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How the heck do I tell my guy?

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Hello All and thank you for including me in your awesome "club". I've been lurking for a few days now.

so, here's my story. I'm 37 and newly divorced after a 15 year marriage. I've been dating since January. In June, I met a great guy and we've been taking our relationship pretty slow. The sex part, however was off and running very quickly. We had an immediate chemistry. He lives a few hours away and we usually only see each other once a week. last weekend, I developed a wonderful UTI right before our next meeting. I was going to his place to meet the friends. It was really exciting. But, since I was under the weather, we found other ways to play. The next day I got into the dr. she gave me an antibiotic and suggested I get and STI panel done since I'm newly single. She also recommended the herpes test which I now see if very unusual. So, I got the testing done. Well, Friday night I got the call. Herpes 1 and 2!!! I'm devastated. I have not left my bed all weekend. I have no idea how to tell my partner, especially since we were starting to move forward in our relationship. I know he cares for me, but I'm not sure he's at the point to risk his entire sexual future to be with me. I'm so scared to tell him and to be rejected. I understand the risks to him already and we haven't always used protection. Only at the end. We have never had the STI talk. He is very open minded sexually, but there is no way of knowing how he will react to this news. I've grown to really care for him as well and it is so horrible to think that I have unknowingly exposed him. I have never had any symptoms that I know of and my HSV2 level was a 12. My Dr thinks I've had this for some time now. Possibly years. Since I don't have have an outbreak and we've only been together for 3 months, I doubt he gave it to me. I should also mention that he is having a very stressful last few weeks. He has a 2 year old with another woman and things have been very rocky lately. He's about to go through some major changes with their custody and living arrangements and he is very down about this. In fact, he told me last night he's not doing well at all and I have't heard from him since. I know this is really weighing on him because when I was with him last he opened up and was very emotional about the whole situation. I am not sure when I'll see him next, but I'm fearful this info is going to send him over the edge. I've scoured the internet and this forum looking for suggestions but all I have found is info on how to tell NEW partners, but nothing how do you tell your current partner. I'm not sure going into it with "confidence and self pride" is the best method, and honestly, I have no idea how I'll get the words out without breaking down. He's not a reactive person. He's very calm and he will research the heck out of this I know for sure. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I'm so scared. this feels almost as bad as when I had to tell my kids about the divorce. Thanks

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Hey there @Startingover37,

I'm by no means an expert with stats and figures etc but I do just wanna reach out. I lurked like you for ages before diving in and joining this community and it was a great help, before during and after disclosure... Your situation is difficult but not insurmountable. But guilt and worry won't get you further, in fact it will make you ill. You BOTH had unprotected sex, remember. Neither of you got yourselves checked before but later, you as the responsible one, DID. Who knows what results he would have had if you decided to get tested at the same time before you had sex? Why are you the bad guy because you unfortunately tested positive for Herpes?You did not willingly or knowingly transmit anything (if you have at all) and this is one of those examples of how so many of us in the human race are running around carefree without any knowledge of carrying the herpes virus 1 or 2...

But how can we talk about where you go from here... Well first, you've got to try and get it together because you simply have to talk to him at some point, sooner rather than later and it's best you do it when you feel strong and informed.

Yes, it's awful what he's going through but it's awful that someone did not tell you and that is why and how you are here. Maybe start with this. That you saw your doc about other stuff and these tests were recommended. Ask him if he has ever been tested then say that you want him to understand you would never have knowingly put him in this position but that you want him to know because of how much you care about him. He may very well have had 1 or 2 already and not told you but keep an open mind.

Disclosures come in many different forms as you will have seen on here. I'm struggling with one I have to do this week, like you, with a guy I have a strong connection with and am afraid to lose to this sucky skin condition.

Be strong, pull off the band aid as folks say here. At the end you will know where you stand and so will he. It's up to him and you wether or not you keep your connection. You are NOT a bad person you've just had some bad news. It can happen to anyone. Take care of yourself, he is a grown man that made a decision to jump into bed with you unprotected, so there is some responsibility for him there too.

Let us know how you get on. I know this forum is a little quiet these days but I'll try my best to reach out whenever I can


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Thanks @Miji69. I appreciate the feedback. I think I'm getting to a place of acceptance with this. I should be, I've done nothing be research for the past 4 days. Anyway, I will likely be having the talk this week. I am going to try and go into it with the "it is what it is" attitude. I don't hold anyone accountable for exposing me, as I know that most of us had no clue we were carrying this virus. I would hope he will take the same stance. I will just sit him down and tell him that I have some news and I need him to listen to me all the way through. I'll explain the circumstances.. that I saw my dr. she suggested the testing, yada yada yada. Then, I got the call. I am a carrier for HSV-2. Do you know what that is? Then, when he says no, I'll have to say the dreaded words. Its the gene that carries the herpes virus. I will then go on to explain that i've never had any symptoms and that my levels indicated that i've had this for quite some time. I will explain the stats for transmission and explain our particular risks. I'm going to try my hardest to come at it will confidence, and a matter of fact attitude. Then, I'll see. I have come to realize that I have no control over his response, only over my delivery and attitude towards the news. It isn't my job to hold this in as an attempt to protect him from the reality of it. He has every right to know, and I need to get this monkey off my back. Even though our relationship is in its infancy, we have always been honest with each other. I am hopeful because I know he is rational, no reactive, and very kind hearted. That's all I can be. If I go at this from a place of fear, he will pick up on that. This is going to put our status on the front burner. The "what are we" question I've been milling over will finally be answered and why not get it out in the open. If he wants to continue and sees me as someone worth taking a risk for, then great. If not, then It wasn't' meant to be. As I write all this, I know that if it should all fall to shit, I will be in a much different head space, but then you all can remind me that it was for the best. Thanks again

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It is stressful having the talk and so many people have no problem with it, I hope that's the case with you. In your explanation it's best to be accurate, there isn't a condition "carrier" for HSV-2 you have HSV2, you may not notice or have OB's but you have it. The test isn't a test of a gene, it's a test of an immunological protein that reacts on having hsv.

I hope it all goes how you wish :)

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I agree with @leanne27. I read so many posts where people kind of dance around the actual disclosure words, and I considered it myself, but it seems to me too much can get lost in the message and there's a lot of room for misunderstanding. Personally, if my guy is gonna be ok with it I want to know that he's OK with it. Not that he's confused about the hsv gene and carriers. I know it can be scary to say the words "I have herpes" but saying them isn't going to make a difference. People either accept it or they don't. And I feel like it's better to get it out there than to potentially have him misunderstand what you mean or interpret that there's no risk, and then in the future be mad because "you said you are a carrier of a gene for hsv not that you have herpes!"

It's all personal preference I guess but that's just my 2 cents. And I've had many successful disclosures all the same. Good luck!

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Don't feel like that!! It is a word that makes people freak. I totally get it. Have the convo how it works best for you. If you'd rather say HSV then def do that! Just don't bury the message too deep, you know? It is definitely better to be matter of fact and confident. Don't let your emotions carry you away. It sounds like there's a really good possibility he May have given this to you. Just remember that....he doesn't know until he gets tested too. Sounds like from what you've said about him he will be kind and respectful no matter what the outcome.

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Thank you @jingleBelle. He is a great man. Very loyal and honest. So, what's everyone's experience with disclosure? Do most guys run away even if they've developed feelings? My fear is obviously rejection but also that I've exposed him. I wish I had a crystal ball. This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

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I've generally had good experiences. I've only had 2 rejections. One guy was purely for his own health reasons, as he already had some sort of nerve thing that it could have caused some complications with (so he says). We are still friends and to this day he tells me he regrets it. The other guy slowly ghosted me, but I didn't really like him all that much anyway. And I figured he probably wouldn't stick around even before I told him. Other than that, the other guys have all stuck around. Including a couple who only wanted a friends with benefits thing. Which was pretty surprising. I knew my current guy had developed feelings already and I just could feel in my gut that he would stick around. Of course I was still nervous! But thankfully my gut was right! Have you read through the success stories? I pumped myself up with those. I wanted to focus on a good outcome instead of worrying about a bad one. We can never know for sure how someone will react, but once you get a good sense of the person it should be a good indicator.

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I had a friend (male) suggest that since v we've already been intimate and have developed feelings that ito probably not a big deal to him. I'm bad about my gut instinct. It seems to be wrong a lot lately. I feel like it probably wouldnt matter that much to him, if it weren't for all the other mess in his life right now.

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@StartingOver37 Regarding disclosure, I agree with both @Leanne27 and @JingleBelle on a couple important points. HSV is a virus, not a gene, and what is most important is that you clearly communicate there is a risk of transmission of the herpes virus, regardless of the words you use to do that.


When I was first diagnosed, my nurse practitioner told me I didn't "have" HSV2, I had merely been "exposed" to it. She said this because I don't have a history of outbreaks and discovered my status through blood testing. I got on the Internet and quickly discovered this was completely wrong, presence of antibodies = presence of the virus. To me, exposure just means you were exposed, not that you contracted the virus.


However, I have no such concerns about the meaning of carrier and will respectfully disagree with those who feel differently. When I disclose, I say that I "carry" or "have" or "have tested positive for" HSV2 and I specify that HSV2 is one of the viruses that causes herpes. I explain that there is a risk of transmission and I take antivirals to reduce the risk of transmission, but a small risk still exists. I don't feel this is misleading. In fact, if someone tested positive for HSV1 and never had a cold sore and then told me "I have cold sores" or "I have herpes" rather than saying "I have HSV1," I would be confused. So this is what makes sense to me, but I'm also aware of the importance of specifically emphasizing risk of herpes transmission when disclosing as that is the most important element of disclosure.



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I am not sure if you already told him, but I was in a somewhat similar situation as you although my friend and I are not together. That is unrelated to the herpes and more to do with us. It was extremely hard to tell him. I actually wrote down what I wanted to say. I didn't take a nonchalant approach because in our situation, it wasn't appropriate. I actually did end up breaking down on the phone, and I am naturally quite a stoic person. I told him how much I cared for him and how hard this was for me to tell him (we don't talk about our feelings, so this was also a sign to him something was up). I explained a few months after hhim and I were together, I was with someone else, that I went for testing and everything came back negative except HSV 2, which is the virus for type 2 genital herpes. I was relatively sure I got it from the guy I was recently with due to the timing of my outbreak (I only got 1 bump which was very mild), but that I couldn't be sure, and wanted him to know. He freaked out a bit because he was sort of unfamiliar with it and because of my reaction, but he was not at all cruel and reassured me I did the right thing. We got off the phone and I messaged him, sent him a few links on accurate testing, then I backed off completely, sure he would never want to speak to me again. It is so hard processing your own diagnosis, but having to disclose right away to someone you care about.


You can read about my experience and the update here.






Please feel free to reach out with any questions you might have. You are not alone. Good luck! Hugs to you.


I am also linking to a poem I wrote shortly after my diagnosis



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Well, I did it. It was so hard to get the words out, but I could literally feel the weight lifting as I did. He seemed fine with it. He asked a few questions and then just started kissing me and we had sex, protected of course. It had been quit a while since we'd seen each other. We spent an awesome night together. I had missed his birthday so we celebrated. The next morning he texted saying thanks for the great night. We texted for most of the morning and then he faded out and got busy with work. I did as well. I texted him a picture and he didn't respond. This isn't unusual for him, but of course, my head started going into overdrive. By 8 I hadn't heard anything, so I texted to see what he was up to. He said he was enjoying a glass of the whiskey I got him. We texted for a bit, and then I said good night. I hate this place. I'm just waiting for it to hit him I guess. Im scared he is now processing this and I will lose him. I feel very insecure and I hate to feel that way. I know I just need to let it play out the way it will, but this whole thing has me on edge and I can't focus. Is it common for someone to change their mind and decide they can't handle it?

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@Startingover37 I believe most often people do not change their minds, but it's important to give someone space to process things. Also, as anxious as you feel during this time, I think it's a better choice to vent that anxiety here or with friends rather than checking in with him to gauge his reaction or sort of press for a clear and final indication in one direction or the other. I know it's hard to sit tight and give him space, but it can make a positive difference, IMO.

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