My boyfriend of 8 years has a truck stop fetish or maybe it’s gas stations — clearly, I haven’t been privy on all the details. We are both bears, so we’re traditionally very cuddly (I am an amazing hugger, if I do say so myself) and within our relationship, he is more the receiver. With that said, our sexual life has always had it ups and downs, but this shit takes the fucking cake. Last year, I started to see him exhibit some weird behaviors and eventually wound up catching him in several lies, along with finding both text messages and Grindr notifications that were more than strictly platonic. If you’re thinking to yourself that we have an open relationship, sadly, you’re wrong. Though if the topic would have been raised, I could have entertained the change.
Last year, I decided to confront him about all the lies and deceit, and he told me, for whatever it’s worth, that he would stop. I continued with some trepidation, but I gave him the better of the doubt and we mutually decided to move forward and get our relationship back on track. Look — please don’t pass judgment. We genuinely love each other and I decided to take the high road and be supportive, but this time, with a shorter leash. Low and behold, he never stopped, and, yet again, everyone was aware of the deceit except me. It was so obvious that during Christmas, I realized that the entire family knew. Talk about awkward.
So, how did I end up finding out? He tested positive for HIV. The first two words that came to mind: you motherfucker. Totally beside himself, he proceeded to tell me what had happened. His usual “once in a while” gas station blowjob slowly advanced further into bottoming for other bears.
Not long after, he knew something was up. He went and got tested months ago and was relieved to get negative results. However, he never followed up for another test. And that’s when the plot thickens…
Finally, he got re-screened via a rapid test, which came up positive. To give him any bit of credit, it was then that he decided to come clean about his current situation, though with the caveat that although the rapid test was positive, the other HIV screening was negative. I know Dr. Goldstein at Bespoke Surgical, so I gave him a ring for advice. He sent us to an infectious disease doctor for the appropriate testing. The (possible) good news is that he does think it may be a false positive. So as I write this, with so much going on in my fucking head, we actually still don’t know if my boyfriend is positive and, if so, he’s passed it on to me. I will get tested, of course, but I want to sort out his issues first, which are clearly my issues, too. But it’s all just a little too complex and draining. We are waiting for the viral load to confirm or dispute the positivity.
Regardless of these results, the damage has been done, right? But I must say, I still adore him and part of me wants to continue to stick by him with full support. I know, it sounds ridiculous, especially because he ain’t gonna change. After 8 years together, look at what he did or potentially did to me. It’s beyond words and I know I don’t deserve it. Yet I also know I’m not the only one who has, is, or will go through this same exact situation (well, maybe it’s not a gas station, but rather a locker room or a regular ol’ bedroom). And it’s because of this that I wanted to share my story in real time, to let you know how fucked up this is for me or how fucked up it was, is, or would be for someone you love to jeopardize everything you hold dear to your heart.
Unfortunately, this is another, all-too-familiar narrative that highlights the complexity of relationships and more so the sexual brain. Dick-in-ass always clouds one’s sensorium. No, this is not meant to say I am taking sides. But if you follow my work, you know I have mentioned many, many times that cock always wins. This tale, in particular, is unique and I think it has many discussion points. Let’s first talk about the most pressing, which is the potential HIV positivity.
As a doctor, I know that false positives are definitely real and we will know shortly whether or not this is true here, through the appropriate testing being performed. And yes, my friend will definitely get tested. But the exposure is all that was needed — exposure as it pertains to risk, but also the aforementioned adultery. The relationship, in my mind, is tainted. When it comes to HIV exposure, if you are engaging in risky behaviors, which clearly happened here, the use of PrEP mitigates one’s risk considerably. I cannot stress enough to see an appropriate physician for counseling, pre-use testing, and, finally, it’s maintenance. That’s the easy part of preventing exposure. It’s more so people understanding that it indeed exists and mandating that physicians be educated on how powerful it’s proper use can be, specifically in our community.
As for the relationship: can it be salvaged? I feel the only thing that can be done is to open up the relationship or end it once and for all. Of course, if you decide to do the former, I would suggest opening it up under appropriate guidance and direct lines of communication to help mitigate everyone’s risk — both in and out of the relationship. If your partner says they will never do this again, they’re fucking lying to you. The cock and the ass always win. Which leads me to also suggest the need for counseling to discuss this behavior and re-evaluate a fractured relationship. How does one rebuild that trust? Over time I guess, but we all have our own coping mechanisms. For some, it’s easier to bounce back, whereas others, it may turn into resentment and that’s never good.
We will for sure keep everyone abreast of what transpires as it unfolds, but in the meantime, what do you guys think? Would you try and attempt to salvage this relationship? Or do you think the lies and the potential unknown transmission of HIV means this relationship is beyond repair? Love is a fucked up thing, but clearly it shouldn’t be only one sided. Curious to hear your thoughts.