Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Want to Marry for Health Insurance”

My boyfriend and I have been on-again/off-again for almost three years now. We are currently (and plan to stay) on-again. We have a 1 1/2 year-old little girl whom we have co-parented successfully (even when we have not been together). Recently, my boyfriend has shown me he loves me more than I thought, after I got genital herpes from a fling. He told me we will work through it together, no matter what.

The problem we are having are our insecurities. He seems to be afraid that I am going to go off and cheat on him while I am afraid he’s going to leave me due to my STD and because I can be so needy. We have both expressed our concerns, and we both know deep in our hearts we love each other, but we’re both having a hard time with this. Is this a long-distance fear, or do you think we need more than just time together to get back on the right track?

Also, problem two: we are planning to get married when I get out of the Marine Corps, but with my herpes, I’ll need medicare very quickly and we were thinking of a shotgun wedding instead of waiting a year or two to see how we do. Neither of us believes in divorce, but we also both know that I need medical coverage as soon as I get out. What are you thoughts/opinions on this? — Medically Necessary


Health insurance is not a good enough reason to marry someone. Even love, a child together, and health insurance aren’t good enough reasons to take the plunge if you don’t feel ready. From my understanding, your relationship is currently long-distance, which means some of these new issues — like your STD — have yet to be worked out in person, right? I say once you’re out of the Marine Corps and back at home, give it some time before you jump into marriage. Research different ways to get health coverage. Talk with a military representative about what benefits may be available to you once you leave the military. Get a new job that offers insurance. There are other ways to get coverage than simply marrying someone with it. You’re crazy if you think marrying someone you aren’t yet ready to marry is the “easy” way to get insured. There’s nothing easy about being married to the wrong person (or even the right person at the wrong time).

In the meantime, you and your boyfriend need to work on your relationship and your issues. Go to couples counseling. If you’re religious, talk with a clergy person about your relationship (many churches offer their own pre-marriage counseling that you could look into). Live together on a trial basis before getting engaged and see what issues arise when you not only live in the same town again, but share the same walls. Spend lots of time communicating about your fears — and hopes. Talk about what you both want in your future and make sure you’re on the same page. Do you plan to be a stay-at-home mother? Is he willing to financially support you? Do you both want more children or is one enough? Do you both have a good understanding about herpes and the effect your condition will have on your sex life? Does he?

I have no idea if yours is a relationship that will stand the test of time, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that you don’t seem to have any idea either. Marriage can be hard and a couple needs to enter into it with a lot of confidence that they’re making the right decision. I don’t read confidence in your letter. Instead, I read a lot of doubt. I mean, you’re already talking about divorce: “Neither of us believe in divorce, but we also both know that I need medical coverage as soon as I get out.” What does that even mean? That divorce is something you’re willing to risk just so you can get insured? That’s not a healthy way to enter a marriage. How about: “Neither of us believes in divorce, so we’re going to make sure we’re 100% committed to each other, have worked through our issues, know how to communicate well with each other, solve problems effectively and are ready to take the huge step of marriage before we tie the knot.” Until you can say that with complete authority, I’d definitely hold off on picking out your wedding dress just yet.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

72 comments… add one
  • avatar

    justpeachy August 16, 2011, 3:09 pm

    Wow. I’m glad that you guys are working on having a healthy relationship after everything you’ve been through together. But health insurance is not a good enough reason to rush to the altar. I agree with Wendy, spend some time researching what options are available to you for health insurance. While getting married may be the easiest option, it’s probably not the best for the long term health of your relationship.

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  • avatar

    kare August 16, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I don’t understand why you need health insurance if you’re in the military. I know the VA isn’t always the best, but its still free health coverage. My brother has been out of the marines for almost a year and uses the VA until he has a job with benefits.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose August 17, 2011, 10:30 am

      When separating from the service, a person is not always eligible for continued medical care and insurance, so the VA might not be an option for her.

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  • leilani

    leilani August 16, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Nothing in this letter suggests that you guys are ready to get married right now. Don’t get married for financial reasons if you’re not feeling completely sure that you guys will make it for the long haul. Medical bills might not be free, but neither is divorce.

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  • avatar

    CG August 16, 2011, 3:26 pm

    I agree with Wendy, except for this line: “Get a new job that offers insurance.” In this economy, that could be really difficult. I’m not advocating them getting married, but I don’t think she’ll have an easy time trying to find a job with benefits. The VA might be the way to go, as another commenter said.

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  • avatar

    Yozi August 16, 2011, 3:37 pm

    My only advice after reading this letter is: get some class, girl. Geez. Also, might I add that it seems like the very same people who I feel absolutely should not-never-ever-for-the-love-of-goodness *ever* have children more often than not do have them. I fear for the future.

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    • avatar

      Marie August 16, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Yes,those people who have children who really have no business having them do it because “I have reproductive rights too”!!

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  • avatar

    El August 16, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I know people who have had to make this decision, and it really makes me sad.

    The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not view healthcare as a basic human right. The only industrialized nation in which entire families go bankrupt over a simple emergency room visit. The only industrialized nation in which a doctor will turn you away for not providing proof of insurance.

    I think LW will be alright (since she’s military). But it makes me sad to think about the number of people in this country who simply have no other options. Unfortunately, there are too many people in positions of power who believe that the right to protect corporate profits outweighs the right to a healthy, productive citizenry.

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    • avatar

      Riefer August 16, 2011, 4:12 pm

      Also, don’t forget that the U.S. is spending more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation, which makes absolutely no sense. Paying more to get less? Huh?

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      • avatar

        El August 16, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Trust me, I know. I spent 18 months paying into a policy that I wasn’t allowed to use due to the fact that my coverage had lapsed prior to my most recent job.

        Insurance is really the only industry in this country that can dictate a price for it’s “product” that people aren’t willing to pay. Even oil prices naturally fall when they reach a certain tolerance threshold. Something is definitely very wrong with the whole system.

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      • avatar

        robottapocalypse August 16, 2011, 9:03 pm

        Don’t forget that we’re outrageously fat which is a huge cost multiplier.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 17, 2011, 12:32 am

        But real women have curves! Ugh, I really can’t abide how FAT our nation is getting. It grosses me out. It depresses me. It’s pathetic and sad.

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      • Budj

        Budjer August 17, 2011, 10:08 am

        Real men have man-boobs!

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      • avatar

        Pinky August 17, 2011, 11:30 am

        Moobs have rights, too.

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      • avatar

        Britannia August 16, 2011, 4:21 pm

        It’s because providing healthcare is really, REALLY FUCKING EXPENSIVE. Everyone seems to think that medical care should just be given, no matter what. All other indulstrialized nations have major faults with their medical care systems, too. It’s simply too difficult to provide “top quality” care when no one wants to pay for it, be it directly or through taxes. No one seems to acknowledge just how expensive medical equipment, medical facilities, medical education, and paying people willing to work in those environments, can really be. Corporations HAVE to make money, otherwise they won’t exist, it’s that simple.

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      • avatar

        El August 16, 2011, 4:35 pm

        The insurance companies are the ones who dictate those prices. The insurance companies tell the hospital that they are willing to pay X number of dollars for Y procedure (which is normally a very small fraction of the actual cost), and the hospitals are forced to compensate by making said procedure more expensive for everyone else. Insurance companies are essentially sitting on massive piles of money that are meant for coverage, yet refuse to provide said coverage.

        Additionally, this is a litigious country where individuals are encouraged to sue doctors and hospitals over any perceived mistreatment. The vast majority of these lawsuits are unwarranted, but still drive up expenses.

        What you basically said is, “healthcare is expensive because it’s expensive”. There are *reasons* why this is so, and they are all very preventable.

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      • avatar

        Britannia August 16, 2011, 4:46 pm

        I’m talking about the actual, physical providing medical care. THAT is expensive as hell, especially when hospitals rarely ever break even because we are required to provide medical care for anyone and everyone. I agree that the insurance companies have a monopoly on the situation and are screwing things up… I currently pay $200 a MONTH to receive bare minimum coverage. However, it’s a system that will never run in a way that makes everyone happy. Best case scenario is that people receive most of the care they need and hospitals break even… but that’s virtually impossible to make happen.

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      • avatar

        SemanticAntics August 17, 2011, 3:04 am

        The U.S. has a very inefficient healthcare system that is more expensive than it needs to be. It is expensive because the money is not spent efficiently, not necessarily because the actual care and equipment is as obscenely expensive as it seems. Other industrialized nations provide more health care, for free, to their citizens, yet actually spend less per capita than the U.S. does. Watch Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko if you are interested in healthcare systems in the U.S. and around the world, it is fascinating (and very depressing).

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      • avatar

        Riefer August 17, 2011, 10:04 am

        Britannia, the point is that it’s being paid for by the people. In all industrialized countries, health care is available either through insurance companies or through the government or by paying directly. Regardless of who provides it though, that money comes from the pockets of the citizens of that country.

        If you take a look at the chart I posted, you can see that the US is paying way more than anyone else. That chart only has a few countries, but if you do a bit more research you’ll see that the US is way out of line compared to what other industrialized countries pay. So the point is, people are paying regardless, but in the US they’re paying way more.

        I live in Canada, and the way that it works here is we pay our taxes, and the goverment uses that money to pay for health care. The reason that our costs are lower than in the US is because the government is the sole buyer in our country – they dictate the price they will pay, and there is no one else offering to pay more, so they are able to fix a lower price. That’s why prescription drugs are so much cheaper in Canada than the US. Another saving is that there are no middleman companies (ie. insurance) siphoning money out of the system to make massive profits. There’s no corporation that HAS to make money. The hospitals are funded by the country.

        Of course there are problems. There are no health care systems I’m aware of that have no problems. But it’s cheaper and better than the system in the US. For example, people don’t go bankrupt when they get cancer.

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  • Budj

    Budjer August 16, 2011, 3:04 pm

    omfg what Wendy said.

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  • avatar

    Amber August 16, 2011, 4:17 pm

    My husband and I decided to bump our marriage up and get married for health insurance. But, one it wasn’t the main reason we were getting married and two we did not have this kind of history. I don’t think either of you is ready for marriage at all. I think you need to focus on the issues in your relationship and your child before you make this next step. There have got to be ways to get treatment for your herpes that are better than marrying your bf. It doesn’t seem like you’re excited about marriage at all. And like Wendy said marriage is not just about loving each other or thinking you love each other. And before you can really love each other you need to learn to trust each other. Otherwise this is just going to end terribly, and unfortunately your child will suffer. Even if you’re co-parenting fine now imagine if you all did get married and then went through a messy divorce. Please please please wait.

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary August 16, 2011, 8:03 pm

      exactly! I’ve read articles where people get married faster than they planned because one got laid off and they only had 5 days of health insurance left etc…but it can’t be the main reason you get married!

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  • avatar

    beans629 August 16, 2011, 4:24 pm

    >>but with my herpes, I’ll need medicare very quickly

    This line really bugs me. It’s as if you are trying to convince yourself that ‘I got herpes and need health care so that’s a really good reason to get married’. It’s not.

    First, herpes while a major pain in the ass (especially when having to start a new relationship) is definitely not a terminal illness. Inconvenient, yes. Life threatening, no.
    Really don’t get married for that reason. If you really really need health care, hell, go work at UPS (united parcel service) because they have awesome medical coverage for part time work. You’ve been in the Marine Corps so they would definitely give you a job.

    Secondly, how do you really know (do you have some kind of crystal ball?) that you two aren’t going to be off again? Even when you get married you can’t guarantee that you’ll be together for ever and ever and ever. Life happens and in 6 months when you get out-what happens if the best job offer you can get is in another state and he can’t move to be with you? Been there done that.

    The man I was absolutely sure I was going to marry ended up getting out of the military and taking the best possible job for him half way across the country. I just wasn’t willing to give up my job, friends, family and the life I had built over the years to move with him. By the time, he moved back to my state well let’s just say I had moved on and was no longer available.

    Last but not least, being in the military has a way of totally making you think you are in love with someone. I don’t know if it’s because at anytime you could be in life threatening danger or moved or what but I have seen people get married in the military in a matter of weeks and then find out…they didn’t have crap in common or didn’t know that person as well as they thought and can’t WAIT for the divorce.

    My advice is get out of the military and work on establishing yourself independent of your bf. Get a job, get an apartment, build a support circle of friends and family, establish a career or go to school. This way no matter what happens in the relationship you are able to take care of yourself and your child.

    BTW, many many people live happy productive lives with herpes. I have at LEAST 5 friends that have personally told me that they’ve contracted herpes via a relationship. It doesn’t stop you from getting a job and getting health insurance. 🙂

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    • avatar

      robottapocalypse August 16, 2011, 9:05 pm

      Herpes really isn’t a problem needing insurance/valtrex UNLESS those herpes have traveled to the eye, which I’m guessing they haven’t or she would have told us.

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  • avatar

    Jena August 16, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Nothing in this letter says “I am ready to get married.”

    Everything in this letter says “Pay for your own health insurance.”

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  • avatar

    Miss Lynn August 16, 2011, 4:47 pm

    LW,
    DO NOT GET MARRIED JUST BECAUSE OF HEALTH INSURANCE! I am also in the military, and I have been in a similar situation where there was an increasing pressure to get married, though it was for a different reason than yours. PLEASE think long and hard about your decision. If you have been in the military for any amount of time you have probably seen many, many failed relationships where the individuals went into it with the best intentions but maybe weren’t 100% sure about it and eventually got divorced. You know what they say in the military how most people are either “married or divorced”, you don’t want to be a statistic if you have any doubts whatsoever. Marriage is hard enough when the situation is relatively normal, let alone a relationship with a history as complicated as yours. I speak from personal experience that divorce in the military is not pretty and you don’t want to put yourself or your child through that situation. Like Wendy said, there are so many other options out there! Take care and good luck!

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  • avatar

    TheOtherMe August 16, 2011, 3:48 pm

    “Neither of us believes in divorce”

    As well as most all other people who get married but …

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  • avatar

    melanie August 16, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Wouldn’t herpes be considered a pre-existing condition anyway?

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    • avatar

      beans629 August 16, 2011, 4:57 pm

      Nope. It’s not something that will raise your insurance premiums. It just is…sorta like asthma or being prone to sinus infections. Besides there isn’t a test the insurance company can administer to determine if you have it (unless you’re having an outbreak at the exact same moment you go in for a physical).
      Honestly, most people (that I know) don’t even take medication consistently for it because it can go away for months (sometimes even years). After awhile you know what triggers an outbreak and move on.
      (sorry, I worked in the medical field too so I know way too much about STD’s).

      So I don’t really understand LW’s insistence that she absolutely has to have medical coverage to manage it.

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      • avatar

        Akmilly August 16, 2011, 5:05 pm

        That’s what I was thinking…I read a TON about sexual health in high school because we had one of those, abstinence-only courses and I wanted to be, you know, actually educated. From my understanding, herpes is really bad at first and then can easily taper off and very sporadically reappear, at a much less intense level. I mean, I know having Valtrex would be NICE because I’m sure she wants to lessen the chances for any outbreak, but it doesn’t seem like a necessity that necessitates marriage.

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      • avatar

        robottapocalypse August 16, 2011, 9:07 pm

        Also, Valtrex is really bad for your liver.

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      • landygirl

        Landygirl August 16, 2011, 5:06 pm

        Actually, there is a test you can take to determine if you have Herpes, but you must specifically ask for it.

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      • avatar

        beans629 August 16, 2011, 5:22 pm

        Hmm, I’ve been out of the medical field for awhile so that maybe something totally new. The only time I’ve heard/seen any test administered for diagnosing herpes is during an actual outbreak.

        Anyway, the only time I’ve ever heard of anyone asking specifically for herpes on a form is when donating blood. I’ve never ever seen it on health insurance forms for work or had anyone else tell me they had to divulge that on a health form.

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      • landygirl

        Landygirl August 16, 2011, 5:27 pm

        It’s a blood test. It isn’t common you must request it.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow August 17, 2011, 11:21 am

        It’s also expensive.

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      • avatar

        heartbrkn August 16, 2011, 9:39 pm

        Are you kidding me? Herpes isn’t considered pre-existing, yet I was born with a heart defect, and I have to wait over a year for the procedure to fix it due to pre-existing on my policy? I’m sorry for the lack of sympathy to the LW, but come on. Marriage for health insurance for herpes is ridiculous. Use a condom, and wait until the conditions are right for marriage. Not Valtrex.

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      • avatar

        melanie August 17, 2011, 10:25 am

        I agree that its complete bullsh*t that your hear defect is considered a pre-existing condition. But, I think it has to do with when you were signed up for insurance. Not sure if you parents signed you up right when you were born or not. But, I believe if you’re on insurance right at birth, they can’t qualify it as a pre-existing condition; unless there was a lapse later on.

        I think I was under the impression that the LW had a lapse in coverage – being why I thought it’d fall under the pre-existing.

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      • avatar

        plasticepoxy August 17, 2011, 11:33 am

        I was denied health insurance for having 3 UTI’s in 3 years, they said I was “too prone to infection” and a high-risk insurance candidate. Totally got screwed over, because once you’re denied insurance, it’s just that much harder to gain insurance anywhere. In those 3 years, the UTI’s were the only reason I went to a doctor, other than my annual exam. I’m still irritated about it.

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  • avatar

    Jessie August 16, 2011, 4:52 pm

    I’m a vet so I will throw in my 2 cents.
    You will still be on TRICARE for 6 months after your discharge.
    If you make less than $10,000 a year and are able to prove a service connected disability you are eligible for 100% free healthcare. Its not the best, will be a pain in your ass, BUT I feel like a divorce will be much more diifcult than obtaining health care from the VA.

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  • landygirl

    Landygirl August 16, 2011, 5:05 pm

    Must…refrain…from…snark…

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey August 16, 2011, 4:19 pm

    Personally, I’m very skeptical that this is the right relationship for you. At the very least, this is clearly not the right TIME for a relationship between the two of you. You said: “He seems to be afraid that I am going to go off and cheat on him while I am afraid he’s going to leave me due to my STD and because I can be so needy. ” So he doesn’t trust you, you don’t trust him, and you’re needy? These are some severe red flags – issues that most couples do NOT make it through without some serious dedication to solving their PERSONAL problems.

    Both of you could probably use some time being single, working on your personal issues with a professional, and THEN contemplating whether you even want a relationship together, or if you fall toward wanting a relationship with each other just because you’re all each other knows, because you have a child, because you’re scared to find someone ELSE.

    I don’t think either of you has any idea why you really want a relationship with each other, and that could very well be because you aren’t right for each other and you’re trying to force something that shouldn’t be. Either way, that is a question that can’t be answered while you’re with someone, as your judgment will be too clouded to make any real decisions. Use this long-distance to your benefit, and contemplate why you really want to be in this relationship – convenience, fear, or real commitment.

    And for the love of God, do not marry someone for their health insurance! NEVER marry someone for impure reasons. It’s asking for a shitstorm.

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  • avatar

    AKchic August 16, 2011, 5:34 pm

    *bangs head on desk*

    Honey – most folks “don’t believe in divorce”. Guess what? Most of ’em get divorced anyways. In three years, you’ve managed to get pregnant, have a child, play this on-again-off-again bullshit with the father of your child, and while being off-again, play the (probable) pass-around-girl in your unit and (surprise!) you caught something. Way to go! What surprises me is that you are surprised you caught something.

    Wake up and smell the napalm sweetie. You are a mother and you are supposed to be representing OUR country. Hopping from bunk to bunk when you aren’t with your daughter’s father isn’t representing our country well. It is just emulating some of our politicians.

    1) Don’t get married just for insurance. The VA can help you with medical stuff. So can local health clinics. You will need to do a little bit of research on the subject, but I think you can manage.
    2) If you REALLY want to get married to your child’s father – you need to get into couple’s counselling NOW. There is no reason why you should be forcing a marriage for health insurance. If you aren’t compatible (which is my suspicion), then why bother?
    3) THINK before you take your pants off. Your child comes first, and honestly, do you want to saddle this child with a sibling whose father won’t be around because you don’t even know the guy’s name (since you met him in a bar one night only)? Or because you slept with him, got pregnant and then found out he was abusive, a drug addict, or a felon? You’ve already learned the hard way once in regards to STDs. It can happen again, and it can happen worse than what you got. Get some sort of long-term birth control regardless of what happens.

    I wish you luck, and hope that you reconsider your options.

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    • avatar

      CG August 16, 2011, 6:25 pm

      Uh … are you really trying to slut-shame this girl?

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      • avatar

        ForeverYoung August 16, 2011, 8:04 pm

        Seriously! AKchic how many ex-husbands and kids with different fathers do you have?

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      • avatar

        ele4phant August 16, 2011, 8:21 pm

        I am all for women having autonomy to do what they want with their bodies with whomever they want, whenever they want, and not having to be ashamed for that.

        That being said, I get where AKchick is coming from. Things change when you have a kid, and the needs of the kid come first. Sorry, that’s the way it is. Its fine for a young woman to sleep with anyone she wants, but its not a stable environment for a child. Its also not a stable thing for a child to see their parents get together and break up repeatly. What does that teach a child about how love and respect should work? That you can just take off when things get rocky?

        Secondly, it sounds like a least some of this was done on the sly. Again, non-monogamy is fine if both partners agree, but if its cheating, or having a “fling”, then that is dishonest and a shitty thing to do. Also not a good example for the kiddo.

        Basically, when you’ve got a kid, you’ve got to create some stability at the expensive of your own social life and your own wants.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 16, 2011, 8:35 pm

        She only said she slept with ONE person. I’m all about personal responsibility, but just because she contracted an STD does NOT mean she was sleeping around! That’s a slut-shaming inference.

        And I’m surprised AKchic would be so rude and mean spirited given that she has like 3 baby daddys! It’s incredibly hypocritical. Wow.

        LW should not get married, that’s for sure, but telling her off about her hypothetical sex life… well that I just cannot get on board with.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant August 16, 2011, 8:47 pm

        This is all true, and I too didn’t necessarily appreciate the tenor of AKchick post, but I do agree with the sentiment that kids come first. Having an on and off again relationship with the father of your child is not healthy for the kid. Either stay together and work it out or break up and maintain a respectful co-parenting relationship, but don’t vacillate between the two.

        Secondly, I agree that cheating on your partner is a pretty shitty thing to do. Its also a not a good example for a child.

        I’m not trying to condemn this girl, what’s done is done and people can move on and grow, but I do agree with AKChick in that she needs to change her behavior and the relationship with her child’s father. Should she be insulted, no, but there is a truth in AkChick’s argument.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 16, 2011, 8:54 pm

        I’m with you on the parenting; I’m a product of instability (among other things lol) and it’s taken a lot of therapy to get me to a good place.

        But she never said she cheated, she said her bf is worried she’ll cheat. Maybe she did cheat, but given she didn’t hold back with the STD info, I think omitting she cheated isn’t very likely. Either way, they don’t seem to be on the same page about life and have some serious issues to work out.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant August 16, 2011, 9:01 pm

        I guess we’re reading the letter differently. From my interpretation, I thought she did say she cheated. To me, that’s what fling indicates, plus why would he be worried about her cheating if she got the STD from a liaison she was having on one of their breaks? That would be a pretty unfounded fear, IMO, if that was the case.

        In any event, I think we’re arguing over the finer parts of the letter. Basically = kids first, and it sounds like getting married would NOT be in the best interest of the kid at this time.

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      • katie

        katie August 16, 2011, 8:49 pm

        just because someone has 3 baby-daddies doesn’t mean that it is a bad enviornment, necessarily, though. the whole point is that this girl has implied from her letter she is living a pretty man to man life right now.. ie, on again, off again with the father, having a fling… i mean even just being on again off again with the father might confuse a small child. the whole thing is that she needs to stop that kind of lifestyle for her child’s sake. i completely agree with ele4phant- a child comes first, and it should always come first. this lifestyle has to be at best, confusing to her, and at worst, teaching this little girl all the wrong ways to have a relationship and how women should just arbitrarily sleep with a lot of men.

        i completely think that women should do what they want with their bodies, but i really do think that a lot of women sleep around because its “cool” or “empowering”, but its not actually something they want to do. if you grow up your whole life seeing your mom emulate that lifestyle, you will most likely emulate it as well, not because it is your choice, because its all that you knew.

        little girls should grow up learning how to respect themselves and their values in terms of sex- if that means to sleep with multiple men, ok. and if it means waiting til marriage, ok. either way you have to respect yourself and what you believe it right.

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      • katie

        katie August 16, 2011, 10:01 pm

        ok, i usually dont comment on thumbs-down, but why is trying to teach girls respect for themselves through our own actions a bad thing? i just dont understand…

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      • avatar

        David Jay August 16, 2011, 11:33 pm

        OMG OMG OMG! You learn to respect yourself ONLY by acting in a way that is worthy of respect… just like you ultimately come to respect others only by THEIR actions. Somewhere in life you acquire this thing called “judgement” which you then use to make decisions (i.e. discriminate). If you wore matching shoes today, you are probably already capable of both. If you have matching shoes AND genital herpes, you’re probably a little rusty and don’t want to go running into any lifelong commitments too quickly.
        PS – Sincerely…. THANK YOU for your service to your country. THAT is something that is truly worthy of respect.

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        CG August 16, 2011, 11:36 pm

        One in four American girls has an STD ), so that’s a whole lot of people who can’t make lifelong commitments.

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        David Jay August 17, 2011, 9:59 am

        Thank you… that makes my case perfectly!

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      • beenice

        Savannah August 16, 2011, 10:33 pm

        Safe sex is a must- only carelessness could result in an STD etc

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        GingerLaine August 17, 2011, 10:09 am

        Herpes is contracted through skin-to-skin contact, not necessarily genital-to-genital. They could have very easily been having safe sex with a condom, and she still contracted herpes.

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        Jena August 17, 2011, 3:36 pm

        Misinformation does too — condoms don’t prevent every STD. Please educate yourself before talking shit.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow August 17, 2011, 3:56 pm

        And herpes isn’t the only one that is spread through skin-to-skin contact; so are HPV and syphilis. Educate yourself! A condom doesn’t cover everything!

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        MsMisery August 17, 2011, 8:38 am

        I didn’t get a slut-shame vibe from AK’s reply. More of a “for fuck’s sake, start using your head for once” vibe.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow August 17, 2011, 11:26 am

        AND herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact, so even using a condom doesn’t always help. OR what if your partner has a cold sore and goes down on you? It can be spread that way too (and working in STD/HIV for as long as I have – I know VERY FEW people use condoms/dental dams for oral sex, no matter how often we recommend it). Not to mention the fact that herpes can be spread even when the infected person is not currently symptomatic (AND lots of people don’t know they have it) – I’m surprised not EVERYONE has it. Contracting an STD (especially one like herpes) is NOT an indication of promiscuity.

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    Nina August 16, 2011, 5:54 pm

    Everyone makes very valid points, but I cant help but think about that poor little girl. Think of her! What kind of enviroment would she be living in with 2 parents who cant get their issues sorted out enough to provide a stable home-which is exactly what it will be if neither of you trust eachother, and the main reason you got married was for health insurance!!!

    I understand that life can corner us sometimes, and you so despirately want to find a way out that you grasp at straws, but just listen to this letter! If you can’t make a smart, solid dicision of yourself, think of your daughter and do what is right for her.

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    ele4phant August 16, 2011, 6:36 pm

    Getting married for health insurance, if it’s just the tipping point towards marriage, is not a bad thing. If the LW writer was in a stable, loving, and healthy relationship where marriage was in the cards eventually, it would make sense to push up the wedding date for a pragmatic reason, like getting health insurance. That is not the case with this couple. They ARE not ready to get married until they work out some major issues.

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    • JK

      JK August 16, 2011, 6:54 pm

      Exactly, luckily I’m in a country where there is great free health care (if overworked), plus you can have private insurance or through work. My husband has a really good insurance through his work, we had been discussing marriage for ages, living together for a while, and had gotten pregnant (on purpose) with our first, so that finally decided us to get married, when I was about 5 months pregnant. But there is no way I would’ve gotten married just for health insurance (or that I would have gotten pregnant if we weren’t going to marry eventually)

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    robottapocalypse August 16, 2011, 9:10 pm

    Health insurance is a better reason to get married than what often passes on here. So many women get married just to have a wedding that it is sickening. At least this is a step up from that.

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    ImAnonymousNow August 16, 2011, 9:35 pm

    Girl, go to Planned Parenthood!

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      GingerLaine August 17, 2011, 10:11 am

      Thank you!! I was surprised that I’d read all the way through these comments and no one had suggested Planned Parenthood.

      They will treat your herpes! No insurance required! They will assist you with birth control! They’re amazing!! I was unemployed for several months, and Planned Parenthood was an absolute godsend.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 16, 2011, 11:44 pm

    Wow. Where to start. Who knew that herpes trumped kid. Having a child with some random guy wasn’t good enough reason to consider marriage, but herpes is? What a sad comment on society. Seriously. I have nothing else to say…

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    • JK

      JK August 17, 2011, 1:48 pm

      I think I love you BGM!

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    Giancarla August 17, 2011, 11:06 am

    Yikes…

    Girl, I’m KINDA in the same boat in that I don’t have health insurance because of my age and because work situation has me cornered for awhile. On top of that, I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and I DO need my medications to live. Luckily, my parents and doctor are helping me with that and I’m “okay” for now. My boyfriend of almost two years has excellent insurance and we are going to get married in the future but not right now.

    As far as I see, I have more need than YOU to get married for the sake of health insurance but you know what? It’s not a good enough reason to. Marriage is hard enough and you should be making that decision free and clear of other considerations. On top of that, you are a mother to a small child. Think of your child! If you are thinking of divorce even BEFORE you marry, that’s not a good sign for your relationship and for your daughter.

    I’m sorry you got herpes. However, from how I read your letter, you didn’t get it from your boyfriend and it happened while you two were apart. Hmm…my sympathy just got pushed down a few pegs…

    On a side note: I’m appalled that marriage for this reason is permissable but gay marriage between two people who genuinely love each other is not. It’s okay for a man and woman to marry for health insurance, a green card, or money, things that are not necessarily the “right” reasons. This isn’t making a mockery of the institution?! *SIGH* What a world we live in.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow August 17, 2011, 11:19 am

    With herpes, it might not be necessary to be on insurance. I work in the STD/HIV field – if this is your first outbreak, it is the worst. Subsequent outbreaks will be less severe. AND you might not be a person who has recurrent outbreaks! Not everyone who has herpes has to take the medication continuously – some people only take it during outbreaks, or if they feel an outbreak coming (some people feel itching or tingling days before an outberak). And it’s my understanding (but I’m not 100% sure) that acyclovir is generic so it shouldn’t cost that much. Planned Parenthood and other free/low-cost clinics should be able to help out.

    ALSO – how can you be sure you got it from a fling? A lot of people can carry the virus without showing any signs or symptoms. It’s possible you got it from your boyfriend.

    And one other thing – it’s SO COMMON – so don’t think you have to stay with your boyfriend just because he’s been so accepting and supportive. Other guys, if it comes down to it, very well may be just as understanding.

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    Lindsy August 17, 2011, 3:59 pm

    I am the one who sent the letter here are some issues that seem to be popping up.

    No, I didn’t cheat on him. We were apart for about a year st that point and I had been seeing the man who gave me herpes for 6 months before I found out. (And the best part is he knew and thought condoms would protect me so didn’t think it’d be a good idea to tell me. Stellar guy. )

    My girl doesn’t know when we are apart or together. She lives full-time with him seeing as how my schedule is not good for a kid. I call regardless and visit every chance I get, we don’t ever fight around her or argue, if there’s an issue that can’t be talked about calmly we do it in private, in person while she’s with her grandma.

    We had talked about getting married while I was pregnant but seeing as how we were always back and forth we decided to wait until we’re together for a while. And then the whole herpes issue came up thus the reason for this letter.

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      ele4phant August 17, 2011, 9:34 pm

      Thanks for the update, sometimes people (myself included) make assumptions when we don’t have the whole story. Still it sounds like this is not the time to get married, for any reason. It sounds your relationship is not on firm ground, and that you two need to work on the distrust and insecurities that are plaguing you now before you take that step.

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