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How to get over a traumatic first disclosure/casual dating

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I am 33 years old and was diagnosed two months ago with gHSV 1, generously donated to me by my last partners mouth. He either did not know his status at the time or was withholding, hard to tell. Either way, the diagnosis was devastating and we are no longer seeing each other by mutual choice. So anyway, last night I went out with essentially my dream guy. Gorgeous, super smart (head research scientist for a very well known institute), hilarious. We hit it off and had a great time. He then told me he was only interested in casual dating, although monogamously, because of how demanding his work is. I told him that I understood and was totally on board with that and really excited about it, actually. We started making plans to hang out in a few days. THEN, he starts asking me the sex questions, including "do you have any STDs". Of note, he is currently working on an HIV vaccine so it was hard to tell how a virologist would take this news. So, I told him that I got HSV from oral sex from my most recent partner, have always been extremely safe and quite neurotic about testing, and am also on anti-virals to decrease risk. My first time ever disclosing. He simply said "I'm sorry, we can't date, I can't date you, I can't put myself at any risk". I tried to get him to hear me out, but he said "good luck with everything" and walked to the opposite side of the bar to sit down by himself. I checked my phone and he instantly deleted me from the app we connected on, so I can't even get ahold of him now. I cried my whole drive home. I played it back in my head that maybe I should have just said I had HSV 1 but wasn't sure where? All I know is that I never want to have to go through that again and it makes me not want to put myself out there at all.

Any advice on how to not feel like damaged goods and get out there again? Should I just count casual dating out altogether?


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@forgetthestairs I'm so sorry you experienced this. He sounds like really, really bad news. I'm glad things did not progress with him, though sorry it was for this reason. Knowing almost nothing about you, I am still 100% certain you deserve much better than this guy. You dodged a bullet.


As for what you should and should not have said, it's impossible to know if he would've been open to some other type of messaging, but I consider it a blessing you saw his character as early as you did. How he treated you was cruel.


I know it's really hard at the beginning. My very first disclosure was not successful in the sense that he was not okay moving forward, but I learned so much from that experience, so in that sense I can't say it was a failure. After that, I took some time to really accept the diagnosis myself, separate the facts from the stigma, and then went back out and started disclosing again. I've never been treated poorly. One person did say he appreciated my honesty and it wasn't a problem but then unmatched me, but that's okay. Some people have a hard time communicating more directly and we had not yet met in person so I didn't feel at all invested in the outcome. Every other person I've disclosed to has been accepting and kind. With every acceptance, I gained confidence so that when that one guy unmatched me it seemed like no big deal, like he was a rare exception.


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Oh my gosh he sounds awful! You dodged a bullet there. It's one thing to make the choice to not put yourself at risk, but to not even have the decency to treat you with respect at the end of the date is inexcusable!! Any guy who would just get up and leave to go sit alone and delete you so fast sounds like a selfish jerk. And if he is only interested in being casual with people he has probably put himself at risk more often than not considering most people don't even know they have it.

Anyway, don't let this knock you off your game!! There are plenty of people on here who have had much success with casual dating, one night stands, and FWBs! I have had more acceptances than rejections, and the 2 rejections I did have, the guys treated me with nothing but respect and decency. Rejection happens...for millions of reasons. But the majority of people will at least treat you like a human being. So don't think that all men will be such jerks!!

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I know exactly how you feel. Sounds like my Saturday night. He told me he never felt that way before with someone. When I told him - hsv1, and I haven't had an outbreak in 20 years, he said thats not something he can get past, didn't want to ask me about it, other than If I gave it to my ex with unprotected sex (which is no - we have 2 kids). I left, he wouldnt look at me or even offer to walk me to my car. He was such a gentleman before, servicing all of my needs, then all of a sudden it was like I had the plague. His response surprised me, especially from a man who has epilepsy, and had a brother who was gay and committed suicide because he couldn't come out of the closet. I told him befor I left that hes not even treating me like a human being. It is someones choice to reject, but to treat somone who was honest, open, vulnerable and caring with such disdain. This is where boundaries are so important.


Love this from an article (can't remember which):


…the way that he handled this situation and treated you is lame, cruel, and inexcusable. That it’s made your self-esteem plummet and your fear of finding love skyrocket is sad and totally inappropriate. The only “the one” this guy is is “the one” who you should thank the stars walked out of your life. With him gone, you can go on your merry, confident, happy way to find the guy of your dreams, who will respond to any honest sharing with love, respect, and caring.


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