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Break-ups and HIV

a gay couple looking apart from each other

Sometimes HIV plays a part in breakups, especially if you have been newly diagnosed, or if you were infected outside your relationship.

Are all relationships affected by HIV doomed?

Break-ups can happen for reasons that have nothing to do with HIV but sometimes it does play a part, especially if you have been newly diagnosed, or if you were infected outside your relationship.

There are plenty of reasons why a relationship might be kept going after it has run its course.

An HIV negative partner might think that they can’t leave because:

  • It would look like they were abandoning their partner.
  • The person living with HIV would be left without support when they needed it.
  • They would feel guilty or worry that their partner wouldn’t find someone else.

As the HIV positive partner, you might stay because:

  • You worry about not being able to find another relationship.
  • You might feel guilty at wanting to leave your partner.

Should I stay in my current relationship no matter what?

Everyone is capable of loving and being loved, regardless of their HIV status. If the main thing keeping two people together is guilt, pity or fear of loneliness this is not healthy for either partner.

If you’re unhappy with the relationship for whatever reason, the chances are your partner will be too sooner or later.

Is there a good way to end a relationship?

Break-ups can be harder if there is bad feeling between you and it is important to try to respect and be honest with each other.

Sometimes people try to disguise their true feelings and create situations that will mean the end of the relationship without taking responsibility.

Some people physically or emotionally ‘disappear’ or break one of the relationship’s key rules knowing it will provoke the end.

If your relationship ends you may feel emotions like shock, fear, anger and sadness. This is normal and after the loss of your relationship you might go through a grieving process. There may be practical considerations during a break-up such as finances, property you jointly own and arrangements for children or pets.

A better way to work through a relationship ending is to be direct and honest with your partner. This can be hard but a counsellor can help you manage this. If you are interested in having counselling Terrence Higgins Trust provides a range of counselling services – face-to-face or online – for individuals and couples.

If you're HIV positive we encourage you to join our forum, where you can discuss relationships, break-ups, dating and everything else with other people who are also HIV positive.



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