Dearly Beloved, Will Everyone Be This Terrible?

In this week’s Dearly Beloved, the advice column from author Michael Arceneaux, our dear reader is tired of dealing with garbage men and worries it will always be this way. We get it, but he also needs to accept that maybe the trash keeps showing up because he answers the door. God, does that sound like the wise aunt or uncle at the cookout? It’s fine if so, but just curious.

If you want Michael’s advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start your letter with Dearly Beloved!

It’s a thing.


Dearly Beloved,

I’ve been in a relationship for two years with a guy that has been in the closet and bisexual and a guy that was criticizing me about the way I dress up and the way I am. He was trying to convert me into something that I’m not.

Suddenly, our relationship became a torture even though it was also beautiful at some points; I just couldn’t handle it and I started seeing other guys obsessively seeking for a bit of attention that was normal and for someone who will treat me and like me as I am, which led to me contracting the HIV virus and ruining my health!

The day I tested positive I told my ex that I’m HIV positive and that I’m very scared that he might be as well. It resulted in violence against me; he became very violent and was stalking me for very long time even though he tested negative on all three times he did the test!

I was the one who was supporting him instead of receiving support during the worst time in my life!

He got very depressed about our break up and the circumstances surrounding our break up. He was crying daily and calling me to make him feel better and I was there every time he felt bad, hoping that he will get back with me! But it never happened. He got better and left me alone and it destroyed me! I practically didn’t have time to think about my health and about myself while trying to cure his insecurities and the pain and being his personal psychologist!

Now it’s been two years since that break up and I still can’t take him out of my thoughts! He is also checking me out on my social media accounts and sometimes passing next to my office!

I’m totally scared to be lonely and I’m scared to start dating because I’m afraid of revealing my HIV status to my future partners and how they will react to that!

And since I live in a country that is very conservative and people still don’t know the difference between HIV and AIDS. They also think that it is the most contagious disease! And I can’t teach everyone about HIV and how nowadays it’s not a big deal if you take care of your health.

So, I’m feeling frustrated and very afraid about my future relationships!


The Swan

Dear Swan,

So before I dive into your litany of issues, while I understand it is not my place to tell you how to feel about contracting HIV, I would advise that perhaps you not use language like “ruining my health” to describe it. As you say yourself near the end of your letter, you can be healthy and HIV positive so long as you take care of yourself (with proper medical attention). If you want to spare yourself other folks’ negative attitudes and stereotypes surrounding men living with HIV, make sure you don’t use language that might give the false impression you suffer from internalized stigmas.

Sorry to go Iyanla Vanzant’s after school special on HIV on you, but words matter. The same goes for actions, so as far as you being fucked over multiple times, it’s time to take a step back and realize your role in all of this. No, I am not blaming you for the selfish, cold, and violent actions of any of your exes. That one ex in particular is despicable and that is not how he should have reacted towards you. I am deeply sorry that happened. You didn’t deserve that. Fuck him forever.

Having said that, when I say realize your role, generally speaking, it does sound like you put their needs ahead of yours and that is not fair to yourself. And perhaps you put up with behavior you shouldn’t have because you are admittedly afraid to be alone. Being alone can be difficult, but being in a relationship by yourself is no less hard or painful. Have you considered being single for a while and really reflecting on what it is you want from a partner? Have you asked yourself how long you are willing to wait for it?

You may have to always deal with the ignorance of a few guys. A lot of people are dumb as hell; we each have to contend with the preconceived notions of a damn fool. It will frustrate you, but only to the point you allow. By that I mean, the minute you meet a man and he shows you signs of being anything like your past headaches, run, bitch, run. As fast as you can, Fiona Apple.

Have your feelings of frustration, but don’t allow yourself to sink in them. Nor should you be afraid. It will not always be this bad, but you also have to drop the habit of putting up with people who don’t deserve your time or energy. Now please go turn on some music and bop through the bullshit.



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