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This is my herpes story ...

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So, here's my story, it's probably gonna be long, but I think it will be good for me to write it. I have been carrying it alone for several months now.


I am 41 year old mother of two, currently separated from my husband of 19 years. My husband is good man, but we married too young. He was an only child, the apple of his parents' eye and I grew up in a very dysfunctional home where I was neglected and abused. And even though I'd done some work on myself in therapy before we married...our marriage had a messed up dynamic from the beginning. I didn't have a lot of self-confidence despite putting myself through college and graduating with honors. I didn't have a self to give to anyone. I just knew that I wanted to be loved, and I married the first man that loved me enough to ask me. I don't think I ever thought about whether the relationship was right for me, or if he was going to help me become the best version of myself. I just said yes, and the train was in motion.


I had moments of doubt and almost backed out, but I went through with the wedding and we made a family. As long as I held it together, anticipated his needs and made his life happy, things were good. I did all the emotional work and helped him be a good father. We had a child on the autism spectrum and I navigated that challenge alone while he retreated in grief. I was the caretaker. The emotional designated driver. And after 19 years I was exhausted. I knew we needed help. And when he refused, it was my decision to separate. We were both miserable...but he did not want the separation. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, to leave. I allowed our children to stay in the family home because I didn't want to disrupt their lives any more than necessary. He made it difficult for me to leave him financially, but I persevered, believing we both deserved something better, and that when you love someone you do it with actions and words. Holding someone hostage with guilt is not love.


Enter my long lost ex-love from childhood. He hears thru the grapevine I am separated and begins pursuing me via Facebook. I tell him I am not divorced, just separated and not ready to start a new relationship, but he has always been my kryptonite. And I was so very lonely. So hungry for love and attention. S called me, listened to me sort things out and said all of the things I had longed to hear. He convinced me to come out to where he was for a "break" from all of the stress and give us a chance to get reacquainted. I was able to see his family again and it felt so good to be surrounded by support and encouragement. They were excited to see me back in S's live again, a little too excited now that I look back, and I let myself get carried away with him. He was irresistible to me. He would cry and say how he'd waited for another chance with me and now that it was here he couldn't believe how lucky he was to have it.


I returned home and he called me every day. We grew closer. Looking back there were signs I shouldn't have trusted him. But we had known one another since we were both in grade school, and it felt so good to be back in his life. I was lonely and leaned in to his support. A couple of months into things he called to let me know he wanted to move back to my area to be with me. He was going to come here, stay with his sister until he could find work, and be there for me when I needed him. (Of course I ended up helping to support him for a while somehow, but that was a minor detail, right?) He was irresistible to me, feeding me all of the BS about not letting me get away this time, regretting it for the last 20 years, blah blah. I was lonely and love-starved. So I was foolish. I let my guard down.


Long story short, out of the blue one day he left. Moved out to his cousin's house in a nearby state. Cut off communication and played like I was dead to him. I was devastated. I tried calling his sisters who were my friends, etc. and even his mom and everyone seemed confused. They all kept saying how he'd spoken so well of me and of his intent for us to eventually marry once my divorce was final.


But as the days passed even they stopped taking my calls or when they did they seemed embarrassed to talk to me. I just wanted to know what had happened. Why he left. I was devastated. I was a mess. I couldn't get him to answer my calls or texts... on a phone I was paying for, of course...and it took me a month to finally get the nerve to shut it off.


I had to go on anti-depressants and I was barely functioning at work. THEN about 6 weeks after he disappeared I discovered a sore on my girly parts. I go to the doctor and test positive for HSV-1 and HSV-2. About a week later I get a call from the doctor and they reported my pap test was abnormal and they needed to see me as soon as possible. I went in and found out I had also contracted a strain of high-risk HPV and I completely came apart.


I called his sister who had been my friend for years, and told her and she called him. She called me back crying saying she was so confused. That he was telling her not to believe me, that I was a pathological liar. She asked me if I could send her some proof because she just didn't know what to believe. I was so traumatized...I sent her my lab reports. I told her I had only been with S. I had been faithful in my marriage and had only slept with two other men before marriage, one of them S because he was my first!


I know I will be okay. I am strong. I just can't believe I am here. I have had three partners in my whole life including him. He pushed his way into my life, gave me an incurable virus, compromised my immune system and left me. I have since had to have a cervical biopsy and I will have to closely follow the health of my cervix for cancer prevention with pap tests every 6 months.


My divorce will be final soon, but I seriously wonder who will want me. My husband has started counseling, but he no longer wants to reconcile. Even if he did, I am sure the knowledge of my new STD status would be a deal breaker.


I know I am more than this virus, but I am scared. I am sad. It took all the courage I had in me to leave my marriage and hope for something better and I feel like Herpes has taken my hope. I am fighting, but it's really hard right now.


(Totally unrelated to the H, but....In April I got called in to my boss's office and told my position was being eliminated, so I have been spending the last two months looking for a new job on top of everything else.)


There are days when I feel like I am being punished for wanting more, but I know that's not true. I am a very strong woman with a huge heart, and this has definitely been a hit, but I truly believe our greatest challenges are opportunities in disguise and I want to live out that truth.


I am here to learn how to love myself with herpes and to use this virus as an opportunity to become a better human being. I don't want to waste time being angry or sad anymore. I want to live in hope. When I was waiting for the results on my HPV biopsy I realized I could be facing cancer AND Herpes. I was so grateful to learn that was not the case. It's all about perspective.


I am certain I am here for a reason, and I am grateful for each one of your stories. I have read them, and in doing so found the voice to share mine, too.


(And if you've read this whole thing you are amazing! Phew!)


here's to making Herpes sexy in 2012,




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Thank you for sharing your story here, breatheandletgo ... (and I love your screen name, by the way) ...


The parts that specifically jumped out at me:

- "I didn't have a self to give to anyone" - I love how you made this distinction. I know I can relate to this. I expected that I was going to be enough if someone else loved me, but when it came down to it, I hadn't even gotten to know myself yet and love myself. That whole cliché is absolutely true: You have to love yourself (and know yourself) before someone else can love (and know) you.

- "Holding someone hostage with guilt is not love" - Wow, yes. I've heard so many people staying in relationships out of guilt or other negative feelings. It's so unhealthy and sad that we can do this to ourselves. And I get it, too. Relationship dynamics are complex. I'm glad you realized you didn't have to stay in the guilt.

- You have a lot of courage to leave a marriage that wasn't right for you. It sounds like you're flexing that muscle of trusting yourself, trusting your inner judgment. Once you start following that, magic happens (at least in my experience)

- "I truly believe our greatest challenges are opportunities in disguise and I want to live out that truth" - Yes! I've heard it also put that walls are put in the way of our dreams to see how much we really want to achieve them. Beautiful perspective-shift.

- "I don't want to waste time being angry or sad anymore. I want to live in hope." - I also don't want you to shame yourself when you do feel angry or sad, though. It's a slippery slope. Honoring what you're feeling in the moment is crucial, while also noticing if you are wallowing and not allowing yourself to move on and live your life. It's a balancing act. Also, keep in mind that hope can be a sneaky thing. It may just hold us back from living. Read this blog article on that:


- "I am certain I am here for a reason, and I am grateful for each one of your stories. I have read them, and in doing so found the voice to share mine, too." - Thank you. You have summed up what this website is all about. Each one of us props one another up so we can eventually stand on our own two feet and live life full out.

- "here's to making Herpes sexy in 2012" - How about we make YOU sexy in 2012? I think that's a way more deserving goal. ;)


Thank you for your post, breatheandletgo. I look forward to getting to know you more.

Note: This 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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I like that goal. ;)


I loved that post on hope...and I see what you mean. It has a dark side. My definition of hope is a sense of positive expectation...hope means I trust that good is on it's way to me. It doesn't depend on circumstances. It's at the core of the life I create regardless of circumstances. It doesn't mean I don't feel pain, or have fears, or doubt...it just means I pass through it with a death grip on the idea that I will be better and stronger on the other side.


I know I have to make friends with Herpes. (dang it!) And I have to forgive myself for being a bit of a dingbat...okay, for being human. I have to forgive myself for being human. I am working on these things. I am really good at loving others...myself?...not so much. But I want to be. I deserve it. For the first time...I really do know that. And for me that is huge progress.


Thanks so much for creating this healing space, The H_Opp.




p.s. I practice yoga, so my username is what I tell myself when I lay my mat down and wait for class to start. It's my internal mantra. I say it to remind myself to leave the world outside and be present with the work in front of me. I thought it would be a good reminder for me here, too.

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I want to give you the biggest hug and tell you it is all going to be ok..this too shall pass. Sadly the H, H and H won't (I have been through the same as you although I only have HSV2 and high risk HPV - had abnormal pap smears for 12 years). Got both from men I loved and was faithful to. I also went through a job crisis during outbreaks and also my husband finally asking for a divorce (by text would you believe!) and wanting me to drop his name because he had been told I was on a dating site ( I looking for a dance partner to learn with...was hardly wanting to date anyone then). There is always other stuff to deal with on top of herpes it seems.


I have dated and had a short relationship (with someone herpes positive), so all is not lost in terms of finding someone special...and herpes has a way of sifting out the crappy men. I am never short of men who want to be with me so a lot of people think I am really lucky (if only they knew!) but I have fun, enjoy friendships and don't get into dramas..and herpes helps me keep a healthy distance and be friends without getting intimate.


I would like to have someone special again and am learning to be patient about that...I go through phases of feeling sad about it, but they pass. Life can be sexy with herpes and without a significant man - you have to learn how to be sexy within yourself and treat yourself sexy. I learned to dance latin style ceroc - I love it and it get to be close and 'dirty' (LOL) with lots of men, with no hassles about herpes. I dress sexy, flirt and treat myself.


So make 2012 sexy for you and you don't need a man to do that...do it for yourself and give yourself time to heal from this latest man. Make 2012 all about you :-) xx

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Life can be sexy with herpes and without a significant man - you have to learn how to be sexy within yourself and treat yourself sexy.


Thanks for that, Lelani. I have gone on a couple of dates since the Giver. [the last time I saw him was on Halloween of 2011 and I am tired of living like a nun] One guy in particular I really liked, he also had HSV-1. We met through an online support forum for herpes. [not here] He pursued me...came on strong in the beginning, but after a couple of dates (that were a ton of fun...we went to dinner and dancing, etc.) he blew me off. I just stopped hearing from him. I don't know when I have ever been the one to call a guy first, but I was curious as to what the hell happened. It had been 2 weeks since I'd heard from him this weekend, so I decided to call. I was confused. He brought me roses on our last date for pete's sake!


So I called and said... Hi...I get since you haven't called me that you aren't into me, and that's completely okay. I am not angry or anything, but what the hell happened? Turns out he decided he wasn't ready for a relationship. He was kind of harsh, making his point a little too loudly. He kept saying we are looking for different things, blah blah, but I never told him what I was looking for! I wanted to say Dude, I just planned to use you for sex, but whatever! Sucks to be you! Peace out.


I still can't figure it out. He was all over me. We made out on his couch like teenagers and it was hoooottt! But now I feel like a total loser. My confidence is at an all-time low. Let's be real here: I have been out of the game for so long I don't have a clue about the rules anymore. I'm not wise to the ways of dating in 2012, let alone dating in 2012 with HERPES. The last time I was dating anyone *NSYNC was the hot new boy band and Seinfeld was still on Thursday nights on NBC. I know I'm not 80, but when it comes to dating, I am a total newbie. I got no game, people.


I'm not shy, but I am more traditional. I wouldn't ask a guy out...I don't think. Unless I'd had a few too many, but that's a problem because I'm not a big drinker. I am approachable, and have friends of both sexes, so I don't think I'm weird with men. I asked my friend Brandon what he thought happened and he said I probably scared him. And I said, HOW?!! And he said, "with your hotness." So sweet...and very typical of my buddy, B...but not very enlightening.


So I think you are right...maybe I should just be alone for a while. But I am going to be gut honest here, my new friend L. I am in my freaking prime! The last two YEARS of my marriage were sexless. ZERO. Nada. And then I hooked up with the Giver and we were long distance for most of that facade. We only had about 8 weeks where he was here and we had regular sex and it wasn't, well...memorable. In other words, Stella did not get her groove back. But she did get the H and a broken-er heart.


But I am not the type of girl who can have meaningless sex. Sport sex. I mean, I want it to be Olympic gold winning sex, but I want it to be monogamous and with a guy I am falling in love with. A guy who has potential to be a life partner, best friend, soul mate. I am not interested in casual. I want depth. Maybe I AM scary.


Ok, now I'm rambling... but thanks Lelani. You made me feel better. xo





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You're not rambling...so know where you are coming from. I am 52 and am told all the time I look 40 ish and hot...so no problem there..and I am definitely still in my prime lol - very fit, slim and lots of energy!


As for the blow off from the guy...so know that one too!!!! My short relationship with the H+ guy got to the point of him wanting to take me overseas for a holiday and wanting to marry me...introduced me to his friends and family and told them i was extra special and he wouldn't be letting go of me...then the ex returned pledging her undying love and wished she had never broken up with him. And his friends all say she is nothing compared to me and can't understand him...oh well he definitely wasn't the one!


I went for 5 and a half years without sex, without even looking at a guy. Took me that long to get over the 25 year marriage and feel like I had found who i was. I only started dating about 18 months ago and met two guys before H who were really special - one gave me H, told me and I took the risk. We are still friends...was my choice and bad luck. We ended it because of circumstances...he had kids and I didnt want to mother any more teenagers and would have had to move cities.


I did have a short slutty time I call it my quirky alone slut phase (read the book 'quirky alone' great for feeling good about being single by choice, or by default!). But I learned that I want someone special too...everything is better and more meaningful. Now I am nearly 8 years single (with 18 months of short interludes lol) and am over being alone. I have heaps of friends and a great social life...would just be nice to have someone to share it with now. So I will wait...am not dating as I'm goin through a phase of not wanting to have to tell, just seems hard, but it will pass again. And like you I don't want to ask a guy out..especially not now!


So I dance..and dance and dance. The guys love dancing with me coz I dance very hot, without making it wierd! And then I say thankyou and walk off the dancefloor! I think I would go mental if I didn't have that!


Have loved your replies...

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