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Getting Ready to Have the "Dreaded Herpes Talk" in the Next Week or So


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Hi Everyone,

 

New to the site and really appreciative for the new perspective it has given me regarding the hardest part of having this skin condition, the disclosure.

 

I have been seeing someone for a few weeks now and things are going great. We really seem to click and already have several inside jokes and nicknames for each other it has been the happiest I have been in quite some time. I really feel she feels the same way as I do about me (she actually references plans we will need to make in the long term) but I cannot help but worry that telling her about my herpes will change everything. Perhaps women look at a partner with herpes a different way that I think a guy might. I know there are many reasons she feels the way she does about me so far and none of them have to do with sex (actually there have been opportunities for a more physical interaction but she hasn't pressed the issue yet either), but as many of you know it is hard to see past this sometimes as a carrier to view the person you are.

 

I definitely plan on framing it as something important and personal I want to share with her because I feel such a strong connection to her. She has expressed her worry to me that she is going to be a rebound (I just got out of a long relationship a couple months ago) and I also feel this conversation is an opportunity to prove to her that she is more significant than being "the next girl." My natural tendency is humor and in that respect I have joked before about suppressive medication being very similar to my form of birth control, doesn't eliminate the risk but mitigates quite a bit of it along with other measures. I also feel it important to tell her about my story (I was passed it by a girlfriend who wasn't honest with me about her status) and share my experience from the 5 years I have had it along with all I know about the condition.

 

While I have had the discussion before, successfully (one also had it and the other one liked me enough to outweigh the risk) I really hope I am really overthinking how negative her reaction will be.

 

I have read some of the disclosure stories and it would be great to hear the perspective and disclosure experiences from people, especially those similar to me (male, 28 years old). Have each of you found more often than not that people are accepting? I know I would understand if I felt strongly about someone but the info available to people about this condition is overwhelmingly false and negative, plus I am biased as a carrier.

 

As I said, I feel the time is drawing close to talk, I have an idea of the right time and the weight of this is becoming my form of the Tell Tale Heart. Anyway, as I had said it would be great to hear others disclosure experience and maybe gain a female perspective on whether or not the person usually is more significant to the decsision than their skin condition might be.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Nate

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Was great to talk with you today, bro. Sounds like she's a keeper (and you, too). I'm excited to hear how the talk goes! Keep us posted! Looking forward to hearing what our other members say to your question. :) And looking forward to hearing about what may SEEM like a talk to dread turns out being an opportunity to bring the relationship to a deeper, trusting and authentic level.

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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Hi Nate,

Yes, it's that delicate time again.

I don't think that it's a gender specific issue, except that statistically it's easier for women to get H than men to get it from women; our tissues are more delicate and internal of course. Are you planning on using condoms? that could make a difference to a woman, would certainly re-assure me that you cared about my health. I got it from someone I used a condom with I think, as I've only ever had it externally; so for even me, with H, I would only be with an H man if he was willing to use condoms. Every time. Unless we were intending on making babies of course!

I've had 2 disclosures, one sailed through so smoothly I had no idea it was such a big deal to others. That was 18 years ago, when first diagnosed. Then my very next one, more recently---whammo, dealbreaker, broke my heart as well as the possibility. Healed now, back out on the dating circuit. So there's no predicting it. I'd go gently on the joking though; you don't have to be dead serious, but men often deal with anxiety by joking, and it often comes off to us women as inauthentic, dismissive of our feelings, and juvenile...........so read her very carefully before you go there. It could be fine to say later, just perhaps not in the initial conversation....you could mention it if she accepts at the start. Still, every case different, just giving you one feminine perspective. Good luck! keep us posted.

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Thanks for the insight lively. After having a great conversation with the_h_Opp today I don't think I will be planning on any humor to go along with the conversation. I am going to be genuine and treat it as what it is, an opportunity to make myself vulnerable and share something personal with someone I have grown to care about and hope to share a long relationship with. Most importantly, I am going to treat it as a conversation. I want to hear her thoughts and I hope she keeps an open mind so I can share my experience with H. A lack of communication is how I got this condition and open, confident dialogue is how I am going to protect anyone who understands there is more to me than a skin condition.

 

I am sorry your most recent disclosure went so poorly. That rejection is the fear that drove this post but I am hopeful that she will see me for what I am. I great, funny, caring, original guy who just happens to have herpes. After some reflecting this afternoon, I feel confident again that I would be much happier being myself with H than someone else without it.

 

I will keep everyone posted about my experience when the special day comes.

 

Thanks for your support everyone!

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My recent experience with disclosure, H Opportunity style, is that the dialogue set a precedent for clear communication and a lot of caring. It is scary but so worth it. Apart from the relationship aspect, the disclosure (and all your preparation for the disclosure) sets into motion some remarkable and powerful personal growth.

 

Please keep us posted, Nate!

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You know, in retrospect, being told about it didn't bother me all that much. I have a very close friend whom I slept with about a year ago, and he had something on his lip. He didn't know what it was, but suspected it was a cold sore he got from his inconsiderate sister. We avoided mouth-to-anything contact, and I was fine. Honestly I still think it was just a lip zit, but still. If the person really cares about you, they won't leave you, whether it's a friend, family member, or potential relationship. I recently got herpes from another friend who had no idea she had HSV-1, since she was asymptomatic. She likely got it from family when she was very young, as her sister has had them since she was little, too. Although I was initially incredibly upset, I'm fine now. I'm nervous about any future disclosures as well. I've found it incredibly helpful to talk to my close friends about my recent diagnoses, and I guess you can say I'm using them as practice for a relationship. I wish you the best, and I hope everything goes well!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Everyone,

 

Thanks for the comments. I did want to give an update to let you know how things are progressing. We have still been taking things pretty slow and really have avoided any serious conversation so I haven't been able to gauge whether or not I felt comfortable taking things further.

 

Yesterday we did establish that we want to date each other exclusively but aren't too quick to put labels on what we are and continue to keep the pace. I think both of us are coming out of relatively long term relationships and while we are happy so far, don't want to get super serious just yet. I guess we will have to see where herpes fits into the realm of "not getting super serious" at some point.

 

I have made the decision recently to disclose to two friends as a way of being more at peace with it so I could get ready to have the talk. First time I have done that in 4 years (outside of my mom and two partners). They were both very supportive and had positive reactions. Actually, each of them were touched that I thought enough of them to share something so personal. It gave me a lot of confidence that when the time is right with this girl, I can be confident and come from a place of strength, knowing that it is just a minor complication and something that we can work around with a very minimal risk. More and more I feel like she is someone who will take it in stride, and I hope that I eventually am correct in that assumption. After all, the basis of our connection thus far hasn't involved anything herpes affects anyway.

 

I will make sure to share what I am hoping will be great news.

 

Thanks,

Nate

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