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Disclosing to a potential partner - scared out of my mind


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Hello all, I am new here but not new to having herpes. I have been diagnosed with genital herpes for over 10 years. In that time frame, aside from the person I was with when I found out, everyone I have been intimate with since has been someone I already had a close relationship to. While it was still a tough conversation to have, I wasn't as fearful of having it because I knew the person and I knew they weren't going to reject me in an insensitive or negative manner.

I am back in the dating world since my divorce August 2020. Again, I decided to date a guy that I already knew and it ultimately turned into crap. So I have recently decided to not go down that same path anymore because it hasn't ever done me any good. 

However, with this decision comes the responsibility of having the disclosure conversation with people I don't know. Basically I stranger to me. I am terrified. I am filled with anxiety. I have so much self doubt.

I started chatting with a guy November 2021. We text every day. I have only met him in person once due to scheduling conflicts. I am hopeful this will bud into a legitimate relationship. I know there is sexual chemistry due to some of the conversations we have had...and the hot and heavy make out session we had when we met. lol

My question is, when do I say something? How do I do it? Right now our means of communication is via text. While it may be easier for me to type it out and hit send...I just don't know if that is the right method. I am the person who wants to try and read the person. A lot can be said without using words.

I have not been met with rejection before, but I chalk that up to the fact that all the people I have told and been intimate with already knew me and had some sort of relationship with me. This guy is essentially a total stranger. I am trying to put it off for as long as I can so maybe he will fall for my personality and this won't be a big deal. However, I don't want him to feel like I have wasted his time and kept this secret from him. I could just be in my own head about it.

I really like this guy and don't want to screw up any possibility of an actual relationship. He is different from anyone else I have been interested in and I am hopeful that this change of pace is exactly the kind of relationship and person I need in my life.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

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Hello! 

This is such a great topic of discussion, so thank you for bringing this up.

Disclosure is really scary. Telling anyone anything that may cause them to not want to be with us is scary. Oftentimes we are afraid of their reaction, and if they will judge us. The good news is, that is on them. How people treat you is a reflection of them, not of you.

Disclosure is made easier when we engage in positive self talk and self affirming thinking. When you are not ashamed of yourself, and know your worth, you have no reason to fear disclosure.

You have no reason to feel shamed of your HSV.  It does not make you a bad person. You are not dangerous. You are not risky. You are a wonderful human with so many personality traits and stories and love to give, and you have a common virus. It doesn't change who you are at all! The right person will know that ❤️.    

Something that helps with disclosure is scripting it, or making a game plan for what to say.

First, it's always great to choose a discussion time when the other person isn't already stressed or angry about something else, since they may react in a way they normally wouldn't (since they are under other pressures).

Second, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Something that helps is saying, "I need to tell you something very vulnerable for me, and I need you to just listen and then ask questions at the end."  This way, you can share what you need to without interruption, and this gives the other person time to process and think before speaking (sometimes people interject with surprise or random questions and it's like... yo, can you please chill and wait until I am done speaking thank you!

Third, prepare for questions. If you don't know an answer, say you don't know. You can also refer them to helpful website and fact sheets, such as the one on this site! Access it here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook

Finally, give them space to think if they need it. Maybe they will say "yeah I don't care!" or "I have HSV-2, too!" or, they might say something rude and at that point you know who they really are, and you have used the wonderful magical power of disclosure to see who someone really is! It's like a "good human detector". When we disclose, we use these powers to our advantage! 🙂 

I hope this helps! 🙂 If you want help writing a disclosure script, feel free to reach out. 

Stay strong! 

Blessings!

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