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How can I get back into the dating world with herpes?


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I been living with HSV for 3 years. And it’s one of the hardest things I have had to overcome in my life so far. I was with my son’s father for 4 years before I found out. I was so shocked, hurt, and upset that this happened to me. I always heard of it but never thought it could happen to me. But when it did, I felt like my whole world came crashing down. I’m no longer with him. I want to start dating again but I’m too afraid. I did meet someone, we were good friends for a while, then we both wanted to be more than just friends, so I told him. At first he was shock, upset but he eventually got over it and told me he liked me for me and didn’t care. I felt so much better. It actually brought us closer together. But what I didn’t know was that he was still with his wife. So I had to break things off with him. I want to get back into the dating world but I’m afraid of rejection and being laughed at and talked about. What should I do? I also want to have at least 2 more kids. How is that possible if I have to use protection? I’m going through a real tough time. I know I shouldn’t let my condition stress me out but it truly is …

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First off, having more kids is there if you want it. No herpes will stop that. AND I think you might just be surprised at the amount of people who see herpes as it is: no big deal. (Dan Savage himself said it on his wildly popular podcast, Savage Love. Listen to it here.) If you find the person who you will have children with, the power of herpes falls down a few notches. Like, waaay down. It's our mind playing tricks on us if we believe that a simple virus is going to hold us back from finding people to truly love us for who we are (and have cute lil rug rats with 'em).

And yes, that fear of rejection piece is a doozy, ain't it? Believe me, everyone (herpes or not) shares that fear with you. Can I get a show of hands? (See, everyone is raising their hands, I told you.) Yet that fear seems to be amplified quite a bit if we have herpes. But why? Question for you: What are people rejecting if they reject you with a simple virus? (Hint: They aren't actually rejecting YOU.)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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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See Mandee? Leslie is playing the "fear of rejection" representative for all of humankind. (Thank you for the show of hands, Leslie.) ;)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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. 

Helpful resources:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ah, MamaTried, (welcome to the forum, by the way!) as much as I respect your opinion, I respectfully completely disagree! ;) Going into a disclosure scenario with that assumption of rejection paints the feeling of the conversation in a negative light. A herpes disclosure doesn't have to be negative (unless you want it to be). What if disclosure could be a connecting experience instead of rejecting? What if disclosure is less about disclosing you have herpes and more about revealing the positive qualities of who you are (integrity, honesty, vulnerability)? I'm actually in the midst of writing up a short e-book on positive disclosure. Can't wait to put it out there so people can see the opportunity in a positive disclosure without shame! :)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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. 

Helpful resources:

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the_H_Opp,

How dreadful this world would be if we all agreed all the time!  :-)

It's been my experience that the probability of HSV2 being rejected is very high. But I don't think being aware of the probability is a negative thing. Hell, I don't even think of rejection of HSV2 as a negative thing....just a choice other people make. If somebody rejects my HSV2, it's not a loss....just a fork in the road. And when you come to a fork in the road, take it. It's bound to lead to something good.

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Ah, I'm so glad you clarified, MamaTried! Thanks for throwing that in! (And for the record, I love healthy disagreements!) In my experience, herpes rejection is pretty low, so I guess we balance each other out! I'm so used to people with herpes EXPECTING rejection that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! It's amazing how it works: If I believe ahead of time that herpes is a dealbreaker, then lo and behold, all of my words, feelings and actions communicate that belief. There's this undercurrent of "I totally understand if you reject me. I totally would." It's super sneaky. Insidious. Granted, this doesn't necessarily mean that if I'm totally okay around herpes disclosure that the probability of acceptance will be 100%. But as clear as we can be on our end around disclosing authentically and without all that slimy baggage, the clearer the other person can be about making a decision that works for them.

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Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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. 

Helpful resources:

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