Dear Abby: Married 45 years, I’m not sure how I got genital herpes

Woman has never cheated and her husband swears he’s been faithful too, but she wonders if he’s lying.

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married 45 years. It may not be the most loving or agreeable marriage, but it has always been steady, nonviolent and monogamous. Last year I had COVID, and I now have long-term symptoms with compromised immunity.

I recently had a bad outbreak of genital herpes. My doctor told me it can lay dormant for many years — but 45? My husband swears he has been faithful, and part of me believes him. I WANT to believe him — but I know I have never cheated. Neither of us ever had problems with breakouts, other than one many years ago we thought was probably heat rash when he worked outside in the summer. This has caused me to lose trust in him and wonder if he’s lying. Our sex life, which had always been healthy, has stopped.

Have you ever heard of herpes being dormant for this long? I’m so embarrassed and angry. I haven’t told anyone. I have never heard of this. — PERPLEXED IN MISSOURI

DEAR PERPLEXED: Genital herpes is a common ailment for which there are treatments. My research tells me herpes CAN lie dormant for years without a flare-up. If your doctor isn’t aware of what’s going on, this is the person you should consult for the answer to that question. If your husband has given you no other reason to distrust his faithfulness, please give him the benefit of the doubt.

P.S. You stated that your sex life has now ceased. Was this your idea or your husband’s? This is ANOTHER conversation you should have with your doctor, and I hope you will do it soon.

DEAR ABBY: I am a straight male who has a long-term friendship with a lesbian co-worker I’ll call “Mickey.” I have always had an interest in her but never suggested anything due to her sexual orientation. Recently, Mickey told me she has feelings for me, too. We go out a couple times a week now and the relationship has changed from the flirtatious one it was for years to something more.

We have gone back and forth and now we’re discussing buying a home together, which has me confused. (I can only imagine how confused she must feel.) I love and care for her and have told her so. Maybe that was a bad idea. I am debating putting my feelings aside to make it easier for her to deal with her sexuality, but I love her and don’t want to lose her. Please advise me on how to proceed. — CONFOUNDED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CONFOUNDED: You and Mickey need to have a SERIES of conversations. Among the topics should be where your relationship may be leading in light of the fact that she identifies as lesbian rather than bisexual. Is marriage in the picture? Will buying a house together be an investment or a commitment on the part of both of you? Will each of you put in an equal amount of money? (It goes without saying that the arrangement should be formalized in the office of an attorney, so you both are protected in case things don’t work out.) Once you and Mickey have done this, the answer to your dilemma will be apparent.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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