I gave him a rash

Meredith,

Early this summer I developed a rash and was diagnosed with a contagious skin virus. I hadn't been sexually active at all in seven months, so while this virus can be spread through intercourse, it can also be spread at gyms, pools, and spas, all of which I'd been to recently, so I figure this is how I contracted it. Unfortunately there is no treatment and the virus must simply resolve itself, which can take several months to a year (to be safe, I underwent full STI testing and was all clear).

As someone who doesn't "sleep around," I was mortified about potentially having to tell a partner about this when I'm really pretty confident I hadn't contracted it sexually at all. For that reason I knew I couldn't be dating anyone until it was completely clear, but not knowing when that was going to be was honestly depressing. After a month and a half, things seemed to be healing and I decided to go on an online date. We hit it off, he ending up spending the night at my apartment, and then we spent a good deal of the weekend together ... where we were intimate. I tried to stop it but one thing lead to another (mostly initiated by him). The entire time I just wanted to be honest and tell him – it was a huge weight on my shoulders and I felt terrible – but I just couldn't find the words. Other than that, we had an amazing time together, spent all night talking, and we really liked each other.

A few days after our whirlwind weekend together, he told me he had a rash and showed me. It looked exactly like mine. He had no idea about my diagnosis and thought it was simply irritation. At that point I knew I had to tell him, so I did. He said he was glad I told him and that he doesn't blame me for not telling him earlier since things took off so fast – that it was not my fault and he was just happy it was curable. Then he started looking up information on his phone and I think it began to hit home for him. He acknowledged it was "frustrating," but said that it didn't change his feelings for me and that he still wanted to date me. Things were normal for the rest of our time together that day – he was kind, funny, and sweet, just as if this had never happened – but I haven't heard from him since.

I'm so grateful he was very kind when I told him, but I don't understand why he would act OK with it and then just go silent. I completely understand how he must be feeling, but I don't want things to end before we can even work through it. Was I wrong for not being completely forthcoming about my diagnosis? I don't understand why he would be so understanding in person and ignore me now. Should I reach out to him? As much as I wanted to tell him, I feel like he's the one who pushed it and things were just so rushed that I never got to that comfort level. I guess the moral of the story is that this is exactly why you shouldn't rush into sleeping with someone.

– Mortified


The moral of the story is this: If you have a contagious rash, you have to tell your partner, even if it's embarrassing. If you'd had pink eye, you would have told him, right? If you'd been getting over chicken pox, wouldn't you have let him know? Why is this any different?

He might have set the pace, but you participated and made a decision to stay quiet along the way. I'm not surprised he was polite when you told him about your rash. I'm also not surprised that when he had more time to think about it, he resented your silence.

Now, it's also possible that he was going to ditch you no matter what. As we know, it's very possible to have a wild, passionate weekend with someone and never hear from them again.

Instead of obsessing about why he bailed, focus on the lesson. Now you know that you must disclose uncomfortable things, even if you've just met someone. Now you know that you have to speak up – for your own peace of mind.

Readers? What's the moral here? Was it on him to ask about STDs? Should she have disclosed?

– Meredith