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How did HSV change your prospects of LTR/marriage?


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I recently got diagnosed with HSV 2 and am 45 and single. I've been dating for year, looking for a long term relationship and/or marriage. It was difficult enough prior to the diagnosis. Now it seems incredibly daunting. I've been using online dating and I put on my profile that I have HSV 2 on the non-H specific site. I've also created a profile on H-specific sites though there don't seem to be many women on there. I'd rather put it out there, be honest, not have to have the conversation after someone gets to know me and might be shocked. I did this after reading about others who have done the same. Though, I'm a guy and I think it will be different for me than it will be for the woman I read about.


Are there singles out there that have experience with this? Experience with disclosure after getting to know someone, disclosure up front? Any advice, feedback and/or thoughts. Fear and uncertainty can be so difficult to navigate so I appreciate anything anyone shares.


Thank you in advance for your support! And know I support all of you amazing, courageous, thoughtful people on this forum!

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@m8kingArt I'm a single woman near your age. I probably sound like a broken record, I mention it so often, but you may find it reassuring to know that roughly half of single women in your age range already have HSV2.


I use a dating app and disclose pretty early, though not in my profile. I haven't noticed any difference in how people react to me as a prospect. I still encounter the same ratios of people looking for something more casual vs. people looking for something more exclusive or long-term.



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@m8kingArt It's really just personal preference. I know tons of people can view my dating profile and I don't feel comfortable sharing my HSV status with all of them. I prefer to inform only those people I consider likely sex partners. After matching with someone, if sexual and/or romantic tension develops, I disclose right then. I know others on this site include their HSV status in their profiles and I think that's great.

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@optimist I actually took it off my profile and I think it's the smarter move. If I limit myself right off the bat, how would someone know how amazing I am if they judge me immediately upon reading the fact that I have HSV. I've not given myself the opportunity of meeting a woman who might look past it after getting to know me first.


I did a word/term search on Match and didn't find one person who disclosed on their profile. So I thought better of it.


How has your experience been with dating with herpes? Ups and downs? Are you with someone now? I am still processing all of this and any individual insight is always helpful!

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@m8kingArt The ups and downs I've experienced haven't really seemed any different than those I experienced when dating prior to diagnosis. I mean, the first few months of processing the diagnosis were traumatic, but since then the ups and downs have been pretty much the same as ever. Sometimes you like someone more than they like you, sometimes they like you more than you like them, sometimes neither of you likes each other quite enough, just the usual stuff. :)


I'm still learning though, adjusting things a bit as I go along. For instance, the first guy who was super accepting of my status, I let that be too much of a bonding issue for me and I was overly thankful to him for accepting me. I never dreamed that could be an issue, but in hindsight, I realize it was just another expression of the stigma. I don't do that anymore. Not to say I don't appreciate people who are accepting, but I try to keep it in better perspective. So there have been a lot of little adjustments like that. And how I disclose, I've made some adjustments with that over time, paring it down to the core facts. Just little things like that.


I do think there are some people who just aren't comfortable with the risk, or sometimes just knowing a risk exists is hard for them, and that would obviously be a barrier. I was in a fairly new relationship with someone like this when I was diagnosed and we could not work it out. But that taught me a lot, too. It was scary at first because I was afraid that's how it was always going to go, but so far my experience has been that most people have been okay with the risk. Terri Warren (an expert in HSV research) has said that she's seen clients, couples with discordant status, in which one person has fears about it to the point of avoiding intimacy, and she has rarely seen a situation like that improve with time. She advises it is best to move on swiftly as it's better for both parties. It's just an incompatibility. That's how I see it now, just a basic incompatibility.

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@optimist Wow, amazing insight. Thank you very much. It's amazing what you can learn and what things I can make myself aware of when someone shares their knowledge. I appreciate it.


That makes so much sense about the first guy who you found to be accepting. I'm pretty sure I would have done the same thing. I will have to keep that in mind as I move forward. We aren't "lucky" to have an accepting person in our lives. It's what every person deserves, no matter if they have HSV or not.


I'm sorry the relationship that you were in when you were first diagnosed went away and the first several months were tough. What did you do to be kind to yourself and support yourself?


Thank you again.

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@m8kingArt Thank you for the kind words. :)


I do really appreciate people who are accepting, but I like to keep my HSV2+ status in perspective. For instance, I don't have the type of HSV that causes cold sores on my lips, but if I did, I'm guessing I wouldn't feel compelled to thank someone over and over for accepting me and my cold sores, even though there is a risk of passing the virus through intimate contact. I don't know for sure, but I think I would probably just consider occasional cold sores to be one of many, many things that make me an imperfect human. And if I had a partner with cold sores who thanked me all the time for accepting them despite their cold sores, I might wonder why that was a point of such concern for them. If I appreciate that a partner is accepting, I don't need to share that in the context of HSV, I can tell them all the many things I appreciate about them, including that they are an accepting person.


The first few months, I educated myself on HSV, I made sure to get out and walk a lot, I talked to a therapist, friends and family, I cried a lot, I took a break from dating, I posted on here quite a bit, I reached out to others in similar situations, and later I reached out to people who were struggling in earlier stages. All of that helped a lot.

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@optimist I agree. Showing appreciation for someone being a good person and being accepting is one thing. Though too much of that makes it seem like you're thanking someone for accepting that fact that you've made some kind of a mistake. Which obviously isn't the case. Perfectly flawed, right?


Sounds like your process was positive though hard at times. And it's great that this platform helped. I plan on using it too. Shared experience can be such great support. Thank you for sharing! I really appreciate it.

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@m8kingArt I just remembered another aspect of that scenario when I was overly thankful to the first person who was very accepting when I disclosed. I told him a few times after that how grateful I was for his acceptance, how meaningful it was to me. Those were my genuine feelings. His acceptance felt like such a gift after all my fears of being rejected, and I felt like my sexual confidence was restored. I still feel that way. That first positive disclosure experience was so powerful. But I later realized, in praising his acceptance of my HSV status specifically, I might have made it more difficult for him to share any feelings, anxiety or concerns about HSV that might arise later. It's yet another reason I will not go overboard in thanking someone for accepting me. I don't want a partner to feel they can't be totally open about their feelings.

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@optimist That's a really interesting perspective that you may have negated his ability to share feelings. What makes you think that? Because you think he would have been afraid to let you down in a sense? So he might not have communicated what might have actually been going on for him?


Thank you for sharing. That's great insight and something I hand't thought of.

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@m8kingArt I hadn't thought of it either until I had already thanked and praised him numerous times. He was the first person I disclosed to after getting back into casual dating again, and my earlier disclosure experience was so different, resulting in the end of a relationship and fears about my sexual future, it really seemed like a miracle to be accepted by someone who did not seem at all worried and with whom I could be my sort of crazy and spontaneous sexual self again.


As often happens early in seeing someone, there were times when we were both super into it and times when each of us pulled back a bit. When he pulled back at one point, because my diagnosis was still relatively new and on my mind and I had limited experience dating with the knowledge of it, my thoughts immediately went to wondering if he had pulled back out of concerns about my HSV when it really could have been anything. But in thinking about that, I wondered if he would feel comfortable discussing concerns with me if he did have them. I realized I might have put him in an awkward spot after praising him so much, telling him how much his acceptance meant to me. I realized that could potentially be perceived as pressure. And then thinking more about it, I realized that to overpraise someone for accepting me due to a very common skin condition was really just buying into the stigma and I generally make an effort to avoid that.

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@optimist That all makes complete sense to me. The appreciation you had for someone accepting you for who you are, especially after having negative results with disclosure is completely natural. Though I definitely get what you're saying about the perceived pressure he may have felt. And that the praise you gave him in a sense buys into the stigma.


Did you ask him, when you were feeling his pulling back, if it had anything to do with the HSV?

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  • 2 weeks later...



This article may help you some in your anxiety over your concern


Individual and Partner Characteristics Associated with Genital Herpes Disclosure and the Relationship between Disclosure Outcomes, Rejection, and Future Intentions to Disclose




Starting on page 84 are stats tables showing the outcomes of disclosure - which were generally NOT faced with rejection- from the last person person they had sex with. It also displays what kind of relationship these ppl were in. About 25 percent were bf/gf, and 40 percent married.


I know what its like, the anxieties of having your dating pool cut. But this article helped put my anxieties at bit. Hope it helps you too.

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I've tried it all. Waiting awhile to tell. Having it on my profile. Everything in between. I personally am ok having mine up front because as an advocate I know that whoever is with me will need to be ok with my status and how I live with it (openly). What I found was that the men who did want to meet me said (even when they were uneducated/unsure) that they wanted to meet me because they appreciated my honesty and integrity and that it was rare to find on the dating sites. So it felt like I was reaching a "better quality" of guy ... only actually dated a few as many times we realized that there were other incompatible issues)


I actually gave H to my ex (because in the 80's we were given a lot of bad advice and I was mis-diagnosed as having an ongoing yeast infection for years until after we were married and he got it). We stayed married 20 yrs and are still friends. I've since dated 2 guys for 3 yrs each. One learned of my status very early on and didn't care. The other found out a little later... we had had sex once with a condom (at the time I was told to not worry if I didn't have an OB) ... he freaked for a few weeks, got educated, and then chose to be with me. None of the relationships ended because of H.


So to be honest, I just see H as one of many things that can make a relationship challenging, but not impossible by any means, and that disclosure is a very personal thing and there isn't any "right' way to do it.


I suggest you read as many Success Stories as you can because you will see that they come about in many different ways, just like "normal" relationships. And you just never know, going in, where each one will go. The thing to get is that H is just one of a ton of things that can de-rail a relationship... and if it does, it's not personal. And you can use it as an excuse to create self-fulfilling prophesies (that you are unlovable) if you are not careful. I see people do it all the time. They are so scared to allow themselves to be vulnerable and take that leap to risk rejection... yet "rejection" is part of life.


And as you've seen above we can always learn from the failed relationships. I'm thankful for everyone who has been in my life ... even the painful endings. Each one has helped me to become who I am... and as I get older, I get stronger. A tree that grows in a vacuum is weak and will fall over in the slightest breeze. Trees that grow in windy areas are immensely strong and resilient. So it goes with life. H is just a storm that comes into our life and that can occasionally test us, but it only stops us from living life *IF* we allow it. :)

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  • 7 months later...

I just posted a similar question to this one. I forgot to read these posts before. These are helpful examples. I wish I had more inspirational stories to add. As WCSDancer says I will try and read more success stories. I find myself being weird in the ambivalent time that your potential partner needs to digest the info. I am pretty sure I will not be seeing my latest dating partner again. It sucks. I do not like how I feel powerless and unworthy. I realize that is my problem and something I need to work on.

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