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Help! I'm Having An Affair And I've Got HPV, But My Lover Has No Idea!
Dear Armchair PsychologistI am having a passionate affair with a man that is in a long-term relationship. I have never done this before (I've always been on the straight and narrow), and while we don't see each other often, we have an amazing connection and have become very intimate, very quickly. Yes, that means unprotected sex. My birth control is on lock, so I'm not worried about that, but I do have HPV and worry if I may give it to him and (worse) if his partner might get it, too.In my defense, I did not know he was in a committed relationship when it all started, but since then I have obviously continued of my own free will, which leaves me worried about my karma.I feel free when we're together; I don't yearn for him when we're apart, and think we'll be great friends in the future…. I am not the first person he has been unfaithful with, so that's on him, but I'm also responsible for my actions. Anyway… should I continue? I know I'm not going to get attached; he can deal with his situation on his own, I'm not responsible for his actions, and also it feels good. I am not sure if I need to tell him about the HPV, because everyone has it — I got it from having protected sex — and I've never had any other STD before, but what happens if his partner gets it? I can't go back to having protected sex with him from now on. That is no fun. How do I continue… or not continue? Please help.- Torn Lover
Dear Torn Lover,
Thank you for sharing this dilemma, I am sure it is difficult to confront or discuss this matter. The circumstances you describe sound reckless. Judging from your own conflicted reasoning, you're well aware of this. Worrying about your karma pales in comparison to worrying about infectious diseases from unprotected sex. There are two things to address here, HPV and the Extra Marital Affair.
1) HPV, as you correctly describe is extremely common, however some types of HPV can also be dangerous and cause additional health problems like genital warts or cancer. Due to the gravitas of potentially developing cancer cells from HPV, and because if one were to develop precancerous cells due to HPV, there are preventative measures available like LEEP, it is only "karmic justice" that you inform your lover that you have HPV in the hopes that he may inform his wife so that they can both take action and control of their bodies.
2) Your lover is a married man engaged in a high-risk lifestyle. You said yourself that you're not the first person he's been unfaithful with, leaving you open to contracting various STIs, just as he has left himself exposed to contracting HPV from you.
It's great to have consenting non-monogamous relationships, but when it's under a guise of deceit, rather than honesty, it will gradually get less fun and more complex. You said you aren't emotionally attached to this lover and studies do confirm that individuals who can separate the concepts of sex and love are often likely to accept infidelity. However, since you've always been "on the straight and narrow," it becomes important to explore why you're deviating from this pattern.
It worries me that you are making excuses about your own culpability in this affair. Though you're not "responsible for his actions," you arean accomplice to his actions and the transgressions against his wife. In this article, Marc D. White, PhD, raises some great questions: "Perhaps the most important personal obligation that the single adulterer has is to herself or himself. Is such a relationship healthy for you? Does it fit with your goals regarding love, sex, marriage, children, etc.?" I recommend you turn to a therapist to explore your sexual desires, develop an approach to having an honest discussion about HPV, and unentangle yourself from this hot mess!
- The Armchair Psychologist
Help! My Lover Won't Stop Sharing His Penis Full Of Pearls!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,I'm dating my upstairs neighbor who is super affectionate, loving, and everything I want in a man. We rarely fight, however, when we do it always ends with one of us breaking up with the other and going back to our individual apartments. Each time this happens, he goes to pull random women and has sex with them upstairs knowing that I can hear it.This has now happened so many times I have lost count and I'm beginning to think that he blows up the arguments on purpose just so he can play the field. I have told him it upsets me and I need our "breaks up" to not involve others, but since he is not cheating on me, it falls on deaf ears. How do I make him stay monogamous during these times?PS! He also has ball bearings in his penis (it's called pearling) so you can imagine the agony (and noise) of that kind of sex!- Sounds of Pain
Dear Sounds of Pain,
I am sorry to hear you're in this prickly pickle (I couldn't resist, sorry) and that it's causing you angst. I may be a bit out-of-touch because I had never heard of "pearling" until now but will do my best to address the matter. Your neighbor is behaving like the single man that he is. He is choosing to have sex with other women when he feels like it. He never agreed to a monogamous relationship and for now that is what you are seeing play out.
If he's having sex with other women to "punish" you, then that certainly raises a red flag, and I'd advise you to quit this tryst immediately before you suffer further abuses. However, men who pearl their penises often do so to bring more sexual pleasure to a woman, and it's no small sacrifice to insert beads into your penis to accomplish this. Therefore, it is possible your neighbor could simply be a genuine Loverboy who needs a daily dose of sex, wherever he can get it?
It must be awfully convenient for him that you live mere feet away to soothe his desires at any whim. I suspect you are not on the same page whatsoever. (If you have a history of seeking unattainable men or find yourself in cycles of rejection, you should see a qualified therapist.) If you are interested in pursuing a relationship with your neighbor, I suggest you have an honest heart to heart with him and express your desire for a monogamous relationship. If he balks at this, don't clutch your pearls at the prospect of a future without him!
- The Armchair Psychologist
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WRITTEN BYUbah Bulale