When cheating strikes a relationship, the couple is always left with the question of whether or not to try and work it out. That decision can be made much more complicated when that cheating partner comes back and shares an STD with the person they cheated on.
So, when a cheating partner gives you an STD, should you still try and make things work? Well, there are a few layers to this; and while there is certainly no one-size-fits-all answer, here are a few angles to consider.
An STD can feel pretty serious; and far more impactful than an ordinary illness. However, it is important to remember that essentially, an STD really isn’t that much different than any other communicable disease. Now, no one is suggesting that you shouldn’t be upset.
On the contrary – your partner cheated and got you sick – of course you should be upset! But there is a certain double-standard in treating a contagious illness like an STD versus a contagious illness like the flu.
A large part of the issue here isn’t only the illness, but the fact that it was brought into your relationship through an illicit affair that colors the experience. It is important to recognize that fact before making any kind of decisions about whether or not to stay together.
Degree of Severity
There are several kinds of STDs, and they have varying treatment options and prognoses. This can have a big impact on whether or not you still try and make a relationship work after infidelity.
Contracting an incurable illness from a cheating partner is absolutely reason to end a relationship; on the other hand, it is worth pausing to consider what that decision accomplishes.
Even if you break it off with your partner, you’ve still got an STD.
That awful fact doesn’t change. So are you really better off? Maybe you are; but just maybe you aren’t. Be cautious of short-sightedness that has you making impulsive decisions today based on emotion, rather than reason.
Being Supportive and Making Amends
One measure of consideration in deciding to make a relationship work after infidelity has left you with an STD is how supportive your partner is.
Perhaps this really is just a stroke of really (profoundly!) bad luck.
It may be worth considering reconciliation if your partner is demonstrably remorseful and actively seeking to make amends.
Does your partner sincerely offer to attend all medical appointments with you, if that’s what you want? Does your partner offer to cover the cost of medical visits and medications?
A willingness to take responsibility – real responsibility – can go a long way in showing how serious your partner is in attempting to make things right. While it may be too little, too late, that kind of commitment may also be a sign that this is a relationship that could be salvaged.
The issue of an STD certainly muddies an “ordinary” case of infidelity.
The hurt here goes beyond emotional and mental; it’s physical.
It gobbles up your time, your energy, and your health. It’s a long-term sign of cheating that both of you may be living with for the rest of your lives, and it can have an impact on future decisions, such as having children.
It may be worthwhile to consider counseling in this situation. A counselor can mediate what are likely to be intense, emotionally charged conversations. He or she can also help you articulate your concerns and needs, and dig deep to find the strength to demand what you need, in the event that you don’t have a very supportive partner.
Should You Reconcile?
The decision to reconcile is never an easy one when a relationship is marred by cheating. There are always reasons for and against it. When a cheating partner gives you an STD though, the decision is much more difficult.
There are a number of factors to consider, some of which can mitigate the damage.
The severity and prognosis of the illness is a big factor, as is the willingness of the person who cheated to admit responsibility and try to make amends. Meeting with a counselor can help a couple decide where their priorities are, individually and as a couple, and mediate a discussion of where the relationship goes next – toward reconciliation or termination.