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New person, strong feelings, thought everything was ok but . . .

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Hi all. Must first say, so grateful for this site. It helped me immensly with figuring out how and when to disclose to someone new. I was lucky in that my first disclosure was so easy. He had a girlfriend before that had H and it literally wasn't a big deal. Great sex life, no worries, no condoms, no symptoms for him. Perhaps he already had it but will always be asymptomatic. Basically, no biggie. We were together for a long time - over five years.


This is going to be a long post, please bear with me. This is weighing on me. More than I anticipated. I have been seeing someone new that I work with (in another department, we don't see each other that often at work anymore) that I had a crush on for some time. Was just so intrigued by and attracted to him. It's been one of those unlooked for situations that has never happened to me, where I was attracted and crushing for a while, and then everything happens as you hope it will. I took a chance and asked him out. He said he was literally on the verge of doing the same right before me. We have been seeing each other for about a month. Every date has been spot on. We dig each other, we got really comfortable really fast, he's funny, really smart, and full of surprises. We align on some things that are very telling for me. Spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally - it's all there. The intensity of my feelings and the level of mutual attraction has surprised and delighted me.


I knew I needed to tell him sooner rather than later once I realized I was on one of those rides where you either jump ship completely if you're not up for it, or it goes deep fast, emotionally. With the help of the many brave and honest stories on here, I knew what I wanted and needed to do. I wanted him to see me, to give him enough time to know me. But not so long that it would be harder than it needed to be to walk away if my H was a dealbreaker for him.


You all know that stew of emotions when you know you're getting close to having to disclose to someone that you already know it would hurt to lose. But the alternative is no alternative for me. Fear, anxiety, rehearsing, playing out the scenarios, all of it. I spent the night at his place by request and we had the loveliest time. Intimate without sex. Up all night talking. That lovely, lovely time when time stops.


I spent the night again a week later. He had been calling every night. Sometimes we would talk for an hour. I was thinking about it on and off through the night, kind of knowing the moment would present itself to disclose, and I would recognize it. I knew I didn't want it to be in the heat of the moment. I knew I didn't want it to be a stiff and serious talk on his couch. I knew I wanted to strike the right balance between not too heavy and not too light. And I damn sure knew I needed to get it out of the way before my heart got too involved.


So, we stayed up all night again. No sex - I said I wanted to wait, which would be true for me if I didn't have H. He was on board with that. We made out, a ton. Great chemistry. I really wanted him. Always a good idea for me to wait though, I know from experience. Then in the morning we were still in bed, just talking for a while. And I was kind of running through the words to say in my head, knowing I needed to do it and wanting to get it out of the way and do it right. I guess I had been quiet for a minute, and he asked "what are you thinking about?". First time he had asked me that thus far.


I knew that was the moment presenting itself. So I took a deep breath and said something along the lines of "since it's become clear we both want to take our clothes off and be with each other, and also before more feelings become involved which I can tell is already happening for me, I need to be upfront and share something with you. Which is that I have herpes. I've had it for a long time, and it's not really a big deal in my life except at moments like this, when I need to tell someone." I wasn't looking at him while I said this, and my voice stayed steady, and even as I said the words, I felt both the whoosh of relief rush through me just that it was done, it was OUT, I could stop feeling the dread of knowing I soon needed to tell someone I was really getting into something that could be a dealbreaker for them and also the held-breath moment before you know what their reaction is going to be.


He was quiet for a minute, and then shared that he had just gotten over "an STD that almost killed him". Right away, my heart sank, because I vividly remembered reading a disclosure story where the guy had just gotten over an STI and just wasn't up for risking it again. So completely understandable. Also, she hadn't told him so it was not a good scenario, to say the least. We talked for a bit, I told him some basic facts, asked if he had any questions. Told him to please take all the time he needed to make a decision, and that either way was ok. Then I impulsively said, if you already know, you can tell me. And he said he didn't know. Basically, that was it. He held me for a while and I lay there fighting the urge to run. Finally I said I was going out to smoke and take a few minutes. I was surprised by what the immediate emotional aftermath was like for me. I actually hadn't prepared myself for that bit. Holding back tears, just scared and super emotional. I felt like bolting and just being alone to process what had just gone down. He said he wanted to go with me if that was ok. I haven't yet mentioned that he is a very considerate, polite and thoughtful person. He has always remembered small things that I like, and gone out of his way to ask what I want to do, make sure I'm having a good time. Just a sweet man.


I said yes, he could. So we smoked and chatted and he sat down next to me and put his hand on my leg. I had mentioned the previous night how at times in my life just a touch had spoken volumes, and reassured. Which he got. And he just smiled at me when he did that and said that's what I'm doing right now. That really touched me, that simple act.


So . . . I left his house relieved and feeling like that went really well. But now I have to wait. And he may walk away. But - he just carried on as normal. Called me every night, made plans to see me again. We started planning a weekend trip. Everything as it was, basically. And I thought - that's his answer. He didn't need time, he's letting me know with his actions.


Fast forward to our date last night. Which was wonderful, as always. I brought it up at some point, just to let him know I was taking the steps to get on antiviral meds. And at some point he said that he hadn't made up his mind. And I think I just kind of went on with the conversation but after that all night as we're so enjoying each other's company I'm also in the back of my mind digesting/processing - wait - he doesn't know?!? What doesn't he know? Am I in trouble here? I think I am. I need to say something. So I brought it up in the morning. Asking can you clarify what you haven't made up your mind about? That you don't know if you want us to become more sexually intimate, or if you want to be with me at all? And he said he'd gone back and forth. And I'm just freaking out while hearing this, thinking WTF, I should never have assumed, feeling blindsided. Cause' by this point I had really let my guard down with him, and he had done that to some extent with me, as well. Told me two things he had never told anyone else before. At his age (44) that was a treasure. And I took it as such.


Also as a sidenote - this was the first time in two weeks we had been able to have a night together since he was out of town last weekend. He told me when he got back he had gotten me something on the trip. And had also asked me before he left if there was anything I wanted while he was there. Mostly, my mind had just been on seeing him during the preceding week. But every now

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He hasn't left, and he's still in contact with you. I'm thinking he's still processing it. I would try to be patient and not bring it up anymore. It's tough I know. It's like we get past the disclosure and if it seems it went over well, our minds go into hyperdrive and immediately start processing the steps we need to take in order to make the relationship "safe". Like the antivirals, condom use, etc. It's like okay, this relationship might move forward, what exactly do I need to do? Another thing I noticed after I disclosed is I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to make sure they were informed of the facts and hear what they were feeling. I really wanted that reassurance that it was going to be okay. I was bringing it up every conversation we had, and then I realized, what am I doing?? All the fun lighthearted chats we had ended up centered on this elephant in the room.


I'm just sharing that because I could relate so much to that feeling of relief after I disclosed. It's such a huge weight lifted! And maybe by sharing my situation, it may help you not push the issue. It sounds like a lovely relationship this far and he sounds like a great guy. You have to have faith in that. If it does happen, look what you've gained. And if it doesn't, try looking at it as he came into your life to show you that kind of relationship is out there, it just wasn't meant to be with him.

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