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how to handle break up
Mar 23, 2001


My relationship with my HIV+ partner of three years (I am -) is breaking up. The simple explanation is that I had a brief affair. I truly love this woman and regret my mistakes. We are still comtemplating a future but she is naturally mistrustful and running as fast as possible towards other options. I want very much to enter some brief therapy with her, either to go on or to end well. Our lives are very interconnected in every way and if we are to end we still need somehow to talk. I have to respect that she may not want to re-engage in any way but I am at a loss about how to accept a breakup, how to transition my care for her health. She has not medicated until now but it seems very likely that she must now and since she has some digestive problems already I anticipate that it will be very hard on her. I want very much to be there for her. Any suggestions?

Response from Dr. Remien

You present a complicated scenario and one which am unable to say very much about since there is so much background information I do not have. Clearly, any break-up with someone you care very much about is difficult. But it is all up to the TWO of you. I often recommend couples counseling for couples at this stage (if not sooner) for the very reasons you state: to help the couple make some choices and to either problem solve ways of dealing with the current challenges to try to improve the relationships or to separate in a respectful way with clarity for both. If counseling is not going to happen there is probably not much more you can do than to continue to express your love and concern, to take responsibility for your actions, to be available for more discussions, to offer your support, and ultimately do what you need to do to take care of yourself, if your partner continues to withdraw from you. Hang in there - these things have a way of working out and often greater understanding does come with time.

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