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How to not take rejection personally?

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I'd like to start by saying that I am new to this site, but not new to herpes. I caught it when I was 24 and have had it for 10 years with very rare and infrequent re-occurrences. I have told my partners over the last 10 years, however scared I was, and found I have survived the majority of these "talks" intact.


However, I have been single for the last year and a half and have only recently wanted to start dating again, which of course has led to having to have "the herpes talk" again, which like everyone I dread. I chose to try online dating to help try and filter out people who are just looking to get laid or play games, and low and behold after a few weeks and a few dates I met someone I thought quite special. We have been dating for a month and I found myself surprised and happy to be dating someone so keen on communication and honesty. We have spent the days writing and the evenings either meeting or talking on the phone. It became clear very quickly that we had a great deal of chemistry and that our physical attraction were very strong. I don't know how things are in the USA, but in the UK and in London (where I live) in particular promiscuity is very big and isn't looked on as the worst thing you can do, whether you are male or female. It became clear that I had to say something soon if I was going to say something before sleeping with him (which I would not have done) or risk him asking me what was wrong with me, which is not how I wanted the herpes conversation to be started. I chose to tell him at the beginning of last week and I made it clear that herpes as had almost no effect on my life, has been easily managed and is of no great worry or concern to me and hasn't been with partners who have cared for me, but that I felt I had to let him know before this continued any further. After a few questions, he informed me that he had caught genital warts at Univesity (also about a decade ago), but that he was lucky as he was symptom free and couldn't pass it on. He also indicated he was fine about it and wanted to carry on dating me. The following day he booked in two further dates for that week and continued as enthusiastically lovingly as before in his writing and calling.


When I returned home from the date, I did what any sensible person should do and I researched genital warts, only to find out that what he told me about transmission and not being able to pass it on was not entirely correct. As lucky as he is to be symptom free he can pass it on to a partner through skin to skin contact, just like herpes. It is fate or genes or whatever that decides whether his partner displays symptoms or not, not whether he has symptoms or not. However, I made a decision to be rational about this and look at the person and the relationship we were having and not to allow myself to judge anyone given what I have gone through with herpes. I therefore decided not to let his condition stand in the way of my feelings for him.


During last week we talked and agreed that he would stay the weekend at mine and we had a lovely date going to the Chocolate Festival in London on Saturday and then headed back to mine to cook a meal together. We slept together and, sad sap that I am, I was profoundly touched by his enthusiasm and attraction to me. We did have lovely weekend and when he eventually went home on Sunday we continued to chat in the evening. Somehow, call it a sixth sense or female intuition I woke up on Monday knowing something wasn't right. He did write during the day, but it was stilted and not fluid as previous conversations had been. He told me hadn't slept all night and that he wasn't in the best mood. It wasn't until the evening that he told me that was having, as he put it a "minor freak out" about the herpes. I immediately wrote back suggesting we talk on the phone and discuss it and asked him what he wanted to do about his freak out. He told me he thought he needed time, that he hasn't been able to sleep because he was panicking about it, etc. I told him that I was trying to understand, but that he also had something that I had had to think about and decide whether I wanted to continue seeing him. This he rejected out of hand saying it wasn't the same as herpes and I was safe. Yesterday, I told him that I wasn't sure this was going to work if he was scared of me and was making me feel so terrible about things and that life throws many difficulties our way and I need someone in my life who won't panic over something as mundane as herpes is in comparison. He told me that he was sorry, but he couldn't see this working as he was completely freaked out about it and hadn't been able to relax having sex. etc.


And despite ten years of living with this and having to have these conversations and having been rejected beforehand, I am taking this rather badly. I'd really appreciate any comments, ideas or suggestions.

Thank you :)

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First of all, I'm sorry that happened... It's never fun getting your hopes up only to have them squashed. I can see how it would take some strength and serious reframing not to take rejection personally. But really it just sounds like he just wasn't the right one for you! I try to avoid giving into those negative instinctual feelings regarding rejection (that something is wrong with you, you aren't good enough, etc) and instead focus on the reality that it just takes a lot for a relationship to work and be right and that when they don't work it's simply a reflection of that and the fact that you weren't right for each other. It's not about you, it's about him and what he has the capacity to understand and deal with. So please be kind to yourself and realize that it was more a reflection of him, not you. In this case it sounds like he clearly just was not entirely educated about STDs and could not handle being so acutely aware of the risk of contracting the herps (even though he has been at risk with anyone he has ever slept with, technically).


So do your best to hold your lovely head high and try to remind yourself of all the wonderful things you have to offer... I'm sure he's missing out on so much greatness by deciding to let herpes (which like you said, is really a very minor thing) steal his focus. He may even eventually realize this himself, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up regretting his behavior. But enough about him! I hope this helps you feel at least a little better... Just remember, try not to think of it as you being rejected but rather that the relationship just was not the right fit. Cause it wasn't! You deserve someone who has the confidence and knowledge and strength to be comfortable and completely in love with you. And since it seems to take a while for ANYONE to find that, I'd say just hold tight and keep loving yourself! And good luck finding the right one eventually. :)



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Hi Who,

I'm sorry to hear that this is happening in the 1st place, But I'm happy that this is happening now rather than later. Herpes really is a huge test that's used right in the beginning to see what degree that people are willing to be open to us, and honest with themselves. It's wonderful that he was open and honest with you about the genital warts. But you're right.. there is still a possibility that he can still spread it, and he really needs to understand that and be honest with that.

There are so many times in relationships though, that the beginning is peaches and cream. So easy. We're only letting people see the best side of us in order to impress them. Then, when we get comfortable, we start acting more like ourselves.

I just went through something where I thought that me and this guy were Made for each other. After a couple months, it turns out that we're actually very different people.

If I'm upset about something, I'd rather have an open conversation about it.

When he got upset, he wanted to go in the next room and drink and smoke it away. And any time I tried to provide a healthier alternative, he thought that I was being "needy" or too sensitive. It just didn't work for different reasons, but these are some of them.

It seems like this guy is being pretty one sided, and giving it reasons not to work out.

The right person will love every part of you, and your honesty about herpes will be an opportunity for connection. If he's scared, and wants it to work, he should be providing space for an open conversation about it, rather than already walking away. It's not fair to you.

I will say- that yes. There's is certainly a healthy amount of thought, time, and questions that should go into having a relationship with someone with an STD. But there's no need to walk away before the right time and effort is put in.

If he walks away before giving you the time you deserve, he's doing you a favor.

Put yourself in his shoes- would you do the same? I'm willing to bet that you'd rather have the conversation with him of telling him what scares you, and giving him the opportunity to answer questions. Actually, it seems that this has already happened with the genital warts and he's not open to that conversation with you. Just not fair.

Not worth it for you to be more present in a relationship.

An opportunity for you to be really present with yourself, and love and appreciate yourself for your openness and willingness to ask questions.

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Thank you both for your very kind and supportive comments. I greatly appreciate it. I have been surprised by how deepy this has both hurt and disappointed me. I thought I had developed a thicker skin over the last decade, but just goes to show that every conversation like every relationship is different. I just need to put this in perspective, which I hope happens soon! :-)

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