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greydaysandbrighternights

What’s the point?

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I have a typical story to tell.

I’m a woman in my early 40’s, caught HSV2 in August 2018. I’m so tired of how this virus is affecting my life but I accept responsibility for my own naivety. I hold no judgment toward anyone. It is after all, a very common condition but, accept that I will always be judged for my diagnosis. Always. I’ve only ever disclosed to my daughter and after going away to think about it, her reaction was terrible and cruel. And I was shocked when she told me that she felt people with STDs were irresponsible and deserved it. I’ve lost interest in every aspect of living for two years. It’s been awful. And one hell of a rocky road.

And I came to accept that I would probably be alone for the rest of my life rather than tell anyone about this... but now I’ve met someone. Someone true and lovely. And I’m just really interested in him. Much older. Much wiser. I know I’ll have to tell him soon. That I have a lifelong sexually transmitted disease ... oh my heart. 

I thought it would be ok. Even though I’ve tolerated the outbreaks, you know what? The outbreaks aren’t even a problem. It’s the constant feeling of shame and regret. I’ve been on suppressive antivirals for about 3 weeks. I feel totally nauseous at times and I’m sweating constantly but my vagina feels the most normal that it has in two years. So, I should be happy, right? Despite the side effects, it’s worth it? I don’t know. Because like most people, I’ve scoured the internet for information on keeping a sexual partner protected. And from what I’ve read, even if I’m super aware of my symptoms and abstain from sex during outbreaks, even if I continue to take a drug that makes me absolutely sick and not be able to eat, every 12 hours forever, even if we have to use condoms and lose the spontaneity and intimacy that is afforded to others not afflicted with this disease, even if I pour my heart out and tell someone who I can never know can be trusted with my vulnerability, and by some miracle, he accepts the risk, I cannot keep him safe from it. At all.

I read today “ in discordant relationships, where one partner has HSV2 and one doesn’t, at some point the negative partner will ultimately catch the virus.” I can’t live with doing that to another person. What’s the point in even trying if I’m going to infect someone I love with something incurable despite all of my best efforts? And now I have to make up some imaginary excuse to walk away from him without him thinking it’s his fault. Life is truly unfair sometimes. 

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Oh sister, I feel your aching heart. I get it. It all seems like it's pointless to keep trying based on your perspective. But hang on here ... a lot of what you're thinking is based on the unfair stigma out there. It's just not true (although it may feel like it is). Hang in there with me, okay?

You are so right in what you said: The outbreaks aren't the biggest deal here. It's the feelings of shame and regret. This is so, so common for the vast majority of people with herpes. And you know you can shift those feelings by shifting your perspective, right? This is precisely where you take your power back. So, so important. 

When you disclose to the right man for you, he will see You and all the positive qualities that you are showing him through disclosing: Your integrity, your willingness to be courageous even in the face of pain and shame, your honesty, your desire for depth and meaning in relationship. If someone isn't a good fit for you or just isn't ready for a deeper relationship, he won't see all those deeper qualities. He will hear "herpes" and run for the hills. Your man will see You. This is so important to realize. That herpes can act as a great filter if you make it so. And when a man is ready for a deeper relationship, a little skin condition won't hold him back from diving into exploration with you. I promise. I've seen it time and time again. In fact, it's the norm when you shift your perspective away from shame and into Opportunity.

And about that quote? It's misleading, too. It's not as easy to transmit herpes as you may think. Now, this doesn't mean you don't still take it seriously, disclose to partners, protect them and keep them as safe as possible. All of that is still vital. But don't feel like a walking disease that will infect anything and anybody you touch. (I felt that way when I first got it, too, so I know how you feel! But now it's my responsibility to call BS when I see it.) 😉 If you abstain from sex during outbreaks and you wear condoms, there is a 2% chance per year that a man will contract herpes from you. (Down to 1% if you throw in daily suppressive therapy, but considering your body's reaction to it, it's understandable why you'd consider stopping it.) I've been with my wife for 6+ years and she hasn't gotten herpes yet (and transmitting herpes to women is over 2x as likely as transmitting to men). We even stopped using condoms pretty soon in (which is why we have a 3 year old now!). We aren't paranoid about it; we're careful. We keep an open dialogue about it, especially if I feel anything close to a prodrome symptom kicking in. And even when I'm having an outbreak, we can still get creative and explore sensuality in different ways. Being playful around it helps immensely. 

Which brings me to the final thing here: If your partner ends up getting herpes, it's not the end of their life either. In fact, they're actually much less likely to have a negative reaction about it because they were empowered to make the decision themselves whether to take the risk or not. They were disclosed to and they decided to take the risk because all of your positive qualities overshadowed the potential of getting an annoying skin rash. So many people tend to assume that how other people will perceive getting herpes will be the same as how they perceive it. For example, I got herpes from my ex cheating on my with her ex-boyfriend over holiday. Because of that, I had a few layers of not-so-nice feelings to sort through about herpes! 😂 But if my wife ever ends up getting herpes (which neither of us wants, of course!), she certainly won't have that kind of extra baggage that I did. When a partner gets herpes in a loving and honest relationship, it comes wrapped in a different perspective. Again, be careful, but don't be paranoid. Paranoia disconnects and keeps you in your head. Being full of care for your partner connects you. 

Here are some videos to watch STAT to start shifting your perspective to the positive:

P.S. What a slap-in-the-face reaction from your daughter! Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. No one deserves to be treated that way, especially a mother by her daughter. Callous. She's misguided about what herpes means. Don't let her perspective infect how you see yourself. Your resilience here will be a powerful response to how she treated you. You get to treat you in the way you deserve to be treated. 

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On 6/28/2020 at 7:45 AM, greydaysandbrighternights said:

I have a typical story to tell. I’m a woman in my early 40’s, caught HSV2 in August 2018.. I’m so tired of how this virus is affecting my life but I accept responsibility for my own naivety. I hold no judgment toward anyone. It is after all, a very common condition but, accept that I will always be judged for my diagnosis. Always. I’ve only ever disclosed to my daughter and after going away to think about it, her reaction was terrible and cruel. And I was shocked when she told me that she felt people with STD’s were irresponsible and deserved it. I’ve lost interest in every aspect of living for two years. It’s been awful. And one hell of a rocky road. And I came to accept that I would probably be alone for the rest of my life rather than tell anyone about this... but now I’ve met someone. Someone true and lovely. And I’m just really interested in him. Much older. Much wiser. I know I’ll have to tell him soon. That I have a life long sexually transmitted disease.. oh my heart. 
I thought it would be ok. Even though I’ve tolerated the outbreaks, you know what? The outbreaks aren’t even a problem. It’s the constant feeling of shame and regret. I’ve been on suppressive anti virals for about 3 weeks. I feel totally nauseous at times and I’m sweating constantly but my vagina feels the most normal that it has in two years. So, I should be happy, Right? Despite the side effects, it’s worth it? I don’t know. Because like most people, I’ve scoured the internet for information on keeping a sexual partner protected. And from what I’ve read, even if I’m super aware of my symptoms and abstain from sex, even if I continue to take a drug that makes me absolutely sick and not be able to eat,  every 12 hours  forever, even if we have to use condoms and lose the spontaneity and intimacy that is afforded to others not afflicted with this disease, even if I pour my heart out and tell someone who I can never know can be trusted with my vulnerability, and by some miracle, he accepts the risk, I cannot keep him safe from it. At all. I read today “ in discordant relationships, where one partner has HSV2 and one doesn’t, at some point the negative partner will ultimately catch the virus.” I can’t live with doing that to another person. What’s the point in even trying if I’m going to infect someone I love with something incurable despite all of my best efforts? And now I have to make up some imaginary excuse to walk away from him without him thinking it’s his fault. Life is truly unfair sometimes. 

 

5 hours ago, mr_hopp said:

Oh sister, I feel your aching heart. I get it. It all seems like it's pointless to keep trying based on your perspective. But hang on here ... a lot of what you're thinking is based on the unfair stigma out there. It's just not true (although it may feel like it is). Hang in there with me, okay?

You are so right in what you said: The outbreaks aren't the biggest deal here. It's the feelings of shame and regret. This is so, so common for the vast majority of people with herpes. And you know you can shift those feelings by shifting your perspective, right? This is precisely where you take your power back. So, so important. 

When you disclose to the right man for you, he will see You and all the positive qualities that you are showing him through disclosing: Your integrity, your willingness to be courageous even in the face of pain and shame, your honesty, your desire for depth and meaning in relationship. If someone isn't a good fit for you or just isn't ready for a deeper relationship, he won't see all those deeper qualities. He will hear "herpes" and run for the hills. Your man will see You. This is so important to realize. That herpes can act as a great filter if you make it so. And when a man is ready for a deeper relationship, a little skin condition won't hold him back from diving into exploration with you. I promise. I've seen it time and time again. In fact, it's the norm when you shift your perspective away from shame and into Opportunity.

And about that quote? It's misleading, too. It's not as easy to transmit herpes as you may think. Now, this doesn't mean you don't still take it seriously, disclose to partners, protect them and keep them as safe as possible. All of that is still vital. But don't feel like a walking disease that will infect anything and anybody you touch. (I felt that way when I first got it, too, so I know how you feel! But now it's my responsibility to call BS when I see it.) 😉 If you abstain from sex during outbreaks and you wear condoms, there is a 2% chance per year that a man will contract herpes from you. (Down to 1% if you throw in daily suppressive therapy, but considering your body's reaction to it, it's understandable why you'd consider stopping it.) I've been with my wife for 6+ years and she hasn't gotten herpes yet (and transmitting herpes to women is over 2x as likely as transmitting to men). We even stopped using condoms pretty soon in (which is why we have a 3 year old now!). We aren't paranoid about it; we're careful. We keep an open dialogue about it, especially if I feel anything close to a prodrome symptom kicking in. And even when I'm having an outbreak, we can still get creative and explore sensuality in different ways. Being playful around it helps immensely. 

Which brings me to the final thing here: If your partner ends up getting herpes, it's not the end of their life either. In fact, they're actually much less likely to have a negative reaction about it because they were empowered to make the decision themselves whether to take the risk or not. They were disclosed to and they decided to take the risk because all of your positive qualities overshadowed the potential of getting an annoying skin rash. So many people tend to assume that how other people will perceive getting herpes will be the same as how they perceive it. For example, I got herpes from my ex cheating on my with her ex-boyfriend over holiday. Because of that, I had a few layers of not-so-nice feelings to sort through about herpes! 😂 But if my wife ever ends up getting herpes (which neither of us wants, of course!), she certainly won't have that kind of extra baggage that I did. When a partner gets herpes in a loving and honest relationship, it comes wrapped in a different perspective. Again, be careful, but don't be paranoid. Paranoia disconnects and keeps you in your head. Being full of care for your partner connects you. 

Here are some videos to watch STAT to start shifting your perspective to the positive:

P.S. What a slap-in-the-face reaction from your daughter! Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. No one deserves to be treated that way, especially a mother by her daughter. Callous. She's misguided about what herpes means. Don't let her perspective infect how you see yourself. Your resilience here will be a powerful response to how she treated you. You get to treat you in the way you deserve to be treated. 

thank you. I so appreciate you taking the time to reply. It means a great deal and I’ve saved it for future reassurance. 

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