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Do you resent the person who gave you herpes?

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I just discovered yesterday that my boyfriend gave me herpes.


We have been dating a few months. A few weeks ago he had a slight rash on his penis and he said he thought it was chafing due to the fact we had been having sex quite often. The next week I came down with bad flu like symptoms and then the week after that the pain started. So I asked him about the rash and he said he had had it once before after a one night stand but it had gone away quickly. That set off alarm bells so I said we should both get checked up.


We live in different towns and I am much further from a doctor so he managed to see a doctor before I did and was told he had genital herpes . He came to my town to bring me the antivirals. I'm still going to talk to a doctor this week so I can find out more myself.


My boyfriend was very upset yesterday about it because he thought I would break up with him. But when he discovered I didn't blame him he become very nonchalant about it just assuming everything will be back to normal. For example he was talking about looking forward to us being able to have sex again when my symptoms clear up.


I think he is taking it much easier as he never has shown major symptoms only a bit or a rash and a small blister whereas I was in agony for a good week.


I know I was not sensible myself and have to take responsibility for that. I started taking the pill when we started dating instead of suggesting we both get tested.


To be honest I assumed I was the one more likely to have something as I had a stage of being a bit promiscuous although I have been tested since then whereas he said he was more of a relationship type of guy and has not had many partners.


Despite logically knowing it's not his fault resentment is still building up at how easily he has dismissed it. He does show concern for me being upset but I think doesn't understand why I'm taking it so badly. I was crying this morning thinking about how it's a stigma that will be with me for life. I think another reason it's affected me a lot is that I have had self esteem issues and guilt surrounding my feeling that I was promiscuous in the past although ironically I never caught an std when I dated the bad boy player type of guys.


I don't know if I will 100% feel the same way about relationships and sex for a long time and maybe never feel the exact same way about him.


I was just wondering about other people's experiences with these issues and how herpes has affected your relationships?

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Gosh there is so much that comes along with this diagnosis: 1) a pressing health issue which can be more or less debilitating, 2) the huge psychological trauma, justified or not, 3) the self-blame and hatred for being promiscuous/stupid, and very often 4) how to deal with the gifter who is often someone very close. Relationships are complex enough without this complication.


I was furious with my gifter. And so ashamed of myself: I knew he wasn't trustworthy yet I trusted him with my sexual health. I continued to see him for quite a while because the end of my sex life on top of it all was just too much. I was so afraid of never finding anyone again.


This initial phase you're in is such a hard time, both physically and emotionally. Take extra special care of yourself right now @kallyL. We can get through this!

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Nope. I got Herpes at age 17 from my first sexual experience from a guy who quickly dropped me. If I had resented him for the last 35 years my life would be have been pretty damn miserable.


Despite logically knowing it's not his fault resentment is still building up at how easily he has dismissed it.


Well, as @inka said, guys think differently than we women do ... as I have been reminded by several of my male friends, guys put things into "boxes" and only tend to deal with one thing at a time. When he had the "Oh Shit she'll leave me!" box out and you let him know you were not upset, he just closed it and put it back on the shelf.


I have had self esteem issues and guilt surrounding my feeling that I was promiscuous in the past although ironically I never caught an std when I dated the bad boy player type of guys.


BINGO! I think this is the issue. You see, Herpes just puts a magnifying glass on the insecurities that we already have ... and on the puritanical beliefs that we have had drilled into us by society.


Your "promiscuous" behavior (true or untrue ... it's YOUR definition of your behavior ... for some it would mean a different guy every week and another it might mean 3 guys a year) is in your PAST and it needs to STAY there. You did what you did ... and I expect it was when you were young and trying to figure shit out ... including how to get attention and/or feel desirable, wanted, or "good enough". I got mine because a guy that was older than me showed me attention and as one of the "uncool" girls, I thought I had finally "made it". Dumb teenage mistake. :P


So you ended up getting it in a monogamous relationship ... yet you still have to find some way to pull up all that crap from the past an bring it into this relationship? Let it go friend! Don't let the "Young and Dumb" you control your happiness now! ;)


Yes, it's with you for life ... but hang around here and you will see that herpes can be a great Wingman, Health Coach (it's often a "First Responder when you are getting run down), and a great life teacher. I know it sounds crazy now but it's true ... I'll give you some links to help you understand this concept a bit better :)






How herpes made me a better person

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2646/how-herpes-made-me-a-better-person inka



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Do remember that your circumstance of how you got it was VERY different from this young lady, so it's understandable that you would be furious. Your guy is a psychopath and it's unfortunate that there's nothing that can be done to stop him unless a LOT of young women are willing to come forward an press charges :(


The VAST majority of people don't have the horrid OB's (and thus physically damaging which makes for more emotional issues) ... it may *seem* so because that is what we deal with here (people who have accepted their diagnosis likely won't be on here unless they are like myself and are here to support others) but remember that 80% don't even know they have it (so they won't be on here either) and of those who do, only a small percentage actually have "bad" OB's .....


I know YOUR experience has been particularly difficult, but YOU still have the choice to continue to stay attached to how "debilitating" it is or to choose to let that point of view go and find how to live WITH it. You made a poor choice of partner ... but I would guess it was because you were trying to fill some kind of void given that you stayed in spite of knowing he wasn't a good person. Right now you are beating that young woman up pretty good when she really needs you to love her and let her know that she's just as beautiful and "enough" as she was before all this ... if not more-so.


I would love to see you achieve the "Forgiveness and Peace" that you have declared yourself to be working towards .... starting with forgiving YOURSELF would be a great first step :)



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Our stories are very similar! My bf thought he was chafin because of dry intercourse but a few days later I was in terrible pain. I thought I cut myself shaving, until I noticed a bump. I went to the doctors and they diagnosed me. I was so upset. I thought my bf was going to leave me and think I was nasty or thought I was cheating. But he was very cool about it and didn't care. We still don't know who gave it to who. We both live in different states but 4.5 hours away since he is in the navy. But we were diagnosed in March and we are still going strong. I do not resent him because he loves me very much and I know he would intentionally do this to me if he had known he had it.

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Well not entirely sure who my gifter is,my boyfriend for 2 and a half years who I've never used a condom with doesn't have hsv 2. I just had my first outbreak in august, so I've been having it for a while and never had an outbreak until I started having problems with my teeth. But anyways I believe my daughter's father gave it to me, I've been knowing him for 10 years and he was always known as the playboy and a woman user. So in 2012 a friend told me she knew of another woman who dated him and that she had gotten herpes from him. My daughter being only 3 months at the time. I didn't really think twice about it, I had new baby, no signs of H, and all my STD test came back negative. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and say...I believe he gave me H, no I don't hate him, no I'm not mad at him. I just wanna move on with my life and be the best mother I can possibly be.

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I did for a bit after we broke up. We stayed together for 4 years after my diagnosis and became engaged. We broke up for other reasons but only then, standing at the precipice of single life did I feel the first real harsh sting of the stigma. The situation was convoluted too, mainly because I found out he slept with his ex girlfriend after I was diagnosed which not only made him a cheater but also made him look like the type who would knowingly have sex with the virus which caused me to question whether or not he knew. Rather than over analyze every detail I just let herpes fade into the background. It couldn't be changed and it helped me better analyze the important aspects of our relationship, which were sorely lacking. Now I'm in a happy relationship with an H- partner who accepted me fully and had two prior successful disclosures (though both relationships stalled prior to sex). No reason for resentment, it does nothing to the person you resent and does nothing but harm to you. Good luck!

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Yes, I resent the coward that gave me this.. Because I was not given the choice to decide.. But at this point, I resent myself just as much for being stupid and irresponsible enough to put myself into a situation to be taken advantage of. As much as I hate him, I hate myself more. I am trying to learn how to forgive myself for my awful mistakes. That is the hard part.. I don't need to find forgiveness for him, I'm searching for the strength to forgive myself so I can attempt at moving on with my life. Some days are certainly easier than others..

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  • 3 years later...

Could someone shed some light on my feelings about the same situation? I feel like I am crazy because I am not angry at the person who I am pretty sure gave me this. And I feel pretty sure he knew he had it. However, 1) he offered to use a condom and I said it wasn’t necessary?! What? But he is a wealthy man who had been married for 33 years and people like that don’t have STI’s! Right? Anyway...stupid assumption. Now I know better. 2). If he did know and went ahead anyway, then he just did what I was so sorely tempted to do....not disclose because my symptoms are minor and transmission rates are low and I didn’t know I had it. Blah blah blah. In other words I understand his temptation and reasoning.


I am still friends with this person and he got tested and it came back positive for HSV2. Am I crazy for not hating this person? What is wrong with me?

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ZERO resentment. The person I got it from is my husband. He had no idea he had it. But he's awesome so I'd get herpes from him any day! It could have just as easily gone the other way, no one is exempt . Actually to be 100% accurate we've never gotten tested but I had a visual diagnosis and a negative IgG, so the assumption is that he's an asymptomatic carrier, but who knows. We never went on to get tested because neither of us cared.

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@kallyL; no I don't resent mine. Like WCS2010 I was 17 when I got it. Partly because I was so preoccupied with getting out of high school, was working fulltime, and getting into college (in other words, living life!)....and partly because it just always seemed obvious if you have sex you take a risk. For some reason one of the mantras that was beat into our heads in sex-ed " condoms don't protect from everything" was deeply ingrained in my head so I was always realistic that anything was possible. Also I grew up during the era when AIDS was a huge deal and a death sentence so I always had that perspective to compare it to. Then there was the fact that all, and I do mean all of my friends (and the majority of girls in my school) got pregnant while in high school (not knocking them for this, that's just the culture I grew up with and I was no better, I just lucked out I guess), anyway, I quickly saw that having babies far more impacted their romantic lives, work opportunities, self-worth, schooling, freetime, etc while herpes really didn't impact mine (except in my own head). I have a vague recollection that when I found out and asked my giver he actually knew he had it and just didn't care. He was actually a really BAD person in a lot of ways having nothing to do with herpes. But for some reason resentment never struck me. I just moved on from him because I realized he was a shitty person overall. The bigger problem I had for the next 10-15 years was fear of rejection. It took me many, many, successful disclosures for it to finally sink in that I was the one with the biggest issue with it!


@MdV123 sounds like you just have good old fashioned empathy and ability to understand human imperfection and fallibility as it relates to yourself and others : ). If you continue to keep that mindset in all areas of life you're like to have a relatively peaceful life in the long run. I say that as a person who long struggled with various resentments over the years and had to learn to be a more empathetic human being. We are ALL fighting some kind of battle.

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Your feelings of resentment are totally within the realm of a natural chain of thoughts and emotions that accompany this kind of situation.

I struggled with feelings of resentment toward my girlfriend. It was easy to be angry and suspicious of her while I was busy being angry at everything and everyone else. I knew she didn't deserve it, and I didn't act on it.

But it was there.


We talked about everything.

She handled me firing really tough questions at her well. I told her I felt terrible and didn't think I'd be interested in sex at all for a while. I also told her I wouldn't feel that way forever, that it was something I was going to figure out and fix in my own head.

She did her best to be patient and understanding. She is a really great person.


Things did get better, both in my own head and in our relationship. They got better because we worked on it as a team and talked about what needed to be talked about. Just as important, we stopped talking about the hard stuff when it didn't need to be anymore. We treated it like it was stuff that needed to be addressed briefly while we worked on getting back to discussing and doing positive things together.

Also, we both did our best to bring up difficult stuff at a reasonable time.

2am on a work night is not a good time to start a difficult topic. It wouldn't be reasonable to expect patience and understanding then. However, meeting at my place for dinner and sitting down to talk about how I like doing that kind of thing, but need to admit that I'm feeling really low, or kknd of resentful at no fault but my own worked well enough.

The difference being:

1. It's in person.

2. The other person has an easy out if they aren't prepared to have a hard conversation. Their car is right there, they can head home without feeling too guilty.

3. We were planning on dedicating some time to talking anyway.

4. It was private, comfortable, and somewhat familiar.

5. I approached it in a way that it was her choice if she thought it was a good time to talk about tough stuff, and I would understand if she weren't prepared enough at that time.


Sometimes, one of us would need to talk about things seemingly out of nowhere. But it was always with the understanding that it takes both of us to work through the others needs and to be conscious of each others feelings.


You probably wil be able to feel "the same" about him, yourself, and your relationship. But it will take some time. It will be interrupted by tough stuff sometimes. It's okay to talk about it, necessary even.

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@RegularGuy Thank you for saying what you did. I have been having a tough time in my relationship with "Also, we both did our best to bring up difficult stuff at a reasonable time. 2am on a work night is not a good time to start a difficult topic. It wouldn't be reasonable to expect patience and understanding then." I just hate unresolved things and want everything resolved "now". Thank you again for a wonderful thought-provoking post. I needed some of this advice at exactly this time!

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Lots of people struggle with choosing when to tackle hard conversations. It's a necessary skill to learn, though. It makes a really big difference. Putting yourself in the other person's shoes helps, imagine your partner has something tobtalk to you about that will require tons of strength, respect, and compassion. You would need ample amounts of comfort in surroundings and circumstances to be able to provide those things well.

If it is your partner who has difficulty approaching topics at a good time, show some compassion, but remind them that you really want to talk about it, just at a better time. Say, after dinner or after breakfast.

If they put you off for long, or you put them off for long. Say days without explanation or weeks when there was some ample freetime in there, address the importance of communication. The tough stuff is equally important as the fun stuff. Say what needs to be said. Hear what needs to be heard. Then let the conversation turn to more positive things as soon as you feel ready.


Communication is a talent all it's own. I could offer some advice on that, but that would be a lengthy subject on its own.

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