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Feeling demoralized on a rejection on unprotected sex


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I know that I shouldn't feel as strongly or badly about this as I do, but my heart hurts today and is weighting me down after the situation I went through last night. 

I had a randez-vous with my ex last night, which unexpectedly turned physical. He and I have stayed friends the last 9 months since our break up and have hung out at least once before. He lives kind of far and we had wanted to go hiking together before i move across the country in the next couple months. Because of the 90 minute drive each way and a busy weekend ahead for me, he offered his spare room the night before our hike so i wouldn't have to drive over 3 hrs in one day. I took the offer, and with completely innocent intentions, I went there yesterday evening. We went out to dinner and he showed me a couple bars in his new town that he liked. It became clear as the evening went on that we were getting progressively flirtier and more physical. 

One thing lead to another and we started hooking up, it was clear we both wanted to have sex with each other. We had a sexual relationship when we were together, and he knows about my HSV + status. We always wore condoms and I never pressured him to have sex without one. Last night, because neither of us were expecting to hook up and because neither of us had been sexually active since we were together months and months ago, we did not have a condom available and it was already around 1:30am so it would have been a mission to go out and get one. Because I trust him as a person, and as a friend, I told him that I hadn't slept with anyone since our break up, and if he hadn't either that I would feel comfortable about not wearing a condom. I'd also just gone to the gyno this week and everything looked fine. 

All while fooling around, he proceeded to question me about my antiviral usage, and then asked me if i was telling the truth about taking them??? I told him that was kind of fucked up to ask, but didn't worry about it in that second. Then he sighed and told me he just felt nervous to have sex without a condom with ME. 

It all kind of took me aback, granted, I was fairly tipsy and reacted emotionally to the rejection. In my mind - this was obviously a one-time thing that wasn't going to be repeated, I know the increased risk, since i'm taking antivirals goes from 1% to 2%, which yes, double, but double is just 1% more, but I know I haven't had outbreaks at all recently and if I had I would never had suggested sex without a condom. Moreover, unprotected sex isn't an option I normally give men I sleep with -- I really have to trust them and even in a relationship I rarely have unprotected sex. I also felt pretty damn terrible about my integrity being questioned, and that his reaction was 100% based on a worry for a stigma rather than real risks involved, -- this all made feel even more shame and decimated my self-worth. 

Moreover, I'm 90-95% sure that this is the man that gave me HPV last year because of when i got a symptom and the timing of the first couple months of us dating when we were sleeping with each other so frequently (after this recent gyno appointment it does seem like my body has passed that virus). The only conversation we had about that over a year ago, was about the HPV diagnosis. I never blamed him but I did tell him, timing really made it likely that it was him. Of course he denied, denied, denied... I never gave him flack for it, and never held it against him. And yet last night my condition, that he never even got tested for, was now being held over my head as the most risky thing that he could do....

It shouldn't come as a surprise that we didn't have sex, I stopped everything we were doing once he said that he didn't want to without a condom, and I went to the spare room as he was trying to apologize over and over, but my walls were already miles high - I didn't want to hear it because nothing was going to make me feel better in that moment. I slept a few hours and left at 6 in the morning to drive back home. 

I feel completely let down and I have no idea what the best way to process this is. I hadn't really been dating in the last few months, and have been totally celibate the last 9 months.... and now I feel dirty, shamed, humiliated, unworthy. I know I need to have a conversation with him about this. I know he did not mean to hurt me, and I know I shouldn't be angry about a choice that he has every right to make,  but jesus christ the way this happened with someone I care about deeply just rocked me and it feels like there's a sharp knife just hanging off my chest right now..... 

I guess I'm looking for solidarity, a pep talk, moral support...I don't know. I'm usually very sex-positive, and don't worry much about H or my status; now it just feels like years of my lack of worrying just reversed and came back tumbling down on me all at once. 

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Don't let 1 man change the way you feel about yourself.  You disclosed, he knew the risk...what happened after that is not your fault.  And let me ask you this, do you really care about someone who cares that little about you and your feelings?  Clearly he doesn't trust you and that's a huge problem.  

Roll with the punches but get back up and keep your head held high.  

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Can someone please help me with how you would tell someone you were seeing that you carry HSV?  And, how many dates do you think one should be told?  I'm not dating, and haven't for years simply because I got tired of having my teeth kicked in all the time (before I knew my issue).  

But someday, I'd like to think I could have something with someone.  Thank you.

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4 minutes ago, Southpaw said:

Can someone please help me with how you would tell someone you were seeing that you carry HSV?  And, how many dates do you think one should be told?  I'm not dating, and haven't for years simply because I got tired of having my teeth kicked in all the time (before I knew my issue).  

But someday, I'd like to think I could have something with someone.  Thank you.

I wish I had the answer to this.  I finally just got out there and have seen this guy 3 times already, we met for the first time on 5/10 and were talking for a few days before that.  I'm not at a point where I'm ready to have the conversation but I have a feeling the time is coming soon.  I've already started writing out what I want to say and how to say it so I can start practicing it now.  I'm terrified of it though since this will be my first disclosure and it can go good or bad and the thought of rejection is gut wrenching.  But this is the only way to try and not be alone for the rest of my life.

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Hi Southpaw!

I'm off to dinner, so don't have a lot of time, but that's a great question and I wanted to make sure you get an answer!

And the answer isn't in the number of dates you go on, but in asking yourself the question "Do I trust this person with my vulnerability?" If you don't trust them, then either stop seeing them or wait until you do. 

From there, it's about sharing with them about what you appreciate about them (that brought about this trust) and saying you have something important to talk about, and see if they're open to having a conversation. From there, tell them you have herpes. Then ask them immediately after "What do you know about it?" Their answer to that will tell you whether you need to go into education mode (the handouts that come with the free e-book are a great overview for that) or whether they already know about it. 

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Hey I hope you don’t mind this answer but I really think that stopping was the best thing - for him and for you too. 
I say that because I was taking anti virals AND we used condoms and I had no visible sores and I gave it to my ex. It can happen and I would rather be in your shoes feeling upset about being rejected than feeling guilty because that 1 slip up left your ex with HSV.  I know rejection SUCKS - especially because of this - but the guilt of passing it on is worse. 
in a week or so you won’t care about the rejection - you’ll be relieved you didn’t take the risk. 
Deep breaths and move on. The right person for us won’t care about a cold sore. There are better ones out there. 

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