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I don't have herpes...

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...but I happen to be falling for someone who does.


I really wasn't attracted to her when I first met her late last year at work. We didn't really see each other very often. She was really nice, but I never went out of my way to talk to her, because she really just seemed like a very shallow person. Her motivation for dating seemed to be using guys for money, and I find it hard to respect someone who does that.


We ended up exchanging phone numbers for some reason. I can't really remember why, because I remember being somewhat uncomfortable with the thought of her having my number. Haha. I do know that she initiated the exchange, though, and - for some reason - I felt compelled to ask for her last name and ended up sending her a friend request through Facebook. We started to talk more, mostly through Facebook. Our initial conversations really felt more like interviews, with her asking most of the questions.


Some of my responses to her questions caused her to ask more questions, eventually causing me to tell her about some of the more unpleasant things that happened in my life. I wasn't really expecting anything in return, but she said that she wanted to tell me about some of the unpleasant aspects of her own life. I told her to only tell me if she was comfortable with doing so, of course, but she ended up telling me about various things that'd happened to her, one of those being the time when her boyfriend had cheated on her, gotten HSV-2 and passed it on to her.


That marked a bit of a turning point for me. I realized that she wasn't so much shallow as she was vengeful. She disliked how men discarded her, so she put very little into her relationships, as a result. Thing is, I think that she really takes these instances of eventual rejection very seriously, despite not being very invested in any given relationship. She more or less confided in me about this stuff because she needed help in getting a co-worker of mine into a relationship with her, because she legitimately cared for him. I gave her all sorts of advice, also getting to know more about her in the process and playing online games with her in the process. Things eventually collapsed in her pursuit of my co-worker, and I've seen her more or less speed-date all sorts of assholes in pursuit of a guy who'll stick with her.


To be honest, I'm really tired of seeing her hurt, but I also legitimately enjoy being around her. We have similar interests, and we have the same twisted sense of humor. I'm not entirely sure whether I just want her to be in a good relationship or if I really just want to be the one who gives her that relationship because I have feelings for her. Also, being a very logical person who's also put a lot of time into researching HSV-2 since having known her, I'm also considering the risks to myself in pursuing a relationship like this. I don't want herpes, personally, but I'd be very surprised if I didn't somehow get it while dating her. Thing is, I wouldn't care if I knew that we'd be together for the long haul, because that'd make it worth it to me. While I realize that getting herpes doesn't automatically mark the end of a person's love life, I do think that it'd make it unnecessarily more difficult for me if things didn't happen to work out with this woman, and I'm finding it difficult to consider taking that risk for someone who has such a rocky love life.


I don't get attached to anyone very easily, but I've been unable to get her out of my mind as of late. I think that this could be a very rewarding relationship for both of us, because we have such great chemistry. Thing is, I consider myself to be pretty boring to the point where I don't even know if I could keep her engaged long enough that she wouldn't ditch me for some other guy who's more interesting. I think she gets a lot of comfort out of being around me, although I don't know whether or not she's attracted to me as more than just a friend. Any advice?

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I can give you a bit advice on the HSV side of things. It isn't going to tell you what to do but it might help you figure out your odds so this isn't always on your mind. Is it type 1 or 2? Does she get breakouts and does she get prodrome before they start?


If she has GHSV1 just go ahead and forget about it, it rarely sheds so the odds of passing it on are minimal, if she's up for antivirals you chances of getting it are next to nothing. If it's GHSV2 and she gets prodrome then she will likely know when she might be contagious, just be careful and again, you likely won't get it. I got if from a girl who never has BO's, still doesn't know she has it, most people get it from people like this. Even from a girl who doesn't get prodrome, if she uses antivirals and you avoid sex during breakouts, no regular use of condoms, you odds are a mere 1-2% per year of contracting it.


If i was in your position and the girl is worth it, I would definitely go for it :)

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She has HSV-2. She *does* get breakouts, but I don't know how often. Also, I don't know specifics as to what she experiences before breakouts. It sounds like it'd be in my best interest to find all of this out, as well. She's mentioned antivirals before, but I don't recall her stating specifically that she does or doesn't use them.


I was under the impression that transmission can still occur without the presence of a breakout. Is it just that the chances are much higher during a breakout, and it is generally recommended that sex be completely avoided whenever there are signs of a breakout?


I suppose that I should clarify as to why I'm sure that I don't have herpes. I'm a virgin, nor have a gotten too serious with anyone to the point where I could've exposed myself to HSV-1 or HSV-2. I don't think that I was in any other situation that could've caused me to get herpes, either. Honestly, I'd probably get tested to maybe encourage her to get tested again, as well, because she's had sexual partners since then (and always disclosed that she had herpes to them). As such, if anyone here happens to feel that I can't be truly sure until I've been tested, then rest assured that I will be at some point.


Anyway, I suppose that it appears that I might just need general dating advice and that herpes isn't much of an issue here, but I believe that herpes is what's complicating this decision for me. I've talked to her about herpes quite a bit, but I suppose that I'm worried about stating my case with respect to how herpes is affecting my thought process on this. I know that she's been uncomfortable in telling people about her having herpes in the past, but it's something that she needs to do.


At the same time, however, I feel that any concerns that I have about herpes should be similarly voiced to her. I guess that I'm more so seeking advice on how to bring this up to her, especially since I've actually been trying to avoid getting into a relationship just yet. I plan on being at a point when I'd like to be in a relationship maybe two or three months from now, but that'll be two or three months of hearing about her dating guys and being shot down by them time and time again. Do you think that it'd be wise for me to tell her what's on my mind ahead of time?


Again, it'll seem as though I'm asking for general dating advice, but I can't help but feel that herpes is a big part of this. I'm not saying that she'd be in the happiest of relationships if she didn't have herpes right now, but I doubt that she'd be single if she didn't have herpes (regardless of how content she was with her relationship). It just seems like rejection due to herpes is really keeping her down. I want to tell her so many things, whether or not it results in a relationship with her, because I feel that it'll help her. At the same time, I don't want to jump into a relationship right now, because that'd just make things too rough for both of us initially given how little time I could devote to a relationship right now.

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People can shed without breakouts, but if a person does have regular outbreaks they usually have prodrome before the outbreaks. In that case, almost all the shedding occurs at that time, so dating a person who is aware they have it is pretty safe. If antivirals are used it usually reduces shedding by 50%, which is considerable.

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I want to make sure that I understand this entirely. Is shedding only taking place a fraction of the time, or is it possible that it's happening all the time, albeit to only a negligible degree? Also, are you saying that more shedding takes place during prodrome than during the actual outbreak?


Looking at your earlier post, I'm actually pretty surprised. It seems like - under the right conditions - I have a really low chance of actually getting herpes, regardless of whether or not I use a condom. I intend to use a condom most of the time if it'll reduce my chances even further. I'm just thinking ahead to when/if she ever happens to want kids. Honestly, if my chances of getting herpes are really that low, then it sounds like I can more or less avoid herpes as a point in considering a relationship with her.


Obviously, the subject will need to come up so I can reduce my chances of getting herpes, but I do think that this discussion is allowing me to cut down the amount of things that I need to discuss with her prior to getting into a relationship with her.

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Hey kev, sorry I haven't been able to jump in yet, but I do have some quick info about viral shedding. According to studies, it happens about 5-10% of the time, but due to the invisible nature of it, you never know when that 5-10% is, so the risk is always there.


And CG is right based on what I've heard, too, that if you take suppressive therapy, both outbreaks and viral shedding will be cut by 50%, so that's always a good way to go to protect the non-herpes partner. Condoms are also always a good option, plus solid communication. What I mean by communication is that the person with herpes will get to know their early warning signs for both outbreaks and potentially viral shedding. And if communication is solid, then the person with herpes will let their partner know if they're having prodrome sensations and they'll avoid having sex. More on viral shedding here:


... and prodrome conversation here:


Note: This 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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Thanks for the info. I'll check it out.


I do feel that she'll be as communicative as possible about it, as we've already talked about it at great length. It's just always been in the context of her relationships with other guys.


While herpes will probably play a small part in my discussion of her once I talk to her about having a relationship with me, it sounds like the focus will more so be on what'll happen over the course of the next two or three months until we get together (assuming that it happens). This has definitely been helpful thus far.

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"I'm not entirely sure whether I just want her to be in a good relationship or if I really just want to be the one who gives her that relationship because I have feelings for her."


This seems a far more important question than this girl's herpes status. Are you trying to save this girl from herself, or do you see her as a worthy partner, someone you want to date because she lights you up inside?


Perhaps you misrepresent the situation, but when I read your first post, I saw very little there to support your belief that it could be a rewarding relationship for both of you. It seems like she's had a lot of trouble with relationships, perhaps partially out of shame surrounding her status as GHSV positive and, I gather from choosing the wrong people. It is clear that you care about her, but you won't be doing her any favors if you date her for any other reason than that you want to be with her, or think you might be. From everything you've said it sounds like she's got a lot of work to do on her self, particularly regarding romantic and sexual relationships and if you get into a relationship with her, you will run up against them. That's not to say she isn't worth it. Just get really clear on why you want to date her, and if it's for any other reason besides "I really want to be with her" don't do it.


If she's really someone you want to be with (and she really wants to be with you) the herpes should be something you can both deal. Yeah, there will always be the slightest risk you will get it, no matter what you do, but you'll be safer with her, knowing that she has it and what to do to prevent, it than with the rest of the population who may have it but not know it http://herpeslife.com/herpes-statistics/. And having herpes, really doesn't have to be that bad if you stay healthy physically and emotionally.


Also... don't be so sure you don't have HSV just because you're a virgin. About 80% of the population has oral HSV-1 (cold sores), and it's often contracted during childhood. If you do have it, you will have a higher immunity against HSV-2 as the two strains are similar enough that antibodies for one strain help protect you from the other... on the downside, you'd also be capable of passing it on to partners via oral sex. Here's an interesting article about such things: http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html .


Good luck!

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Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that part out. I'm pretty sure that my feelings for her are legitimate, but I find myself questioning them because of the obvious influence that the part of me that wants to "rescue" her could be having on all aspects of my emotions. It isn't as though we continually talk about her horrible relationship experiences. We spend a lot of time together, whether it's in person or online. Honestly, most of the times when I felt most attracted to and turned on by her were when we were online.


It's hard for me to put into words why I feel she's right for me in some way. And yes, I say "some way" because I still don't really feel that a full-blown relationship is absolutely necessary for me to benefit from just how well her interests align with my own. I could really go on and on about her, but I'll try to keep this somewhat focused.


At a glance, we couldn't be more different. She's into drinking, fashion, motorcycles, tattoos, etc. I'm completely straight-edge, hate shopping for clothes with a passion, drive the speed limit, etc. She's the sort of person who enjoys living on the edge, and I'm the sort of person who thinks that people like her are psychopaths. Haha.


Our personalities are actually very similar, though. Our senses of humor are identical, and we can literally talk about damn-near anything. We both have similar interests in technology, although I have a much different viewpoint from hers due to our age difference. One of the most important qualities that I look for in a person is respect, however, and she's shown time and time again that she'll hear me out, even if she isn't necessarily particularly interested in what I have to say on some deeper level. She's enthusiastic about many of the same things that I am, and I think that it'd be great to spend more of my time with someone who'd feel every bit as rewarded as I would by turning my interests into a way of life in a way that'll let us spend plenty of time together.


Problem is, it's not as though you couldn't have this same experience (minus the sex, I suppose - haha) with a close friend who shares the same interest. I honestly believe that my feelings for her are more than that, though. Still, I can't be sure, because I realize that my thoughts and emotions could be clouded.


For example, any guy who truly loves a woman would hate to see her hurt. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's just trying to play the hero. Unfortunately, yeah, there's a very good chance that I'm trying to play the hero while thinking that I legitimately love her, and I clearly can't tell the difference very well.


I can say with confidence, however, that I've never had anyone work at me this way. It isn't as though she has to be around me or present in any way for me to feel that I'm gradually being undone somehow. I can feel my limits being tested. I'm pretty sure it's because I've never cared for someone so much before, but - again - it's very possible that each and every instance of rejection is just another straw that could break the camel's back.


As you can see, my thought process is really circular on this one. My problem is the attachment (or lack thereof) that I feel at any given time. I can control my attachment in that I could probably hold out indefinitely on a situation like that. I'm not saying that it wouldn't haunt me emotionally on an ongoing basis, of course, but I know very well how to keep myself at a distance if I need to. She's really making it hard to do so, but I'm determined to give myself as much time as I need to in order to feel comfortable and confident with being in a relationship with her.


As for HSV-1, damn...that blows. Haha. I've never had a cold sore, but I had to have kissed a zillion people as a kid. I'm sure of it. It's inescapable. Plenty of people probably gave me kisses as a baby without me being fully aware of it. Damn this world. I probably *do* have HSV-1. XD

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Hey Kev..I have been following you posts and being someone who contracted H from a partner knowingly taking the risk I get where you are coming from. It's been great reading your journey through this and I think you are a great guy to be so caring to find out about it and come on here.


I chose to take the risk with my man as he was taking a risk with me having genital warts (from my unfaithful husband). I was unlucky to get H. Having said that, after the initial 5 months of constant outbreaks and feeling like crap it now doesn't feature much apart from the odd prodrome (I think!) and at times feeling down about the hassle of disclosing.


You are taking responsibility for yourself and are trying to sort out your feelings for this woman...the sign of a good man. H makes you take it slow and I think its a good thing. Now that I have it I would give a man who was interested and attracted to me the time to work this out, and understand if he chooses not to be intimate with me.


So just take it slow, there is no hurry. By being honest now and supporting each other to deal with this you set a great foundation if it is going further. You haven't said you are blown away by her and she is the one for you...so don't rush, it may not be H making you feel like you want to take it slow but something else you can't identify yet.

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Eh, you may not. The odds are higher in favor of your having it, but even if you do, there's virtually no stigma... which we all find rather frustrating over here since the genital version is pretty much (and in the case of GHSV1) exactly the same thing except on the genitals, but since is "down there" our puritanical culture perceives it as oh-so-dirty and frightening.


Ultimately, only you'll know what to do. It seems like you're thinking awfully hard about this. Perhaps you'll find the answer more in feeling than thinking? Give it a little more time and if you're feeling like you really like her tell her you do. Don't make it too complicated. Say you really enjoy being her friend and wouldn't want to lose that, but if she'd be down, you'd like to take her on a date and just take it slow. Don't worry about all the relationship stuff yet, or about sex. Just see how she responds to you asking her out, and if she says yes, see how dating her feels. See how kissing her feels. Wait to have intercourse of oral sex.


You can pull back if you're not feeling it, if it's not working, one date, or even three don't bind you to a person forever, just be as (respectfully) honest and communicative with her as possible. I can't promise you won't lose your friendship if you do this, but hopefully if you are kind, honest and open, you won't.


And know- all this stuff gets easier with more experience. When you're younger, your emotions can screw you around a bit. I've had incredibly strong feelings toward people who were ultimately absolutely horrible for me, that I held onto because the feeling was right (well, when they weren't making me feel like hell), and wonderful people I only had luke warm feelings for initially (though they grew to be something much more). You learn to recognize the red flags and the signs of a healthy attraction better and better each time you encounter them.


P.S. Saving people is tricky business and it's not just guys who do it. The problem generally lies in the responsibility of the person being "saved" because the problem, or residue of it, is most often within them and only they can change that.

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Thanks. I really am trying to be cautious with this. As I've made clear, I definitely have some concerns about getting herpes (assuming that I don't already have some form of it due to having kissed by so many people as a child - haha), but that really isn't all that I'm concerned about. Thing is, that's the most permanent concern of mine.


I doubt that I'd be completely destroyed if things didn't work out between us. I'm actually quite good at knowing when to distance myself from a situation. That isn't to say that I don't care for her, though. I honestly just grew up with a life that forced me to get used to not being around the same people for very long, and it's very clear to me that's why I have so much control over whether or not I'm attached to anyone.


I suppose that I'd be more concerned over losing such a great friend. Of course, your life partner really should be your best friend, so it's hard to argue against taking a risk with someone who challenges you in ways that you've never been challenged before.


Sure, I haven't said that she's blown me away, but I did imply that no one else has come close to making me feel the way I do. Again, though, I'm having difficulty in determining why that is. Why? Because anything that happens could be taken in either of at least two different ways.


Oh, she's dating another guy now? So, is this standard jealousy that I feel, or am I just feeling uneasy because there's a good chance that she's gonna get rejected again? See? There's very little in the way of separation.


As for why I'm putting this off, literally, I'm only doing it because I know that I can't devote enough time to a relationship right now. Furthermore, my living arrangement really doesn't afford me the privacy or the comfort that I'd like to have in a relationship.


My real struggle right now is whether or not I should say anything to her about how I feel, because I'm once again thinking about it in a number of ways. Am I just trying to stake a claim to her in advance in hopes that she'll just sit tight and wait for me to be ready to be in a relationship? Am I just trying to get her to take a break to let some other guy who'll actually be good to her catch her while she's actually available? Am I just eager to give her some idea of how a guy can really feel about her, whether or not I'm even the guy who'll allow her to fully realize that? I could go on and on...

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Honestly, I wouldn't need to kiss her or have sex with her to feel any different about her. I've honestly been out with her many times, just not on any sort of official "date". I don't think that make it an official "date" would make it any different, aside from getting me into the mindset that things are going further and causing me to do something really reckless that'd just get me in deeper than I wanted to get at the moment.


I've told myself time and time again how strange it is that I'm attracted to her, because she honestly does have a lot of qualities that should scare me away. What's interesting is how these same qualities, while negative, are offset by some very positive qualities that directly contradict them. It's not as though these are all completely vile things, but they're things that I wouldn't have tolerated before. If she's managing to hold my interest despite doing so many things that would've normally caused me to immediately shut myself out, then I think there's really something worth sticking around for.

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Oh, and you're right in that I really need to stop thinking so hard about it. I'm pretty sure that I'm just gonna tell her how I feel, although I'll still make it clear that I can't and won't jump into a relationship right now. Perhaps she'll lead the conversation in the right direction once I get started.

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