a woman sits at the edge of a bed with her knees to her chest and her hand to her forehead, while her partner sleeps in bed behind her

Learning Not to Settle

Accepting that you are positive can be difficult for a lot of people. I know that it was difficult for me to process when I found out, while I was always a rather strong woman.

Unfortunately finding out that I was positive caused me to feel as though I no longer had the option of having the relationship that I previously deemed mandatory. I ended up dealing with a lot of things that I never should have never allowed continued.

Staying too long in a toxic relationship

I spent a lot of my marriage begging my husband to act. Sometimes, it was for him to help around the house, while other times, it was to make me feel like I was more than a maid. He had become complacent in our relationship, which changed the way he treated me.

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The negative change began to take a toll on me until I could not tolerate it anymore. It did take counseling for me to see the ways that our relationship was toxic to me.

Leaving another unhealthy relationship

I am starting to think that I have a magnet for unhealthy relationships. I started dating somebody else who seemed to have everything in order. He was a little insecure from being cheated on in the past, but I thought this was something that we could get past. But when he got mad, he became a completely different person.

The third time was a done deal

I ended up leaving him three different times. The third time was when I called it a done deal. Only after I refused to deal with his issues for two weeks did he seem to get an understanding of how he had been treating me. Of course, at that point, I was done and he wanted another chance.

Sometimes it seems as though people do not understand the impact you have on their lives until you are no longer around.

Lessons learned: don't settle

We all learn lessons sooner or later. Sometimes we learn lessons from other people, while other times we must learn these lessons the hard way ourselves. I obviously had to learn some lessons the hard way. While I was not somebody who put up with nonsense in relationships prior to learning about my status, that aspect of my personality seemed to disappear after learning about my positive status.

You can't teach people what you are worth

Regardless of how long you stay in a relationship, you cannot teach a person what you are worth. If they do not appreciate you, it is best to let go of that relationship. I have learned not to beg a man to value me. I believe if they genuinely wanted to be with me, they would have treated me correctly on their own.

What do we tolerate from others?

One lesson that has truly hit home is how by continuing to give somebody another chance, you teach them what you will put up within a relationship. Always going back to a person after the same situation reoccurs makes them not see a reason to change it. This teaches people what you will tolerate from them and they will not feel that it is necessary to treat you correctly.

HIV doesn't make a person less valuable

I really hope that others can learn from my mistakes. Take to heart that you are not any less valuable due to your status. We should never allow ourselves to be treated poorly. Know your worth and demand to be treated properly.

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