Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dear Mary: I can't bear to touch partner who gave me an STD from his fling

QWE have been living together now for eight years and I thought that everything was going well. Neither of us wants children and both have good jobs. We share chores at home and I would say that we make a pretty good team. But about six months ago, it all came crashing down. My boyfriend was away on a stag weekend and had sex with a girl that he met in a bar. By all accounts, they were all pretty drunk and he doesn't remember all that much about it.

He didn't tell me and thought he would get away with it. And he probably would have, except that he picked up an STD and very kindly passed it on to me. You can imagine how I felt when I started to have symptoms and went to my doctor, only to be told that I had a sexually transmitted disease. Even writing those words makes me feel sick.

I have never once been unfaithful to him, although there were opportunities, and yet I have to pay the price for his stupidity. We have had it out many times and he says he is sorry and I believe him because it can't be much fun living with me right now. You see, I can't bear him to touch me because all I think of is him having sex, half drunk, with this faceless girl who obviously had quite a history if she gave him an STD. I don't know if I will ever be able to have sex with him again, and I know that can't be good for the relationship.

AYES, he was stupid and now both of you are paying the price. You have been dealt a double blow by what he did, and it certainly was a horrible way to find out that he had been unfaithful. As this happened six months ago, you will have had many discussions about it by now, so perhaps it is time to look forward instead of dwelling on the events of that particular night.

Is there anything, apart from apologising, that he could do that would help to make you feel better?

He cannot undo what has been done, just as you cannot forget what has happened. Neither of you will ever forget it, because it has become part of your history together. But you will have to ask yourself when you will be ready to forgive him because that will enable you to move on with your life together.

Try to imagine how you would feel if you were the one who had had sex with the stranger and had given your boyfriend an STD as a result. Would you be hoping that he would forgive you or would you expect him to continue to punish you for a long time?

I agree that not having a sexual relationship is not good in the long term, and I would suggest that, when you have forgiven him, you could try taking things one step at a time, almost as if you were newly together.

You should start by putting a ban on all things sexual, but agree between you as to what is allowed.

For instance, you might feel that you can allow kissing and some cuddling but only with your clothes on.

When you feel all right with this, then you can move on to a little more intimacy, but always at your own pace and always keeping to the boundaries that you have agreed. Try to remember that sex is supposed to be fun, light-hearted and enjoyable. At the moment you are associating it with a lot of stress and anxiety, and so your aim should be to create an environment where it can once more be an enjoyable experience between the two of you.

It doesn't really matter how long this takes, but it would be wonderful if you could take some small steps towards changing things.

Submit your letters to Mary anonymously at dearmary.ie.

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