Thanks to medical science, a diagnosis of HIV is no longer life-ending. But it remains life-altering, as you know yourself. You were correct to have a rule that you will be scrupulous about revealing your STD status with a potential partner before exchanging bodily fluids. Having done that, you’ve painfully found out that they don’t necessarily respond particularly well. So you made an exception in the case of a guy you really liked. Even though anti-viral treatment is not a cure, it’s had a near-miraculous effect in reducing transmission. But whether to get sexually involved with someone who is HIV-positive is the individual’s choice to make. I don’t know if you’ve ruined everything, but your next step is to have the conversation you’ve put off. Tell him how much you’ve enjoyed getting to know him, but he needs to know something important about you. Then say the words. Apologize for not speaking up sooner, but say he needed to know before things went beyond a kiss. You can have some printed information with you about preventing transmission and the effect of the suppressive drugs you take if he’s interested in finding out more. Whatever happens with him, being relieved of your guilt will be its own reward.
I will be attending a family vacation in August with my parents, brothers, and sisters-in-law. The last time everyone was together, I was upset by the way my mother treated my sister-in-law Amy. Amy is one of my best friends. She is supportive, loving, and kind. She is also overweight and loud, which mother can't stand. Mother makes faces when Amy talks and very obviously refuses to sit next to Amy during meals. She also bad-mouths Amy when she leaves the room. I don’t want to have to watch this again. What is the loving way to handle this situation?
—Joy of Family
Amy must pack a big supply of sunblock and Xanax in anticipation of her fun annual vacation. Or maybe she just says, “I’ll have a double.” It’s time for you to talk to your mother about this. Say not everyone in every family is crazy about each other, and you know she doesn’t care for Amy. That, however, should be her little secret. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly obvious how much she loathes her daughter-in-law. Explain that Amy is one of your closest friends, you feel lucky your brother is married to her, and you don’t want to see or hear any more disparagement from her. Tell your mother she may not be aware she’s making faces when Amy talks, but she needs to cut it out. Add that you won’t listen to her disparage Amy when she’s not in the room. Then act. If your mother starts eye-rolling when Amy gets going, pull her aside later and say it’s making you uncomfortable. If she starts denigrating Amy, leave the room. You should also enlist your brother to make these points to your mother. If he's not standing up for his wife, shame on him. He's the one who supplied this trial of a mother-in-law, so he should bear some burden for trying to reform her.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Cat Got Your Tongue?: A woman involved in the mysterious disappearance of a feline doesn't know whether to cover up or confess.” Posted July 21, 2011.
“Almost Famous: My rock-star ex wants his sexy photos back. Should I relent or play hardball?” Posted July 14, 2011.
“An Innocent Man: An ex-girlfriend falsely claimed I raped her. How do I reveal this hurtful incident to future love interests?” Posted July 7, 2011.
“A View to a Thrill: Neighbor boys peep at my scantily clad daughters. Should I have them cover up?” Posted June 30, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“Confronting the Queen Bees: Dear Prudence advises a teen who longs to stand up to her cruel classmates but fears retaliation.” Posted July 25, 2011.
“Bozo Boyfriend's Nose-Job Nightmare: Dear Prudence advises a man who convinced his girlfriend to have plastic surgery that left her disfigured.” Posted July 18, 2011.
“Should a Former Hottie Burn the Evidence?: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose ex-husband took nudie pictures of her and still has them.” Posted July 11, 2011.
“Boyfriend Is Thick as a Brick: Dear Prudence advises a woman who is reluctant to wed her dim-bulb suitor.” Posted July 5, 2011.