What secrets are you afraid to tell your partner?

On June 30, Anonymous wrote:

“I am a 25-year-old female. Recently started reconnecting with an old family friend who is 38 years old. He is divorced. He openly told me he couldn’t have kids, which was the main reason for his divorce. What’s funny is that I had a crush on him since I was 14, and I never thought he would be interested in me. We lost contact for around seven years and a lot has happened in both our lives.

“I’ve been reading a lot about how infertility would affect one’s life, and it’s almost the same for someone with an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Which I have. Genital herpes. I was diagnosed around five years ago. I was young and didn’t know how to handle it. I went through the toughest years of my life, and I’m not quite over it yet. After my experiences informing guys about it before any potential relationship or sexual interaction, I’m afraid of his reaction. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid of going through everything I’ve been through before, which is why I’ve been single for a while now.

“I want to talk to him about what he feels about his infertility. I don’t know if I want kids or not. The idea of childbirth terrifies me! He said that he has cut out the idea of ever having kids. He doesn’t want them. (After reading a lot about it, is he just saying that because he’s upset and I don’t ask to try? I would try if he wants to) I can feel that he would give anything and everything to make me happy. I’m just afraid it would change once he finds out about me. I know I’m writing on an infertility blog not an STD one, but I’d like to know what someone in his position would think of this whole situation. A reader recently wrote that she was afraid to tell her husband about the STDs she suffered in the past that might affect her fertility. Would he be disgusted with her? Would he leave her? What if they could never get pregnant?”

Dear readers, we have not talked about STDs here before, but they happen. I understand why Anonymous is afraid to talk about it, why she’s afraid her boyfriend might go ballistic and leave her. There’s such a stigma, as if a woman who gets herpes is a slut. But most people have had previous partners, and perfectly nice people can get STDs. I told her she has to tell him. If they’re having sex, he definitely needs to know. What would you do if it were you? How would you feel if your partner told you they had an STD?

What about other kinds of secrets people hold back for fear their partner will break up with them? Things like abortions, infertility, babies they gave up for adoption, eggs or sperm they donated, previous relationships, or gender identity issues? When, how, why should you tell them? What happens if you never do?

Let’s talk about our secrets. You don’t have to share anything with the world that you don’t want to, but let’s have a discussion. What should Anonymous do?