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EssieL

I'm finally ready to share my story.

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I've actually been checking out this forum for a while now; but I've been hesitant to post anything. I'm very private about herpes and even though this seems like a really safe space, I always worry about putting my personal information out there on the web. Anyway, call me Essie :) Here's my story...

 

A few years ago, I was seeing this guy and we were FWB. We had already slept together several times; but for some reason, I felt like we should both get tested for STDs. He got tested and everything came back fine. I went to my usual doctor to get tested, and as I was waiting to go in, I replayed my past testing results. Always negative. But then it occurred to me that I could not recall ever receiving a result for HSV, which was weird because I always asked to be tested for everything. So, when I went in, I said "I'm here to get tested...blah blah blah..and oh yeah, make sure you check for herpes, I don't remember hearing about that one." So nonchalant. I would argue that herpes had never been a major concern. Out of all STDs, I didn't worry about herpes. But, turns out, they were never testing me for it to begin with. And maybe I never knew when I was having an outbreak; but as far as I could tell, I never got one (and *knock on wood* still haven't). Not having an outbreak has been both a blessing and a curse. You're probably thinking "curse??" lol. The part of it that makes it a curse sometimes is I can't help but think to myself: "so I have to have this uncomfortable conversation with every guy I date and check that special little box on all of my medical forms for something I haven't even seen or felt?!?" And that is sometimes difficult to deal with.

 

Since my diagnosis, I have gone through several ups and downs. There are some days when I tell myself that everything is going to be alright, I have nothing to be ashamed of, tons of people have it, and that I'm awesome because I got tested and handled my situation responsibly. Then there are the down days- when I convince myself that I'll never have a relationship, when I torture myself by looking up things that people say about herpes (unfortunately, you can search for stuff like that on Facebook...seriously, don't do it, it's horrible), and I try to find a way to build my life around the idea of no husband and no family. Yeah- it's intense, lol. Luckily, the "up" days surpass the "down" days by a lot :)

 

Nowadays, I think I struggle most with the double standards surrounding HSV. One of my closest friends gets cold sores at least once a month and she never has to have "the conversation." Several of my friends and family have something to say about herpes, but no one ever judges HPV or the noncurables. Not to say that they should judge those STDs at all; but it upsets me that HSV2 gets singled out. I feel like every year, there's a movie or TV show that makes fun of herpes. And people oftentimes talk about it like it's this flesh-eating disease that will kill you tomorrow. It's funny, though- the one thing people never seem to think about is: how can it be this flesh-eating disease and yet 9 out of 10 people don't even know when they have it? You'd think if the symptoms were that painful, they'd be more noticeable.

 

I have had some success with relationships, and some that are not-so-successful since my diagnosis. Right now, I'm single and I'm interested in connecting with someone; but don't really know how to do it. One friend recommended online dating for H+ people, but I don't want to be with someone just because they have HSV. Furthermore, I'm an old-fashioned girl when it comes to dating. Never really been into the whole online dating scene. The only downfall, however, is that now I feel like I can't pursue someone because I would feel deceptive. And that's unfortunate, because before my diagnosis, I was fearless.

 

As you can see, I still have a long way to go. But I'm really interested in making this journey with all of you. From what I can tell, I'm in company with wonderful people :)

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Hi Essie! Thanks for sharing your story as I feel that I can relate to much of it. I recently joined also because I have just ended a 6 year relationship and do not know how I will be able to date again. I also don't think about herpes most of the time since I only had a few outbreaks when I was first diagnosed 6 years ago and haven't had any since then. I also am frustrated with the whole double standard for HSV, why is that the only one to get a bad rap? HPV can cause cancer, it's the number one STD and yet no one makes fun or freaks out about it.

 

Before I was diagnosed I could easily talk to guys and was in a sense fearless as you put it. Now I do not feel quite as fearless because of this extra "baggage" I am carrying around. I understand the feeling of being deceptive when pursuing someone only later having to disclose this information. I just try to remember you usually don't tell someone everything about yourself right away. So why do you need to tell anyone about this until the time is right? Do people in debt disclose that information right away? Usually not. So I believe that we need to get over this feeling of deception and realize as long as our condition isn't affecting the other person we are not hiding anything.

 

So far my experience with this site has been very positive and feel that it is a great support group. I think you will too :-)

 

 

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Thanks for commenting, Pepper! Already, I feel better :) You're right- we never disclose everything at once, especially not the things we worry might be dealbreakers. Why did I never think of it in this way before?

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I usually am not too picky when it comes to who I date but I do have a few dealbreakers myself. I don't usually date guys with kids and I cannot under any circumstances date someone who smokes. Smoking to me is asking for your life to be shortened and also harming the people living around you-it can cause asthma, COPD and is linked to basically every cancer out there. (I don't mean to bash any smokers out there-just trying to give some scenarios of dealbreakers) Yet most people would rather date a smoker than someone with a relatively benign skin condition. When I think about it I have to laugh!

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Hi there...love both your posts!!! I too was fearless with dating (after a long process of learning how to date, coming out of a 28 year relationship!) and had a lot of fun. Yes I have lost that fearlessness too and just lately have been going through feeling like I am tricking someone if I date them (interestingly it comes with an episode after being free of them for 6 months). I don't think negatively about H at all unless I have one or need to disclose.

 

I have to remember its just my thoughts and I can change them...and that I don't need to disclose until things heat up or I feel comfortable enough. I tend to want to get it out of the way asap so I can let it go.

 

And yeah there are all kinds of deal breakers...smoking is one of mine too, drugs is another, arrogance...narcissism...being unfit (they wouldn't be able to keep up with me!) and being negative. I don't care if they are tall or short (I have dated a couple of gorgeous short guys...talk to them about stigma!) and I chose to be with my man who was H+...yet I still struggle sometimes with feeling fearful of connecting with someone.

 

For me its not about being rejected, its the fear of how will I deal with it if I passed it on to them. I know its their choice and responsibility but unless you have it you don't realise the reality of living with it and future implications. And that's a crazy thought too as I was with someone for 28 yrs who had HSV1 orally and I never got it...so really I am worrying about something that in all likelihood may never happen because I am careful. And if it did it is really only a skin condition that emerges when you aren't balanced in your life!

 

I just hold the thought that H is a good insurance policy of making sure who does want to be with me really does want to be with me. Anyone who thinks it is an issue does't truly love me and the universe is just telling me they aren't right for me!

 

Thanks for posting girls! :-)

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Thank you so much for your post, Lelani! It makes me feel better knowing that I have people I can relate to :)

 

 

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