|Am I Selfish?
May 14, 1997
I am a 29 year old woman whose partner of 3 years is HIV+. We have a wonderful relationship most of the time, but I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the burden of HIV. I want to have children some day and lately I keep thinking that I would like out of this relationship because of his HIV status. I feel incredibly guilty and selfish. He is also very non-committal and unwilling to make any further commitment to me and our relationship - I think he expects that I will reject him one day because he has HIV. Sometimes I want to. Sometimes I feel that I would like to have just one day without this burden on me. I would like to be with someone who is negative and therefore feel some sense of relief - feel a sense that there IS a future. I know I am being incredibly negative. Recently we have discussed children - he seems unwilling to take on that responsibility, but we are investigating the possibilities of sperm washing. Then I feel guilty and selfish about that? I feel angry - so angry and want to feel that I CAN put my needs first. Does this mean I should leave him? Am I that weak?
Response from Rev. Pieters
Only you can decide whether or not you should leave him. If you're feeling that you're being "incredibly negative" and "guilty and selfish" and "angry," then you may not be in a good position to make a decision like this right now. My suggestion would be to seek professional counseling. Maybe both of you should go for couple's counseling. Another option before making this decision would be to seek support from other partners of HIV- positive people. There may be support groups for "caregivers" or partners and spouses of people living with HIV. You're not the only one who has gone through dilemmas like this.
Deciding to conceive a child is a huge decision even for people without HIV. In spite of the advanced technology and treatments for HIV, becoming a parent presents even more complex issues for couples dealing with HIV.
Don't throw out the relationship before you've sought person-to-person counseling. There might very well be a way to resolve these issues without ending what you call "a wonderful relationship."
At a Loss with no Hope?
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