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I get why people don't tell about herpes

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I have had HSV-2 for over 21 years. I was diagnosed while in a 7 year relationship with my husband and 7 months pregnant with my first child. My baby was delivered safely and she is a beautiful HSV-negative young lady. My husband told me that he didn’t have it, and I must have gotten it from a previous boyfriend as there is such a thing as a 7 year “dormancy”….I will add he is a physician. When I divorced him several years later, due to persistent adultery, the fact of HSV-2 and dating hit me hard. I was honest with potential intimate relationships and I have to say, I have never met such cruel insensitive and ignorant people. The first, recoiled when I went to hold his hands while sitting across the table from him.

After all this time, you would think that I would have adapted and come to terms with the commonality of this virus, but I haven’t. Recently, I had the conversation with a new relationship and was told that he was having difficulty dealing with the “Russian Roulette” factor and that he would continuously “worry” about getting it. I told him that herpes isn’t something that someone wants, but I was absolutely sure it would not blow his brains out!

I continue to be devastated (this just happened) even after all these years. Being alone has a lot of comfort, and isolating myself from socializing is also safe. I am drowning in work and feel this is an option. It is too bad that the fact that I am honest has zero value. I understand why people don’t tell; rejection is a very humiliating experience. I have been asymptomatic for more than 10 years (I can’t remember the last one) so I could easily lie about it. I am an honest person and could not continue a relationship on a lie. If people want honesty, they need to grow up and handle it…..they probably already have herpes and not know it.

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Thank you for talking so openly about your experience. I deeply appreciate you putting yourself out there with us. I get your deep pain and your frustration. I hear it and feel it on a visceral level. Don’t you just wish our culture could jump ahead in awareness a bit to realize that herpes really isn’t that big of a deal? So many people make it such a big deal without really knowing what it is. The bark of herpes is much worse than the bite (especially considering that you haven’t even had a herpes occurrence in 10 years!).


But Susan, the part that really struck me was when you said “It is too bad that the fact that I am honest has zero value” … That has all the value in the WORLD! Susan, you are strong and courageous and LIVE what you believe (that's integrity out the yin yang!). That is something to be proud of in itself. There are plenty of people out there who need that kind of transparency and honesty in their lives. Just because a few people in your life haven’t seen your honesty as valuable doesn’t take away its value.


But trust me, I get how it can feel that way when your experience with being honest doesn’t seem to have produced positive results (a close and accepting relationship, for example). But I for one want to give you a hug and a fist-bump for being so real through all of this. I promise you that taking herpes as an opportunity to be real and vulnerable in a strong way brings exactly the kind of relationship you want to have to you. Honestly, I wouldn’t want a relationship where I couldn’t be open and vulnerable about what’s really going on with me, and I would want the same from my partner. And someone who would reject a whole human being because of herpes is like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater — does that analogy work here? ;) There are so many other qualities in us that overshadow this little herpes thing, it’s insane. It’s just our job to focus on nurturing those positive qualities instead of letting other people’s opinions get us down. Those who live their values tend to recognize value in others. Like attracts like.


  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis. I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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  • 1 month later...

hey hasn't anybody given thought to the STDs that are curable are/have the worst side effects and the ones that are permanent aren't so bad ...... God forgive me, but I'd rather have herpes than some other things!! It's not pretty .. but yeah if you get herpes, you get bumps, no cure .... but if you get Trichomoniasis you can get a cure but if you wait too long you lose your ovaries, ladies .... This is why some of us can't bear kids but don't have a clue to why this had happen to you ......... SO herpes OK yes I am ... I'm Great !

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