If they hit you, they will make you feel like it was because of something you did wrong. Talk to a member of the opposite sex, they interrogate you about it. You better be ready to explain where you were and what you were doing and why you were doing it. Teachers and bosses are trying to make things hard for them on purpose.

If they cheat on you, they will blame it on something you couldn’t provide them. You start to feel like you are playing a game to which there are no rules and there is no way out. Your partner has to know where you are and what you are doing at all times. He or she might spy on you, check the messages on your phone, talk to your friends without you knowing, have people “check up” on you, hack into your email account or Facebook to see who you are talking to. But they make you feel like you have to stay with them no matter how they treat you, or that they can’t help the way that they act. No matter what they do, or have done, nothing is ever their fault.

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Because you are hesitant about when to reveal your status, please visit the ASHA website (ashasexualhealth.org). It includes a section on relationships, suggestions about when to tell someone, how to talk to a partner, reactions to expect, etc.

Another website that has been mentioned in my column before is

I am, naturally, afraid of condemnation and/or contempt.

Dear Unsure: Herpes is an infection, not a scarlet letter.

Your partner will play into this, claiming that other people are just jealous of what you have or are just trying to bring you two down. For example, if someone hurts them, they feel they have a right to retaliate.

If a teacher fails them, or a coworker says something bad about them, they feel entitled to revenge.

Here are some signs that might indicate that you are dating a psychopath. You might get mad at people for trying to convince you to break up with your partner, or make excuses for your partner because you are convinced that you are the only one that understands him or her. He or she feels entitled to act the way that they do.

You might try to talk about how you are feeling–your partner turns everything around and tries to talk about everything you’re doing wrong. Even when they hurt you, they make you feel bad for the pain it has caused them. They often don’t actually feel guilty about what they have done, only that they were caught. Other people might warn you about dating your partner–if they have a track record of abuse, most likely it is only a matter of time until they abuse you. Your friends and family wish that you would break up.

It seems like your partner is two completely different people. Your partner finds faults with your friends or makes you feel bad or uncomfortable about any time you spend with other people. You want to believe that this is possible, but the cycle keeps repeating and each time your self-esteem is chipped away at, bit by bit. He might hit or kick your dog whenever he comes over.

Each time he hurts you, he apologizes and promises that it will never happen again or that he will change. Your partner knows your weaknesses and he goes after your most vulnerable parts, hurting you where he knows it will do the most damage. You feel ashamed, lost, alone, confused, numb, afraid, crazy, stupid, ugly, fat, worthless, embarrassed, unloveable, wrong. Your partner tortures animals, is mean to children, or nasty to waitresses.

You might want to go to the movies–your partner will make sure you go out to dinner instead. He or she might even brag about the fact that they have left a trail of tears behind them.