DEAR ABBY

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dear Abby:

I am a blond, slim, 5-foot-10 female -- single and in great shape. People tell me I am beautiful. I am also HIV-positive.

I would like to meet someone special and settle down. But as soon as I meet a man I like, I struggle with the question of when to reveal my health situation. I have told some right away and never heard from them again, which I find very insulting.

Some of my friends tell me I should date a guy for a few months and then say something, but I'd feel betrayed if someone waited that long to tell me.

I don't want to just blurt out the information at a first meeting. I'm very confused. Please help.

Wants to Be Married, Gainesville, Fla.

There is no need to wear a scarlet letter declaring to anyone who shows an interest that you are HIV-positive. There is every reason in the world to take the time to get to know someone -- and for him to get to know you -- before having sex. When you are finally ready for physical intimacy, you should then disclose your HIV status. If the man loves you, he won't leave you. If he doesn't love you, good riddance.

Dear Abby:

My husband and I recently lost our 24-year-old son in an automobile accident. While the emotional pain is tremendous, we're now beginning to venture out into social gatherings. Inevitably the question comes up, "How many children do you have?" How should we answer that question?

It feels wrong to acknowledge only our two remaining children, but saying, "We had three, but recently lost one" steers the conversation in one of two paths -- a detailed conversation about his death, or one that ends awkwardly.


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