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Can herpes disclosure really be this easy? :)


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I couldn't have asked for my first disclosure to be as easy and pain free than what I experienced just a short while ago. I've had herpes for about five months now, and although I had gotten to a place of peace and acceptance with having herpes, I still had my fears about telling someone. Around the time I disclosed, I was talking to a guy I had met in one of my classes. We hit it off as friends right on the spot. We continued talking for about two months, solely as friends. As things began to progress into something more, we would hang out, but always leave the night off with just a kiss. I tended to make excuses whenever it felt like things were going to go further because I wasn't ready to tell him. To be honest, I wasn't and am not embarrassed about having herpes; I was afraid of what his perception of herpes would be (especially considering my first opinion of herpes when I was diagnosed was not the best). I know he really liked me, and I didn't want his image of me to change because of something as simple as herpes, so I decided to wait it out until it felt like it was the right time. Timing I think is really everything when it comes to disclosing. Timing, how you speak about it, and your body language is key to a successful disclosure, in my eyes.

So after a while of going over everything I had wanted to say in my head, (and aloud in the mirror sometimes) picturing how I would act, what his reaction would be, every single detail, I decided that I was ready to be cool about it all. When the moment did happen, I felt a little nervous, and "the script" that I had created in my head didn't come out exactly as planned, but nonetheless I was really calm and told him as if it wasn't a big deal (because it isn't!). Anyway, to my shock, he was actually more cool with it than I was, and I was being really cool about it! For some reason, I wanted to word it as "I carry the virus that causes herpes" instead of "I have herpes." Virtually both are the same thing, but I like the former better because it sounds like more of the truth to me considering I haven't experienced an outbreak or any symptoms since my initial outbreak. 

I don't remember his exact words (I wish I did because they were amazing), but he said something along the lines of it really not being a big deal considering it's 2012 and obviously there are going to be a lot of people who have something, STD or not. He had dated a girl for two years who had herpes as well, so he was completely accepting of it and still viewed me as the same person he started to really like once we met. I felt so great after that disclosure, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Before that I thought I had reached the highest level of acceptance of having herpes that I could feel, but that disclosure showed me that there was an even higher level of acceptance, and it feels really great. I barely think about it now, and when I look at myself, I don't see a girl with herpes, I just see me. The same girl that I always was, but just stronger and more wise, because of herpes.

Although things didn't work out with him, not because of herpes, but because of other reasons, I am so happy to have met him and had that beautiful first disclosure because it has given me the confidence in myself to stay positive about future partners. Like I said before, I really think that timing is key, and when you have that gut feeling to disclose, just go with it, and realize that herpes is such a small thing to tell someone. Things didn't work out with that guy, but when I did tell him, I felt a certain degree of closeness that I haven't felt with anyone before, and that really is such a great feeling to have. My one bit of advice would be, as with anything in life, don't judge. In this case, don't judge having herpes until you've really gotten to know your relationship to it. You may surprise yourself in how you actually really feel about having it once you sit down with yourself, and figure out what having herpes means for you. It may open some doors that you otherwise might have kept closed in your life. 

I wish all of you successful disclosure stories! :)
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I love how this story shows some key ingredients to being good with yourself with disclosure. And really, it has little to do with how the other person takes the disclosure. Even if you disclose "perfectly" — you're as cool, calm and collected as your average cucumber — the other person may hold the most horrific judgments and stigma about what this herpes thing is. So it's ultimately about how you are with yourself and following your intuition on when the "right time" is to disclose. Yes, you are not your herpes; you are an amazing person who happens to be carrying this annoying little virus — "acne genitalis" as I like to call it. ;)

 

I also LOVE what you said about how you felt about yourself and the relationship after disclosing ... I like to see that as what it feels like to live in alignment with your core values, especially your integrity. It feels good to live your life like that. Not just saying you have integrity, but DOING integrity. Practicing what you preach. Being the person you know yourself to be. That's powerful and it just plain feels good. And other people who live their lives like that recognize it that much more deeply, too. Like attracts like. 

 

Thank you for sharing your story, deeevine! (I gave you 3 e's because you're just that special!)

Notes:

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Hey Deevine444,

 

My first disclosure conversation went GREAT and I was shocked that it did. I have the same opinion that you do:  now that the first disclosure in a dating situation is out of the way and was such a crazy success...I can do this. I'm still dating the person I told, but if I had to do this again in the future, I know that I would. I could. And I will do it with about 5% of the fear I had the first time because I really am believing that this is an opportunity.

 

How on earth did you get to acceptance with your diagnosis within 5 months? That's so crazy wonderful. I wasted years beating myself up and saying every unflattering thing I could think of to myself. I'm jealous that you accepted it so easily. (Jealous in a happy-for-you way.)

 

MplsMan

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi MplsMan,

This is really delayed, sorry about that, but thanks for your response. I have no idea how I got to acceptance so easily, sometimes I wonder that myself lol. That's really great that your first disclosure went so great, it's a good feeling right? And it really does seem to set the pathway that you'd like to walk on in your future disclosures/relationships. 

You don't have to be jealous in a happy-for-me way lol, be proud of yourself for getting to a point where you are at peace with it as well! Even if it took a little longer, there's a reason why you went through that the way you did, and now look at where you're at. Amazing stuff! 

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