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Has anyone tried a herpes dating site and what was your experience with it?

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I got hsv2 just over 22 years ago, when I was married. First person I slept with, my then husband. I was married for 10 years, and later I had a 6 year relationship with someone who was not worried about it. So for 16 out of the 22 years, I didn't have to worry about disclosing, and being accepted, etc... I never even had symptoms, so I practically forgot about it.


For the years in between and after my long term relationships, most people weren't too worried as long as we used protection. But I recently fell pretty quickly and hard for someone. And when I went to disclose, I didn't think it would be bad, but to my surprise it was a deal breaker. And he is seriously terrified of it.


So I'm going through something I haven't had much experience with. Anger at herpes, and at my x-husband for giving it to me. Anger at the person who cannot accept it. Wanting to see him as a coward. I thought I had put these kinds of feelings behind me. 22 years later, never thought I would have a relationship struggle due to herpes. I'm fortunate to not have symptoms, but there is still a risk of passing it to someone, someone who might have painful symptoms to deal with.


So anyway, I have never tried a herpes dating site, or even a regular dating site for that matter. And have never tried a herpes support group. But now I'm feeling like I need support. I am glad I found this one. Just reading some of the stories helps. I am thinking about trying a herpes dating site, and I am wondering what kind of experiences people have had with them. I feel like, at least the sex could be freer/less complicated with someone who already has it. Especially if anything goes long term (where a partner might generally be at higher risk of contracting). I don't know if I'm limiting myself, letting herpes dictate my life, or what. But I feel like I want to give it a try.

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@rarebird My personal opinion is that it's kind of nuts to feel like we need to segregate ourselves when most adults are capable of transmitting herpes and just don't know it, but I'm also sympathetic to the feeling of exhaustion that can come from running into the stigma repeatedly with those who have never even been tested or have a type they think is no big deal while being terrified of another type, etc. I guess I'd say why not try it and see how you like it? I would absolutely not recommend limiting yourself to an HSV site (all dating sites are HSV sites, really, just with varying degrees of infection and awareness) but maybe give it a try and see how you like it?


I tried one fairly recently and will share my experience...


I primarily use a "regular" dating app. Most people I've disclosed to from "regular dating app" have been very accepting. One coincidentally had HSV2 and I did feel a little extra freedom in being physical with him because I never had to even think about the possibility of transmission. Like you, I don't have outbreaks, so I can imagine the option of going off antivirals would be another bonus, though this guy was more of a FWB, not a LTR, so that was not a factor in this case. Another guy on "regular dating app" did not have it himself but was in an open relationship with a primary partner who had it. Their partner appreciated my honesty and both were fine with my status, but ultimately I didn't feel enough chemistry, unfortunately. Another guy had HSV1 and didn't think any differently about HSV2. That was a pleasant surprise. Yet another guy told me he felt safer with me than with others who might not know their status. However, not everyone has been accepting, which is to be expected. When that happens, I tend to just let myself feel sad about it for a day and then move forward. But one of the times that happened, it did get to me a little and I fired up an HSV site, mostly to see if I recognized anyone from the regular dating site. One of my "regular dating site" matches was on the HSV site, and we had already chatted on the regular site but had lost momentum and our shared HSV status was not enough to motivate me to try to rekindle our chat.


I very quickly reviewed all the profiles in my area. As you can imagine, so few people know their status, there's not a high volume of people on these specialized apps. Also, I will admit I was hesitant to post a profile photo for fear of someone taking a screenshot and passing it around. I'm pretty liberal in sharing my status with others (friends, prospective partners, family members) but I'm not comfortable with the idea of a screenshot being widely distributed without my knowledge. Perhaps that's paranoia. Some people did include photos, some didn't, and maybe I was just among the cowards. I think there was an option to have a private album on the site but I didn't get that far before feeling very conflicted and losing interest.


I chatted with a few guys on the site. All of them were very nice. I met one guy but didn't feel enough chemistry. I started to feel weird about using a site that, in my opinion, perpetuates the stigma through segregation. I was conflicted. (But I also take antivirals which are linked to the industry that created the stigma, so maybe I'm overthinking things.) After about a week, I got overwhelmed dealing with both sites and kind of melted down and went into hibernation mode. I haven't logged into the HSV site for months because it feels wrong (for me personally), but if I'd had chemistry with that guy I met, you'd be reading an entirely different perspective right now.


Sorry if I'm too conflicted to be helpful, but thought I'd share my true experience.


I'm also very sorry about your recent experience with the deal breaker. I had a similar experience when I was first diagnosed and I know it's so hard to balance all the elements of (1) not wanting to transmit, (2) wanting the other person to put the risk in perspective instead of buying into the stigma, (3) wanting to be conscientious and honest about the fact that it *can* affect quality of life in some cases and we can't predict individual outcomes. In the end, what has helped me with that is (1) feeling strongly that I need to feel sexually free and therefore unwilling to settle for a relationship with someone who is afraid (that's a deal breaker for me), (2) understanding that anxiety is not always logical and can't always be reasoned with (I have my own anxieties that don't make much sense when put in perspective), (3) accepting that some people will not be comfortable with the risk, but most people will be, and I can only meet those who are fine with it but swiftly moving on from those who are not, and (4) accepting that people are allowed to make their own choices in life and I need to respect those choices. I don't consider those who are unwilling to take the risk cowards. Sometimes their choice seems reasonable to me, other times it seems strictly fueled by ignorance and stigma (like when they don't know their own status or the status of other partners and only react to the knowledge of my known status) but I find it is easiest for me to just accept their choice, regardless of the reasons behind it, and keep moving. If I think several steps ahead, I know I don't want to be with someone who had to be convinced to be with me, even if it's possible to influence someone to that degree. Life is too short, my time is too valuable, and there are people out there who truly won't care, as you have experienced. If someone says something that indicates they are poorly informed, I will educate them, but not will the goal of changing their mind. (((HUGS)))



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@optimist Thanks for your response! Very articulate and so on point.


I feel a bit conflicted about trying a herpes dating site myself. First because I agree with you, it feels like promoting stigma and segregation. And I don't know if it would be as successful or more successful than other methods (of not filtering anyone based on herpes). And on the other hand, I think, wow, I could meet people who are up front about it. And I respect that.


But I don't want herpes to be the deciding factor on whether to be with, or stay with someone. And if someone makes a big deal about accepting it (as I have encountered with 1 person way in the past), then I feel they will use it as a way to secure the relationship for themselves, so to speak. By trying to make me feel they did something grand and honorable for me. And that's not good. I want to appreciate acceptance, but not to that degree, where it's controlling the relationship.


I feel like I have enough to offer, that herpes should not be the center of everything. I don't know how a person could forfeit love and all the awesomeness in life, over worries about getting a virus, that's likely going to be less destructive than other things they might end up with, due to poor eating habits, lack of exercise, smoking, or whatever. It's frustrating and I don't get it, but I'm trying to respect that people have a choice. And maybe if they can't make, what I consider the right choice, then other aspects of the relationship were not enough for them. And they probably are not the kind of person I could respect in a relationship.


I very much agree with what you say here...

(1) feeling strongly that I need to feel sexually free and therefore unwilling to settle for a relationship with someone who is afraid (that's a deal breaker for me)


I need someone to be ok with actually getting it. Because the risk cannot be eliminated. I cannot live every day, with nervous sex. lol. There are enough psychological sexual issues to deal with, without someone getting freaked out and worried, every time you're touching each other.


But it can still be hard, if you've developed an emotional bond with someone who seems right in every other way. And wanting to help people work through their anxieties, and help remove stigmas. But the balance between this, and self respect, and not sacrificing pleasure. Wheeew. A little stressful at the moment.


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I don't have much time to post but I got it from a guy - we dated for 6 months and had claimed to be DTD free - whom I met on Bumble. So , yes, all dating sites are H sites, people are just dishonest, in denial, or not responsible enough (as I was) to be tested regularly.so, FML right now. I hope it gets better for everyone and still hoping for a better treatment option!

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@Justagirlintheworld I'm sorry to hear that. Non-disclosure occurs for a variety of reasons. I would guess the most common reason is that people are not even aware they are at risk of acquiring herpes, do not realize how easily the physical symptoms are overlooked and that they might already have it, and do not know they have the option to specifically request HSV testing with routine STI testing. Additionally, many doctors actively discourage it and even the CDC advises against it in the absence of symptoms. This leads to a majority of people having HSV without awareness of their status.


In a study of 8,538 pregnant women, only 24% tested negative for both HSV1 and HSV2, and this percentage was even smaller when they were tested at the end of pregnancy. At the beginning of pregnancy, the breakdown was as follows:


- 65% HSV1+

- 28% HSV2+

- 17% HSV1+ and HSV2+


So the HSV+ sites can be beneficial to those wanting to avoid the challenges that come with disclosure and/or the challenges related to potential transmission to a negative partner, but obviously there are many, many people on regular dating sites (the majority, even) who are capable of transmitting herpes to a partner. Most of them just don't know it, unfortunately.



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@optimist I don't know why these stats surprise me, but they still do! Especially when you consider that the vast majority of these pregnant women were surely under 35. Thanks for the frequent reminders of how prevalent HSV is. It's always interesting to me to see stats other than the ones most often quoted.

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@HikingGirl My pleasure. I feel like a broken record sometimes, but I know that understanding the prevalence of HSV was key in my ability to separate the reality from the stigma, so I'm often compelled to share that type of info with others who are struggling with the stigma.

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