To Tell or Not to Tell: Talking About STI’s
By Janie Crane.
Whether or not to tell your partner that you have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is a common question many wrestle with. When should I tell my partner? How should I tell my partner? What if my partner is upset with me? Should I tell my previous partners too? Ah! It can be overwhelming.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Honesty is the best policy.” What do you think? Cliché or truth?
If I am honest with myself (and you), I sometimes roll my eyes at the phrase. Honesty is the best policy was repeated over and over since I could walk by my parents, teachers, coaches, youth leaders, even my siblings. The repetition of the phrase has turned this wonderful saying into a noisy lecture to the tune of my dad’s voice in my head. Its repetition, for me, has caused it to become cliché.
But, it is important!
Honesty IS the best policy.
We should not only repeat the phrase, but live it out.
Think about it: When we are honest with others we develop trust. Trust allows us to be vulnerable. And vulnerability creates intimacy. Isn’t that what we want in our relationships?
So, when it comes to STI’s, honesty IS the best policy.
Talking with our partners about our STI’s can be awkward and even uncomfortable. But, in a healthy relationship we should be able to talk about anything and everything…even the awkward or embarrassing. By being honest about our STI’s we show that, in addition to caring about our own health, we care about the well-being of our partner too.
So, take a deep breath and be honest with your partner.
Not sure how to do this? Here are some practical ways you can be honest about your STI’s with your partner:
- Practice what you will say. When I am nervous, I ramble. When sharing something personal, like an STI, writing out what you will say can be helpful. Then practice it before a trusted friend or the trusted mirror. Practicing what we will say will help us to keep our thoughts organized, clear, and concise.
- Find the right time. Don’t delay, but don’t rush. Timing is everything. We are not our best when we are tired, hungry or stressed; so bringing up your STI when your partner is tired, hungry or stressed is probably not a good idea. Start the conversation at a time when it is best for your partner.
- Stop talking and listen. Most likely your partner will need your help to process what they just learned. So stop and listen to their thoughts. Listening will demonstrate that you care about them and are sharing because you have their best interest in mind. Answer their questions. Be patient.
Watch the following video from Acadmeic Edge TV for additional ideas and encouragement to tell your partner about your STI.
Remember. Honesty is the best policy.
About Janie Crane
Janie currently serves at Pregnancy Choices in Mount Vernon, Washington as the Pregnancy Resources Program Director where she oversees pregnancy testing and crisis pregnancy coaching. She is a certified Crisis Pregnancy Coach through the American Association of Christian Counselors and CareNet. She has also coordinated mentor programs for teen moms through Young Life. In true Pacific Northwest fashion, she enjoys running, hiking, mountain biking and skiing with her husband and husky. She is also a MAT student at Fuller Northwest emphasizing in Christian ethics.