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When to disclose that I have herpes?

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The first guy I ever slept with gave me HSV-1 through oral sex, in 2008. Needless to say, I've never had a "normal" sex life and have only had one boyfriend since the guy who gave it to me. I've dated several others (not intimately of course). Yet I tend to go for relationships that I know won't be serious or intimate because disclosing my condition is hard for someone who already doesn't have a lot of confidence in the dating arena. I'm not sure when is the appropriate time to have the sex talk, because like I've said, I've never had a normal sex life.


That being said, I recently ran into an old college buddy at a friend's wedding. He and I really hit it off, spending every possible moment together and speaking every night since. Even though we live 6 hours apart, we're going to explore whatever this is, and for once I actually wouldn't mind a future with this one. Of course, it's been only a very short time so it's much too soon to know where this is going. And under normal circumstances, it would be too soon to have the herpes talk with someone. However he is talking about visiting me in several weeks for a long weekend. I feel like I should disclose my condition to him before he comes up, even if we do not have sex at that time (he is considering flying so this is an added time-crunch). Two reasons are prompting me. First I would feel guilty for not disclosing it to him before he spent the time and money to come up. Secondly, it would be a rain cloud hanging over my head the entire weekend (as you can probably tell, it already is).


So as this is the most respectable herpes blog I've come across, I would appreciate your thoughts specifically on this situation and normal ones. When is the logical appropriate time to have this conversation? How do you know he's/she's the person to have this talk with? Thank you in advance.

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Hey rightbrain! Good question. Short answer: Have a skype conversation with him before he comes. Why? It's a good happy medium between a phone conversation (where you can't see non-verbal cues, less intimate) and him flying there in person to have the herpes talk. Have you downloaded the free e-book yet? It's a quick read and jam-packed with helpful tips to shift your perspective. Here's the link to download it:



Also, here's a video I made about herpes disclosure and when to have the herpes talk:


Another thing, I understand why you might be holding yourself back, but know that most of that is you making that decision to hold yourself back. Very little of it is actually because you have this virus called herpes. You are making a decision to only date people you won't be serious with. It's becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don't believe yourself when you think you'll be alone, that no one could possibly love you. Don't. Believe. It. I say that with love and support and firmness. I want you to really get that. I say this not to shame you about holding yourself back, but to show you that YOU are making that decision ... I want to show you that you have options if you take them. Don't be a victim to herpes. It has no power unless you give it power.


A whole heck of a lot of this is you getting right with yourself about having herpes. Many people out there don't see herpes as a dealbreaker; they don't see it as a reason to stop a perfectly great relationship with a perfectly great person. But if you believe that you having herpes is a dealbreaker, then a fascinating thing happens: You start acting like it's a dealbreaker in how you relate, and it ends up being a dealbreaker.


What I wish for you is to find in yourself all of the amazing things you are so you can prove to yourself that your awesomeness overshadows herpes. Herpes has never been big enough to stop you from taking in the love you deserve. You have made it that way through believing all the stigma and hype. When it comes down to it, it's a simple skin condition. It doesn't define who you are unless you let it. You're so much bigger than that. I don't even know you and I can promise you that you are allowing big parts of yourself to be covered up. Let yourself show more and no one will bat an eyelash at herpes. Be good with yourself, accept yourself, love yourself, and others will follow suit.


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Well the conversation went well, at least as far as I can tell. He's open to the idea, but we'll see if this already complicated situation develops further.


I wanted to thank you for what you are doing on this blog. This takes not only patience and understanding, but also a big piece of yourself, and lots of courage. I can't imagine. Your support and advice are a blessing. Thanks!

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  • 3 months later...

I appreciated this video. I'm newly diagnosed and am struggling with a lot of what that means for how I live my life from here on now. Shortly before I was diagnosed, I had met someone I was interested in, and since then we have still been talking and going out some. However, he has no idea that I have Herpes, and I'm still trying to figure out if he is someone I want to continue the relationship with and disclose to. It seems to put a whole new spin on continuing a relationship when I have Herpes, especially when I'm so new at learning about it myself. However, if I do decide to continue this in the direction of a relationship and disclose at some point, it was so helpful to hear how it can actually go. Your "good" model and "bad" model were extremely helpful. Thank you.

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