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You Asked: Did My Boyfriend Cheat?

Dear Sugar,

I went to the doctor today to find out why I was experiencing a painful breakout on my nether regions, and it turns out I have herpes. I have been with only one man for the last two years, and he is the only man I have ever had intercourse with.

I had a serious talk with him today, and he told me that before we started dating, he got tested for every STI, and they all came back negative. I'm so confused because from what I have read online, the initial outbreak usually happens within two to four weeks of contraction, but we have been together for more than two years! Did he cheat? Has this infection laid dormant in him for years? I am scared and confused. Any advice would be a great comfort to me right now. — Taken Aback Abbie

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Taken Aback Abbie,

You are right, the first outbreak of genital herpes usually happens within two weeks after it's contracted, so I'm a little wary of your boyfriend's honesty. It is possible for someone not to know he has the infection — sores can often be present in places where they can't easily be seen — but if he was tested two years ago and got a negative result, it's pretty obvious that he's contracted this STI since then; in other words, he most likely did cheat on you.

Unfortunately, what's done is done, and I'm terribly sorry that you've been put in this situation, but now you have to decide how to proceed. Obviously you need to have another serious talk with your boyfriend, but I also suggest you get tested for other STIs and talk to you doctor about medication and treatment options for the herpes you do have.

I know that you're scared right now, and I wouldn't be surprised if you start to experience feelings of betrayal and sadness too, so turn to your loved ones for support. Good luck to you.


Join The Conversation
khadeekiinsz khadeekiinsz 8 years
STD's are soo friggin gross, I don't care what anyone says.
Ella4 Ella4 8 years
Just to share the info - there is actually a vaccination available now that will prevent most kinds of HPV. Though usually they will only give it to people before they become sexually active. So might be worth talking to your doctor about options for prevention before you start having sex :-)
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I know, that's why I added "or a girl with a rash". He might have thought it was shaving bumps and it was actually a herpes outbreak. Or she never told him the truth. It's just really bad luck if he had sex with a girl who managed to give him the virus without showing any kind of symptoms prior to infecting him. How open has he been about his sexual past? Have you been tested for other STD's? Was the diagnosis of herpes a visual or bloodwork one?
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Hang in there, Scared. HPV is not as terrifying as people make it out to be. Most sexually active women have the virus — it just doesn't always make itself known. You can carry the virus for years without symptoms or a weird Pap. Good that you are getting support and health care treatment. The great news is that HPV, while not curable, is treatable and it usually clears up on its own. There is, of course, no cure for herpes. Your boyfriend probably has herpes and HPV as well, so it sounds like the best you two can do is have honest communication about this situation. Two of my best buddies have the big H and they're both in happy relationships now... so herpes is not the end of the world either. Hang in there!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Sparklestar, it doesn't matter if the sex was protected or unprotected - herpes is transferred skin to skin, so condoms won't necessarily protect you.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I'm so sorry this happened to you. It is good that your boyfriend will go through all these stages to help you. Does he know who he could have caught it off? Did he have much unprotected sex/sex with a girl who had a rash before he met you? HPV is actually INCREDIBLY common and your body will likely be able to fight this off on it's own. Around 80% of women contract and fight HPV in a lifetime so it's really not too much to be worried about. Not every strain of HPV can lead to cervical cancer but at least your doctor is aware of it and you can have the right drugs to help you through this infection. Have you had a pap smear in the last 2 years which showed up HPV? I think that would be the most telling sign if he had cheated in the last 2 years. Does herpes have a cure? I wasn't aware it did.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Thank you for keeping us updated - I wish you the best.
Scared Scared 8 years
Thank you to everyone for your comments and support. I went back to the doctors office today (with my mother) to pick up a copy of my test results and the nurse came out while I was waiting and asked me to check in to be seen by the doctor because she had more test results to go over with me. I just broke down right there. I didn't think I could survive any more bad news. Well we met with my doctor and she proceeded to tell me that not only did I have herpes (type 2) but my pap came back abnormal indicating that my cells were affected by HPV (the nasty kind that causes cancer) My boyfriend and I had to go the some friend's house for dinner so when we met up to ride together I told him the new news. He looked terrified and very concerned for me. He pulled me close and held me while I cried. Ever since I told him about the herpes he has been very scared that he gave it to me without knowing he had it because he didn't know if he had been tested specifically for herpes or not. It was a long time ago. He has agreed to contact the last testing place and see if he can find out for sure what they tested for and if they didn't test for it he has agreed to get a new blood test done specifically for herpes and HPV. He has been really great through this whole ordeal and I do love him very much. He even bought both of us a 6 month supply of the natural remedy QuickClear. We will be taking it together. It has been known to cure this nasty, painful virus. I am hopeful that it will help with my immune system in fighting this new HPV as well. I thought that was pretty admirable of him. We are serious regarding our love and relationship and want to get married someday soon. Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement. It really helps a ton!
mintyminniemin mintyminniemin 8 years
i'm don't know if your bf cheated or not. here's my personal story with herpes. after the first time i ever had sex i went to the doctors office to get birth control pills and he suggested me to get STD testes. so i did. results came back and it said i had herpes. i confronted the guy he said he didn't give it to, bla bla bla. then he left me and ignore me for the rest of his life. i felt abandon. i went through the pain of denial and emotional roller coaster. six months later i retested and the test results indicated that i don't have herpes, the doctor ordered a second test and it still came back negative. what had happened to me was that i have gotten a false positive. i have done some research and it has been known that the percentage of having a false negative is higher than a false positive. maybe your bf didn't lied, but its the test that lied. he might not known he had it because some people doesn't get much of the symptoms. i know how hard it is for you right now. hang in there and you'll be okay. i promise you. it's hard, but i just want you to still have faith in love and people. think about it 25% of americans have herpes, that's 1 in every 4 person. there's some medication that can help ease the pain and symptoms, but i'm very sorry to tell you that there's no cure.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
he can call the testing center where he got tested and ask for his results. its pretty important that you know the truth that way you can decide your course of action from there. maybe he didnt even take a herpes test and therefore didn't know he had it. like some of the other posters said you have to request a herpes test and it isn't something that is usually done when there are no symptoms unless you ask for it. i wouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion that he cheated even though it doesn't sound good.
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
I would also like to clarify... the only way to test someone who doesn't have an open sore is with a blood test. The guy would have a positive blood test, but have never had genital herpes. All of you who have cold sores have positive blood tests.
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
As a medical student I would immediately like to say HE MAY NOT HAVE CHEATED and I'm appalled at some of these answers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1. When you get a general STD panel like he did before he met you, they DON'T TEST FOR HERPES in most cases. Ask him specifically if he got a blood test for herpes. Most of the time you have to ask for it specifically. 2. There are two types of herpes: HSV 2 and HSV 1. Usually genital sores are HSV 2 and oral herpes (cold sores) are HSV 1. HOWEVER, with more and more oral sex happening in our age group MUCH OF THE HERPES PEOPLE ARE GETTING IS FROM ORAL SEX WITH A COLD SORE. If either of you has EVER had a cold sore you have a good chance of having got herpes from that route. Cold sores are very, very common. The only way to tell HSV 1 from HSV 2 is with a DNA test from a swab in the affected area, but I wouldn't recommend doing this because even if your sore showed HSV 2, the cold sore could have been HSV 2. The diliniation of HSV 1 on the mouth and HSV 2 in the genitals is convoluted due to all the oral sex. Good luck, all you can do now is make up your own mind based on your trust for him!
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
Wow, I love how people are commenting here without reading any of the previous posts. There are people saying "He may not have been tested properly, dont accuse him etc etc" and then someone right after that goes "he cheated, dump him" Also, I've been very disappointed in DearSugar lately. First with the repeat posts from month agos nevermind editing out important information from those posts so that the advice is basically useless if the OP actuall reads it to now giving false information!! Dear you are supposed to be the "Expert" here. You're supposed to do your homework and be the end all advice giver that everyone will base their advice off of but how can we trust you now?! We have had a million posts on herpes in the last year and every tiem there are a bunch of women who try desperately to clear up the misconceptions about how to catch herpes and how to spread it and then suddenly you just pop up as the big dog on campus and destroy any work we've been doing by not answering completely!! I am horrified. To reiterate my other answer, you wont know whether he cheated or not unless he tells you. Herpes is not a final answer. Cold sores from kissing someone else (you mom or dad even!) or sharing drinks with someone who has a cold sore, there is even a teensy tiny chance that you could have caught it from a bloody toilet seat! Sorry but there is no concrete way to prove he cheated. good luck
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
I'm with saracateh. Herpes isn't a part of routine STD tests, so it's completely possible that he's had it all along, just had an outbreak (like, say... a cold sore sometime in the month before your outbreak?) and just now passed it along to you. I'm disappointed in dearsugar for giving you such inaccurate information!
lexichloe lexichloe 8 years
I seriously doubt he was ever tested. If the relationship is REALLY worth it to you, insist on him getting tested. If he's not willing, you know you've got to make changes. Good luck. :)
sarahcateh sarahcateh 8 years
Um if any of you have had routine STI testing before, you would know that a test for Herpes is not routine and he probably therefore was not tested for it. It is very possible that he had no idea that he had it, and only recently had an outbreak, giving it to you. Talk to your doctor about this before you directly accuse your boyfriend of cheating. He may not be lying.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
Wow. This is so messed up.
care0531 care0531 8 years
I think he is lying to you either way. Either 1.) He was never tested or 2.) he did cheat on you.
colombiansugar colombiansugar 8 years
Like belligirl4, I was driven to comment because this whole thread just drove me crazy. Did your boyfriend cheat? The truth is WE cannot tell you!! He may or may not have been tested for herpes at his earlier exam; the disease may or may not have lain dormant in him, presenting no symptoms with which to warn you guys; somehow a cold sore may or may not have been involved and transmitted the herpes virus to your nether regions. Or maybe he cheated. We just. don't. know. It's a terrible situation to be in. You are going to have to have a serious talk (maybe many) with your boyfriend, your doctor(s), and figure out what the best thing to do is. Just know that your boyfriend may not have done anything wrong - give him the benefit of the doubt until you confirm something one way or the other.
GScott86 GScott86 8 years
As far as I know, the only way to test for herpes is by a physical exam (seeing the actual outbreak) tell you the truth, you'll never know if it was before or after. So talk out how the relationship is going make sure the trust is there, and take it from there. It doesn't mean he cheated, and it doesn't mean he didn't either.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Also, not to be completely crass, but if it turns out he didn't cheat and you guys have a great, loving relationship, you'll probably want to stick together for the long haul so you can manage your herpes as a couple and not risk spreading them around.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
Any way you slice it, this situation sucks. I agree with the other less popular posters who said that although your boyfriend swears he was tested for every possible STI, it may be that the herpes test was not included, or, if it was, it was undetectable because of various medical reasons. If I were him I would want to check with the doctor who did the tests to see exactly what was administered and what the variables were. Your boyfriend should be willing to share this information openly with you. Before this, don't kill yourself with the emotional drama of "did he or didn't he" truly don't have all of the information you need. I agree with's annoying that Dearsugar didn't cite this possibility.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
First, I would talk to your doctor about if herpes can be dormant. And to see if it is possible to be a carrier without an outbreak. Second, I would ask your boyfriend to get tested (as he needs to anyway) and you need to see the results. If he tests positive, I would recommend a very serious talk with him and make your decisions from there. While the evidence doesn't make things look good for him, you have been in this relationship for a long while. It certainly deserves some investigation before you major decisions are made. I'm sorry this happened to you and wish you the best of luck.
belligirl4 belligirl4 8 years
OH MY GOD. i have never logged in and commented before, but i am seriously enraged at people's comments - especially you dearsugar, because you're a trusted source for advice. more than likely, your boyfriend did NOT cheat on you. herpes is almost never included in the regular STI testings, because doctors and the CDC have decided that the psychological pain of having it is much worse than the physical repercussions, especially as most people don't actually experience the typical lesions we know to be an outbreak. it is QUITE possible - in fact, more than likely - that your boyfriend contracted herpes before he met you, and like 90% of people, never experienced a typical outbreak, and, like everyone who doesn't specifically ask for the test, he wasn't tested for herpes. i am so sorry that there is this kind of misinformation on the web - especially from trusted sources such as dearsugar. i'd recommend checking out the HHP forum for more accurate insight.
Miss-Senorita Miss-Senorita 8 years
This is awful I'm so sorry. Yes he most likely did cheat on you.
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