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Feeling like a hypocrite

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It’s been 7 years since my HSV2 diagnosis and I still find myself in those dark moments like some of the stories I’ve read here. I was with my ex for 9 months until I got exposed/diagnosed. He tested for HSV1 but not 2 so he might have orally given it to me. He was abusive and manipulative and I feel like he’s still tormenting me to this day because of what he left me with and like I can’t move on fully. I even stayed with him after my diagnosis because I was devastated that anyone could or would want to be with me. Then I left and I’ve met people since and some lasted a few weeks or months but they eventually dropped me at some point after I disclosed. 
The reason I feel like a hypocrite is because I’m in school to be a therapist but I find myself feeling depressed and suicidal daily. I don’t give in to the suicidal thoughts because I don’t want to waste all this money I’ve put into my life but it feels more enticing day by day to end the misery of trying to walk around with a mask on like I’m ok. 
I read in another post about the stigma that resonated with me and that makes dating these days so hard which is that the physical usually happens first and then people see if they want to build a connection after that. That’s how I was but now I can’t. I feel like I lost my confidence and sexuality from this diagnosis. I feel like talk about finding those who are “accepting and open minded” are lying because society has deemed this disease as something to avoid, ergo avoid people who have it. 
I came to this forum to build community since when I tried looking up in person support groups those came up short (3 people in a group). 
I appreciate being able vent and to read about other’s experiences. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can understand the depression and feeling down in the dumps. I get there sometimes as well. 

The fact your are working toward being a therapist....should give you more empathy and understanding with patients, no? Also...a bit of a leg up on other therapists.  Channel that pain...into a worthwhile endeavor and learn that maybe you were put on this planet to help others.

How to deal with the disease? 

This disease (in my humble opinion) is far more insidious mentally than physically. Many of us feel broken, dirty, unworthy (shall I go on?). I had to realize that in reality...from a sexual point of view...it only narrowed the range of partners I could be with. I mention that (even though I am married) simply because many spouses/partners cannot deal with this longterm. With that in mind (I am a realist) and recognize that at some point...this disease many affect our marriage to the point of breakup. I hope not....but one has to be able to "read your partner" on an ongoing basis. 

Which brings me to my last point (sorry about the novelette). Again...IMHO...we have choices. Try to date those without the disease (and continually deal with the negativity) or..date those with the disease. 

I wish you well. I hope you continue to ask questions, reveal your vulnerabilities and come to grips....with this disease. 


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Hey there @Missannthrope45,

First off, I totally agree with just the first part of @Jasonlee56's note — your experience with herpes can absolutely foster more empathy and humility, enriching not just your future work as a therapist, but in your experience as a human being ... Struggles can have a way of deepening our understanding of the human experience, connecting us through vulnerability and resilience. Yes, it sucks while we're going through it, but when we come out the other side, it's like we have a superpower of depth of feeling and gratitude. And remember, you certainly don't have to rush into the physical aspect of relationships. I get that our society says otherwise, but it's not a given. Taking the time to build trust and share vulnerabilities can create a more meaningful connection, making herpes a sort of positive "chastity belt" that filters out those who aren't a good match for you anyway. When you only disclose to those who you trust with your vulnerability, it also protects you from hopping into bed with people you don't trust on a deeper level. And that's ultimately a win. 

Herpes doesn't have to take away your confidence or sexuality if you don't let it; rather, it can help you identify folks who are truly compatible with you. When there's a genuine connection, obstacles like herpes are so not a big deal. They just become manageable. And yes, feel free to vent here anytime. But, remember that dwelling too much on the negative can solidify your perspective, so it's crucial to also focus on letting go of those stigmas and envisioning positive outcomes. Make sure you balance things out! 😉 

To Jason, your insights are valuable, but I'd argue that much of this is influenced by our mindset. There are countless examples where herpes doesn't hinder relationships but, through honest and vulnerable disclosure, actually becomes a catalyst for deeper connections. I see it time and time again — it's almost become a cliché! The stigma fades when you stop believing in it for yourself; then what was once perceived as the deal-breaker of all deal-breakers turns into an opportunity for building deeper trust and intimacy. In fact, just yesterday, a client shared how disclosing to someone who initially listed STIs as their #1 dealbreaker led to an appreciation of her honesty and didn't deter the relationship at all. They ended up being intimate that night of the disclosure. And stories like this are much more common than the stigma might let on. But it takes courage to confront it through disclosing and seeing that it wasn't the big, scary monster it seemed to be. Instead of a big brick wall to intimacy, it became a doorway that led deeper into it. So, let's not limit ourselves with preconceived notions. Our experiences and how we approach disclosures can significantly shape our relationships and the acceptance we receive. "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't — you're right." (Henry Ford)

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This content 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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@mr_hopp.....Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Always insightful.

I suppose...your position on dealing with the disease upfront and with candor...is the correct way. From your position of experience it has worked out for you. From my own standpoint...it did as well. 

My fear lies in the eventuality if/when relationships go sour...and the disease is an excuse or the real reason for a breakup. Based on some of the comments on here....taking the high road and being honest with others....is difficult at best. My thought is like losing a loved one...there are several stages of grief....most/if not all...we are forced to live through. This disease is no different. Some of us snap out of it quickly, for others it takes time...and plenty of reflection. 

I guess if my relationship went south or ended, I would try to be strong...and tough it out by "opening up with others". The realist in me says...that sometimes it's just better...to not bring up at all....until the timing is right. Hence....my thoughts on only dating those with the disease. My guess is ...if there is one population that understands the agony...we have gone through (both mentally and physically)...it's those that have caught it. 

Thanks again...for the dialogue. Part of the therapy aspect of this...is talking through some of the questions we are asking ourselves. 


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I don’t think you’re a hypocrite at all…I think you’re human. I’m a nurse, new to all of this much later in life than most, and the psychological aspect of HSV2 has turned my life upside down! I have good days where I’m like “oh, this is just an overblown skin condition” and then I have days where I feel like I’m going to die alone. But the reality is, and especially since I didn’t get my initial outbreak until I was 48 years old, I was struggling with dating BEFORE HSV2 entered my life. I had men shit on me for every and any reason before this! And the 2 times I’ve disclosed to sexual partners, we had sex that night anyway! Yet my head still goes places that it goes sometimes. Because I’m human. 

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@Jasonlee56, it's great you're talking about this stuff and weighing all the thoughts and ideas floating out there. Feeling like herpes could mess up relationships is unfortunately super common, but being honest can really help. It's all about when you feel it's right to talk about it. Everyone deals with it in their own way. Before you disclose or have sex, you need to trust this person with your vulnerability. That's key. And herpes-only dating just doesn't work for most people. Because you're pre-rejecting yourself, assuming rejection if you date the "normal" population (as if you're somehow ejected from that dating pool). By choosing herpes-only dating, you're cutting out so many options, down to less than 2% of people. Read this article for more on that: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-dating-sites

@Phoenix08 — You're definitely not alone feeling this way. It's okay to have ups and downs. It's awesome that being open led to good moments for you. It shows that being real with people can lead to deeper connections, even when it feels super scary. And yes, people assume that because dating was hard for them before herpes (it certainly was for me, too, I feel you!) then it will be 10x harder after having herpes, but it's just not true. It changes the landscape of the types of conversations you have and what people can see in you, beyond an overblown skin condition. They see your honesty, your courage, your vulnerability, your confidence ... and all of that is there because of how you are choosing to face a difficulty in your life. And that is very attractive to so many people. 

This content 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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