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Feeling hurt and confused - I hate being a "decision"

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I have had HSV1 for 6 years, and it was only in the first year that I went through the emotional rollercoaster. Until now. I disclosed this weekend to the second person ever, and now I'm trying to understand how I feel.


My first disclosure talk was such a successful, positive reaction. I was with him for 5 years, and now am getting back into the dating scene, so I haven't had to think about my herpes in a long time. When I told the guy I'm dating, he took a long time to be ready to talk about it with me. I felt like we had a really vulnerable conversation about it and other things, and in the end I felt really great about the conversation and him. He reassured me that he didn't want to end things because of it and wanted some time to do his own research and think about it.


Two days later, I tried to make plans with him, and he said he didn't want to get together until he had time to process more and "make a decision". He said he was going to go into the doctor, get tested himself, and learn about the risks, and make a decision based on that.


I feel really hurt about being a "decision", like I'm a pro - con list and nothing else. His reaction seems reasonable and responsible, but I feel so hurt that it sounds like he's trying to decide if a relationship with me is "worth" the risk. Logically, I know I'm awesome and completely worthy of love and belonging. It's just so hard to feel like I'm being weighed and measured. I don't know how much time he will need and, even if he decides he's okay with it, I feel so hurt and impacted by this reaction.


I'm curious from others - how much time have your partners needed? Do I need to be patient and understanding? For how long? Am I right for feeling so hurt by this? How can I not take this personally?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm just hurting so much emotionally from this.

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@Daringgreatly I'm sorry that you are hurting. I can't say I've been in your shoes, as I was diagnosed with HSV1 while engaged to my fiance which has had its own challenges. But I can imagine the hurt that this has caused you. I think that while it is difficult, it may be important to try to view things from his point of view. I know that I can say that if I was dating someone and they told me that they had herpes, I would have to think long and hard about the risk and where I see the relationship going. Not because I think its gross or disgusting at all, just because this is something thats for life. He has a great woman that he likes a lot, but now that he knows you have HSV1 he wants to educate his self about the virus and the associated risk and decide if its a deal breaker. One of the moderators used to say in posts all the time that HSV is just *one* deal breaker of many. If it isn't HSV its someone having kids, someone not wanting kids, someone not having their finances together, smoking, drinking, the person doing something that annoys you too much to put up with, etc that are deal breakers. So while I totally understand the hurt, try not to take it as a jab at you or your worth. You *are* worthy! He just needs time to educate his self. That being said though, if he takes weeks and weeks, I'm not sure that that is fair to you but I don't think there's any right amount of time

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I understand your hurt, anger and confusion. My compassion goes out to you. I have herpes virus simplex 2 so I understand shame and fear. You see Dearinggreatly, I had believed and accepted the stigma about the virus even before I was infected and diagnosed.


Gradually, I understood that feelings of anger and hurt, in my experience, were my defenses. I needed them. Or I thought I did. After all they are natural to our existence. I expected rejection at disclosure so I refrained from telling selected partners. At the core, my thinking were thoughts like, “who would want me” “this is nasty” and so on. I wasn’t saying these out loud, no, but I believed them, at the core of me.


So, when I felt vulnerable I used my anger and hurt because they helped me to attack the vulnerability that shame and rejection (or the thought of it) made me feel. I am learning that my emotions inform me of something. I am learning a different way to address and cope. I search for ways (reading books like Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra, reading the materials from this forum, looking at videos to find the courage to look at what my fears, anger and hurt tells me. But most importantly I am learning how to go inside myself and practice stillness, and compassion and love for myself. This is an ongoing process for me. I am learning as I am living with herpes infection.


And finally, I have accepted that I cannot control what another person thinks, why they think it, and certainly not how they react when I disclose. I am compassionate of anyone who lives fearfully, because I have, and in some ways still do. But fear contributes to our sufferings so to overcome we must face the fears. I am choosing to rid myself of my self-imposed prison of fear and shame, by making important shifts in the way I think and view herpes infection. This new attitude and perspective is helping me to gradually live a life of honesty, courage, compassion and love. It is a challenge but it is my goal. Be well. Beverly


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