Dear Annie: I have been married for 16 years. I was recently diagnosed with trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection.
My doctor explained that if I have been faithful to my husband, then he must have cheated on me. When I confronted my husband, he denied it. I had symptoms, but some women can have trichomoniasis for decades and not know it.
My husband’s business has been struggling financially, and this has taken a toll on our relationship. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he might have cheated on me. But he continues to deny it, even after I told him that although I believe he did cheat, I still am committed to our marriage.
Annie, do most doctors believe their patients with this STD have cheating spouses? Is it possible I carried this infection for 21 years, since my previous marriage, and am only now showing symptoms? Can you help me make sense of this? — Confused and Hurting in Florida
Dear Confused: Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted parasitic infection, and symptoms typically show up four to 28 days after exposure, usually in women. Men often have no symptoms, so urge your husband to be tested. It is highly unlikely that one could acquire the infection through any means other than sex. The trich protozoa can live outside the body only for a very brief time. However, during that brief time, it is possible (though exceedingly rare) to contract trichomoniasis if the genital area comes into direct contact with infected damp or moist objects such as towels, clothing, bedding or bathing suits. You can get more details through the CDC (cdc.gov/std) at 1-888-232-6348 or ASHA (www.ashastd.org).
Dear Annie: My husband goes on out-of-state bicycle trips with his friends, only one of whom I have ever met. These trips involve 100-mile journeys through different towns over several days.
“Jon” doesn’t think he needs to give me any details of where he will be on any given night, what the sleeping arrangements are or who else is on the trip. It’s not as if he doesn’t know these things in advance. These trips are well planned.
Jon says if I need to reach him, I can call his cell phone. But I feel ridiculous having to ask him what town he is in, and he rarely offers the information. This seems disrespectful and makes me feel left out and unimportant. Whenever I go somewhere, I make sure he knows the name of the hotel.
Jon knows how I feel, and although it would be simple to fix, he refuses. Am I making a mountain out of a mountain bike? — In the Dark in Albuquerque
Dear In the Dark: Jon is being extremely inconsiderate. When someone you love is worried, you should do your best to allay those fears. And you should know where he is in case of emergency. If you trust him, make your own plans while he is away so you will be less focused on his whereabouts. But we worry about a married man who won’t tell his wife where he’s sleeping, or with whom.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Confused” really hit home. She said her husband never gives her a compliment and pouts when he doesn’t get his way and their sex life doesn’t exist because he can’t bear to be touched.
When couples date, they often show only their best side. Unfortunately, that lavish attention is washed away with everyday life once they marry. And some men only like the hunt. Once the catch is caught, they lose interest.
I think “Confused’s” husband married her because he loved what they had while they were dating.
He simply doesn’t know how to live as a married man and how to be loving and attentive to his wife. — In the Same Boat, Bailing Water
Dear Boat: We agree — except for the fact that her husband hates to be touched.
That puts him in an entirely different category.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org