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Knowing your partner

PLEASE practice safe sex. You do not know who you are sleeping with.

Note: feel free to skip to paragraph 4 if you don't have time to read everything. It is the most powerful message I have ever received about the importance of knowing your partner.

I am a professional female in her mid-30s living in New York City. I recently met someone, hit it off with him, and had unprotected sex. I was not on any type of birth control either. He used the withdrawal method which I wasn't entirely comfortable with, but he didn't want to wear a condom, and I liked him a great deal so I didn't want to refuse. Plus he said he had been in a monogamous long term relationship for several years so I thought it was safe. This was stupid, and I should have insisted that he use a condom. I hold myself equally responsible. We ended things after having sex twice. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got my period, thinking my worries were over, but spoke to a close friend who urged me to get tested. Think about it: you sleep not just with the person you are with, but with everyone that person has ever slept with. I saw my doctor and scheduled a round of STD tests which I will take at the end of this week - I know it will be another 2 weeks before I will find out the results and I am absolutely scared. (I couldn't take the tests immediately since I was using ointment to treat a mild yeast infection.) My doctor warned me that no test can be conclusive, and that I needed to contact my partner as soon as possible since AIDS, herpes, and syphillus can have incubation periods of 6 months so they may not show up on tests immediately. Although I had normal pap smears, I had never actually been tested for STDs. I never thought it applied to me since I always used condoms except with monogamous long term partners (I used the pill for birth control). Now I realized that even my long term partners could have unknowingly infected me even though we were monogamous.
In the meanwhile, I contacted the man I had sex with. He is professional, smart, successful, owns his own company, athletic - not the "typical" stereotype of someone who would have a STD, but especially given his unsafe behaviour with me, it's impossible for me to know. When I initially contacted him I wasn't able to reach him live so I left a voicemail and email stating that I talked to my doctor, and that he needed to contact me. Given this was over voicemail and email, I kept my message brief without any details. I thought stating that my doctor was involved would let him know that this was important. This man did contact me within a few days, and explained that he was traveling outside the country, and only had access to email. He seemed supportive and asked me to explain exactly what "we" were facing via email. I didn't want go over the details via email, but knew that he wanted to know what was happening. He said he would have sporadic email access for the next few days but wanted me to reply via email.

About a day and a half later (I really wanted to wait to call him again and speak live when he returned but knew that he would be anxious if I didn't get back to him so I decided that an email was better than no communication), I sent him an email and I explained that I was not pregnant, but that he needed to be tested and that I needed to talk to him in person. I was scared and threatened to come to his office if he didn't contact me. I knew I absolutely needed to talk to him to get details on his sexual past. I also included a lengthy article about the consequences of unsafe sex and the steps you need to take after unsafe sex.

I did not hear from him for several days. By then I realized he must have returned to the city and that he was most likely ignoring my message. I called him, and left a voicemail explaining that I was scared, had scheduled testing, and just needed to talk to him. I also apologized for threatening to go to his office, but explained that I felt I had no choice if he didn't get back to me.

He called me back right away, and the conversation I had with him was frightening, humiliating, and left me more worried than ever - although he did state that he had been tested a year ago and was "safe." I am not counting on it. This is very private and hard to write down, but if it helps one person, then it's worth it. If any of you have thoughts or advice, please share.
I started off by telling him about my conversation with my close friend and doctor. I told him that since I had also gotten a mild yeast infection, my STD tests had to be delayed until I was treated. I asked him why he didn't contact me when I sent him my second email message. He said that he felt I was playing games with him by sending him these "threatening emails", he was very angry with me, and that I was a "f*cking c*nt". I was very shocked. I don't know how letting your partner know that you saw your doctor, stating that your partner needed to take STD tests, and sending him safe sex information would made you such a bad person. I did threaten to go to his office if he didn't get back to me - but I said it was his choice. It was not something I was looking forward to doing and wouldn't do it if he agreed to pick a time and place to meet in person. He said he interpreted my first email about seeing my doctor and needing to talk as a disguised hint that I was possibly pregnant. He said that a woman only sends that message if she wants to make a man think she is pregnant. How dare I send him such a message while he was traveling and unable to call me? I explained that I didn't know he was out of the country, and that I assumed he would get the message and call me right away since I didn't know he would have email but not phone access. I said that if I intended on deceiving him about being pregnant, why would I defeat the purpose by sending him a message a day and a half later stating that I wasn't pregnant?

Then he said that I was pretty much using the STD fear as a means to get in touch with and further threaten him. He said that he already knew all the safe sex information I had sent him and how dare I ask him to read something? He said that I had no right to tell him that he needed to be tested, that he forwarded my emails to several friends who agreed with him that I was manipulative and clearly building a case against him because I was angry we were no longer dating. He also showed the email to his assistant, and that if I tried going to his office, they would both just feel sorry for me and that I was welcome to show up and make a scene. He also stated that if I thought I had a STD, or thought that he may have given me one, I needed to get tested, not him. He said it was my problem not his. I was really shocked. I knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant conversation and I crying throughout this, but he kept saying "I know exactly what you're doing and I'm not falling for it." I could hear him smirking the entire time. I explained that he was equally at risk since he didn't know my history and I had never been tested for STDs. I said that I wouldn't want to make him sick or anyone else sick. He said that he didn't believe that I cared about infecting him and still felt I was concocting all of this as an excuse to humiliate and bother him because I was angry we stopped seeing each other. I asked if he would get tested knowing that I may have something. He said no, he didn't feel the need, and nothing I could say could force him to do anything. He said it was his right to not get tested, that it was his body, and how dare I tell him what to do. He said this is my choice. Then he said that he had enough of me, that he was not wasting another minute on me, and he was going to hang up. He did say just before he hung up that even though I had done such a terrible thing to him, he would be "responsible" and tell me if he tested positive should he decide to take the tests at some point. He said that I had a responsiblility to tell him what my test results were. It was something I absolutely intended on doing, regardless of what he accused me of, but this more than anything I have ever read, showed me how truly dangerous unsafe behaviour is. This is a man who seemed very nice and always said the right things - I could not believe he was reacting this way.
I know I am not out of the woods for another 5 months even if my first tests come back negative. Please learn from this and please pray for me. Thank you for reading.


Sent via Email, January 12, 2005 from New York, USA.


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