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My Hiv-positive lover has turned manipulative and hostile

Achokis,

I met this guy just after my high school. A year later, I realised that he was Hiv positive, but decided that I would take care of him and together we put measures to prevent infection. But he forever doubted me, despite me being faithful and loyal to him. It reached a point that he became abusive going to the extent of calling me a prostitute, talked ill of me to his friends, and didn’t respect me. He didn’t want me to mingle with my friends; no phone calls and even controlled what I wear. He became so tough on me; I couldn’t even concentrate on my studies. I decided to quit, but he still follows me. I’m confused. I don’t want to go back to him because of the trauma he caused me. Please help.

Our Take

Hi and sorry for what you have had to go through in this relationship. Someone once said “never run back to the one who almost brought you down.” You gave your life to this man even when you discovered that he was HIV-positive and all he can do to you is pay you back in this manner?

There is a possibility that this guy didn’t accept his status or is still bitter by the fact that he is positive. If he contracted it from his girlfriend then he might be projecting his anger and bitterness on you, thus his behaviour. But this does not warrant him to treat you this way. He needs help and you are not the one to give it. So, you did the right thing to leave him, otherwise he could have made things worse for you. There is another possibility that this guy may have been the one who was unfaithful and that’s how he got infected. He may have continued with this behaviour and thinks that everyone behaves like that, thus his suspicion.   

This guy could also be a narcissist —controlling people who are manipulative and play mind games with those they are in a relationship with. They never want to be alone, but want to be in relationships where they control the other person like a pawn in their hands. Such people are dangerous and even when they promise to change, they won’t. They may even apologise, but it may not be genuine, these are all desperate measures to keep you from leaving them. So, don’t even in a minute listen to his pleas.

On the issue of threats, that is another way of controlling you. Don’t cow down or allow yourself to be intimidated by him. Let your family and friends know about his threats and report the matter to the police. If at all he has sent you threatening messages, show it to the police. That can be used to arrest and even prosecute him. See a counsellor as being in this relationship has definitely had a negative impact on you and affected your self-esteem.

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