One of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had with a client had nothing to do with the law or her entitlements under it. “I never thought I would have to do this after so many years of marriage,” she cried to me over the phone. “But I went to get tested.”
In general, the cases that are the most difficult are the ones where there has been adultery or sodomy, because of the extreme damage these cases pose for the women involved. Sexual indiscretions cause real, lasting emotional damage because it’s such a major violation of trust. It can also cause self-esteem issues to surface, and many women agonize in my office over what it was that they did that made their husbands cheat. Were they too fat? Too boring? Too old? What was it that was so wrong with them that made their husbands look for sexual gratification elsewhere?
In the midst of all these emerging insecurities, self-doubts, and vicious internal criticism, many women forget to take care of themselves. When you’re worrying so much about other things, it’s easy to let your well being slide. It’s easy to not think about yourself and to focus instead on other things—your children, your ex-husband, your divorce. Easy, but unhealthy.
You have to take care of yourself, and one of the most important things you can do is get tested. You should get tested whether you know for sure he’s had an affair or if you only suspect that he might have. This is one of those cases where you’re better off safe than sorry.
I’ve had several cases where husbands have given their wives STDs and, in most cases, they are treatable conditions, particularly when they’re caught early on. In other cases, they are manageable conditions, but are ultimately untreatable. Regardless, though, you should know—and sooner rather than later. You should know before it progresses so far that it is untreatable or harmful to you, and you should definitely know before you risk passing this condition on to someone else.
I know, I know—no one wants to go get tested. It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing to go into the doctor’s office and ask to be tested. After all, the doctor knows you’re married! Still, your own health should be your top priority—and your doctor will understand. Your husband has put you at risk and it’s not your fault. But whether it’s your fault or not, you still have to take your health into your own hands, particularly if you don’t know where your husband has been. I’ve had cases where husbands pick women (and sometimes men) up on Craig’s List, where they meet in bars or strip clubs, meet up with swingers, engage in gang sex, or where they meet on sketchy dating sites for married people. Deviant sex, like BDSM, is becoming more and more popular, and certain groups of people are engaging in dangerous activities. These things are out there, and STDs are rampant. If you know or suspect that your husband might be one of those people, I’ll say it again—get tested.