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I just have one fear that holds me back


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Hi, 

So, I think I totally accepted what has happened to me. I am trying to keep healthy and so far I only had i e OB. The only thing that scares me to move forward and just be who I was before my diagnosis is the fact that I will pass it on. 

I am not worried about disclosing or rejection, I just don't want to be the reason someone else will be in pain and will have to live with H. 

I am gutted coz like everyone I still love sex but I cannot imagine myself ever to enjoy it without worrying. I even recently gave up on a relationship. I disclosed he accepted but I was so scared I let him go. 

Anyone else feeling like that? 

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This is a common fear that I see all the time, for sure. So you're not alone in it. You're in good company! But you can choose to reframe this in the positive. Because you deserve to be in a great relationship if that's what you're wanting. 

Here's the reframe: Change your perspective from being paranoid about transmission to being careful. Being paranoid about transmission disconnects you from your partner and yourself. It keeps you in your head and unable to let go and enjoy the moment. But being careful (a.k.a. "full of care") brings you closer together. It keeps you in your heart, in your body. It connects you to yourself and your partner.

Also, consider this: when a grown-ass man (the scientific term) decides to take on the risk, then it's a shared responsibility between the two of you to keep him safe. So it's not all on you. It's about communicating together and doing your best to keep him safe from a place of care instead of fear. And worst case scenario, even if he gets herpes (which no one wants, but it comes with the territory), he knows he was taking on that risk, which means he is that much closer to acceptance because he saw that the positives of being in relationship with you far outweighed the possible negatives that would come with getting herpes. 

Something else super important to consider: If a partner gets herpes in relationship** and they were disclosed to and given the choice, their experience of being a person with herpes is very different from someone who wasn't given that choice. For example, I got herpes from my then-girlfriend cheating on me with her ex over Xmas break. So for me, herpes had an extra layer of anger and vindication to it. I had more to work through in order to heal from that and reframe herpes as an opportunity for deeper intimacy in my life. So consider that a partner who is knowingly taking a risk would have a different take on what herpes means. Instead of it meaning dishonesty, anger, shame (all those negative things the stigma would have you believe), it actually means a partner who has consideration, integrity, honesty, care ... In other words, you can transmit your positive qualities to your partner, and those can have a much bigger impact than the annoying skin rash that herpes ultimately is. 

**(Which is rarer than you might think! My wife and I have been together for 6+ years, ended up not using condoms for most of our relationship and now have a 3 year old boy. I'm a firm believer that for those people who are aware that they have herpes — only 20% are, by the way — this makes us much more safe than those who are unaware or in denial about it.)

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Adding to mr_hopp said, I have been in a relationship with my SO for almost a year and a half. We no longer use protection (I cannot get pregnant so no risk of that and we made the decision to stop using protection) and my SO is still negative. I also do not take any sort of antiviral. I do not recommend that you have any unprotected sex unless you are in a committed relationship and you and your partner have discussed not using protection.

I was blindsided by my diagnosis (via blood test only, never had an OB that I can recall) and never had the opportunity to accept the risks. But, I disclosed (before sex!) and my SO accepted me openly and it has NEVER been an issue. Honestly, aside from the day I disclosed and a brief mention the next morning, it has never even been a discussion since. We do not let it rule our lives/relationship. But, I know that IF my SO does get it from me, he will let me know and we will continue on in our relationship. He won't be blindsided like I was because he went into our relationship with his eyes wide open.

Give yourself time. And remember that you are the same badass that you were before the diagnosis and that you are worthy of love and companionship. And trust me...you WILL have great sex again. 😉

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Thank you both for your time to reply and your perspective. I guess as you say it would be a shared responsibility and with time i will  learn how to live with my diagnosis within a relationship. 

Thank you again x

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