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I want to tell him I have herpes. (I really, really don't want to tell him.) I HAVE to! AHHH!!

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I don't know what to do! I was diagnosed with herpes after almost a year of dating my ex and stayed with him far longer than I would have because I was too afraid that no one else would ever want to be with me. Finally, after 3+ years we broke up and it's now been around 7 months. I hadn't had to deal with it while we were together because we both had it and am just now really having to face it. It's taken a while and I am most certainly not over it, however I am finally beginning to feel okay with it and accept it as a part of me. And I am finally ready to move on from the ex and meet someone new. I posted a while ago about just wanting casual sex and while I still think about that at times, that's really not what I want now. (And I never did act on it.)


So I very recently met this guy and we have really hit it off. We've only been out a few times but I feel a really strong connection with him and I know he feels the same. It's very new and, without getting too ahead of myself, I feel like we could really have something great. The whole "talk" thing is really weighing on me and, while I have begun to come to terms with my reality, I am in no way, shape or form comfortable telling him. I don't want to do it. I want to pretend like it's not real and let him continue to live in blissful ignorance. I HATE THIS!! I keep hoping he will tell me he has herpes so then I can simply say "me too" and we can laugh about it and move on. I don't know how to get those words out of my mouth. I've been going through it in my head and in that conversation it feels like I can just spit it out with confidence and if he rejects me I can just say "well screw you then." But I know that isn't true. I would be devastated. Both because I really like him, but also because I think that that would just bring me right back to a place where I've worked so hard to get out of.


I want to tell him so that I can stop thinking about it. I want to be rejected (if that is what will happen) sooner than later to save some pain cause I feel like I could really fall for him. But I don't want to give him the opportunity to reject me so easily. I want to make it that much harder for him to reject me by letting him get to know me better and like me more. I absolutely will not sleep with him without first telling him but I'm perfectly okay waiting a while longer to sleep with him. Is it wrong to wait to tell him until he falls hard for me? I wouldn't be putting him at risk if we're not intimate so does he deserve to know sooner? AHHH!! I can't take it! I'm considering just giving up on the whole thing just to save myself from having to have the conversation. But I don't want to give up! I want to get to know him better. I want to love someone again! I don't want to be alone forever! I am an awesome person and I AM NOT THIS DISEASE! AHHH!!


I realize this is likely similar to other posts on the forum and I'm just sort of rambling, but I needed to get this out. Comments and encouragement would be greatly appreciated.


Love to all my H friends!

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And love back to you honey...I feel for you and know every little thing you are going through. All those thoughts that race around in your head and the emotions that come up from those thoughts. I have always found that when you feel like you really need to disclose and can't stand it is when you need to say something - for the very reason that not saying it is worse and eats you up as much as not saying something.


Have you read the e book on this site? Good advice and I have to say that I haven't been rejected yet - I have been the one to say I need to go slowly and can be 'creative', just not able to go all the way yet. Honestly I have found the men I have dated who i needed to tell to be understanding and supportive - one even said 'is that all?', he said he could deal with that better than emotional crap lol. Another I still get intimate with, an ex lover in pre herpes days who came back from overseas. He read up about it and said I am so lovely that he is prepared to take the small risk and knows that I will do everything to keep him safe. I was 'creative' with him until i felt comfortable enough to go all the way.


I am nervous every time to tell, there is no getting around it. What it does though is make you braver, have integrity and be more sensitive to how someone else feels. They are all good things. Know your facts so you can answer questions, don't make it a big deal and really be true about allowing them to take the time to process it. I have always said that I understand if they do not want an intimate relationship with me but that i think they are very special and I would be friends with them anyway.


We don't need to tell you what to do..when you are ready you will do what is right for you. It's usually when our elephant in the room gets too big to hide we usually do it lol. All the best and keep me posted?? I will send you some good energy to help :-)

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"but also because I think that that would just bring me right back to a place where I've worked so hard to get out of.I am an awesome person and I AM NOT THIS DISEASE! AHHH!!"

both of those quotes you said are exact words that have come out of my mouth. I, myself am going on one year since finding out I have this. I can relate with what you are saying and want you to know you are certainly not alone in this. Recently, I was in a huge bind just as you are and was considering disclosing to this new guy I was seeing. I even attended an in-person support group and gained insight on how from a one on one meeting with the person in charge of the group meeting. I felt confident, but when It came time to disclose, I realized (in my situation I am in college and he is graduating this spring and I still have another year) he made it clear we were not going to be in an official relationship, and obviously that meant no sex because i only do in relationships and now since I have lovely herpes I can't until i disclose. Anyway, to make this long story short i realized we were not going to become very intimate past being lelani's term: "creative." I knew deep down he was a good guy but that he didn't deserve to know something about me so personal if he was not going to date me or be in a long-term relationship. I agree with you about that, and it seems you have found someone very special and that i believe it will happen naturally. Take your time in getting to know each other, if he is a good man he will allow you that time without pressuring or making you feel like you need to hook up or have sex. When that time comes, disclose with confidence, make him see how NOT BAD this really is and that you are fine with it and with who you are. Us herpes people can benefit from this "crisis" and take a positive view about he disclosure. My biggest fear is yours and same as most, REJECTION; especially that it will bring me back to my original depression of not being good enough like i USED to be, and back to where i started undoing all of my strengthening of my self-esteem. However, if this is the case, we gave it our all, tried and that is all that matters! be yourself, take your time, and if your intuition and gut are telling you it is the right time and this is a good guy to trust, then do so! :) good luck!! i am curious to know how your disclosure goes !


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Yes, like Lelani said, definitely read the ebook and handouts — http://eepurl.com/b4IPP — And here's a youtube video on the herpes talk that I recorded, too:



I hear a lot in your post that I can relate to, including your perspective on what "the talk" is all about (I AM NOT HERPES! Yes!) and the classic "when to disclose" question — too early and they don't know you (yes, they know you have herpes, but nothing much beyond that); disclose too late and there's resentment, a feeling like you held back on something that they deserve to know before getting too deep into a relationship. There is a sweet spot between those two places. And usually we can feel what that sweet spot is for ourselves. It's that intuition that you feel safe being vulnerable with this person. You feel that YOU know THEM enough to trust them with your vulnerability. I hear you, Abby! I hear the fear AND I hear the excitement about this relationship getting to the point where you feel you can trust this guy. But promise me one thing: Don't pre-reject yourself by ducking out because of the fear of the talk. You got some integrity, sister. We all see it. And this is important to you. We're all here to support you, however you need it. It's a brave thing you're doing ... and it shows a lot about who you are. Definitely keep us posted on how it goes! :)


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Thank you all so much! Words cannot express my appreciation for all of your support and for this forum.


I've made it clear to him that we're taking this very slow and I'm definitely not ready to tell him just yet. I'm hoping I will just know when the time is right and I will be able to disclose with confidence. I have felt pretty good lately about all of this and I just hope I can make that come through during the talk. I watched the video a while back and read through the ebook quickly but will do both again soon.


The more I think about it, the less concerned I am with being rejected right off the bat. He's opened up to me and shared some pretty personal stuff, which makes me think he might be okay with it. My biggest concern really is not being immediately rejected, but him saying he's okay with it and then getting freaked out about it later on. Even if he has good intentions, I'm worried that he will be too afraid to sleep with me. Truth be told, before knowing what I know now, I think I may have been too freaked out to have taken the risk if someone had disclosed to me. I'd like to think that if I cared about someone enough I would have taken the time to educate myself and not have made this a deal breaker. But I can't say for sure. I'm sorry to say I used to laugh at herpes jokes too...


A couple other things keep coming up regarding this whole thing. One is whether or not, assuming I tell him and he decides to continue seeing me, to ask him to get tested (for everything) and show me the results. I feel like this is really important but it also makes things complicated. (Especially because he doesn't have health insurance.) Also, a big thing I'm afraid of is passing it to him and then him being angry and resentful. I am still not over my anger toward my ex and I trust that he didn't even know he had it! And that anger was very detrimental to our relationship. I can't stand the thought of anyone being as angry at me as I was at him.


Thanks again to all who took the time to read this and respond. It means so much to me and I will keep you all posted as to how it goes!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well it's been about a month now since I started dating this guy and I still haven't told him. Of course we haven't slept together but we have been pretty intimate and I've even spent a couple of nights with him. He's been a gentleman and hasn't tried anything but I'm not sure how much longer that can go on for.


So I'm really starting to freak out about this whole thing. I don't know if I can tell him! I'm still feeling relatively okay about and accepting of my situation, but I just don't think I can bring myself to say it. I am terrified. I really like him and we've been spending a fair amount of time together and I know he's really into me. I keep coming back to the idea of just breaking it off now. I've been doing a lot of work on myself recently and have been doing really well after many years of struggling with some mental health issues and I'm just so afraid that this could really set me back. If I walk away now I know I will be sad but I think I will still be able to continue on my current path to health and happiness. I don't know if I could handle it if I tell him and it doesn't go well. Honestly, I just don't even know if I can bring myself to tell him at all. This sucks. It's making me more depressed just thinking about it and I feel like if I just call it quits now I will feel better sooner. Maybe it's just too soon and I need more time to fully come to terms with all of this. And to do more work on myself. Or maybe I should just give up on love altogether.


Ugh it's so unfair! I just want to be normal and feel deserving of love like I used to. I don't want to have to think about this anymore. I want to be able to have relationships like I used to. To not have to think about having the talk every time I'm with him. To not feel dirty and gross anymore. To not dwell on the fact that even if I find someone who may be okay sleeping with me, I can't imagine anyone ever wanting to have oral sex with me. Truth be told, I wouldn't want to. In fact, after my ex and I were diagnosed, I never wanted to do it to him. I'm ashamed but I was somewhat grossed out by the thought of it and even more terrified of the possibility of getting it on my mouth as well. While there is no real stigma around oral herpes, the thought of someone seeing it on my face and making any sort of comment might be the end of me. I already feel like it's stamped on my forehead. I'm so tired of this, I already feel like it's setting back any progress I've made. I don't know how much longer I can take this stress.


And to make things worse, I'm in the middle of the first outbreak I've had in many months. And it's relocated to a more visible and exposed area, which I imagine will make it easier to pass on to someone. It's no longer in a spot which would be protected by a condom if I were to have sex, but now it's in a place that will come into contact with a sexual partner, with or without a condom. This is the second time it's been here so I'm assuming it's found a new home, at least for a while. All of my other outbreaks were in the same spot until the last one. This really sucks.

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Hi Abby83!


I honestly think you have done really well here! You may not think it but I havent had sex since I found out, I havent even touched a guy or met anybody or even told one single person! All my friends think I'm turning gay as I used to be in long term relationships a lot. It's been more than a year and I'm pretty okay as I do my own things.


I think it depends on what kind of guy he is. I always think if he loves me he will find it harder too just walk away, because if he is just seeing me for a few weeks he could easily say BYE!


I dont really think there is ever an answer to give you, as none of us know what he is like, if he is mature or someone who will run off and tell everyone. Or even if he has it, or accepts you for having it. I have no idea. Its just chance! I havent ever had the guts to risk it, but that doesnt mean you havent!


Hope it goes okay for you, I hope he isnt a douchebag because we all deserve partners!!

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Hey Abby83!


As I'm sure everybody else does, I have my own opinions on all of this. Personally, I always have preferred to tell people sooner rather than later. My ex-husband disclosed to me - which I will forever be grateful for, as it made the whole H thing my choice. But he chose to disclose to me 1) right in the middle of a heated makeout session, 2) after we had been dating a while and I had fallen pretty hard for him. Both, I felt, were mistakes. I don't regret my decision to go forth, but I've always felt like my decision was not necessarily the most rational one given the circumstances on which it was thrown on me. I can definitely see the wisdom in waiting - in letting someone get to know you better, falling in love with you, letting the H be only a small part of what they know of you when you tell them. But although I was able to take H and run with it, a lot of people can't. And if ever the boy in question was someone I really liked, wanted to have a relationship with, I NEVER wanted there to be any chance of any resentment, regret, etc later on down the road. When you disclose to someone you are absolving yourself of responsibility and putting the choice in their hands, yes. But I feel the way it's done, and the "when", plays a small role in that.


That being said - if I've learned anything from being a mother it's that things are only an "issue" if you make them an "issue". Someone posted a discussion earlier about casual sex and disclosing - I loved her take on it. H is NOT a big deal. It can be, but if you give it weight and gravity it will seem like a bigger deal than it is to the person you're disclosing it to. The first few times I disclosed I had the whole gut churning, delaying, stalling, BIG SIT DOWN talk - and it never worked out the way I'd hoped it would. After that, I started telling people sooner, earlier, casually and almost nonchalantly. Like it wasn't a big deal to ME. And guess what? 9 times out of 10, it wasn't a big deal to them either. At least with those people, because it wasn't this huge elephant sitting between us, even if they chose not to continue in a sexual relationship I was able to maintain friendships with most of them.


Chin up! I hope it works out for you, I really do. :)

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  • 5 weeks later...

So sorry for falling off the map for a while but I'm back now and wanted to update people, in case you're still interested. After dating for about six weeks (so just about three weeks ago) I finally couldn't stand it anymore and told him. I went over and over in my head what I wanted to say and how, knowing it likely wouldn't happen as I planned, and of course it didn't. But it went better than I ever could have imagined!!


He came over for dinner and I was planning to tell him right away but I couldn't bring myself to do it cause we were having such a nice time. So a little later we were just hanging out watching a movie and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I became obviously upset and he asked what was wrong. I said that I needed to tell him something and his response was "well if you tell me something, I'll tell you something." It kind of blew me away that he was so willing to share something personal just to make me more comfortable. (And I immediately got excited that he might tell me the same thing; he didn't.) So I asked him to go first and he opened up to me about some things that were totally irrelevant to my situation but still put him in a very vulnerable position. Basically he told me about his ex and some things that happened between them which, as I said, is irrelevant, but kind of led me into telling him. My reply was something along the lines of "yeah I was with my ex for a long time too and he gave me herpes."


Now, mind you, this is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to say. I thought long and hard about it before and I didn't even want to mention my ex. For my own healing process I wanted to make this about me, not about him. I wanted to simply say, "I have herpes." But I can still barely say this out loud in private. And at the time, I couldn't even bring myself to start this conversation. So as much as I didn't want it to come out this way, it did, and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. So I said it, then turned the other way and buried my face in my pillow. Also not at all how I wanted to react. The confidence that I had been working at for so long was totally out the window at this point. What could I do, at least the hardest part was over.


Then, without even a second of hesitation, he grabbed me and turned me over to look at him and just said "it's okay, we'll figure it out; it's not a deal breaker." He even had a tear in his eye when he saw how upset I was! What?!? This couldn't really have been happening like this, right? He didn't run out of the room screaming. Didn't even think twice. Shortly after he joked, "do you want me to fuck him up?" HA! We talked for a while about it. He said he was worried I was going to tell him I had a boyfriend who was out of town and coming back or I was pregnant or something. (Which he also said wouldn't be a deal breaker; what kind of creature is this guy?!) He asked me if I have outbreaks and I said about 2-3 times a year and they're nothing more than a nuisance really. Then I tried explaining to him that at this point, the disease is almost entirely psychological. He was confused about what I meant by that so I said that physically it's not really an issue but mentally it's caused a lot of problems for me. He replied, "pardon my ignorance and this may be a stupid question, but does it affect your brain?" Priceless!! He proceeded to tell me that we didn't have to have sex for a while if I was uncomfortable and he was fine with continuing to take things really slow. He then said that he knew it was really common but didn't really know much about it. I started telling him statistics and even pulled a book out of my drawer for him to look at; he said he would later and asked if I had any pamphlets! I told him that he could even have it and not know and he laughed and said something like, "well if I have it then we don't have anything to worry about." It was all just such a non-issue and I was and still am blown away by the experience.


Things are still going well and we're getting a little more serious so we will see what happens, but I have to say that regardless of how it works out with him, the whole disclosure experience was incredibly therapeutic and healing for me. I know that when/if I have to tell anyone else it will likely still be difficult, but I know that there are good people out there who won't judge me and will still love me for me. I AM NOT HERPES! And neither are any of you reading this. I really hope that my story, and the others on this forum, may help other people realize this truth. I can't thank everyone on here enough for all the advice and encouraging words. Much love to you all.

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abby83 I am so happy for you! That is such an amazing disclosure story and put a few smiles on my face while reading it. I'm in a situation now too where I am really afraid to disclose, I can't tell if it's because I'm somewhat terrified of being rejected, or if it's my gut telling me that the guy I like wouldn't really be interested in pursuing a relationship after I disclosed. Regardless your post made me feel a lot better and more confident in just letting go and telling him.


Congratulations on finding such a great guy; open minded, funny, and totally into you :) Sounds like you two are already great together!

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  • 1 month later...

Iris4 and lifegoeson--


I think I am probably too late but I am sending you both all sorts of healing, positive energy! I hope it went well (or goes well if you haven't told them yet). Remember that no matter what, you are deserving of love and happiness. I thought for a long time that no one would ever love me again because of this and I was so wrong. This guy is MAD for me now and I am him and it is truly an amazing feeling! I never would have believed it before but there are really great guys out there who just don't care about this. I so hope that you are with some of them, but if not, please just remember that they do exist and you will find them! Sending hugs and love!




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  • 2 years later...

Hi there I totally understand your dilemma! I think you already know that if you want the chance of a relationship with this man. YOU MUST TELL HIM:) as Adrial says read the disclosure info. For your own sanity and integrity you should tell him....now listen we are all afraid at times. I say when you tell him OWN IT!! You are an awesome loving human being. If its a deal breaker than it was not meant to be right? At the very least he will respect you! I am serious when I say I have tried it all! I have tried to dodge and hide from disclosure. It is impossible to be authentic and not be honest. I swear the truth will set you free and empower you. Worst case scenario its a deal breaker....then next time you will be stronger for it. I love what Adrial says if someone is not accepting of herpes...Say thanks for showing me who you truly are. Also I always wait until I have a connection....however I wouldn't wait to long as it might appear that you were deceiving him. Its a skin rash nothing more! Let me know how it goes Im thinking of you:)

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