I have done something so vile that I can't stand to look at myself in the mirror. I have a younger sister who is stunningly beautiful, while I'm rather plain by comparison. Growing up, my boyfriends all lost interest in me once they set eyes on her. When I was dating the man who is now my husband, I was afraid that the same thing would happen. As a preventative measure, before he even met her, I told him that she slept around a lot and as a consequence had contracted HIV. Needless to say, he never showed any interest in her. Several years and two kids later, my husband is always asking about her health. She's even asked me why my husband always seems so concerned about how she's doing. He's the sensitive type, and I know that he worries about her. I want to come clean, but how can I explain such a horrible lie?
—Sister Is Healthy As a Horse
Shades of Rachel and Leah
crossed with the daughters of King Lear
. I understand your self-loathing because not only is your original lie chilling, but you have let this tale fester for so long. It's a miracle you weren't found out by your husband expressing his concern to other family members. However, the good news is that you recognize how sad and ugly your actions were, and you want to make amends. Although your sister was the subject of your lie, your husband is the object of your deceit. Go someplace private and tell your husband there is a part of your life that you never fully discussed with him. Say that when you were growing up, your sister's beauty was a kind of torture for you. Whenever a boy showed any interest in you, as soon as he gazed upon her, he couldn't even remember your name. Explain that you know jealousy is a terrible, destructive emotion and you hate how you let it scar your youth. Then say that when you met him, you were so immediately happy with him that you were tormented by the thought that he might be attracted to your sister. (By this point, he should be starting to get your drift.) Confess that you told the terrible lie about her being HIV-positive just so it wouldn't happen. Add that what you did is not a comment on his character but on your insecurity. Say your sister is in perfect health, but your lie has made you sick at heart, and all you can do is beg his forgiveness.