Saturday, October 15, 2011

Considering my Options

A couple of posts ago, I expressed how my husband is going through a mid-life crisis...especially because he didn't think he would live this long being HIV+. In that post, I described how he had begun drinking more. Well...his drinking continued and got worse to the point that it became a serious issue in our marriage. We stopped trying to have a baby. And the tension in our relationship reached a breaking point.

This past July, he got into a physical altercation with someone after a long night of clubbing, and ended up in jail. I initially refused to bail him out, but finally did a week later so he would not get terminated from his job. We have been separated ever since.

He has stopped drinking now, and is really working the 12 steps in AA, but I still don't think he is dealing with the issue of facing his illness. And I'm not sure that he ever will...or if it would make a difference anymore.

During this time of separation, I find myself seriously considering getting a divorce. Not because I don't love him, but because it would be a chance to "escape" being married to a man that is HIV+. What would it be like to have a relationship with someone that doesn't require having cases of condoms around? Not having to get tested all the time...not having a secret to keep from everyone...not worrying about facial wasting and side effects of medication?

And then I wonder if anyone would even date me if they knew I had been married to a guy with HIV for the past ten years. There is some serious stigma and baggage attached to this issue. And it makes me wonder....what does being in this relationship say about me? What does it say about my judgement..or lack thereof? Did I marry him because of my codependent tendencies? Probably.

But that doesn't mean my love for him is not real. And so, I continue to consider my options.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Clutches of Fear

About 9 days ago, my husband and I had unprotected sex. I hope we conceived a child, but its not feeling likely at this point. What scares me is that about 3 days after that, I woke up with a humongous cold sore on my upper lip.

I've been getting cold sores for my entire life. My mother passed the herpes virus to me when I was in grade school and I've been dealing with occasional flare ups ever since. In my adult years, I get about one outbreak a year, and its usually pretty mild. But this latest outbreak is really bad. Its actually about 7 or 8 cold sores all clumped together....not a pretty site my friends.

As I was studying the monstrous sore in the bathroom mirror, with beautiful rays of sunlight streaming through the window, I began thinking..."wow, this one is a real dosey" and "how am I going to hide this thing at the fancy work event tomorrow?" and "oh my gosh, its half way across my lip!" and lastly, "why is it so big this time?" Suddenly, out of nowhere, I found myself deep in the clutches of fear. "Does this mean I'm HIV+....Did I get infected?" That would explain why its so huge, and why I got the outbreak in the first place. I ran to my computer and Googled it.

I told my husband what I was fearing about the cold sore, and he literally froze in his place. I responded with "Oh, its probably nothing, I'm just being paranoid." Which gave him permission to leave the room and leave me alone with my fear...and that little exchange is a whole other posting but anyway...

I probably got the cold sore because I was so busy and stressed out about that fancy event at work I mentioned, but I'm still not entirely convinced it doesn't mean I have HIV.

I get tested every month, but this time I'm really scared to go, to the point of putting it off. Its not very responsible of me, but its where I'm at for now.

My cold sore is slowly healing, but I can't help but wonder if all this risk is worth it. Every time we have unprotected sex, I roll the dice....and sooner or later, its going to land on my number.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My email address

I've gotten a few requests for information/communication submitted as comments to a blog posting.

Unfortunately, I can't respond to your comments because your email addresses are not visible to me, so please email me at if you'd like to discuss the topics on this blog.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Regrets

My husband is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts...he's been acting very differently and seems more restless and uncomfortable than usual. He's been going out drinking a couple nights a week with his co-workers, buying expensive electronic equipment, and he even got a new hairstyle...just to give you a few examples.

I don't know if anyone else goes though this with their HIV+ partner, but my husband has a difficult time realizing when he is uncomfortable. For example, sometimes he doesn't realize that he's hungry. Or he'll be sitting in an odd position and doesn't realize its painful to him to sit that way. I've always been more in tune with his body and emotions than he has been with himself. Its like he doesn't want to acknowledge anything about his physical body, if it requires some sort of attention.

It was always puzzling to me. I finally came up with a theory. He doesn't want to acknowledge his physical needs, because it would mean acknowledging that he has HIV. He just doesn't want to confront his condition.

So I asked him if my theory was correct and he told me that I might be on to something. End of conversation.

A couple days later, he told me that he was thinking about his recent actions and realized that he is going through a variation of a mid-life crisis. He turned 39 in March, and with 40 looming on the horizon, he realized that he had never made plans to live this long.

He has to re-orient himself with new possibilities. He has questions..."How much longer do I have"...."Will I make it to 50"...."How long until I get sick"...."What are my hopes and dreams for this future"...."Should I even have hopes and dreams for this future"....

And there is a part of him that is bitter. Bitter because he thought he would be dead by now, and if he had known (or accepted) that he'd still be alive, he would have made different choices along the way. He would have invested longer in going to school. He would have pursued a different career path. He would have tried to have children sooner. He would have saved more money. He would have taken better care of himself. And on and on.

I want to be as supportive as possible because I can't even imagine how difficult this has to be for him. He is having to face the emotional realities of his condition, and decide how to confront the uncertain future, and make peace with his past.

Yes, he has new possibilities....but also new regrets.