Dear Dr. NerdLove,
Three years ago, I met a girl that I’m going to call J, and she quickly became the closest friend I’ve ever had. We have the same hobbies, same taste in music, and same sense of humor, and I’ve never had as much fun with anyone as I’ve had with her. To this day I still don’t know what I would do without this girl in my life.
When we first met, J had recently been cheated on and dumped by her boyfriend of four years. She was going through a lot of heartbreak and self esteem issues at that time, so she was kind of sleeping around. A few months after we met, she was diagnosed with genital herpes. My heart broke for her when she told me, and I was as supportive as I could be. I remember her telling me that when she got the news, her doctor told her she had to disclose this to every partner before having sex with them.
I vividly remember the first time after her diagnosis that she hooked up with another guy. She had texted me saying she was going to his house to hang out. I said something like, “Oh, so if you guys end up having sex, you’re gonna have to have the conversation?” And she said, “I’m not going to have sex with him.”
A few hours later, she texted me saying, “That was the worst sex I’ve ever had.” I asked, “How did the conversation go?” She never texted me back.
Ever since then, I’ve been painfully aware of her sleeping with many other guys without disclosing to them. I’ve tried talking to her about it multiple times over the years, but she doesn’t seem to take it seriously. I think her way of coping with it is pretending she doesn’t have it. It has always bothered me, but lately it’s been eating me alive.
She just got into a serious relationship for the first time since her ex of four years. His name is D. I don’t know him super well, but I’ve met him a few times, and he seems like a really nice guy with a good head on his shoulders. She’s been sleeping with him without any form of protection for the last 3 months, and he has no idea he could easily get a lifelong infection from her.
A few weeks ago, they somehow got on the topic of STDs. He mentioned that a friend of his has herpes, and then he literally told her that if she had herpes and didn’t tell him, he would dump her as soon as he found out. She was upset when telling me about this and acted like she knew she had to tell him and was going to figure out the best way and time to do so. I told her that sooner is better than later and that she should not have sex with him again until she tells him, because he would be even more upset if she continued having sex with him after that conversation. She agreed and said she would.
A week went by and I hadn’t heard anything. I also knew she had spent the night at his house at least once during that week. I reached out to her again with a long text message listing all of the consequences of not telling him. She said she had thought of all of that and that she would tell him as soon as she was ready.
Another week went by and she texted me saying something about having sex with him in her car. I was super upset and could not believe she was telling me that after everything I had expressed to her.
I can’t do this anymore. I feel like I am an accessory to a crime. What is my obligation in this situation? I feel awful standing by silently while he is in danger of contracting this incurable virus. I also do not want to lose this friendship. Please don’t tell me to end my friendship. If I tell him myself, my friendship will end. If I threaten to tell him myself, my friendship will end. What should I do?
Doc, I was hoping you could help me with something. I’m a 30 year old guy who was sexually abused as a child by a woman. When I was younger, dating and even flirting with women brought about anxiety and a vague sense of dread. A few years ago, I got myself into therapy, started being more mindful of things that trigger me and subsequently got much more confident around women. I’ve been doing the online dating thing for the last couple of years and it’s generally been a good experience. Even when the women haven’t been a good match for me, I’ve generally enjoying meeting and talking to new people. As a result of my abuse though, I’m not really capable of physical intimacy with women until I get to know them a bit and feel comfortable around them. I usually tell them that, “I just want to take things slowly,” since I don’t feel like disclosing my abuse to people that I’ve just been on a date or two with. Unfortunately, many of the women are totally baffled by a guy who turns down sex and they often get upset. The last girl I went on a few dates with actually called me a faggot for not wanting to sleep with her. Is there a way that I can communicate my boundaries while making it clear that I’m still interested? Thank you Dr. NerdLove you’re my only hope!
Don’t Know What to Say
Pardon me while go on a rant here.
Assuming that you aren’t avoiding the Internet for fear of finding out what happened last night on Game of Thrones1 then you may have seen the latest Hollywood gossip headline du jour spreading like herpes around a frat house: “Michael Douglas Claims Oral Sex Caused His Throat Cancer“.
Now I get that this is a sexy2 headline ; after all, it sounds completely bat-shit insane, which makes it perfect click-bait. It corresponds with the popular stereotype of the woo-woo newage3 health bullshit that many Hollywood types believe in, right up there with holograms and “ionized magnets” improving your sports performance and regular high colonic enemas “cleansing the toxins” from your system. Plus, it’s totally a chance to poke fun at Douglas for taking this time to humble-brag about all of his marathon muff-diving sessions.
But while it’s HIGH-larious to think of Douglas blaming getting sick on all the times he showed up to the set of Wall Street with his face glistening like a glazed donut… he’s not fucking wrong. And the fact that so much of the media is missing the goddamn point is driving me up the goddamn wall.