One of the most humbling things that I was forced to do in light of my ex’s infidelity was to go to a clinic to be tested for STDs. It was humiliating. I was there due to my ex’s moral failures and lies. A medical professional advised me to get tested. I knew my spouse had committed adultery and it’s rare that the cheating spouse will actually tell you how many partners they had and when they started having extramarital sex. To this day I still don’t know how many partners my ex had or how far back they go (she’ll only cop to one). Better safe than sorry. SO NOT just!
I share this to say to survivors of sexual infidelity (confirmed or suspected): Please, get tested for STDs! If you were like me, your pastor or mental health counselor may not have told you to do this. So, I am telling you now: Get tested!
It is your life at risk.
And knowing is important. Information is power.
This subject leads me to the second part of this post’s title: Be Discerning. Please be discerning in which pastors and counselors you trust in this time. I am sad to say that not everyone is competent or trustworthy. And you do not want to bear the cost of your pastor’s incompetence or poor character at this critical juncture.
How this relates to getting tested for STDs:
A basic requirement for providing pastoral care, in my opinion, is caring about the physical safety of the caregiver’s congregant. To verify this is present in the pastor, I suggest you use this very simple test:
Did they ask about whether or not you were tested for STDs after learning your spouse was sexually unfaithful? Or if you told them about the test results, how did they respond to you telling them about getting tested? Is there empathy and/or affirming of the wisdom to get tested?
Now, it is possible a pastor may not think about asking adultery survivors to get tested for STDs. They are not malicious but ignorant. If that is the case, he/she should not be counseling couples traumatized by adultery as he/she is not educated on the basic existential dangers present for survivors.
Ignorance is not acceptable when one is gambling with another’s life.
So, I will say it again: Get Tested And Be Discerning, Please!
It truly is a matter of life and death.