It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Disappointed in Her” who was disappointed that her good friend was refusing to tell her new boyfriend about her STD. “What can I do?” She asked. “Should I insist that my friend tell him? Should I get our other two close girlfriends to talk to her with me? She is very immature and I think she is trying to pretend like it isn’t a big deal (it is.) I’m upset that she sees it as a non-issue when I remember how devastated she was when she was diagnosed.” After the jump, find out whether she was able to convince her friend to do the right thing.
I still don’t feel like it’s my place to tell him, and for everyone speculating, yes, the STD was herpes (not HPV, which probably wouldn’t have made me as concerned, although it still is serious!). But my friend seems to be in denial about the whole thing. I reminded her how devastated she was and how she shouldn’t feel bad about having it, because it isn’t her fault she got it, but she does need to tell sexual partners about it. She claimed that if they began considering themselves a couple, she might tell him. Well, newsflash world, herpes doesn’t hold off until you decide you wanna date someone! I also discovered that she thinks sleeping together “isn’t enough to warrant” telling him. Call me old fashioned, but I’d like to know if my partner has had any STDS BEFORE we get started having sex.
What also concerned me was her lack of knowledge about the STD. She said her gynecologist told her it was OK to not tell him and just use a condom during sex, because she’ll probably never have an outbreak and the risk of him catching it is less than 1%. I don’t think that’s correct and I know some of the comments would probably argue against that.
What I didn’t get to say to her, and I so wish I had, is that this is NOT HER CHOICE! The choice of endangering someone’s health and well-being is THEIR CHOICE. That is why I am so concerned. What if the situation was reversed? She also thinks that she doesn’t need to protect anyone else because no one protected her in the first place. As I said in my original letter, she is very immature and this whole thing is making me seriously reconsider our friendship. I value honesty above anything in my life, and to have a “friend” who is so immoral as to put people’s health at risk because she doesn’t think it a big deal just isn’t something I can stand for.
Wendy, readers, you were all so great and I appreciate your feedback. I am really sad for my friend that she is so so SO immature and selfish that she can’t see that what she’s doing is wrong. What has come of all this is a reevaluation of why I’m friends with a person like this. Thank you, guys, for helping me to approach this right, and even if I lose a friend over this, I’ll still have my values, which I would never hope to compromise.
PS. And as a side note, I once dated a guy who had herpes and he told me right off the bat. We worked around it and that was 4 years ago and I’m still clean (which my friend knew all about). So telling someone isn’t the end. It’s just waiting until its too late or things have gone too far that makes for a bad outcome.
Thanks for your update. I’m so sorry to hear there was a better outcome — for your sake, your friend’s sake, and especially the sake of the poor guy who is now unknowingly being exposed to an STD. I, personally, wouldn’t blame you for questioning your friendship with this woman. Sometimes it takes issues like this to focus on the kinds of flaws was can and simply can’t accept in the people we closely associate with. Good luck to you.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.