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HSV1 positive at 22, feeling lost


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I am new to this forum as I just found out a couple days ago that I tested positive for HSV-1. I am 22 and single, terrified at that this will mean for my future ability to date and find someone willing to look past this.

Just entering the real world I was excited by the opportunity to (post-covid) meet new people and date around. But now it feels like I am setting myself up for rejection and potential loss of great people. I see many on here comment on that when you disclose to your potential partner, it may act as somewhat of a 'filter' for those who are not really right for you but I have a hard time stomaching that rationale. Having since done research it is clear how over stigmatized a HSV infection is but without having done that digging I would have never known that. If I am being honest with myself I would have also been wary to be intimate with someone who shared with me that they have herpes. It is the life long part that is scary. That is what would have deterred me. It is my own acknowledgement that I would have likely been wary that scares me the most. If I was less likely to become involved with someone who disclosed their diagnosis with me then it is perfectly likely that others will feel the same about me. I would not blame them for feeling this way. It is understandable. 

These are supposed to be my peak years in life and I feel I have lost them. Delayed at first due to covid, now lost entirely. I am so afraid of being alone forever. I spent a majority of my college years and then some single and I know I have spent a lot of time working on myself and toward my career, developing happiness as an individual. But it has come with the sadness of feeling alone when many around me are not and now having to tell any potential mate that there is a chance I give them a lifelong infection feels like the final blow to ever being not alone. I am scared. I am so sad. I am feeling lost and hopeless. I don't know what to do to be okay with this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please don't let that mindset get the best of you. I held onto that mindset for way too long. And it crippled me. If I kept believing that, then I wouldn't have met the woman who is now my wife and the mother of our child. It feels like a big risk to put ourselves out there in general, then having herpes feels like it amplifies that risk of being rejected. But if we're honest with ourselves, we've always had that fear of rejection. So if we can use herpes as leverage to excavate our own vulnerability, knowing that the person we are meant to be with will see our hearts, our integrity, our trustworthiness. Yes, they will see herpes, but it won't be a dealbreaker in the midst of everything else on the table. It's when we believe ahead of time that we will be rejected across the board that we create a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, we don't bring our whole selves to the table because of fear of being rejected. And when we don't bring our whole selves, they don't get the chance to see us for who we are. This is the double-edged sword here. Have the courage to reveal ourselves with those we feel we can trust with our vulnerability, then leave the decision up to them on whether they want to take the risk. You'll be surprised by how many people will see You and not some stigmatized skin condition. 

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