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Disclosing Herpes For The First Time


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I got herpes over a year ago after losing my virginity. I was young (still am) and I took it surprisingly well. It wasn't a big deal at all. Anyway at the time I was talking to and spending time with a friend who'd had the biggest crush on me. He knew I was sick but didn't know why. I wouldn't tell him and even went as far as to say he wouldn't want to be friends if he knew. We stopped talking for awhile. Fast forward to now. We started talking again a month ago and I've just become a single mom. That plus the herpes has really taken a toll on my self esteem. Who's really going to love me now? I would love for the relationship to move forward eventually. I really think I should tell him within the next month. He still remembers me being sick and not telling him. I've never had to tell someone I truly care about that I have herpes so this will be a first in a way. He's obviously accepting of the fact that I have a child (which makes me uncomfortable sometimes) which I think is a bigger deal than having herpes. He's obviously a nice guy who cares about me (something I've never had before). So why do I feel this will be a dealbreaker? I'm scared I'll end up not telling him and suggesting we just be friends.

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First, W2D - Welcome! You are among friends here and we will do what we can to help you navigate your H+ journey.

 

The best answer I can give you is to read this thread that came through a few days ago. See how it lands with you and then come back with your questions. It sounds like you are in a VERY similar situation :)

 

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/1797/people-might-surprise-you/p1

(((HUGS)))

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Hey W2D!

 

Ah, those beloved gremlins inhabiting our minds that masquerade of perfectly legitimately-sounding-rational fears. ;) "Who is going to really love me now?" is perhaps the #1 question that people ask when they get herpes. And you know what the answer to that question is? The answer is YOU are going to really love you now. If you have all of these self-judgments floating around your head, then all of those are acting as defenses for letting love in. So he's accepted that you have a child? Check one. :) How will you know if it's a yes or a no unless you put it out there? How will you know if a great relationship is possible with this guy unless you make yourself vulnerable? And this isn't me trying to bully you into having the talk with him. :) But you clearly want this guy as more than friends, so why would you numb out that desire and just settle as friends? Because of fear of rejection? Yep, there is a possibility of rejection happening. And you know what else is possible? A great relationship with someone who sounds like a great guy for you! Let's break it down here. You want the truth? Love is vulnerable. Love is opening your heart to someone else. Therefore, to love anyone is a big, fat risk. We could get hurt, we could fall in love with them and they die the next day, we could be rejected (with or without herpes) ... the list of how we could lose love goes on forever. And what about the list of what's possible in love? The best way to stay safe is to never fall in love again. But who wants to do that? What a numbed out, cold life that would be with no love. That's what life is all about. Living. Loving. Deeply. And it takes courage to love deeply, to open ourselves up. And maybe that is actually something you're not ready for yet. And that's okay, too. But don't let your own fears hold you back if what you really want is love, especially when he's right there. Do you trust him with your vulnerability? Do you trust him to hold your heart? Those are the questions you get to ask yourself. Let yourself hear the answer from your heart.

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There are a few ways to respond to this question, Amelia ...

 

1. Who cares who knows that I have herpes? This is where I am with having herpes personally. I get that a lot of people might not be here yet, but ultimately this is where I see this whole Herpes Opportunity movement going. It's just a skin rash with an unfortunate stigma, so if people are going to judge me about having sex and getting an STD, then that says more about their judgments than me as a person. People tend to judge the idea of herpes instead of actually knowing the person behind the herpes. It has become a great filter for me. And to be fair, I haven't encountered many people who outright judge me. It just doesn't happen. I've encountered more people being appreciative for my openness and integrity than judging the thing I have.

 

But since many people are still in deep shame about herpes and not quite ready to let it all out yet, here's the other response:

 

2. When do you disclose? I always say a great barometer for when to disclose (of course before you have sex goes without saying) is if you feel you can trust this person with a vulnerable part of you. Do you trust this person to hold your secret? I mean, if you're wanting to have sex with them, then there should at least be this level of trust since you're about to let this man *inside of your body* ... Sometimes we forget that sex is best when physical intimacy runs in direct parallel to emotional intimacy. A vulnerable disclosure conversation drops you into emotional intimacy. It informs your partner of the risk, but also informs your partner of your integrity and courage. And yes, there is always the possibility that "your secret will get out" ... And there is a possibility that you'll die in a car accident tomorrow or that the world will end. Possibilities abound for why we shouldn't do things. The point is that you use your feminine intuition to feel out if a man deserves your vulnerability of the disclosure talk. If you don't feel you can trust him, then he doesn't get the disclosure talk, and of course doesn't get sex either. The trust is the gateway into intimacy, whether emotional or physical, because they should run in tandem anyway, right?

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"If you don't feel you can trust him, then he doesn't get the disclosure talk, and of course doesn't get sex either."

 

BINGO!

 

Amelia:

 

I'm one of the folks who is in the #1 category with Adrial, but I know at present we are few and far between thanks to the social stigma.

 

But everything he says there is true - I came out on FB a few weeks ago and the ONLY person who has decided to not support me was the man who's reaction to my honesty was to decide to "just be friends".... since I came out he won't talk to me at all. THAT proves the "filter" qualities of Herpes. Knowing me and knowing I had herpes was one thing...being ASSOCIATED with a female that openly admits to having an STD was too much for him to handle. I don't need people like that in my life.

 

And even if I lost a client or two I'd be ok. (I'm a Massage Therapist)... we all know they won't get it from me but I won't take it personally if they felt they needed to change therapists because of their own paranoia. Just like if they don't like my style of Massage they can go elsewhere and it's OK with me.... I know if I did a few things differently I might get a few more clients (I tend to be VERY straight with people about what I see as things that may contribute to their condition and some can't handle that) but I won't change who I am just to make a few more $$. My clients who stay with me do so BECAUSE of my honesty and integrity with them. And BTW, I have told most of my "regulars" about my coming out and they are ALL very supportive... in fact, one revealed to me she had had her first OB after many many years of marriage and I was only the second person she had talked to about it because of the shame. I'm soooo glad for HER that I opened up to her.... because now she is no longer alone in this...

 

We each have to take the path that works for us Amelia ... but DO know that you are not alone and many people will be on the same path as you.... and that you WILL be able to find "him" ... and perhaps H will help you sort out the "non-him's" a lot faster :)

 

(((HUGS)))

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