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Herpes: A Love Story

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I found out I had herpes in May 2012. I am not exactly sure where I contracted it or when, but when I realized I had sores down there I immediately went to my doctor. "It's herpes", she said with no doubt in her mind. Hearing those words, words I thought I would never have to hear, stung. My life would now include telling every partner about my "disgusting" and "embarrassing" condition. How could I possibly reveal such a thing? How would anyone ever accept me or love me again?


A few weeks later I am working, bartending at the local hangout. A guy walks in that I had never seen around town before. Out of nowhere and completely out of my character, I introduce myself. His name is Mark and he has beautiful blue, honest eyes. Ironically, I run into him the next morning at a coffee shop. Numbers are exchanged and soon we are hanging out. I really like this guy, a lot. But, I constantly struggle just thinking about telling him that I have herpes.


Weeks go by and we're taking it extremely slow: getting to know each other, laughing, exchanging stories, being outside....everything but sex. One night we end up watching a movie at his place and things start to escalate. He gets up to go grab a condom and I realize that this is it, this is the moment I have to tell him. I take a deep breath: "Wait....um, there's something I'd like to talk to you about", I said. "What is it?", he asked. "Well, I've been tested and I have something", I admit. "Okay, what is it?".


"Well.... it's Herpes".


We didn't have sex that night. But, weeks later we are still dating and my confession didn't seem to have any effect on his interest in me. He admits that typically he would have ran away, but he likes me enough to stick around and thinks I'm special enough to risk it. I can't believe what I am hearing....he's willing to risk his own health to be with me? He likes me that much?


When we had sex for the first time I was a wreck. I couldn't fathom what it would feel like to pass this virus along. For me, herpes seemed constantly present, not only in my mind but on my body in a very mild way (red bumps, itching, leg pain but no open sores). For 5 months I had these consistent symtoms and I was terrified of having sex and possibly transferring herpes to this person that I am truly growing to love.


We avoided having sex again for quite some time due to my fear of passing it along. We figured out other ways to enjoy each other but that was proving to be very difficult. We just wanted to make love. Eventually I realized that I just had to let go of my fear. If he was willing to take the risk with me, then I had to let him right? He knew what he was getting into by having sex with me so I told him that I was willing to do this if he was also willing.


Sex became a regular thing and it was amazing. We were so incredibly happy to finally enjoy each other and decided that this was it, we wanted to spend our lives together. We're now planning on getting married next year and I am so incredibly happy to have found the love of my life.


This morning we were in the shower and he tells me that he's been itching lately. I look down there and he has red bumps on the tip of his penis. He has herpes. He looks me in the eyes and says "I did this because I love you and you mean the world to me. I kind of feel relieved now. Now it doesn't matter anymore".


This man willingly exposed himself to herpes. This man loves me so much that he contracted this virus and has accepted it. I am still in shock and can't believe how special this person is. Because of Herpes, we started communicating right from the beginning. Because of Herpes, we waited to have sex until we were completely ready.


There's hope, everyone. There are people out there that realize what is important in life and clearly love is a lot more important than Herpes: a skin condition that affects 1 out of 4 people. A virus that for many people affected is basically non-existent. A condition that is horribly stigmatized and over exaggerated. A virus that can be treated by suppressive drugs.


I love you all and hope that my story provides hope for the future. Get out there and continue on with your beautiful lives :)




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Wow. Thank you for sharing this, Emily ... I can hear the "blowed-away-ness" in your post. ;) Seems like it's hard for you to believe that a guy can actually see you as worth the risk of getting herpes. And yet here it is. Plain as day. Just goes to show, you can never assume how another person will perceive herpes — even if you think if the roles were reversed you would dump yourself. ;)


Each person has a completely different perspective, a completely different association with the stigma (or lack thereof). Sounds like after all the stigma and hype around herpes settles, your man actually has a fair view of what this actually is: Just an occasionally uncomfortable skin rash. Nothing more (unless we make it up that it's something more).


Thanks again, Emily! I'm so happy for you! Sounds like you've got a nice lil relationship a-brewin'! Keep us up to date, you lovebirds, you.

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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Such an awesome post Emily...I wish you both every good thing :-) :-) :-)


I willingly took the risk with my boyfriend who I contracted it from and still see in him more than the risk. We aren't together now...circumstance and timing. I don't regret my choice and being one who made the choice too I know your man really really loves you :-).

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

DEAR emily_bestrong, the username becomes you. and thank you so much for sharing your story with us; it's like a breath of fresh air. it is so necessary--and i am so grateful to have found this site--to hear and learn from other people, that despite our 'viruses', our 'self-made flaws', our 'imperfections' we remain loving and lovable human beings, deserving of opportunities to express love and experience love.


many blessings to you and your blue-eyed honey ;)


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