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Hello, Friends! 😊 First, I want to say I came across this website during a panic attack, and immediately I felt a rush of calmness over me. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and hopeful advice-- it really means so much to me and so many others. God Bless You All! 😇 My story consists of a few odd variables. I have had anorexia since I was 14, and although I am physically recovered, it is a mental illness that stays with you basically forever. I still have my struggles and I have anxiety about food and exercise, but it is not as bad as it once was. After intense therapy, it seemed my eating disorder was directly related to my abandonment issues of my father. My feelings of being "dirty" and "unclean" also came from this, but more from a memory of having an inappropriate encounter with a male, whose identity I do not know. My anorexia coupled with my OCD, which resulted in counting obsessively, having to do rituals for everything from eating and chewing a certain number of times, to how i brushed and flossed, to how I said my prayers at night. It caused me to be late for school, gain unwanted attention from classmates, and interfere with my friendships and family relationships. As a started to date, I noticed I would cry at the sight of a penis because of the childhood experience, which obviously was both embarrassing (although I laugh at it now) and made me uncomfortable with sexual relationships. However, I dated many people for company, as my mental health issues made me feel sad and isolated, and I craved connection. Although a lot of people don't like to admit it, having "daddy issues" is 110% a real thing, and as I look back on my teenage self, I see that I was trying to fill so many voids through boyfriends. As I entered college, I found myself struggling with my eating disorder and OCD, and now family stress issues. After problems with my family home led to me moving back home at the end of freshman year, my mental health drastically lowered. At 19 I started dating this guy who was about five years older than me. He was basically the exact opposite of me in every single way; politically and morally, he drank and smoke while I did not, etc. He was a "bad boy". My family did not approve of him so we dated in secret, which made me feel guilty and wrong, but I did it anyway, because I felt that maybe through this relationship, I could achieve something. One day while we were having sex, he took out his phone and started taking photographs of me. I immediately covered myself and told him to stop, but instead of stopping he laughed at me and held my wrists so he could continue taking pictures. A week or so later while having sex, I told him to stop because I felt a horrible pain in my vagina. He begrudgingly stopped, and then a few moments later asked if he could finish. I declined because I was in so much pain, but instead of accepting my answer he asked again, and then just decided to put his penis back inside and finish. I was confused and a little shocked. The next day I woke up with about thirty red boils all over my outer and inner labia. After two painful days I saw a doctor who told me I had herpes, later tested to be HSV-1. The doctor told me I had sores inside my vaginal cavity, too. I explained to the doctor that my boyfriend had no symptoms, and that he said he didn't have herpes. The doctor explained that he was my sexual partner, so he had given it to me regardless of what he said. I told my boyfriend the diagnosis and he told me it was my fault from probably sleeping around with dirty people, and he became angry and said that I better not have given him anything because he had "come into this life clean and was going out clean, too." He refused to kiss me goodbye for fear of me giving it to him orally (which we all medically know doesn't make sense) and I went on my way. For about ten days I had excruciating pain when walking, sitting, going to the bathroom, and dressing. I felt embarrassed walking to and from college classes like a waddling duck, and it interfered with my job, too. Another "bonus,"... I got my period the day I got the sores, and I had a sinus infection... so needless to say, I was a hot mess. Eventually I broke up with the jerk and confronted him about his actions. Dating with herpes is difficult, and I have been rejected so many times for having HSV1 on my genital area. I always explain it to people right when I meet them/first date, and a few men have been very accepting. I appreciate when they ask questions, because it shows they actually want to understand it and are not immediately judging, and because they care about health and safe sex. When I got my next outbreak, only about three sores, I cried, not because of the sores but because of how I got the sores (from the cruel and disgusting ex-boyfriend). Already feeling dirty and unworthy because of my childhood-related trauma and addy issues, I felt even more dirty and disgusting, and my OCD kicked in on overdrive. Until about a week ago when I found this website, I was constantly paranoid I would give my genital HSV1 herpes (and COVID, of course) to my family members just by touching a shared object with my hands. I am afraid to prepare food, wash dishes, and touch anything that my family will use/touch. Although I know that HSV1 on the genital area can only be passed through skin-to-skin contact with my genital skin area, I still was convinced it was just all over my body and would hurt a loved one. There is so much mixed messaging about herpes, and I have found website saying herpes can pass through food, through towels, through a handshake, and other say the exact opposite! I love this website because it provided guidance from those with herpes; who can relate and share the realities of herpes (which really helps combat my OCD fear and anxiety). I am happy to say that I am learning to peacefully coexist and make harmony with my OCD, anorexia, past memories and hurts, and herpes. Yes rejection hurts, but I don't let it slow me down, because I deserve someone who is kind and understanding, not judgmental and only focused on my physical body (remember-- you are MORE than your body, too!!! SO MUCH MORE!!!). ❤️To all those out there who think you are ugly, worthless, dirty, or are ashamed... just be and live as you are, because you deserve to be happy, well, and in harmony with your mind, spirit, body, and soul. It will get better. You are beautiful and strong! God loves you and made you, and God doesn't make mistakes. You matter and the world needs you! ❤️❤️❤️
positive/successful disclosure story
bird posted a topic in The herpes talk: disclosingHere is my story. I had contracted herpes (HSVII/genital) in 2012 from a partner who *claims* he didn't know. I was naturally devastated, but luckily had been on road trip with said partner, and honestly being away from home distracted me from the bizarreness of it all, at least temporarily. I could be distracted with all the adventures that we had planned for the trip. And surprisingly this partner was totally not freaked out by this new diagnosis, let alone current symptoms/outbreak. Over the years I had managed to disclose successfully to a handful of different partners. Most of them came around and we had full-fledged relationships, ending for other reasons, but mostly on good/decent terms. However, in September of 2018 I had met this one guy and failed to disclose to him. He was everything (I thought) I wanted and thus I was greatly ashamed & intimidated about disclosing. Then, what I will call "the perfect storm" happened and I failed to disclose before sex. I'll skip the details about that here. But I do have another post where I got into trouble with him being angry from having told him after the fact. Fast forward to about 6 months later. I had been working hard, and even enrolled in courses to propel my career, just hoping to redeem myself and help build greater self-confidence in order to prevent the weakness I had experience previously. Having started to feel stronger and better about myself, I put myself out on a dating website. I had so much interest and quickly met a great guy that I started to build a connection with. I thought I would have the courage to tell someone within the first few dates, but it started getting close to six dates, and I was growing increasingly anxious. After I had made the terrible mistake with the previous guy, I was sure I would have the confidence to tell just about anyone, but that seemed to have faded, and I struggled all over again with shame and (lack of) self-confidence. One night we had a miscommunication that upset me, and he was so apologetic and sincere, that it became clear to me that this man was dedicated, so I thought F-it! If he's so dedicated there's one quick way to be sure. Also, in the weeks leading up to this, I had run it through my head that I could approach with the mentality/attitude that *he* needs to be okay with this if we are going to progress. And by that I meant it's *his* responsibility to be cool with this (not mine). I finally got myself to a point where I don't feel like I need to take full responsibility for someone accepting something about me that I cannot change and that I didn't really get the decision to. I no longer need to take responsibility for whether someone else can make a reasonable rational decision based on facts, and that me already knowing, sharing/disclosing, and protecting myself (& my partner) is a lot LESS riskier than had he continued dating so many other people, many of which could have it and not know it or not be able/willing to disclose in advance properly. So that night I texted him to get his butt over to my place and that we needed to have a talk. He hurried over and was scared that he had done something wrong. I quickly reassured him that wasn't the case. We walked over to a cute little suspension bridge in my neighborhood, where we could have privacy from neighbors, and then I managed to cough up the news like hairball (awkwardly). He immediately stopped me and told me that even though he hasn't dated many people, it wasn't the first time he had a relationship with someone who had this. He barely let me finish and then hugged me and reassured me. Then we continued walking the neighborhood and he took that as an opportunity to bring a few other important topics to the table, nothing related to this site. I felt amazing, redeemed & relieved, and finally proud of myself. I hope this lil story helps at least one person. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Oh, and no judgements from me if you are struggling or fail to disclose. I'm here to do my best to educate & encourage so you don't continue making these mistakes.
My Successful Disclosure
mystory posted a topic in Herpes talk success storiesI needed to share my successful disclosure after weeks of reading forums, articles, blogs, watching videos and most importantly freaking our about disclosing. I am a single mom, in her very late 30s. I have been carrying the herpes virus for over 4 years now. I got the virus from my ex after one of our many attempts to reconcile. I never had to have "the talk" before, because after my ex and I separated (yet again) I wasn't ready to date and later decided to try a herpes dating site so I don't deal with the anxiety of having to deal with "the talk." While PS is a great site, it doesn't have that many members, and I decided to give it a try and signed up on a non-H dating site. After a few months and a few dates, I became interested in someone. We went on 4 dates and on date 5 he asked me if and when I was going to invite him over. We were sitting in a quiet cafe, in the corner, and it was the perfect timing to have the talk...only that I simply couldn't. Very disappointed of myself and my lack of courage, we departed that evening. I got home and started reading and watching videos of other people's stories. Couple of things really helped me find my courage. First, I stared disclosing to my closer friends. I think I told at least 10-15 people. I was surprised how many of my friends needed to be educated about herpes and the other thing that surprised me was how many of my friends actually had it (four of my really close girlfriends!). Being able to openly talk about it made me feel comfortable about who I was and normalized my experiences. Second, I practiced. I asked a few of my friends to practice with them. They pretended to be the guy I was disclosing to, giving me different scenarios and this helped me feel more comfortable about finding the right words when the moment came. I also spent a lot of time planning of where and when to disclose. It wasn't the perfect event (we were going to a concert), but I decided that this was going to be the evening (date #6), when I needed to tell him and I had to simply find a quiet place to have this difficult conversation. After the concert he wanted to drive me home and I told him I needed to talk with him about something. Luckily, there were seats at the valet parking lot of the hotel (he left his car there), where we could comfortably sit down and privately talk. He was nervous. I think he was convinced I was going to tell him that this is not working out for me (I was considering it, because having to have the talk seem too daunting for me). I started my memorized by now speech, in which I told him my personal story of how I learned I have the virus and when I was diagnosed. I told him that even with condoms there is still a risk for him to get the virus and that I needed him to think about it and do his own research so he can make the best possible decision for himself...Then I stopped and waited for his response. I was sure he will just walk away with the excuse that he needs to process the information and do his research (after all, I insisted that he do exactly that). To my surprise he thanked me and he acknowledged how difficult this talk might have been for me. I was shocked! I did not expect this kind of response. He also let me know that I am not the first woman to disclose this to him and he already knows and read quite a bit about herpes and the risks and this is not changing the way he felt about me. It was such a relief to have this kind of reaction and to be completely accepted. While I presented calm during the talk his acceptance was what made me emotional and I felt amazingly close to him. I am still dating the same man. I don't know where and how this relationship will go forward, but I know for sure that if it ends it won't be due to the virus. Good luck to any of you who are facing this similar situation. I hope my story gives you hope.