Cheating and STDs – Clearing Up the Myth

By Michelle Sobel

If you’ve ever been betrayed by a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, you know how the story goes.  Suspicion quickly turns into obsession.  Obsession becomes pain.  And then pain turns into white hot anger.  And there’s usually binge eating involved.

Constantly living in suspicion and doubt is a tough way to keep a relationship strong, and there’s been plenty written about ways to find out the truth about your partner’s commitment to you.  Find birth-control pills in your wife’s medicine cabinet, but you’ve had a vasectomy?  Does he have unexplained texts or credit card charges?  Instances like these are definite causes for concern.  But asking your partner to get an STD test?  It might seem like a surefire way of finding out the truth, but it’s not.

Here’s the thing: many STDs can be asymptomatic for years. That means, you can have an infection and not know it.  For years.  Like before you were even dating or even married.  It’s possible you or your partner may have contracted an infection – and did not know about it – so a positive test does not necessarily mean that someone has been unfaithful.

Genital herpes symptoms, for example, can be a “no show” for quite a while.  Most cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea can be present with no symptoms as well.  So, even if you request that your partner take an STD test and it comes back positive, it’s completely possible that one of you may have contracted the infection before dating and didn’t know it.

However if you both have been tested recently and were negative, and then a positive test shows up, that may tell a different story.  And simply posing the suggestion to get tested can be very telling based on your partner’s reaction.  If you and your partner are truly in a trusting relationship, this shouldn’t be a problem for either party.  But if he or she is hesitant or questions the idea at all, it might be time to sit down and talk about the reasons why.  And if he or she refuses to get tested, how much do they really care for you?

So what do we suggest?  Get tested with your partner before starting a new sexual relationship.  Make it a rule that you never break.  Then you’ll both know your sexual health status from the beginning of the relationship, and you won’t have to live in the dark.

You can reach Michelle Sobel at STD Test Express which helps busy people get physician-supervised STD testing, through an innovation called Online Care. This service is provided by the Analyte Physicians Group, S.C. (“APG”), a national network of doctors, nurses, and qualified counselors who are specially trained in Online Care.