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New Member....Surely Not An Uncommon Story


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I am new to this group. Although I have had HSV for the past seven years, I have never sought out a support group, because I ended up marrying the woman I believe gave me the virus. What I have learned in almost five years of marriage is that I might have allowed the stigma of this virus control too much of my life.


My initial exposure was in 2005, when I developed HSV keratitis. It was surely because I wear contacts and had not been the safest about fidgeting with my eyes. When I first caught it, I had no idea of what was happening to me. My eyes turned red, they burned and they were super sensitive to all light. Within 12 hours I found myself in the ER because I was afraid I was going blind. After going to 3-4 doctors and a specialist, I found someone who could treat it. For days, I was shuffled around from doctor to doctor, who issued medicine by experimentation. I believe I ended up being given something called Viroptic and a heavy dose of Valtrex. I was lucky, because I developed a nice sized dendrite over my cornea and was told if it had gotten any worse, my vision could have been irreparably damaged.


I went through the same emotional spin that most people went though. I pushed people away. I even pushed away a very good friend I had feelings for, because I couldn’t bear to ever have to tell her that I had caught herpes. I had been casually dating my wife for about a month and was almost sure I had gotten it from her. I just find it hard to believe it would lay dormant for months, activate in my eye, and since then my wife and I have been intimate for 7 years and she has never had a physical outbreak. She didn’t even seemed shocked (considering we had only been casually seeing each other for a month when it happened). But she has repeatedly said she gets tested for everything, when she does her annual, but I don’t think they test for herpes through blood test unless it is specifically requested, which she hasn’t. But I didn’t, push the issue of where I got it. I summed it up that, if she had it, she did not show physical symptoms and has never been on the medication as I have. I also looked at the fact that she wasn’t running away in horror as some sort of blessing.


Even after the first episode, I didn’t know what to expect. A while later, I ended up with an outbreak on my lower back. I thought it had been a spider bite, so I went to the Army medic who could not figure it out either. I then went to the hospital where I was told it was a herpetic outbreak. That’s when I began reading that it can travel from place to place.


I’ve been lucky that I only get an outbreak twice a year, sometimes three. In 7 years, I predominately get the outbreak on my back, and I can tell a few days before physical symptoms appear, because my back begins to ache. I never had another outbreak in my eye, but I have had 2-3 cold sores, and 2-3 genital outbreaks. I’ve contemplated a blood test, to see what type I have, but I didn’t think it would really matter in the long run.


When I first caught it, I was an emotional wreck. I felt like the world had come to an end. I wondered how I could ever date again. I think it had a lot to do with pushing me into marrying the woman I was with. I was simply afraid to get back on the dating scene. As the years passed, the virus never came up in our conversation. I would simply refer to it as my man-period. So whenever I had an outbreak, even on my back, I would refrain from intimacy and simply state that I was on my man-period.


As I look back on life and some other issues, aside from the herpes, I can see how in that first year or so of having the virus, it prompted me to give up all efforts of finding my perfect mate, and settling for a suitable mate. Since, then other things have driven a wedge between us, and we are living separated and contemplating divorce. I can’t say how afraid I am to get back out there on the dating scene, or walk out that door. Until recently, I have never had to disclose my medical condition. I have never had to face the stigma.


I have a great career, I’m physically fit, generally people would find me attractive physically, but in some ways I do feel damaged. I recently met a woman however, whom I began to see casually. The divorce and this other woman are different story, but I recently made myself disclose my medical condition to another person. I write my feelings much better than I am about talking them out. So, after some dates and getting to know each other, I asked her if I could write her something that was simply difficult for me to vocalize. She agreed, and I wrote her an email. I gave her an easy out, and told her I understood if this changed her views on where this might be headed. She was amazingly receptive and told me that it did not change her feelings about me. My confidence was lifted in that I can disclose my condition and if the person cares about you, it may not matter.


During the last couple months of the year, after going through so much with my marriage, I made a vow to myself, that I was going to be open and honest about everything I felt. I was since open and honest with my wife about my feelings about our marriage and about my feelings for another woman. I even confided in a long time friend, that I have herpes. I was shocked when she told me, that she too had it. We talked about how so many people live with it in secrecy. So I am determined to live 2013 forward with as few secrets as possible. That doesn’t mean that I will go around with a sign on my back, but over the last few months, I have found it cleansing to simply be honest about everything in my life. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn’t give you the answer you want or outcome you want…but you feel so much better in the end.

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Hi Cliff, Parts of your story seem similar to mine. I obtained the "gift" from a man who I was in a long term relationship with, who I had accepted with it. Ultimately, I did receive the virus from him, and it was a factor that made me stay in the relationship longer than I should have even though we were no longer on the same page about many things.


I broke up with him due to the incompatibility that had become apparent, and I am now single and even though I got H 1.5 years ago, now that I am single it's really hitting home. I have been back on the dating horse for a couple of months but have not yet met any man that I have needed to disclose to. There may be a possibility of getting to the "talk" point with a man I have met after connecting on a dating site, and who I communicate with long distance ("LD Guy"; still determining whether we're going to the next step and meeting again).


I have also been dating casually with a couple of men from MPWH and PS (the STD dating sites) which has been nice for company, but no really nice connection has emerged or any spark like I felt with LD Guy in our phone chats and one date. But who knows... I could just be conveniently idolizing LD Guy, and I am careful to remind myself of the fact that long distance blurs the negatives of a potential mate.


Anyway.... I am just sharing with you, I believe you're on the right track with your attitude and openness. I wish you the best in your new year.

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