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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5108
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I need some advice how to be supportive to partner who I may

Resolved Question:

I need some advice how to be supportive to partner who I may have given an std
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.


Your question is very evocative that there is so much behind the simple few words you write. How is your partner taking this?

Does your partner want advice from you? If so, about which part of the issue?

Do you think the relationship will withstand this situation? It sounds as though you want it to. Does your partner want it to as well?

Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.


Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My partner is scared, and she is looking to me for next steps, ideas, or anything other than the silence which was my response to the phone call. I honestly don't know what to say. We've been together for 2 years, and she is aware that I have a (minor) std. She is in the mental health field, so it's important to me that I respond thoughtfully, and not the "deer in headlights" that I gave her tonight.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
Is this because you were having relations with someone else recently?

Is this her belief about why she just got it?


Is this a standard STD with the standard treatment?


Dr. Mark
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No - I have been monogamous.


She is experiencing pain, so is thinking it may be the std.


Yes- viral hsv2.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the replies to the questions and the added information. It helps a lot in understanding what the situation is. I believe I can now be of help with this issue.

This is such a difficult question you've posed. It's extremely ironic, by the way: I've been working via Skype in therapy with a Canadian whose girlfriend had some emotional issues and told him that she had contracted Herpes and he freaked out and became obsessed with this STD and has become very fearful. Why?


Because his original fear led him to learn a LOT about the herpes virus, both 1 and 2. He found out that a person can be asymptomatic for years and even decades without knowing that he/she is carrying the virus. And then it can become symptomatic. Therefore, he would say to you that he believes you easily when you say you've been monogamous. And he would further say to you that she may have had the virus if she had ever had sex with anyone else before meeting you and it now became symptomatic.


Why do I tell you this information?


It certainly is not something that you want to say to her. It will only make her feel like you're distancing yourself from her. But I am concerned about launching into an answer about you affirming your love and caring for her and loyalty and steadfastness.


She very likely would like to hear all of those things and in large quantity. However, I don't know what you're feeling about your commitment to her and to the relationship. And I don't know that you want this to force you into a feeling of duty to be committed more than you want to be. Because that rarely lasts and it can lead to bad consequences later on.



With that caution said: if you do feel a commitment to her and to the relationship, this is the time to communicate it and to communicate your love. You want to add how sorry you are that she now has the virus. That you are aware of how it can stay in a person's system for years and years and you want to make sure she understands that you've been faithful and are monogamous. That this is important to you that she know this.


After these things are said, then you can gauge what her feelings are. Meaning, if there are any specific things she needs for you two to work out. For example, if she is unsure about your faithfulness. If so, then that is what you would focus the discussion on with patience. Your patience in whatever areas she's uncertain about will make all the difference. If you become short tempered, most women in her position, will take that as a sign of not caring and of hiding something.


Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The relationship is solid, and mature. We are both in our 40s, with children from other marriages (we are both single now). We're uncertain whether she had the virus or not, and it could be complications with an unrelated urinary tract infection.


 


I am going back to my original question which is what is the best way to be supportive? She is highly emotionally intelligent, and we both have all the medical facts about hsv-2.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
This is all good and helps you focus on the emotional hurt she's feeling. It's not clear what she's scared of at this point. That you said she's scared and looking to you for advice and support is why I focused on the medical and informational parts as much as the emotional part: something is scaring her, but if she is confident in you and the relationship and understand how the virus works and its treatment, then this has to be your focus.


Thus, supporting her becomes a matter of general emotional caring and holding her and reassurance as well as gently finding out what is scaring her about her situation. If it is scared about the pain of the urinary tract infection and its implications (they sometimes can become chronic for women), then that needs to be understood and she needs reassurance about that. UTIs can affect a woman's sexuality (desire, feelings of attractiveness, worry about reinfections, etc.) and this may be an emotional hidden feature here of her worry.


My point, to you, then is that you have both the general emotional support to start off with and to highlight right now in the relationship and also the fact finding mission to learn what is at the heart of her being scared right now. Don't jump too quickly to offer solutions and advice. Spend some time sharing her worry and concern and that you take it seriously. See if she has ideas about solutions slowly and then and only then see if she would like solutions possibilities offered. For most women, to spend time showing that you recognize her feeling(s) and are sharing them before rushing to solve the problem is more reassuring and more supportive than anything else.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5108
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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