you wearing gloves?” I asked. “Didn’t you wash your hands?”

    “Not well enough,” was the reply I accepted as truth.

    Later the cruel, lying bastard accused ME of fooling around because I was the one with symptoms. Note: Asymptomatic people can spread it.

    Only when I went to a female physician two years ago (at 58!) was I told that the only way he got it from a patient is if he had sex with the patient. WTF?

    When I was first diagnosed with it, the male military doc never corrected the record when I gave him my ex’s lame excuse.

    I’m not sure why I dropped the matter and didn’t investigate this on my own. I’m the type to look stuff up. Maybe I was afraid of what I might find. Increasingly, I’m horrified (and/or impressed) by how my subconscious mind didn’t allow me to realize all manner of unpleasant things.

    Oh, and he gave me herpes, too. But of course…

    • Similar story about a stupid doctor here. So my ex gave me trichomoniasis. I thought it was a really bad yeast infection. I kept treating it with home and over the counter things but of course it wasn’t working. We lived in a foreign country at the time. I was in hideous pain. My doc did some swabs and explained that I had an infection that couples sometimes pass back and forth. How weird, I thought. So we both took the meds and my husband never said anything. 13 years later after DDay I was cleaning out our medical files and I found the old ones from back then. I had to look a couple of things up, given the language barrier, but I saw it! Holy shit plain as day I had an STD and that fucking doctor had used the euphemism of “couples passing it back and forth”. And of course the narc husband got away with it. Thank god it wasn’t worse – this was when my ex claimed to be fully entrenched in a hooker habit that he confessed to around DDay time. I felt so doubly duped by the doctor and my cheating fuckwit man whore of a lying con man husband. If I’d known I could have had 13 years of my back because I would have left him back then if. I really feel for all the chumps who have the gifts that keep on giving. No one deserves this shit.

  • Ooooof, HPV here….the bad strain. I’ve had a hysterectomy, and they later found cancer in my lungs and brain. Thank god for immunotherapy. At the time it was first discovered I was married 10 years and the ex-husband never admitted cheating. I’ll spare you the details of discovery and ensuing consequences, but cheating is the absolute worst. The consequences for parties not having the illicit sex are staggering.

  • Herpes isn’t part of standard STD testing and I’m told most people who have it don’t know they have it. So there is a chance your potential partner with whom you’re having this conversation already has it and doesn’t even know.

    • That is true, you have to request it. It is so expensive to do the bloodwork, that’s why it’s not considered routine.

      • Herpes isn’t part of routine STD screening because there’s no risk to the person who is carrying it without knowing unlike say chlamydia, which can cause sterility in women through PID, and HPV, which can cause cancer. Also, the antibody tests aren’t 100% accurate and there are risks of false positives which can be emotionally distressing. The broader public health debate is do asymptomatic people who find out their positive change their sexual practices, and the data there are mixed.

        Screening is different than swabbing lesions in someone who is obviously not asymptomatic.

  • One of the most humiliating experiences I had after D day was going to my gyn; a lady I went to college with and we still kept in touch. The medical community in our area is pretty small; we all pretty much know each other.

    When I told her I needed to be tested and why, her mouth dropped open. Luckily everything was negative; but it is amazing, I haven’t had a urinary tract infection since then. Hmmmm

    • UTI’s – one day they just suddenly appeared while I was pregnant with our first child, 2 years after getting married.
      Warts while pregnant with 2nd child.
      (Don’t even get me started on what happened with 3rd and 4th pregnancy)
      HPV during wreckonciliation.

      The ‘red flag’ that I missed each time was how interested he seemed to be on me getting the test results followed by blaming me.

  • I got herpes from my XW before we got married. Not blaming her as we were both careless. We struggled with it during our marriage, her much more than me. 20 years later, post divorce I decided to be way up front while dating. If it looked like someone had potential for getting serious I would just have the talk. It did not chase off my future wife, who as a nurse knew all the risks. We are currently celebrating our anniversary canoe Camping at a high Sierra lake! Don’t be surprised that when you tell someone you are dating that they are greatly relieved because they have it too.

  • My ex-FW (a doctor), kindly gave me HPV, which caused 16 years of bad pap smears; I’ve had years of colposcopies, cryosurgeries, even a LEEP procedure. A few months ago (I’m now 55), after yet another bad pap I decided I’ve had enough insult down under and had a hysterectomy. Blessed relief.

    After DDay, when I told Dr. Wonderful that I was getting the full panel STD, he of course assured me I “didn’t need to do that.” Um, I pointed out his 7 year AP was also engaged to someone else, that meant I was sleeping with all of them! “No, she never slept with him” was his response. HA. A board-certified physician. Just saying.

      • “She’s clean” Because she just showered ? Sarcasm. Does MD mean moronic dick ?

        • Some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met were MD’s – and I’ve worked in healthcare for my entire career (20+ years)! It doesn’t take intelligence to get through med school, just saying.

      • Same response from my MD Ex-H: “She’s clean”

        I also got the bad strain of HPV – during our reconciliation. In California, you can sue the FWs, but only within a 2 year window. I missed the follow-up check during the covid-year and am dreading going in and getting the results.

      • My health care provider husband said he asked ho worker if she had any of these on the form? Pointed to communicable diseases. She said ‘no, that’s gross’. Well, there you go….ok to be condom free with someone 33 years his junior.

  • Thank you ChumpLady for posting this. I got herpes from my fuckwit too. I went through that stage of no one is ever going to want me, damaged goods, etc. Now I am working on just myself and got past that…a little.

    Sad part is I do have breakouts when I am stressed and tired. I have medicine to take to reduce the time. It hurts and it sucks and will be a constant reminder of my fuckwit. It’s been almost 4 years since I said no more abuse and we separated. It gets less with time. He had no remorse or cared. When I told my OB he cheated she ordered up an STD panel right away. I am scared about dating in general, herpes just adds to it. In no rush.

    Life, sometimes flowers, sometimes not.

  • Thanks for posting this, CL. I got herpes from a shady ex-boyfriend. He told me up front that he had it, downplayed its transmissibility, I didn’t do enough research and thought condoms were enough protection. That’s on me. His telling me up-front gave me confidence in him, in fact. I’ve had one other partner since, and I told him early on, and it was fine.

    My boss makes herpes jokes all the time, often to try to characterize someone as dirty or low-class. She’s a jerk about other things, too, but in this day and age you’d think people would know jokes about medical conditions are about as cool as jokes about race or gender.

  • I made it 53 years with no permanent STD’s. Now I have herpes, the permanent souvenir of his illicit vacations. I did not tell him because he would use that to convince himself that he got them from me and therefore must have been cheating on him.

    I don’t believe in sport-fucking. Sex is not casual conduct for me so of course if I ever get to that doorstep again with a man he will have already been made aware of it.

    Informed consent is not the territory of cheaters. That lack of respect alone now makes anyone off limits in my world.
    Unilateral decisions by him, great and small, litter the scorched field of my 27 year mirage. When regarded individually during my mirage, nothing seemed dire enough to initiate divorce. But post DDay, when I wrote all the incidents down in one place, I saw a pattern of abject disregard for my feelings that sadly and clearly showed that I was not in a marriage of equal power and respect.

    Trust and safety and respect is what a marriage is. It’s THE POINT of being married. Without those things, I’m better off living in a box on a city street by myself.

  • I dated someone years ago and before I’d sleep with him, we had the awkward discussion of STDs. Fast forward six months and one night he said we couldn’t sleep together because his warts were active. I stared at him in disbelief and reminded him of the conversation. His response? “It’s under control and medicated, so it’s in the past. I didn’t think we’d still be dating if it ever came back.”
    Yes, I got warts and thank heavens my Gyn said “That shit” when I told him how.

  • FW gave me herpes too. Said I must have gotten it from my ex. Thing is, I had full panel, including HSV testing (all negative), prior to intimacy with FW. He insisted I tested negative because I wasn’t in an active outbreak.

    I finally asked my OBGYN about it when I went in this year. Nope nope nopity nope. She specifically said you don’t have to be symptomatic to test positive. That m’fer gaslighted me for years. Had me feeling awful thinking I gave it to him!

  • I got a bad case of HSV-1 when we were together — I couldn’t eat and had a horrible fever for several days. The sores were all over my tongue and throat. Then he took off a few months later, and I shortly after that developed HSV-1 on the genitals followed by HSV-2. So some questions, all right given that he was my one and only. My internist was kind but ordered a whole panel. Just HSV at that point, but he said that I might have fought off something else and to be mindful of that.

    Yet still I bought the hopium for a year, trying to reconcile long distance. Nope, I finally saw the crazy. We are divorced.

    Mine was a gray divorce, and I’m not really at all motivated to date. I’ve had some asks, but no one I wanted to spend time with.

  • Passing along a disease is so painful physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. I’m fortunate in this regard, and feel for all of you who have to cope with an illness or disease on top of everything else cheaters have done to you and your families.
    These stories are a grim reminder that cheating is not a victimless action.
    Chumps who deal with this in addition to every thing else are mighty, indeed, and deserve extra compassion, because it’s one injury many do not want to share, and may therefore go unsupported. It’s not the only thing we stay silent about, but like rape and abuse, it’s part of the story people don’t want hear.

  • Also it’s a reminder to all newly-found-out-they-are-chumps or suspect-they-may-be-chumps to get tested ASAP.

  • was given chlamydia while trying to get pregnant (infertility issues, many miscarriages) this seemed like the most horrible deep cut. this meant he was trying to get someone ELSE pregnant while my babies were dying. i had an ectopic and nearly died, due to the chlamydia. i wanted to kill him. i ended up having a miracle baby; she has no relationship with her father. he’s king of the fuckwits.

  • I am having one of those days when the ugliness of FW betrayals reaches into the sky like the heap of rotting trash at the town dump. Yesterday it was that horrible man and his hideous Shmoopie grabbing ass on camera and the public dime, while at home the wife who thought she had a stable and loving marriage and is fighting long covid has her life exploded by a callous animal who abandons her and also wakes up his 8 year old child to tell him Daddy is abandoning him, too…and then runs out the door leaving faithful wife and traumatized child behind in the bomb crater. And I’m thinking of the UK granny I saw on TV some months ago, begging and crying to see her family and telling the reporter she’d happily risk covid to see her kid and grands…while the man behind it all flouts his own rules. And the women who have an STD despite their fidelity, and in the most unspeakable betrayal, where fathers have infected their children with AIDS in utero. It is horrific abuse and so ugly. When Esther Fucking Perel is on screen bloviating about exuberance and defiance, I see the face of a woman whose children have just tested positive for HIV, and the chumps like us whose worlds are shattered. Not funny, not amusing, not a joking matter. There is a reason Dante put people who betray those who love and trust them in the lowest rung of hell, next to Satan. Me, all I wanted was an honorable husband and a principled life. How the hell did we get here?

    • “When Esther Fucking Perel is on screen bloviating about exuberance and defiance”

      As horrid as they all are, I think EP is the worst of them all. Shame on her. Someone with media power needs to get in her face and let her have it, pretty much using your words.

    • So agree with every point. It turns my stomach when I see, read,hear about some asshole cheating on his/her spouse. Dante got it right! I’m now in the phase where the asshole thinks everything should be copesthethic since you know it’s been 4 yrs already. Fuck him, time heals but grief lies quietly in the weeds waiting to torment me at the most inopportune moments. Hugs!!

  • And I ponder….. why is there no laws to nail these cheating assholes? I am blessed I did not catch anything. She at 40 was banging 20 something year olds with no protection. Plus others. Her only response was they were safe and you didn’t catch anything!!!

  • I met a guy that I was really into and after a few weeks of talking he said he needed to tell me something. He told me that he had HIV, but was undetectable. I was really attracted to him and I cared about him – thought he was a good guy. So…I went and got my blood checked and got on PREP as a preventative measure before we were intimate. Fast forward a year and I found out the fucker was cheating on me with multiple people the whole time. Thankfully, I never caught any STDs. Obviously you wouldn’t do something like that…but I say all of this to say…there are a lot of good people out there who will overlook an STD if they are attracted to you, like you and care about you. You’re gonna be fine after some single time!

  • I’ve posted about this before in the comments somewhere, but I’ll post again because it’s so important. The super nutshell version is: my ex- gave me an anal STI (gonorrhea), which — because I wasn’t getting tested — apparently festered for so long that it caused permanent damage to my intestinal system. It’s not something I knew was even possible, and it’s a medical mystery, since over a dozen doctors haven’t cured me. My condition is now permanent. I do what I can to try to live as normally as possible, and sometimes I achieve relative normalcy! But I’m constantly micromanaging my bowels, and I no longer have the type of ease of being or freedom that comes with health, all because my ex- decided to sleep with some shady characters.

    Test frequently! If I had been more regular about testing when I had suspicions that my ex- was having condomless sex with strangers, I may have prevented an illness that will last the rest of my (hopefully long and otherwise happy!) life. Even if you’re not going to leave your partner, just get tested and treated. Do it now, not later!!

    • Thanks for posting. Hugs to you whilst you manage your condition.
      Everybody (gay, straight and bi) needs to be transparent with their medical provider regarding sexual practices. Women engaging in anal sex is becoming more common, thanks to porn. Hpv can also cause head and neck cancers, in addition to cervical and anal. The actor Michael Douglas contracted it through oral sex.
      Take good care of yourselves fellow chumps.

  • Thank you for re-posting this CL. I have HPV, High Risk Non 16/18, a kind that can cause cancer. I was diagnosed last Fall and most likely got it from someone I was dating then, well after my divorce. I was very ignorant about HPV and did research after my diagnosis only to realize that I had HPV years prior, while married, but my doctor never explained what the “abnormal” Pap really meant and it was gone the next test so I never gave it much thought beyond, phew, no cancer. I didn’t know that HPV caused the cancer. I also realized from a comment in this post that I had trich, and that same doctor just gave me a cream for “an infection” without explaining it was an STD. I’m good with my life now but I sure wish my doctor had called a spade a spade back then because I probably wouldn’t have lost 1/2 my life to that FW. And there is a chance that this is a recurrence of the HPV I had when I was younger, I am at an age when it is common for HPV to re-emerge, and if that’s the case, thanks FW! And, get those HPV vaccines, everyone! It is covered by insurance until age 45 now. I am paying out of pocket for my series as I am almost 50. It can’t protect you from something you are already carrying but it can from the strains you haven’t been exposed to. I had just tested negative on everything prior to this and the man I was seeing was “clean” as well. (As mentioned above, no HPV tests for men so unless they have warts, they don’t know they are spreading it) Anyway, it all sucks and has really soured me on ever being intimate again. I just wanted to be married to someone forever and the only forever I got was an STD.

  • Well this hits home. I’m so sorry but also going to give words of encouragement. You didn’t name the STD and thats fine. I know how shameful it seems. But it is what it is now. I remember this conversation. X telling me that you gave me something…..Herpes. Good little chump that I was, and knowing that I was kind of a player when I was young, I thought…..shit this is totally me. That was 9 years into our marriage and I’d never had any symptoms at ALL. So good little chump takes the blame. Yeah, I did sleep with a few different girls when I was young………..MAYBE its me. Yeah, highly unlikely. In the meantime I get a sore. SURPRISE!!!! It’s the H!!. The gift that keeps giving. It’s not as terrible as the movies portray but still an issue. I’m no saint but I passed on many encounters that I probably could have had because I didn’t want to tell them, but I just can’t do that. Finally met one that I really want to be with. and guess what. She talked to her doctor, she did her research and came to the conclusion that I was worth it. 2 Years later, unprotected and with caution, she has nothing. Is that what will happen for everyone, I don’t know. I didn;t go to med school. You have to be honest though. Just be careful with who that is. Yes, you have to share this issue with someone you LOVE. You certainly don;t want them to find out about it later. Honesty is the best policy, but please don;t share this on the first date. If they love you, they won’t care about your faults and things neither one of you can control. I’ll never give up this stance. If you have sex and have to tell them later, well it’s lying and putting another persons health at risk WILLINGLY and SELFISHLY. Find the one you can trust and be honest, I think you’ll be surprised at the response.

  • Stumbled across this article but just wanted to say thank you for speaking to all the feelings I’ve been battling with alone. My medical results came back yesterday and I found out I have bacterial vaginosis (BV) again, which is treatable and not technically an STI…
    But the thing is: I’ve had numerous other STIs/STDs given by exes. A history with clinics and treatment since my virginity ended. At this point, the only one I haven’t had is HIV.
    Considering my relationships (always getting dumped, cheated on, often a combo!), it’s hard to believe in romantic love. I haven’t dated anyone (let alone slept with) for more than 2 years, which is why this latest result was actually a shock. I’m going to be extra safe and get blood tests done asap too, but I just wanted to say thanks again for writing – your quote at the end really spoke to me:
    “That makes you a real catch — someone to cherish, not reject.”
    Even if it’s hard to believe that, if even one person feels that way about me, I deeply appreciate it and and will keep working every day. This space is precious to me, especially because my friend group is made up of women who have only been in 1 – 2 relationships, many of them engaged or married. Thank you for making space for women like me who fail to fit into that norm ❤

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