"I slept with my ex-partner and now Ive got chlamydia- I dont know how to tell my boyfriend" – Lalala Letmeexplain

In Lalalaletmeexplain 's hit column, readers ask for her expert advice on their own love, sex and relationship problems.

With over 200k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.

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Dear Lala,

I’ve been with my current partner for 7 months, great relationship. We started sleeping together without protection after about a month and we discussed STI testing.

I’d actually been tested a few weeks before I met him and had a text on my phone that showed I was negative, and I said that I hadn’t slept with anyone since testing. He said he’d been tested fairly recently too so we felt safe together.

Where I’ve messed up is that I didn’t tell him that I had slept with my ex in between being tested and meeting him.

My ex is the only person who I was sleeping with before the test, and we literally had sex one time after I got tested and he said he hadn’t slept with anyone else, so I just assumed that he was clear of STIs too.

Over the past month I’ve been having symptoms, so I ordered a test kit, and I’ve just found out that I’ve got chlamydia. I have no idea how to tell my boyfriend. I feel disgusting and ashamed, and I feel like he’s going to hate me after this.

I’m avoiding seeing him, but I don’t know how long I can do that. How do I explain that I lied? And do I need to tell my ex?

Lala says,

There is nothing disgusting or shameful about having an STI, though I completely understand that having one can make people feel grim. It’s the association with sex and the stigma that society makes us feel about anything to do with our genitals. People can have herpes on their lips (cold sores) and feel fine about it, but herpes on the genitals can make people feel that life is over, even though it’s the exact same virus. We must learn to see having an STI as no more shameful than catching the flu or having food poisoning. You’re not disgusting but I completely understand why you feel horrible about this situation.

It’s tricky. I don’t want to throw suspicions into your relationship but how do you know for certain that you contracted chlamydia from your ex? Chlamydia is a difficult one because it can be completely symptomless, people can have it for months or years without knowing, so yes, there is a chance that you’ve had it this whole time and that symptoms are only beginning to show. But there is also a chance that he had it beforehand. You said he’d been tested ‘fairly recently’, that could mean anything.

Do you know if he slept with anyone between testing and sleeping with you? Do you know if he was being honest? Chlamydia symptoms can also show up immediately. You can start to experience pain when peeing, abnormal discharge etc very quickly after contracting it, within a few days sometimes. So, either one of you had chlamydia when you began sleeping together and symptoms have only just begun to show, or chlamydia has been contracted recently from a third party.

It’s good that you’re taking responsibility, but there’s nothing here to say that you’re definitely the chlamydia carrier. There really is no way of knowing whether you’ve had it for a while or just caught it recently. The best way forward here is for you to own it. To try to let go of the shame and take a bit more of an ‘It is what it is’ attitude. You’re grown adults who’ve had sex and sometimes that can bring with it embarrassing and awkward situations. You’re in a relationship and so you should be able to communicate about things like STIs. I don’t think you should approach it by instantly blaming yourself, in fact blame should be left out of the conversation. You could tell him that you’re worried that it may have come from your ex but first I’d ask him for more details on whether he’d slept with anyone after being tested.

But where it came from is really irrelevant if neither of you have practiced infidelity. If it happened before you met, it shouldn’t affect your relationship. It may well test the trust though. You didn’t lie in an evil or manipulative way, you didn’t knowingly or recklessly sleep with him with an STI. You haven’t cheated on or betrayed him. It wasn’t unreasonable for you to assume that you didn’t have anything. The only thing you can do now is tell the truth, which you must do, because it’s important for him to be treated if he has an infection. It’s a good idea to tell your ex for the same reason. I’d be very interested to find out if he tests positive. Would he tell you if he did? If he’s negative, then you may well have some answers about your boyfriend, but then you still won’t know whether he had it before or caught it recently! It’s all quite complicated.

There is a chance that your boyfriend might assume that you’ve been cheating. I think that his reaction to the information will tell you a lot. There are so many unanswered questions and no real way of answering any of them (unless you get information from your ex) so it would be unfair for him to instantly blame you for this in the same way that it would be unfair for you to instantly accuse him of cheating. Nobody really knows. Ultimately, you are trying to do the right thing. If your boyfriend hates you after this then that’s sad and it’s a shame, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s a lesson in ensuring that you tell the truth clearly about things like this in future but it’s no great loss to your life. You will get through it, and you will find love again. Chlamydia is easily treatable if you discover you have it before it develops into pelvic inflammatory disease, so it’s excellent that you found out now, it will soon be gone!

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