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what should I do????

Apr 2, 2002

My husband found out he was hiv + one year ago and along with this I found out he was having a homosexual affair with different men for over 2 years. It has been very difficult for me to accept this, out sex live has been almost nothing for quite a while and now I find him masterbating in the shower and he tells me he needs it cause he is afraid of infecting me even though we use protection. I cannot get these thoughts out of my head that he is still seeing men, and how could he just stop after doing it for 2 years. I am really at my wits end. I have asked him to go to councling and he says he is fine he does not need it. But I feel as thought we do. I am thinking about ending our marriage what should I do. And by the way he is on meds and his numbers have been great since he started the meds. And so far I have tested neg thank god cause I really do not know what I would do if I was infected since he never told me about the affairs till I confronted him after we found out he was Hiv+. I would really appreciate any advice you could give me. Thank You

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Your husband sounds incredably selfish and self involved. Your trust has been betrayed and it sounds like you have no reson not to believe that he is still continuing to be unfaithful to you. It also sounds like he has already left the relationship. He has certianly already sexually abandoneed and betrayed you. He has also emotionally already left you and the relationship. By his telling you that he is fine, he is telling you that your feelings and the relationship are not important enough to him for him to look at himself and enter a conversation with you and with a neutral mental health professional.

I am not trying to be harsh or unsympathetic, but what do you have left in this marriage? I do not understand why you are still with this guy, who sounds like a real creep who has and continues to treat you badly and with enormous insensitivity. Why would you conceivably want to stay with a person who has treated you this way? You deserve to be treated in a more respectful and loving way.

If you are having trouble finding enough self respect and self esteem to leave him, then please find a good mental health professional and begin counseling to help you understand why you are continuing to allow yourself to be abused and emotionally neglected, for that is how it sounds to me. Trust, honesty and a willinglness to confront problems together are all requirements for any relationship to be able to survive a crisis. But both people have to be committed to all of these things. It is clear that he is not willing to engage you in any of them. I strongly encourage you to learn how to take the very best care of yourself possible, and it seems clear to me that means leaving this guy.

I hope that this is helpful. I know that leaving a marriage is never easy, but staying in a bad and unfulfiling one can only result in your feeling continuously worse about yourself.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

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