Lifestyle / Relationships / Sex

Buried Files: Disclosing Past History In New Relationships

Why I withheld my medical history from my current relationship.


There’s that dreaded point in every ‘relationship’ I’ve been in where we bring up the past. It’s the only time where we take a few steps back, open closed doors and reveal the mistakes, good times, and bad times that have built us into the people we are now. For me, they always want to know about my most recent break up and about how I function with some one else. Why did we break up? Are you crazy?

Although I never shy away from giving a dirty look when asked the last question, I usually give a generic answer. ‘I don’t like to dwell too much on the past’ I say before leading into a one-line explanation.

In the early stages of a relationship you disclose a good amount so it doesn’t seem like you’re hiding anything, but not enough to let them have a window into your soul. But as you get more invested, ideally you share more. I’m not a relationship person by nature, and have spent a majority of my time single, but this is a common notion I’ve gathered from my ‘taken’ friends.

They say you share your likes and dislikes,  and your goals, and I’m good with all of that. But I’ve always questioned how much of the past you reveal. More specifically, how much of your medical history do you share? I’m not talking about spilling how many times you had the flu or that time you had a yeast infection – I’m talking about providing full disclosure on whether you have had an STD and how many times you have been tested.

So why dwell on the past?

I’m not sure why this became so confusing to me. It might have been around the time I started dating this guy and he mentioned something about being tested and unprotected sex. I was very forthcoming, letting him no that I get tested regularly and am currently healthy. Although that was nothing short of the truth, I didn’t disclose all of my medical history.

I am reluctant to share this information with a bunch of people I have never met over the Internet, but the truth of the matter is I’ve had an STD before. It was in college, and although I practiced safe sex during that time, I unfortunately engaged in sexual activity with only one guy who happened to be having sex with many other women. The fortunate news is that my condition wasn’t permanent. After finding out about the news I was able to pick up a perscription and be cured in a matter of a week. Physically I was cured, but emotionally I was still infected.

To this day, I’m still ashamed or embarassed to talk about the incident and only a few people know about it. That doesn’t include the guy I’m talking to now. I never thought of bringing it up because it is no longer relevant to my current medical standing. According to my last doctor’s visit I am healthy and STD-free. So why dwell on the past?

I rather give this relationship a healthy start, physically and emotionally.

It’s very clear STD’s have a negative stigma. No one talks about it and if it is brought up, the only appropriate reaction is to look away with disgust. I’m not going to get into how common they actually are and the need to stop shaming people, but I mention it to explain why it felt so wrong to share this information. Although I no longer had it, I thought disclosing my previous condition would cause my new guy to look away with disgust. It’s hard to go into detail about how it wasn’t my fault, when it takes two to have sex. I was in some way responsible.

Out of embarassment, I withheld information, but as we continue to grow closer, I still wouldn’t think about sharing it. But now it’s because I don’t feel obligated to do so. That part of my life is over with. That medical history is buried in my doctor’s file under a check up about a common cold, a mole that randomly popped up on my skin, and a new perscription for menstrual cramps. And as for the guy who gave it to me, I can care less where he is or who’s life he’s ruining now. If all those things are true, there is no reason to revisit buried files.

I’m not saying that no one has an obligation to share medical history. In my opinion, those who have contracted something more permanent should offer their partners the choice in continuing or discontinue the relationship. But I don’t think I need to let something that altered my senior year of college a year ago, affect my situation now.

It’s only been a couple of months since we started dating and if things continue to progress, I might share it with him. I don’t want to be seen in just one light; I think it is good to share the good and bad elements of me with another person. But with that being said, there is a possibility that I will never tell him. I’m no longer embarassed or ashamed. I just rather not dig up my mistakes and carry them into a new beginning. I rather give this relationship a healthy start, physically and emotionally.

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