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Ignorantly blissful - my story

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I'm new here. Here's my story. Approximately 10 years ago I had my first genital outbreak ( and have never had another). I had been exposed at some point and didn't know it. My husband was totally supportive. Didn't bat an eye. I didn't really feel the shame. I was in a monogamous 'forever' relationship so why even worry about it? And I didn't.


Recently I'm finding myself in a mediocre marriage (it's not awful) and wondering if I want it to be forever (probably fodder for a completely different support group). So, I was thinking what if I did get divorced? God, how I always hated the dating scene. And then I had an 'Oh, SHIT! I have h!' moment. And I found this site. I have to say, while I find most of the threads incredibly inspiring, some if it makes me think way too much. Like, 'Wow, I didn't know I was supposed to feel so ashamed.' (Yes, I know that's ridiculous). I admit while thinking about the prospects of ever having to have 'the talk' makes me feel incredibly broken, damaged. And now instead of thinking about choosing happiness for myself, whatever path that is, I may just choose to stick it out in this just ok marriage to not have to deal with it. Ugh..


Was ignorance really bliss? Has anyone else felt this delayed shame?

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First, Welcome! Glad you came here while you work through your "stuff". Yes, we really can't help you with your marriage (although I would say that all marriages that last 10+ years go through stages where you may need to "work" at it again ;) ) But we CAN help you with your newly discovered info and associated emotions.


So - I am in the boat with you... although I've been rowing down the Herpes River for a lot longer. I've had HSV1 since I was 3, HSV2 since my first sexual encounter at about 16/17. Didn't know what that "rash" was, got married, managed to give it to the Hubby and like you, was totally supported and had no shame or other negative emotions with it. 35 years now with H2... 49 with H1 .... I'm sort of a lifer I guess you could say :)


My wake-up call came in a small dose when I divorced...but the first guy I dated didn't care so it was short lived. It was after we broke up that "reality" hit. The next guy I officially dated (after numerous other dates that mostly didn't go far because of the virus) freaked at first and it was then that I learned about asymptomatic shedding. Until that time it seemed that I was OK as long as I didn't have an OB and having had it so long, I dealt with the few minor OB's pretty well so it wasn't an issue. Well, THAT was when I had my experience of the shame and fear that the newly diagnosed have on here.


So yes, I feel you and the one thing WE have is we know we have lived with it without shame ... and we can do it again. It's only society that has convinced us in the last 30 years or so that we *should* feel this way. But we don't HAVE to feel this way.


You and I have the experience of being supported by someone who is H- and we can pull from that when we have "the talk". We know we can protect them with suppressive drugs as well but even without that Herpes was not an issue for the relationship.


So my advice, my friend. Do what you need to do around the relationship. Sort THAT out first. While you are doing that, stay around here and get educated.... it's not a bad idea to know about any disease that we deal with on a daily basis...even if we have lived with it forever without issue. Medical knowledge changes and we should keep up with those changes.


Whatever you do, don't stay in a marriage just because it's too scary to think about dating with Herpes. I'll tell you, dating after a long marriage is just plain weird and difficult no matter what... Herpes is just another blip in the adjustment period.



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Hello Moonsigngirl

I think it is great that you didn't feel ashamed.. I wish I didn't end up feeling that way about myself when I found out that I had HSV-2..

It's all about the stigma.. Obviously the stigma didn't get to you.



I have never been married, but I know from watching other peoples marriage, that never stay in a marriage that you are unhappy in.. I agree with dancer..

I am sorry that I don't have much to say. (:

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...delayed shame. Feeling it now. Feeling damaged


Do you realize you are only feeling this because you read something that told you you should feel the shame? I didn't feel any shame either until I read all the ugly crap on the internet and all the facts that were stated in a way that made me feel like a walking Petri dish just waiting to infect someone. Seeing dating sites just for people with Herpes...like a Leper colony.


I recently came completely out of the closet and I can tell you, I've only had a very positive response. Yes, I know some who have had people be ugly when they disclose but you have to understand, that is about THEM...their "ugly" nature. And they are people that you don't need around you. Herpes is a great Wing-man who will help you remove people from your life that you really don't need around you :)


Herpes doesn't define us. If anything it makes us stronger.... ;)



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Hello Moonsigngirl!


First, welcome to the forum. I think you'll find the support that you need here.


Second, instead of reading the posts that are full of shame, try reading the success stories. For instance, my first post is titled "Lonely" and my most recent post is titled "Successful Herpes Disclosure". I came to this forum because I was being too hard on myself. I have always beat myself up, and this was just one more reason I had to. Since being on here it feels like a weight has been lifted. It's hard to explain but all I know is that if I hadn't found this site, I wouldn't be in the relationship I am today.


My thought is (take it with a grain of salt please) that maybe you are taking those feelings from your marriage that you may not want to deal with right now (I'm very good at misplacing emotions) and putting them into something you have full control over. You have never felt this way about your positive status before, but now that things are falling out of your control in another part of your life, there's a part you can control. I'm not a psychologist so this isn't a professional opinion. We are all here to help you work through this :)

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I, too, am very new to this site but have lived with HSV2 for 20 years. Up until my separation 4 years ago and divorce a year and a half ago, I was married. Unfortunately, my ex created a lot of pain and shame for me around my condition. He was mean and harsh when it caused an inconvenience for him and often made me feel dirty and disgusting. That being said, staying married to an abusive jerk seemed easier in my eyes than going out into the dating real world and needing to have "the talk" with many new people that may or may not accept me.


Well, I finally realized that being treated like crap by my husband and living in an incredibly unhappy marriage was worse for me and my kids than having to tell someone that I had Herpes. I am not Herpes and it does not define me or change who I am at my core. But I knew that if I stayed in that horrible marriage any longer and I would no longer be me. I would be the shell of who I once was because I would become bitter, angry and unhappy. At least by leaving, my soul can be at peace, my heart can be full of love even if only for myself and my kids and I can find true joy in each day. Yes - it sucks to have to tell people and to have to deal with this inconvenient skin condition BUT like Dancer says it is a great way to weed out the men that wouldn't stick around anyway or want to be with you for the wrong reasons.


I pray you decide what to do with your marriage and I hope it all works out for you, but please don't allow having Herpes keep you in an unhealthy or unhappy marriage. Everyone deserves to be happy and loved even if we have Herpes!!

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