This is my first post and I wanted to share the background of my story. I am a 59 year old female. I started dating my husband at 17, but didn't lose my virginity till 21. I married at age 24. The marriage ended after 11 years when he left me for someone else. We have 2 children.
I've been divorced 23 years. I was divorced two years before I even dated anyone. I had no idea how to date as I had only been with my husband, and he had been in the military during most of the years we dated. I had always been extremely shy and introverted. After the divorce several of my friends set me up with guys they thought would be nice for me but I just never felt any connection.
My first serious relationship was at 37 with someone that I met on my own and it lasted for about a year-and-a-half. Then another year of abstinence, followed by a short-term relationship for about 6 months. Then 3 more years of abstinence. And then my next serious relationship lasted about three years. This man was someone that I had known through my husband's family.
I've always remained abstinent in between relationships, and always had a discussion about STDs prior to having sex. Although, looking back, I realize I only took their word that they didn't have anything. After my divorce I was tested for AIDS because my husband had been unfaithful and I was concerned about that but I don't remember if I was tested for anything else.
After the last serious relationship ended, I was abstinent for 7 years. My kids were in their teens by then and I had a lot going on with kids, struggling financially, became a grandmother, etc. and had no interest in adding a relationship to the mix. I have a strong faith in God and had always asked God to not allow me to be attracted to or attract anyone that wasn'tn in his plan for me. I've never had a strong sex drive except when I'm in a commited relationship. So being celibate really wasn't a big deal. For me sex is just as much mental as physical.
My next relationship was in 2014 with a man that I had worked with 30 years earlier. We had been attracted to each other at that time but we're both married and nothing happened. When he re-entered my life I thought it was God's plan that we were supposed to be together. We dated for 2 months before becoming sexually active, had the discussion about sexual health, etc. After about 5 more months things seemed to slow down and I sensed that it really wasn't something that was going anywhere. The chemistry we had years ago didn't seem to be there. We saw each other a few more times without having sex and then he just stopped calling me. I wasn't heartbroken just annoyed that he didn't have the courtesy to tell me he didn't want to see me anymore. In all honesty, I didn't ask him for an explanation.
Fast forward to current year, abstinent for the past 4 years. I attended my class reunion in the summer. I actually prayed beforehand asking God not to allow me to be attracted to anyone or have anyone attracted to me that didn't have good intentions. I was afraid there might be some guys there that we're just looking for a fun weekend. One of my classmates was there that I had a crush on in high school. I was shocked when he confided in me that he had a crush on me too. He said he promised himself if I was at the reunion, he would tell me that. At that point my emotions took over and my common sense went out the window. Again I saw it as a sign from God. Nothing happened right away but he said he would call me. A few weeks later I heard from him and we started talking and got together. I made it clear up front I didn't do casual sex, friends with benefits, etc. And he agreed. But I failed to have the discussion about STDs, and never suggested we use condoms. I felt that I already knew him but in retrospect, knowing someone 40 years ago isn't the same as knowing someone for 40 years. I really liked him a lot and felt the mental connection that I need to enjoy sex. I have always been a person who overthinks things and worries in advance about things. This time I was convinced myself to enjoy the present and not worry about whether it would be a long-term relationship.
Well it lasted about 6 weeks. The last time we were together I began to feel sick the following week with flu-like symptoms. And then I thought I had a UTI so I went to the doctor. There was some blood in my urine so my doctor prescribed an antibiotic & sent the culture to the lab. A few days later I was completely broke out with sores in my genital area. I went back to the doctor and she informed me that the urine test came back as negative, not having a UTI. She did a physical exam and told me it was herpes. She sent the culture to the lab and confirmed it was HSV-2.
I texted my partner and asked him to call me when he had time to talk. When he did call and I told him, he seemed surprised and said he would call me back in a few minutes. Well he never called me back. We proceeded to text back and forth for a few days and he gave me excuses as to why he didn't have time to call me, e.g. in a doctor appointment with his mother, in church, waiting for a good time to have privacy without his kids/grandkids around, etc. I finally gave up. A week later he texted asking me how I was doing, and I ignored it. But a week later he texted and said he missed me and apologized for disrespecting me. This made me happy. I responded with telling him I missed him too. I told him that his attitude led me to believe that either he knew he had something and didn't tell me, or that he was just disgusted with me, assuming I had been with someone else. I told him I wasn't looking to blame him and just wanted him to be aware for his own health. He said he hasn't had any problems and he went to the doctor. He didn't actually say that he tested negative. He said he felt bad for me and that we would talk later, but that never happened.
I've gotten over the shock of having herpes. Although I think it is likely he gave it to me, I don't get any comfort out of believing that. The alternative is I could have had it in my system for years from one of my other relationships. If he truly doesn't have it, I don't blame him for not wanting to be with me again. If the roles were reversed I probably would feel the same way. One of the benefits of having herpes is that I have examined my own narrow-minded thinking. I admit that I associated herpes with reckless, casual sex and am ashamed I fell into the stereotypical majority.
I've only had a mild OB since my initial OB. I take Valtrex daily. I had been going to therapy prior to the OB so I have been able to discuss my feelings of rejection with her. The only other people who know are my daughter and my supervisor. I told my supervisor because I felt obligated to explain my three-day absence from work, although she didn't expect an explanation. She is super supportive to me (she is a clinical social worker) and a good friend. I can't describe how awkward it is to tell your own child that you have herpes. Times sure have changed LOL. My daughter was also incredibly supportive, taking me to the doctor, getting me the things I needed because I was in a lot of discomfort and pain during the initial OB.
What I'm really struggling with at the moment is still having feelings for him. I'm heartbroken. I can assume that it was the herpes that turned him off, but it's possible it would have ended anyway. I don't know which is worse, but it doesn't really matter. I'm trying not to be critical of myself for making another mistake with men.
Before he came into my life, I was perfectly happy without a relationship, without sex. But since I enjoyed being with him so much, I now feel incredibly sad that I won't have that with him, and possibly never. I don't meet people easily because I don't go on dating websites, I don't go out to clubs etc. I have a rule about not dating coworkers. So that doesn't leave too many options, and now knowing that I will have to disclose my HSV status, it seems unlikely. Because of my history of going long periods without a relationship, and being happy without a man in my life, I know I'll be okay overall. But having enjoyed the intimacy and conversation with him has made me realize that I do want a relationship.
Anyway, I found this forum a few months ago and have been so grateful to all of the positive comments that I've heard and appreciate you all for sharing your stories. It gives me hope.
Thank you and Merry Christmas!