Sharing an email.
I have followed your blog for a long time now and have found myself nodding my head in agreement at everything you say. I admire what you do to countless women, especially today when I am in need of your wisdom myself.
I am an educated, liberal minded woman married (for almost 2 years now) to a man I fell (and am) deeply in love with. This is my problem. Today I found out that while I have a normal pap test, I am positive for High risk HPV. This means I have a risk of developing cervical cancer (the very word gives me shivers) but that there are no abnormalities at this time. It is entirely possible that the virus doesn’t result in cancerous cells, and that it just lies dormant. With yearly testing and good medical facilities (I live in the US), it looks good for me. For this, I thank the Gods.
But you know what is coming, don’t you? My husband and I have both had previous sexual partners. One each, specifically. I was in a long-term relationship with someone who I thought I would marry until things fell apart, and my husband had a one night stand with a woman who he knew in passing through a common class. Al this was before we met each other.
It is not possible today to test a man for the high risk HPV that I carry. Another one of those cruel twists of biology and gender, much like virginity or lack thereof. My husband and I were both honest about our pasts to each other before we got married, and decided to let the past be where it belongs. However, he has had a much harder time dealing with this than I. For one, I was in a happily committed relationship during the time I was sexually involved with my ex, and my husband simply sees red at the thought of this. He doesn’t see the double standards that he toes the line of, as he claims that what he did was a “Stupid shameful mistake that should’ve never happened”. I try to understand his reactions (I have no contact with my ex, and in fact do not even bring up any conversation that could connect to that time in my life) But this problem is something we have dealt with for the entire time we have been married. It is one of the big troubles we face, but we are happy together in spite of, or despite, this.
I am a blunt, honest woman and want to get this HPV diagnosis off my chest. But there is no way to tell from whom I caught it from. It could as well be my husband who gave me the virus, or the ex. Not only am I dealing with the mental stress of having tested positive for this, I am terribly worried about how to broach the topic to him and what he might say. I am not worried about my safety, as I said, we are in love and he is a wonderful man who would never hurt me physically. But the mental agony I am likely going to undergo has me in tears.
Please help me, IHM. Give me some strength. I have this dreaded virus in my body. I don’t know what it might do in the future. A small part of me feels dirty and repulsed by my own body and myself. I am terrified of confiding in my husband, though I really really want to just cry on his shoulder. I am scared what this will mean for my marriage. I cannot bring this up to anyone else I know, and you are my only hope for some understanding.