Your STD doesn't have to be the end of your dating life. Here's how to surmount the stigma.
3. Communicate like an adult.
DO remain neutral and approach this topic as if you were discussing diabetes or heart disease. Says Monet, "We rarely shame each others for these diseases even though they can wreak havoc in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. STIs should be no different."
DO allow him or her to respond. "When you have finally shared this difficult news with your partner, allow him or her to respond," says Dr. Goodstone. "The response might be very angry or appear to be indifferent or even cold. Just allow the other person to sit with this news for a while without assuming the worst."
DO encourage your partner to ask questions, making sure to reassure him or her with all the facts.
DON'T be surprised if your partner is upset, has strange-seeming questions or is in any way shocked. If they really like you they'll want to get rid of any doubts, which can lead to unusual reactions.
4. Handling negative responses.
Unfortunately, sometimes you are going to have to deal with rejection. Here's what to do when they say, "no thanks."
DO be proud of yourself for having the courage to tell the truth. Relationships are built on honesty and openess, and remember, "You are the same person inside along with your heart, mind and being," says YourTango Expert and sex/wellness coach Eric Amaranth. "You're honoring them by telling them."
If they would rather not continue on with the relationship, Amaranth suggests thanking them for listening and then bidding them good-bye.
DON'T act annoyed, indignant or defensive—even if you feel those emotions. "STIs are a fact of life and in my professional opinion, are to be dealt with as adults, not as children—and with dignity."
It may seem unromantic to discuss a potentially unsexy part of yourself, but it is ultimately one of the most important discussions you will ever have as a couple. "Love is NOT enough to protect your partner from your STI and you owe it to them, to yourself and to your relationship, to take the proper precautions to ensure that your STI does NOT become 'our STI,'" says Monet. "What IS romantic is being honest and loving and putting the safety and well-being of your partner first.
"Your bottom line must always be to protect others from your STI without exception. Even once you have revealed your status, you have a responsibility to be the voice of reason," says Monet. "A new partner's acceptance of your STI can feel like a huge relief and to some extent that's great, but don't let it dissuade you from taking precautions."