Dear Barb – The Secrets that We Keep

Dear Barb:

I am in my early thirties and recently single. My wife and I were married 7 years before things just fell apart and we decided to go our own ways. We both had Herpes 2 therefore it wasn’t a problem. Now that I am dating the situation has changed. I haven’t been intimate with anyone yet, but I have been seeing someone for a month and we are getting close. I prefer not to tell her that I have herpes as I know how to protect myself. This is not the kind of information I want to share with a lot of people. Do I have an obligation to disclose this information if I am using protection? Thanks.
K in Halifax

Dear K:

Yes, I think you do have an obligation to tell your partner about your STD’s. You cannot be 100% positive that you will not transmit your Herpes to whomever you are intimately involved. If you are not comfortable disclosing this information to many people, perhaps you will have to limit your sexual partners to a select few with whom you feel comfortable and are prepared to share this information. It is your partner’s decision whether or not they want to take a chance on contracting this disease. If the tables were turned wouldn’t you want to know this information from a potential sexual partner? Thanks for writing in with this very personal topic.

Dear Barb:

For the last few years my life has been chaotic as I became involved with an abusive boyfriend and eventually became pregnant. After much thought and some counseling I decided to give my son up for adoption. I did not share my pregnancy with my ex-boyfriend as we had already broken up when I found out I was pregnant. I have finally got my life on track and have registered in my first course at AU and am hoping to begin dating soon. I would prefer not to tell my potential partners about my son. My mother says I am being deceitful and that I have to share this information if I am going to have a healthy, honest relationship with someone. Do you agree? I really don’t think partners have to share everything with each other!
Thanks, Carrie.

Hi Carrie:

Partners don’t need to share everything, but giving a child up for adoption is a pretty significant secret to keep. In addition, you are asking your mother plus other family members to also keep your secret, that’s kind of risky, don’t you think? You don’t need to tell every person you date about your son, but when you are in a relationship that is serious and you are possibly planning a life together, this should be discussed. I agree with your mother: deceit and secrets are not conducive to a healthy, honest relationship between two people. Hope this helps.

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