Angela, in my last relationship I contracted an sexually transmitted disease. After a long break from dating, I think I'm ready to put myself out there again, but I don't know how or when to tell someone new. I am stressed I'm going to meet someone great and they are not going to want to be with me when they learn the news. --Anonymous

Dear Anon,

You weren’t specific as to which STD you contracted, and not all STDs are created equally. I’m going to assume the concern here is that you could pass this STD along to another partner. While I certainly don’t make light of STDs or unsafe sex, more than half of those sexually active have had a STD in their lifetime. My point is, you aren’t the only one on the dating scene with this issue so go ahead and put your scarlet STD letters away.

Educate yourself, if you haven’t already, regarding the specifics of you STD.  I suggest Planned Parenthood. Their website provides easy to comprehend facts about disease and where to turn if you need counseling or screening. Your worry may be eased by learning you can move forward with a normal life after diagnosis.

As for dating and disclosing to potential partners...

There’s no dating creed that states you must disclose an STD. However, morally speaking, you’d be of questionable character if you didn’t. How you deliver the news will make a difference. (I suggest refraining from balloon-grams that say, “Guess What? I have Herpes!”) In all seriousness, there’s no right or wrong way to tell you how to talk to a potential partner about your STD. The timing of this disclosure must fit your trust and comfort level with each other. If you do meet someone great, are honest and forthright about the STD you contracted, and let them be in control of protecting themselves, this is a small hurdle to jump in relationship land even if it doesn’t seem like one now.

The reason 50% of sexually active people have contracted some type of STD, Anon, is because many aren’t upfront and don’t disclose critical past sexual activity to their partners. I applaud your commitment to honesty about your situation. There is a healthy sex life after an STD diagnosis.  

Angela, are there any advantages for staying together "for the kids?" --Dad

Dad, one quick search of the internet under the theme of “Are children of divorce more likely” will lead you to believe children of divorce will become drugging, sexually-active alcoholics that dropout of school and get in trouble with the law...

But here’s the deal- whether your personal scenario is the societal accepted ideal, a two parent household, or what critics believe is the recipe for doom, an unwed single mother- there is no guarantee you are going to raise them right. Or wrong. Do statistics indicate a two parent household work best for successful child rearing? Absolutely. But statistics also say that vanilla ice cream is the most popular flavor for Americans, and guess what? My favorite is pistachio.

There is no one size fits all solution. I speak as a child of divorce and also as a parent raising a child of divorce. As a child of divorce I can tell you that I would not be where I am today had I not had to learn to be self sufficient after my parents’ divorce.  Despite the hardships (and there were many) from my perspective, I am a better person for it. As a parent of a child of divorce, I made a commitment I would not let divorce change my values or responsibility to raise him to the best of my ability. That’s all anyone can do.

So, do you stay together “for the kids?”  The answer is no. You stay together because marriage is a sacred institution and you made a vow that, for better or worse, you would honor that commitment.  But sometimes no matter how hard we try, or how much we want to do so, that institution becomes irretrievably broken. If it is your children are not destined for failure. Get it? Divorce is not a conviction to a terrible life for your children.

There’s a Proverb that states, “Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” No matter what the circumstances,  if you do the best of your ability as a parent, you’ve done exactly enough.

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About Angela Lutin:

Angela Lutin is Essentially Angela. Blogger, Advice Columnist and Dating Guru for the social media age—decoding modern love one tweet, text, and like at a time. Angela’s weekly dating advice column, The Naked Truth, appears exclusively in Boca Raton magazine. Her work appears regularly on the Huffington Post. She can been seen on MTV’s "Made" and Bravo’s hit show, "Millionaire Matchmaker." Crafting personal dating makeovers for her clients, Angela also maintains a private practice, which turns the romantically challenged into the relationship-inclined. Follow Angela on Facebook, or Twitter, @essentiallyang.