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Feeling horribly guilty, ashamed and remoresful for not disclosing to my partner of 10 months sooner

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Hello-I am new to this site but not new to H, I've had H for years with rare outbreaks. I've been deathly ashamed of this, and experienced both rejection and acceptance in the past when disclosing. To this day none of my previous partners claimed to have gotten H from me.


I met a man 10 months ago and the relationship that started out as friends quickly grew to a very strong, honest loving caring romantic one. He was quick to want sex without a condom-never raised the STD questions and I, out of shame and fear this time did not disclose my condition when I should have. I wanted him to know me without the horrible stigma of H and without passing judgment. Our relationship grew, we fell in love, I shared every personal detail of my life except the big H-still out of incredible shame. I harbored this enormous monster knowing I had to tell him sooner or later, but the time just went by.


He found the medicine bottle 3 days ago and googled what it was for before asking me, I came clean and told him. Needless to say he was extremely upset, said I was selfish and unethical and this was the relationship deal breaker. I explained the disease to him and the motives for my lack of disclosing it earlier. He packed his things and walked out of my life. I am devastated!!!


I feel incredibly disgusted with my self-guilty, ashamed and remorseful for not disclosing it earlier, for the fear he may have contracted it from me, and for loosing what I believe was the love of my life, someone who I could build a lasting future with. I am heartbroken beating myself up, and just want to crawl in a cave and die. All the fears of rejection that kept me from disclosing it earlier came true.


I am in so much emotional pain over this, I am paralyzed and don't know how can I move forward. I thought about emailing him acknowledging his anger and pain, sharing information but I know it's best not to as he needs space to digest the blow I just gave him. I fear I will run into him at the gym or the grocery store. I don't know what to do.


Any comments would help. Thank you!

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Hi Indigoway I am copying and pasting this response to you from discussion my thread. I hope you might find it helpful.


Indigoway, I am so HAPPY to hear from you. Thank you for your comments and for sharing your experience of love, your journey and your pain. My understanding and compassion I offer to you.


In my experience, I have found that too often I did not offer myself enough compassion, yet I hoped that if someone offered theirs to me it would help me to see myself as good and valuable. In that regard, I have begun to make a shift in my thinking. I know I am valuable and good even without the compassion and approval of others.


Yet, I am so glad when others bless me with their kindness because it helps to create a beautiful world for us to live in. I understand the fear and shame I had of my herpes infection. I have begun to debunk them, starting with my core beliefs of the infection.


Herpes is a skin rash, a virus, not a negative judgement or evidence of who I am. Neither does it rob me of the beauty and value inherent in me. I gave it that power before. No more. I made mistakes, believing the lies of herpes stigma all these years. I had accepted the stigma for myself. Not anymore. Now I treat myself with compassion, kindness, forgiveness, truth and love. Setting the stage that others might do the same.


Putting things into their correct perspective, here are some wonderful ways I have LIVED despite herpes infection. I have seen the beauties and wonders of the world. I have laughed and been happy. I have made love, had orgasm, and felt joy. I gave birth to 3 healthy, non-infected children who are now 10, 18, and 24. I was married for over 14 years, never used a condom and he was never infected. I have loved and have been loved. I have shown and been shown compassion and kindness, love, goodness and joy. I have completed a bachelor, and two master’s degrees. I have been a social worker and now works as a teacher.


Just think Indigoway of all the beauty and goodness you’ve contributed to the world. Don’t rob yourself of the truth. I withheld my sexual status out of fear but I have corrected that MISTAKE. Show yourself understanding and compassion. I have and it feels good to do so. I have come out of the darkness and into the light. These are the decisions and choices I am making, starting with my thinking followed by action.


More good news. That man I spoke of, after disclosing he has texts me, and called me often. He asked me out. I declined simply because I was too busy and too tired to go out on a school night. He works two jobs on the weekend so our schedules conflicts a lot. He treats me as I am: a person. He behaves as he believes he is: kind, compassionate and loving. I am glad for who he is, which enables a comfortable friendship with him. He is not focused on herpes, just living.


See what can happen when we face our fears. It is what I have chosen to do, and how I have finally chosen to live my life. I believe the truth of who I am, not the shame people have assigned to herpes, and certainly not how someone choose to behave towards me after I disclose. I will no longer, or ever again, believe any negative label (deceitful, unethical) someone might call me. I have liberated myself from my self-imposed prison of fear and shame. This is my journey, my life, my purpose, it is to be comfortable with myself and to be happy. I wish the same for you, always. Beverly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Indigoway, I just posted a thread somewhat similar to this. I had been seeing a guy for about a couple months and we had oral sex and I did not disclose until later when it was a conversation I began to feel really guilty for not sharing. I currently am feeling the same feelings. Anger at myself, shame, guilt and all of the what if's I just told him from the get go.


I don't know what to say to make this better, however I can say that I am with you in your feelings. This is something where faith in a larger plan comes into play, I know that is hard, but I hope you and I can truly believe that we are not broken, we are human and it is OKAY to make mistakes and learn as you move forward.

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Dear Beverly,


I'm sorry it took me so long to write back, as I've been dealing with the excruciating emotional aftermath of being discarded by a man I was deeply in love with and thought loved me in return equally, only to be exacerbated by hurricane Irma flying over my head in Florida leaving me without power for a week, and an overwhelming mess to clean up. I went through my darkest hours and never felt so horribly alone, depressed and hopeless despite having family stay with me during the storm itself.


I was hoping he would have a shred of concern over my wellbeing post storm knowing I had a house to deal with by myself, but I never heard from him....a clear sign he doesn't care and is finished. The relationship we build that was so loving and strong, but it did not matter, nor make a difference. I am devastated!


Thank you so much for responding to my letter and offering me such warm compassion and understanding. Thank you also for sharing with me your personal life journey dealing with the herpes; facing fear, judgments and the courage it took you to come out of that painful secret place to lead a rich full life, and finding self forgiveness. This has been so soothing and hopeful to read. I'm so happy for your good news!!!!


Your experience and emotions resonate so much with me. I too had a long term marriage of 20 years, and had two healthy children that are H free. I found out I had H the first time when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I did not blame my husband since he didn't know if he had it or not. Once he confirmed that he had the virus, I never felt angry or hurt, neither one of us knew were it came from and we dealt with it by educating ourselves in a healthy way. It was never an issue....albeit we both had it.


I too have traveled the world, have an education ,a successful career, loved and been loved, and felt tremendous joy. Always keeping my herpes virus a shameful dirty secret, that I would disclose when I felt it was safe to. Luckily no one contracted it from me.


My relationships to this man became intimate very quickly then grew to a deep loving friendship and mutual intellectual attraction. The more it grew, the more fearful I became revealing my sexual condition. Then the more awful I felt because I wasn't being transparent and going against my own moral judgement. In hindsight, I realize from his actions that he is a principle driven person that was very rigid in his thinking and not whiling to compromise easily. I don't know that he will ever contact me again. I continue to be worried and consumed not knowing weather he contracted the virus from me and if he's ok. I struggle with wanting to contact him, write a letter of apology, regret, but fear more rejection. I think maybe I should wait till his anger subsides but I don't want to feel rejected and discarded all over again.


Did you write your man an apology letter? How long did it take him to process this and contact you again?


I am a weepy basket case trying to put closure on this.....


In the mean time, I vow to deal with my fear issues and I'm now seeking professional counseling. Perhaps this will be my final painful lesson!


Thank you so much again for sharing your story. It gives me hope and inspiration.


Wishing you much peace, joy and love,













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Dear CM,


We will get through this! Yes we are human, we all have skeletons in the closet and make mistakes out of fear and suffer the consequences with painful lessons. Like the beautiful post by Anewme, we need to forgive ourselves with compassion and understanding. Make the darkness of fear and the negative stigma of this condition come to light and realize that it's not the shameful story that we've been told and continue telling ourselves.


With peace and compassion....


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Thank you Indigoway. The man I disclosed too late with today decided he cannot move forward in a romantic way with me, although he very much values me and wants to stay friends. He forgave me whole-heartedly and in all honesty I wish he weren't so kind about the whole thing, it'd be easier to hate him, but YES, you are correct. These are painful life lessons and giving ourselves compassion and understanding is the only thing we must do.

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  • 3 months later...

Before you start saying she was in the wrong , the man she was seeing wanted to have unprotected sex with no condom before she disclosed, he didn't question STDs and even HIV for god sakes , so that's on him as well, but yes always disclose because that's why half the reason we all here for

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  • 8 months later...
On 9/7/2017 at 5:14 AM, Indigoway said:

I am heartbroken beating myself up, and just want to crawl in a cave and die. All the fears of rejection that kept me from disclosing it earlier came true.

"All the fears of rejection that kept you from disclosing it earlier..." is an inaccurate statement.

Those fears you initially had, in the case of your partner having rejected you, did not in fact come true. He rejected you because you put his health at risk, you robbed him of making a choice about his body, etc. Your fears seemingly created the inevitable, but this was only a self-fulfilling prophecy in that you set yourself up for rejection by simply being dishonest with him. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not on some self-righteous high horse. I'm currently dealing with having made a similar mistake. But I'm a little relieved I was able to come around with the truth sooner than later, albeit not soon enough (before sex). Trust me, I certainly felt the pull of the current to sweep me up with the day-to-day goings on and not have to find the strength and courage to face the ugly reality I had created for both of us.

But I knew I couldn't be myself living this lie any further that I had from the initial mistake, and he didn't deserve to be manipulated any further, even though I was sure disclosing to him after the fact would hurt him and destroy our lovely budding relationship. I had to own up to my error so I could move on with a better conscience and learn to never make that mistake again, and also allow him to have the choice to find someone else who wouldn't betray him so.

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  • 2 years later...


 It has been four years. I rarely come here anymore. I don’t know if you’ll get this but I hope you’re doing better. As for the man you asked me about. He’s gone from my life. He did not want a commitment. Gradually he revealed who he really is, not bad, just that he was not what I wanted in my life. He pursued me insincerely for nearly two years, when I wouldn’t give in he tried to insult me with my herpes status and said he would never marry me. I can tell you, that did not hurt at all. I said to him, I am the author of who I am, and not an object for your use. I kept the text. Here is part of it:
 “I understand your intention and purpose was to inflict pain, to wound, to harm and  to shame. 

You did not accomplish any of those instead you magnified this notion that when people show you who they are believe them.

My value and worth is not determined by your opinion or judgements of me. Furthermore, I am the author of who I am, and my beauty, sweetness, softness and intelligence will remain and thrive because nothing of who I am is determined, or authored by you. 

This is my benediction. Please don’t ever contact me again. If you do I will block you.”

He did contact me with an apology. But regardless. I am ok. 

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The easy answer for this is, "try to remember how you felt when you were diagnosed with herpes, when you found it out, when you felt disrespected".
He has all the right to hate you, to never talk to you again, to forgive you, to stop talking to you, etc. That's up to him.
I remember the person who gave it to me when I asked her what she feels about the guy that gave her herpes whitout disclosing. Her answer was "hate". She still felt hate after 10 years. My answer was, "so what do you expect from me if you treated me in the same way he treated you".

These are lessons. Apologize and move on. Everybody makes mistakes. It seems that every H+ has done this at least once. Be kind with you, you are human. And think that maybe, you will practice "consent" from now on.  

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