I wanted to believe him and tried to put the whole thing behind me, but I couldn't totally trust him. There were other signs of cheating, but I felt I was a broken woman; who would want to be with me now that I had an incurable STD? So an unhealthy relationship became an unhealthy marriage, and we later divorced. Then came the depression. I was resigned to the fact that I would probably be alone the rest of my life because of this disease.
I didn't date much after my divorce. I buried myself in my work. When I looked in the mirror I saw a marked woman: a big red H around my neck for herpes. I couldn't bear the thought of telling someone I had an STD. What if we broke up and he told people my secret? I was too embarrassed to even tell my friends. When is it the right time to tell someone you have an STD?
I worried about everything and played all the scenarios out in my head. If I fell for someone, I was sure he would dump me as soon as I told him about the STD. If he didn't and we stayed together, I might not be able to deliver children vaginally, and would have to explain the need for a c-section to friends and family. I just wanted to bury myself in the sand and forget about the whole thing, but it was impossible. I had outbreaks when my period came. I had outbreaks when I was stressed. I had outbreaks at the most inopportune times. I thought I'd never lead a normal life again.
Then after eight years, I met the most wonderful man I've ever known. I knew I would have to tell him before we were intimate; I needed to let him choose whether he wanted to risk getting infected. He seemed like a great guy but I couldn't blame him if he didn't want to take the relationship any further. I took a deep breath and finally gathered enough courage to spit out the words. His reaction? "Is that it? That's what you were worried about telling me?" I thought he must not have understood me, so I explained that there is no cure for this. He told me that he wasn't concerned about it, he only cared about me. He's an amazing man and I'm proud to call him the love of my life. We're now married and I take preventative medicine to reduce the risk of outbreaks. He's still STD free. And we're both madly in love.