Confronting Infidelity

RMJ shared yesterday how she felt she needed two years’ separation from her husband before deciding on divorce. One of the issues she was wrestling with was his infidelity. It wasn’t the first time but this most recent time was different. Here’s RMJ:

In the first two years of marriage I had evidence that he had been unfaithful on at least two occasions, but I lived in a dream world and I couldn’t bring myself to believe it.  I didn’t believe it until the infidelity occurred here where we live now.

Getting tested for STD's after infidelity brings peace of mind.
Getting tested for STD’s after infidelity brings peace of mind.

Early in the marriage when I found actual evidence of the infidelity, I think I was living a more isolated life.  I was more on my own and my mind just couldn’t accept it.  I totally denied the evidence, but basically I was really naïve.

I was young and I just thought that if you’re a Christian these things just didn’t happen.  I didn’t see what the rationale would be.  I felt like the cost was great to one’s reputation and I really couldn’t rationalize this at all.  I decided that it wasn’t what he was.  I really, really believed that it wasn’t what it was and we continued along.

It wasn’t until this year that I’ve accepted it. I guess I’m older and probably because in this case there were witnesses, I think it just made everything so much more real. I couldn’t live in a dream world anymore.

I realized that that means what happened all those years ago was actually real as well. I was now ready to believe it.  It just seemed so much more believable. Even though I was still in shock I was finally able to believe that the earlier incidents were true as well.

This is what prompted me to go for the HIV test, but I also live in a country where every pregnancy is tested and I also work in the public health field and my work is related, so I took the advice that I give other people and said, “Gosh, I absolutely need to go for a test”.

I’ve been tested before during my pregnancies so I thought this is just a test and it needs to be done. Then it dawned on me when they drew my blood.  I began to panic a little, thinking I was going to find out and it may not be the result I wanted.  Anything was possible because I had no idea who he’d been and this could be really bad.  So I was scared.  I was really scared.

Thankfully, the result was negative. I’m really grateful.  I didn’t think I could take another surprise. I needed to get myself together and to take care of my children.

And I’m healthy.  I can do that.

It’s absolutely better to get tested. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way.  Just because I knew so much working in the field it’s good to know you can take care of your health. Even if I don’t live for me right now, I have to live for my children, and to do so I need to be in good shape and I need to be in good health.  So I might as well know what my status is, so that I can get on the therapy if I need to.

You can read more about RMJ’s experience getting HIV tested and learning about the correct use of condoms at her blog.

A number of my interviewees have experienced infidelity but the topic of getting tested for HIV or other STD’s has never come up. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t an issue or that my interviewees didn’t get tested. It could be that since HIV is less prevalent here overall than where RMJ lives, we’re not as aware of it. It could also be simply because I didn’t ask the question.

HIV isn’t the only sexually-transmitted disease to be concerned with – there’s chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and hepatitis. If you’ve been put at risk, then getting tested is the smart thing to do since these infections do not get better on their own. Companies offer confidential local and at-home STD testing solutions.

Photo Credit: 2012© Jupiter Images Corporation