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How much sexual flirting is OK before you disclose?

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Hi people, I've been dating a guy who is a friend of very good friends of mine, which is a concern in itself if there were to be rejection and the dynamic amongst us as a group... so to my question.

Ive had herpes for almost 20 years and my last disclosure a couple years back went well but the relationship didn't. Took me a while to want to get back out there and it did me good to be alone for a while....

This guy Im dating now... is amazing. we've only been out twice but this is what i think Ive been looking for, a man who already has kids, like me, is a great father, kind, patient, uber romantic and open with his feelings. He sends me a gorgeous text message first thing each morning and last thing at night (usually in Italian:-) thank God for Google translate) and our texts have recently turned to something a little more sexual when we flirt... my worry is that as well as this, I really feel like he is falling for me in a big way and has come close to saying it. I'm really into him too but i feel bad, like waiting to disclose, although its only been two dates over a couple of months, has been unfair on him.

What if he's angry that I could've or should've told him sooner?

He's also very traditional, old school Italian. He idealises me a bit and thinks Im this sort of perfect 'lady' (I am sooo not!) Scared I'm gonna lose him and feeling angry again about herpes which is ridiculous at my age and stage but I really feel positive about this guy in every way part from H and Ive probably been playing along with the idea of a 'perfect' relationship and it feels like a lie. He's told his mother, sister and best friend about me.

Worried the disclosure will go badly. Struggled last time but this time I literally cannot imagine the conversation. Should my disclosure be this weekend (3rd date) even though I know I'm not ready for sex?


How far should you take flirting and allowing someone to fall for you before you disclose??

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If he likes that much and keep a rational mind, understanding clearly the risks, then he might say yes. That said, you shouldn't be focussed on whether or not this one guy accepts you. A there are many men out there. Focus on enjoying your life and don't let herpes become something that gets in the way of that. If you are confident about the condition, then he can learn from that as well. Your confidence might allow him to recognize then general reality of herpes not being a big deal.


If says know, forget him and move on because like is too short to dwell on dead ends. Either way you will be fine.

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Thanks @hippyherpy and @Sail. I'm not on the 'hunt' or anything for a man, this is a case of a growing connection to a man who is a friend within a close group of friends, so therein lies the problem really. I never really focus as such on being accepted, the problem is feeling like I'm leading someone on, letting them fall deep where they may have a difficulty with my status and may have been able to put a hold on things earlier. So as @Sail says, the toss up between elation and disappointment applies to us both and it may sound crazy but i feel bad in a way, for him. Hope that doesn't sound conceited but its the way I'm feeling.

Hey, I'm a woman in my late forties and I have been here before, had two children and disclosed to the father of our children who I had a 7 year relationship with. You get to this time in your life where sex isn't everything, getting laid isn't the buzz, its the friendship, companionship and support you get from a relationship. Herpes just shouldn't matter if you have all that.... and yet it does...

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And I guess, there's a general disclosure question I'm putting out there to everyone else when embarking on *romantic* relationships. At what point does it stop being your business to withhold before you are morally required to disclose? Obviously before getting sexually intimate but there is the emotional intimacy to gauge also. Allowing someones feelings to develop when there is something fundamental they don't know about you. Allowing someone to talk about looking forward to sex with you when there is THAT hanging over your head. In my case, 2 dates in, I think it's too early for me to have the talk but this guy has laid it on the table that he wants it all with me. I'm not 100% there yet but I know that's only because of H.

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I've struggled with this question myself. It's hard to find the right balance of waiting to get to know someone and having it go too long. Most guys I've dated have pushed for sex REALLY soon into it (which I'm not comfortable with regardless). But that usually leads to disclosing sooner rather than later. I was on a 3rd date with a guy who I felt a super strong connection with when he brought up his dealbreakers, STDs being one of them...which led to me telling him. He ended up being one of only 2 rejections I've had and I think the reason it was so hard on me was because I wasn't mentally prepared to disclose to him that early. Ironically a year later he still tells me what a mistake he made and how he hasn't been able to find someone so great.

Now my current boyfriend was different from them all. He didn't push for sex at all. We formed a deep emotional connection and i started to feel the same way you do, about whether or not it was wrong to let it get too far. However, I knew in my gut that he was so crazy about me that I really didn't even think he would walk away. I was a little worried that he would ask me to be his girlfriend before I could tell him, and then I'd have to "ruin the moment" and have the talk. So I finally just decided I couldn't take it anymore and wanted to get it over with. If I had to get hurt I wanted to rip off the bandaid. And I wanted to be able to enjoy the early stages of our relationship! I wanted to be excited when he suggested plans weeks and months down the road. I wanted to meet his friends and have him meet mine without it being in the back of my head that it could be temporary. And I am SO glad I finally did it because he was very accepting and didn't let it bother him, and now I can enjoy all the little parts of our developing relationship!


So I think most importantly, decide what is right for YOU. You need to feel that the time is right. I think a lot of times we get so caught up on what our partner will think and what is right for them, we forget to look out for ourselves! It's ok to be selfish and decide you need more time getting comfortable with someone. But if it's always a dark cloud over your head, get it out there so you can enjoy your budding romance!! It's not worth it to miss out on all the fun!

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@JingleBelle.... Wow. Firstly I want to say thank you for your response and sharing your experience. Everything you said here means a great deal to me. I'm sorry for taking a little too long to respond back to you, time difference means I'm asleep when most of you guys are chatting and running around work/kids/school during the day. I have a little time now so I want to pick up on some of those things you've said...

Re being selfish, I get you.. It IS a dark cloud when with every romantic thing that person says to you or plans for you both, the 'disclosure' of their feelings, you feel guilt and worry on their behalf and can almost forget your RIGHT to take your time at your own speed. BUT you're right, ripping off that band aid has to happen sooner rather than later to potentially be able to authentically take part in the relationship they see building between you... Or end it and both move on.

We went to the theatre this weekend, another amazing date laughing, connecting, lots in common. Talked about travelling and the future he sees with me... He spent the night but no sex but a lot of getting heavy (underwear on) which I know some here will think is wrong or risky. He respected my wishes and nothing went too far.

I feel that I could've taken the opportunity that night but I still felt cautious, like I have more to know about him before I do but the next time will be the time for definite. It would be wholly unfair to let it go on past another date and I'm running out of reasons to not get closer.

I have a real issue when I look back on my first posts two years ago, that I never feel deserving of a good man since my diagnosis all those years back and have made some terrible choices. This guy feels like an answer to a prayer and it's scary to feel like it will be taken away by herpes.

I honestly feel like if this disclosure doesn't work out, I'm gonna just bow out of the dating scene and just be a good mom and throw myself into work. I really appreciate @hippyherpy giving me a balanced point of view but I really don't think I can contemplate getting back on the horse this time. Everything @hippyherpy says makes sense but I'm a bit of an all in kinda girl and I find this process of building to disclosure whilst having a good promising time with a guy, exhausting.


I've waited a long time to have someone like this, he's not perfect but he feels right for where I am in my life and one thing I have never seen since splitting with the father of my kids is, I can honestly see him with my children and being a good role model for them even though they have a good father. He talks about looking forward to being in their life with me and protecting us. He said "The only thing that could ruin this is you not wanting me." Well.............


Anyway, I hope @JingleBelle gets a chance to see my post and I am so grateful for the story you shared. So glad you are happy and fulfilled with the guy you're with. He sounds amazing. Gives me hope. Fingers crossed this week when I take the plunge... Again!

Big Hugs :)

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Disclosing does take extra energy, there is no

doubt about that. There have been times when I was feeling like I want to go out and meet someone new that night and then in the back of my head I'm carrying that extra weight of "got to remember the whole time that I'm going to be disclosing to this girl later."


It can get tiring, but you do it. Also, once you get the hang of it, you don't have to think about it too much. I just operate as normal now like a did before I found out I had herpes and when it comes time for sex, I tell the girl. That's it pretty much. I'm not thinking about it all night before I have sex. I just enjoy my time meeting a new person like anyone else would.



And then the disclosure has had positive effects for me like slowing things down a little and being more responsible in general. I think that has been generally good for my sex life (although there have been turns when I could tell the girl wanted to move things along faster).


Yeah, it's an extra thing that takes a little more energy, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Just another thing in life and really not a big deal.


Keep in mind that the younger generation that's coming up now is having a lot of unprotected sex because they didn't grow up with he fear of getting an HIV death sentence like people from older generations. Now that HIV is a chronic disease and not a definite death sentence, they younger generation is relaxed about all sorts of stds I think in a way. They also didn't have as much stigma of herpes now I think.

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Hi @hippyherpy


"I think that has been generally good for my sex life (although there have been turns when I could tell the girl wanted to move things along faster)."


Slowing it down does make it better but like me, if you slow it down over several dates first it can, sometimes make it harder. I have personal and professional reasons for not spilling to every and anyone on first date night. A risk I can't take with a guy I don't know.

I wonder though, if you don't mind me asking..? Have you ever disclosed to a girl you are falling for or whom you know is falling for you..?


Also, what you say about the younger generation is interesting and more than likely true, I hadn't thought of it like that as I, like you say, grew up in that 'older' generation that saw the likes of HIV as a death sentence and it was. I've lost people to that unkind disease.

Herpes also was a kinda over stigmatized condition that led to ridicule and shame, rather than being scary and a death sentence but until HIV came along, it was the worst that could happen, a lifelong, incurable.

So, it's interesting what you say as, assuming you're younger, you're relaxed point of view is probably more inherent. And for the women you disclose to.

For me and my current guy, both in our late forties, we were teens when HIV came around. We have a different attitude perhaps that needs more education than the younger generations dating today. Scares me though, as a mother, that you say that young people are more relaxed about STDs...


I'm gonna crack on and do it but thank you yet again for reaching out with your time and advice


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There is nothing wrong with wanting to get to know someone more before you disclose something so personal about yourself. It has to feel right to you. I think your intuition can tell you a lot. I know people are pretty unpredictable with how they will react, and I've been surprised both ways, but if you have a good sense of how he feels about you what kind of guy he is that can be a pretty good indicator of how it will go. However, if he decides it's not something he wants to stick around for, I wouldn't give up!! I know most people don't come back to update their stories of rejection, but I'm willing to bet if they did they would reflect on how they see now that that person wasn't the "perfect only person for them". I know in my experience, I look back and am thankful those ended when they did because I see now that they were completely wrong for me.


I think it sounds like you are at the point where you probably need to get it out there and get that weight off your shoulders. And better to find out sooner than later if it's not going to work out. Feel free to message me if you need to talk it out!! Sending good vibes your way!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So....... I'm just sitting here, just got a text from my guy saying he can't wait to see me tomorrow (date 4) and contemplating the big day as I plan to disclose tomorrow. Was feeling kinda positive and chilling reading Daily Mail news articles when BAM! There, in front of me is a shaming article about an A-List actor purported to have given his ex-girlfriend GHSV1 and 2 and that this may be the reason behind her recent suicide.......

I cannot tell you how much this has thrown me. It's so stupid but now I'm terrified that this story will end up all over the news and my guy will read it or see it and all he'll have in his head is this shaming and scaremongering headline while I'm telling him "I have herpes but it's not a big deal...etc"

We really have a way to go, don't we? I really feel a huge setback, almost like I just want to end it with him because reading this awful, damning article almost makes me want to hide away in shame after so long and after so much building up confidence in just being able to say the words.

I like this guy so much and he's told me he has VERY strong feelings for me. Is it dumb to make such a big deal of what I've just read? It really doesn't paint herpes in a great light. Just really sh*tty timing :(

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@Miji69 I think maybe you could try to ground yourself by focusing on how HSV is not a big deal for *you* in *your* life, rather than feeling like you have to convince him it's not a big deal in general. Different people will have different perspectives and experiences anyway.


I'm sorry about the timing, but maybe that awful story can serve as a reminder that the stigma really does cause a lot of harm, and by simply sharing that HSV is not limiting you in your life, you are fighting the stigma in your own way.

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Hi @Optimist... You are, of course, right and I was just caught in a headlights moment this morning. Seemed unbelievable to come across that with what I have on my mind for this weekend. Have heard many people say here about those unfortunate 'jokes' a date will make or friends when out socially but we also have the media to contend with too, I guess. Just we give each other such comfort and support here but the bubble gets burst by the ugly attitudes still out there. Deception and non disclosure are wrong but reading how some people view people who carry herpes is even worse.

I'm back on track I think, I'm too long in the tooth with H to be so shook but I'm gonna make a tentative promise to be back here after the weekend with some news about a (hopefully) positive outcome, regardless how he takes it. Thanks! :-)

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@Miji69 it sounds like this man is really into you and you will find out how "into" you he really is once you disclose. I've had this since age 23....I'm 58 now and happily married 21 years to a man who is H-. I told him in the heat of the moment and we stopped what we were doing, he went and got condoms, came back and we had great sex!!! I came across very "matter of fact" and he was so crazy about me that it just didn't matter. Don't freak or cry when you tell him because he will likely freak too. Just be yourself. Maybe even cook a nice dinner and just tell him. Have the hand out ready for him to read and give him time. Yrs ago the info wasn't nearly as informative as is now and no anti virals. Just condoms and no sex during ob. Good luck!!!

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@Katidid - :-) I gotta get my "matter of fact" groove on! I'm not one for the tearful disclosure but I'm gonna try and be cool. Great advice and good to hear your experience. I do think he likes me enough to be kind about it but the rest... Let's just wait and see! Thank you! :-)

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So last night I disclosed...

It took me forever, I drank way too much wine but I eventually started with "So.... I feel like I have got to a place where I trust you now and have feelings for you so I want to share something with you.... I have.... I have..... Twenty years ago, a guy I was with didn't tell me he had...."

THEN he cuts in "Herpes? Is that it?"

I stopped dead he carried on "Is that what you're stressing about? Ah Hun, that's not a problem, my ex wife had that. It wasn't a problem. I'm not worried. Doesn't change how I feel about you"

I was TOTALLY taken aback by that response, I never expected what I heard but after that he held me, reassured me some more then we had an amazing night together, with protection!

I cannot tell you how relieved and happy I am. I have such good feelings about this man and knowing he still wants me exactly as I am, including herpes, is great.

Everyone's support and advice makes a difference. Thank you

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Thank you guys.... @hippyherpy... why do I slap my forehead when I read your responses :-)

I have indeed got some D. Great D. D I intend to keep for the foreseeable so won't worry too much about the "next time" just yet, lol!

No matter how long a person has had herpes, or how many disclosures in the bag, I think some of us just value having here to come for rational conversation and a place to talk it out of your head before having the talk.

Those prospective boyfriends/girlfriends/hookups all take it differently but then we all have circumstances that make us feel differently about our status. Confidence for some of us takes time but it's great having people here to coach it out of us.


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