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Advice? Thoughts?

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A year and a half ago I was scrolling through Tinder (I know don't judge me) and I came across a handsome pediatrician whos profile said he was only a few miles away from me. So I clicked on him thinking Id never hear from him. Minutes later he had me engaged in a wonderfully funny and entertaining conversation . He asked for my phone number which I happily gave him and after about a half hour of chatting via text he said he had bad news. He told me he was just in my area for a funeral , he actual lives a few states away from me. I was disappointed but didn’t give it much thought, I figured it would fizzle out between us. It didn’t , he kept pursuing me. We would FaceTime for hours, text and talk on the phone. He's 53 years old, never been married and no kids. Im 45 and the same. The long distance to me felt very Romeo and Juliet and I enjoyed it; I felt special, like he wanted to know me and not just for sex. Around the 5th month of our long distance courtship he mentioned coming out to see me for an evening, he stressed that their would be "no pressure" & he wasn't "expecting anything ". Well I was so nervous running around getting ready for his visit that I barely realized he was being a bit distant a week prior to his arrival. Two days before he was to fly out he called me and asked if I had time to FaceTime that evening that "he had something he wanted to talk to me about". Well he disclosed right then, I was in total shock. I told him my sister had herpes and she never gave it to her husband and he said he hasnt gotten an outbreak in many years. I said it didnt matter and told him I still wanted to see him. But deep down I felt a bit betrayed, his whole getting to know me was just because he had to work me over before he disclosed and he's a very well known doctor so he HAD TO disclose . I no longer felt special. I was also upset that now I was head over heels for him and had no real time to process it.

Anyway, he came out and the sexual chemistry was off the charts with us. We had a great night that ended with unprotected sex (he is a doctor and said it was safe). The next day he left and that's when I unfortunately got a bit freaked out. He thought everything was fine so he went right back to his busy schedule but inside I was scared and confused and I ended up with a small sore on the inside of my lip (yes we did oral). I sent him a picture of it and said I was worried, he offered to talk to me or call me in antivirals although he said he didn’t think that was what I had (it may not have been). I pulled away after that and he basically let me. Since then its been this bizarre online relationship with us (for 18 months now!!) and neither of us have talked about seeing each other again. He says I make him emotionally happy and he looks forward to my FaceTime all week. But we are at a complete stand still and this herpes situation complicates everything. Ive been tested 3 times since our encounter and I do not have HSV2.

Are there any men who can tell me what its like dating with herpes? How do I address this with him? How do I not offend him? Why is he at a stand still with me? This is so bizarre .

My feelings are this-- Ive fallen in love with him. I dont think herpes are a big deal....a blister on your hoo-ha...so what!!!?? My sister has it, she is the cleanest person I know. Its mostly stigma. BUT BUT BUT....I have a pre-existing condition (he knows nothing about ) called pudendal neuralgia which is a damaged nerve in the pelvis. I also have severe endometriosis (he knows). So if I got herpes it would make my two already extremely painful conditions even worse. Im also a 45 year old and single woman, yes Im a very nice looking but lets be frank herpes does make dating more difficult and i would like to get married one day soon. See the problems? I feel like he doesnt understand this is a big risk on my part and if Im going to take it on I need full cards on the deck....I need to know how he feels, what he sees happening between us, etc.....so I can make a choice.

How can I talk to him (he still hasnt really told me his feelings) , how can I know how not to hurt his feelings while talking about this? Am I being unreasonable ? Please any advice would help. Has any man reading this ever had a relationship like this?


For what its worth, I think all of you are so brave.

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But deep down I felt a bit betrayed, his whole getting to know me was just because he had to work me over before he disclosed and he's a very well known doctor so he HAD TO disclose . I no longer felt special. I was also upset that now I was head over heels for him and had no real time to process it.

Disclosing is an incredibly difficult thing to do. I'm a male with HSV2. I've had it for 3.5 years, haven't had any symptoms in the last 2.5.

The most cruel thing about it for me is that I feel like I don't even have it, but I do. I have that label over my head. My personal experience is that the stigma far outweighs the symptoms for 99 percent of those with it. It's not this constant state of agony or bumps on your vagina. A good 80-90 percent of people who carry the virus NEVER display any symptoms.

But disclosing is the hardest conversation I've ever had to have in my life. I never know how my partner is going to react - I say this, but as a 30M I've disclosed to 8 women in the past year and every single one has either had sex with me (6/8) and/or have continued to date me. However, I won't lie, I wonder if some of the people who continued to date me - if we fizzled out because of this.

The most extreme reaction I had from someone was that she immediately said "I don't think we can be anything more than friends". I had disclosed to her on an app and we hadn't even met yet. I took up her offer, and naturally we're kissing the first night we hang out as platonic friends. She messages me the next morning, freaking out that by me kissing I gave her herpes (I know I have HSV2 genitally only, not oral herpes). I give her some stats and we hang out again. We ended up dating for two months, but she was always flip-flopping. She would flirt and act sexy, only to get cold feet a few minutes later. There was hardly any intimacy between us, and we never had sex. 

One night, she casually mentions to me on the couch that she has lupus, an autoimmune disorder. Immediately I start crying, because I know that her being immunocompromised means that she could get it worse. I also felt like she was stringing me along. I did react poorly (sobbing "WE CAN'T BE") and she ended it a week later. We get in contact again several months later after the next guy she's with dumped her (I was the only one who stayed after a few dates), and SHE was distraught. I remember telling her, "you know, it's a shame I never got to see you fully naked; did he?"

"Yeah, probably when we were having sex..." 

I lost it. A few seconds later, I'm telling her "I was hoping you could have accepted me".

"I never had to accept anything. I DON'T WANT IT." She slept with another guy after four dates because she took his word that he was "clean" - when I drove 30 miles every other night, sometimes to be awake with her for 30 minutes before she went to bed. I walked her dogs, I gave her backrubs, I took out her trash. I gave her my all.

A little over a year ago, I disclosed to this beautiful tall blonde at the end of our fourth date. She's a special-ed teacher, and I fell in love with her. She was everything I wanted and more. I remember the butterflies in my stomach that I got at the beginning of every date I was on with her.

She was leading me into my bedroom and was going to have sex with me, no questions asked. She was my first major disclosure, so I didn't really know when to have the conversation. I just remember the color draining from her face and then she said "I gotta think about it". We still got intimate short of PIV. Ironically, she told me she gets cold sores (oral herpes HSV1, which can be transmitted genitally, btw). 

A week passes and we have the best date of the six that we were on. I'm haunted by the memory of her near the end pulling me in to her by my shirt, kissing me, and looking up at me saying "[My name], I DO LIKE YOU." I had mentioned that I wanted to take things slowly to make her feel more comfortable; she responded by making with me and then taking me over to the hedges where she pulled me into her. 

She ended it after the next date, where we went hiking by the river. I'm overwhelmed by my feelings for her and I ask her if she wanted to be exclusive.

"I gotta think about it."

With that first girl, in the end, having herpes saved me from a potentially abusive and toxic relationship, just like I had with my gifter (my ex never disclosed to me and tried to trap me into marriage with her after six months). 

The teacher? It's been over a year, and I think about her every day. How she now likely thinks of me as a nut. How I'll never get another chance with her. How I could have been in a relationship with her. 

I can empathize with the notion that you feel like you're making a huge, life-altering decision here. But you have no right to feel betrayed. After some of these experiences, I don't plan on disclosing to women unless I've made it to at least five-six dates or a month. I have massive abandonment issues and these experiences I've gone through have made me feel a little guarded when it comes to opening my heart up. I'm afraid I'm going to fall in love with someone only to be coldly rebuffed, or worse (read on). If he had told you the first time he messaged you, you likely stop talking to each other. He still gave you a choice; you could have told him you weren't comfortable with it and/or not to come. I can empathize with his probable fear. Disclosing is legitimately the hardest conversation I've ever had to have. And sometimes I feel like I've lost people - including potentially the love of my life in this life, because I did the right thing, when my ex did not. I get to decide if the person I'm with is someone I see being with, and if that person is WORTHY of my disclosure, otherwise I end things before I get to that point.

He did the right thing. He was probably scared to lose you. If he was talking to you for five months, you were special to him. I can understand not feeling like you had enough time to process it; I figure my pushiness and overeagerness is probably what scared that teacher away, and that if I had given her time, I'm with her now. 

You freaked out the first time after you all had sex and you even said you pulled away. 

Yeah, if someone's doing that, I would reckon (from my perspective) that you're going to be anxious every time you have sex, constantly checking for bumps or washing your hands. I would feel like a biohazard. It's one thing to be rejected. It's another to get the feeling that you were accepted, but in reality, they still don't know. The fear that I'm accepted, but at any point that you get a scare (whether I have a breakout or you suspect you're having one), whether it's next week or after a YEAR of being together, you randomly decide you can't do it anymore. 

You said you pulled away and he let you. Probably because he felt like you lost interest in him romantically, but he still wants to be friends because he thinks you're special. Maybe he lost interest after meeting you.

But there's only one way to find out. Talk to him. If you're romantically interested in him, talk to him and confront him about it. None of these stupid guessing games. 

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Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!! Im so sorry for all the hurt you've had to endure. I will strongly take your advice into consideration . I love him, deeply. Im going to tell him. On my end I feel like maybe hes playing games with me. But the only way to know for sure is to be upfront with him which I will be, its time. Any advice on how to say the herpes doesnt matter to me without upsetting him? maybe I shouldn’t bring it up at all? Just tell him how I feel? Again thank you and dont give up, there is a special woman out there for you who will except ALL of you.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Horrible. We are barely communicating. I just dont see this working out unfortunately. I dont care at all about his herpes its not even a factor for me but its like a barrier between us....he feels like damaged goods or something . Thanks for the concern though. 

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I spoke too soon! He called me tonight and I told him I do not care at all about the herpes and I love him! Took so much courage but I did. I told him Id like to discuss further ways of being safe and he was excited about it all! Hes a doctor so Im sure he can go over all that with me. Thank you guys for all your help! 

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It was. But now that we got past that we need to talk about being more sexually careful. Any advice on that end? Ive given him unprotected oral sex and never got anything . Its disappointing to me not to be able to pleasure him that way again, how safe is it if he takes antivirals and he hasnt had outbreaks in over a decade? Hes a doctor and would know if he was having one. IDK, i guess Im asking how big is the oral risk. And is there anything besides condoms or are there special condoms we should be using?

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I mean, you CAN give him unprotected oral sex, it's just that there is a risk. However, OHSV2 is less than 1% of oral herpes cases if I can recall. It would be the same as getting a normal cold sore PLUS HSV2 doesn't like to be present orally - meaning you'd probably only get one or two outbreaks total if you get any at all. Remember 80-90 percent of HSV carriers are fully asymptomatic - they never get symptoms. You being with this guy isn't a guarantee you get HSV and even if you do you likely never get ANY symptoms. 

With approximately 2-3 sex acts a week, you run a 10% chance of getting it in a year. With antivirals or condoms, 5%; both 2.5% conservatively (condoms can reduce transmission to negative women by up to 96%) - liberally you have a less than one percent chance of getting it in a year. The longer he has it the less he sheds. Those figures I provided were averages - so again, possibly an even LESSER risk for you considering how long he's had it and how long he's been asymptomatic.

Think about it this way- with 2-3 sex acts a week in a year, you have a 0.2 percent chance of developing symptoms in said year. Obviously if y'all are horndogs, the numbers go up. 


Read the above article. 

The below is what I tell a LOT of people who are being disclosed to:

It's not the boogeyman that it's made out to be. You can have kids, a full life (this doesn't reduce lifespan) - I donated blood just a few weeks ago.

Here's something that will either scare you or make you feel better. 2/3 of the world's population has herpes. Most of these are oral herpes (HSV1), but if you have neither strain, ALL of them are capable of giving you genital herpes.

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  • 6 months later...

Thank you for all that information. It helped clear a lot up for me. He's a very special man and i want to handle this the right way. For what its worth I noticed herpes has changed him. He seems to appreciate emotional happiness in a relationship more than the average man, sex is still important to him just not the end all be all.

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