What to expect when you tell your partner you want to start PrEP
Yeah, convos like this definitely are not as fun as sipping wine and watching Netflix, but discussing how to have safe sex is important in any relationship. Gathering the courage to have “the talk” with your partner is nerve-wracking. If starting PrEP has been something that’s on your mind, and you want to be open and honest about it with your partner (communication is key!), then we have your back. Here are a few things to consider so you can be as prepared as possible for the discussion.
1. Consider how your partner usually reacts to things
Do they react with compassion? Do they need to be alone and have time to process? You know them better than we do, and maybe even better than themself. We know that thinking about their reaction is stressful, but by managing your expectations going into the conversation, you might walk away surprised.
2. Think about how you would feel if your partner approached you
For any big relationship discussion, it’s important to take a step back and put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Think about how you would want them to start the conversation with you. Would you prefer a conversational approach? Would you want them to be direct with you? By considering your feelings, you can guide the conversation in an empathetic direction.
3. Be ready to answer questions
Unfortunately, PrEP gets a bad rap, and your partner might not be as educated on it as you are. Be patient with them and explain to them what it means to take PrEP, how it works, and its benefits. If you’re in an open relationship, let them know that you trust them, and that it’s more so to protect each other from people outside of the relationship.
4. You might get pushback, and that’s okay
If you think that taking PrEP is the right decision for you, then we support your choice! It’s your body, and no one has the right to tell you what you can and cannot do with it. We know that’s difficult when it comes to your partner—you want the person you love most to fully have your back in life. If they tell you that they don’t want you to take PrEP, or they don’t think you should, give them a few days to absorb the information. We’ve all reacted quickly to things before, right? And if they’re still not on board then, take the time to educate them. It’s human nature to be against something that we just don’t fully understand.
5. They’ll want to know why
This might be the hardest part of the conversation. They’re going to ask you, “why?” Prepare your answer, and don’t dance around it—be direct. Tell them, “PrEP is a good idea for me because,” and then tell them your reason. Remember, if they’re your partner, even if they don’t always agree with you, they shouldn’t judge you.
6. Be ready to listen
Even if you might wish it was, this won’t be a one-way conversation. Go into the discussion knowing that your partner will have things to say and potentially opinions to share. This is true for any difficult conversation with them. When they share their thoughts, try responding with, “If I hear you correctly,” repeating what they said, and then asking, “did I miss anything?” This will show your partner that you’re listening and trying to understand their feelings fully.
7. Walk away knowing that this isn’t the last conversation about PrEP
Whether it goes really well or quite the opposite, it’s sure to come up again. Be prepared for this topic to be a work in progress. If it goes well, PrEP impacts relationships in a lot of awesome ways that you’re surely going to talk about in the future.
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None of us are mind readers. We never know what our partners are going to say or do about a certain subject. And it can be scary to approach people when they don’t have the knowledge that you do about PrEP. The stigma is real, girl. But, managing your expectations going into the talk and being prepared for several different scenarios can help you walk away feeling good.