Telling a new partner
New intimate relationships can be an exciting time as you get to know one another and grow closer. But knowing if, when and how to tell a new partner about various aspects of your life can be difficult. This includes telling a new partner about having a bleeding disorder or carrying the gene.
For more info, download the full fact sheet
Why might you want to tell a new partner? For some women having bleeding symptoms can affect sexual activity. There may be bleeding during sex, or you may have heavy or prolonged periods, or want to explain how your treatment impacts on your body. You may want to talk about it if you are discussing having children together. It may also be important knowledge for them to have so that they know what to do in case of an emergency.
‘I don't have normal periods, I have mid-cycle bleeds and erratic bleeding. So it's not like I can easily plan for sex on a non-bleed day. And a new partner needs to be OK with experiencing blood and sex - for me having a bleeding disorder means sometimes these aren't separate.’
‘I've always been really open about my bleeding disorder. I explained it, and what it means for my life. It did kind of ruin the mood at the time however!’
‘I shared my status as a carrier with my partner pretty early on and am fortunate that he has never seemed worried or phased by it. I think he saw what a full and active life my Dad has and that has provided a great example, although he is also aware of the challenges it has posed for Dad.’
Most people within the general community don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience of bleeding disorders, so your partner’s initial reaction will probably be influenced by the information you give them and how you talk about it. You will need to explain what it means to have a bleeding disorder or carry the gene.
Generally, people don’t need loads of information the first time this comes up, but they may have questions for you or need some time to think about it. You don’t need to be an expert in bleeding disorders, but it is useful if you’re able to give your partner brief answers to their questions, or be honest if you’re not sure.
Telling a new partner - some key points
- Some people prefer to tell new partners about their bleeding disorder early in the relationship, while others prefer to wait until it starts getting serious
- Make sure you understand your diagnosis and have some information about your bleeding disorder so that you can discuss it with your partner and answer their questions
- If you have bleeding symptoms, it can be helpful to tell your partner before you have sex so they understand what is happening if there is bleeding
- Leaving it too long in the relationship to tell your partner about your bleeding disorder may cause them to resent it or lose trust
- If you might have children together in the future, you will need to be prepared for questions about how the gene is passed on and what impact it might have on the child
- Putting off telling your partner may not change how they respond – but it may make you worry for longer.
- Speak with your Haemophilia Treatment Centre (HTC) if you would like support in telling your partner.
Visit The Female Factors - Telling others about bleeding disorders on the HFA website
Date last reviewed: 16 February 2021