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How do I talk to my wife-She is furious

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Hello everyone,


So I have had cold sores since I was a child (younger then I can remember) never really thought anything of it... So we all know I have oral HSV-1.


I have been married for about 1.5 years and it has never been an issue when I do have flares we simply didn't do certain things. So yesterday while bathing my wife noticed she had bumps near her vagina area. After reading I realized it could be spread to the genitals even if no flare-up is occurring.


My wife proceeded for the rest of the night to tell me how much she hates and how I had ruined her life and she didn't deserve this. She spoke as if I had cheated on her or something... Mind you I did not hide having cold sores from her. She kept saying she didn't everything right she didn't sleep around or anything and then gets an STD from her husband... I told her it was possible that it could be something else and she should go to the doctor but she said no she wouldn't go to the doctor. She continued to tell me just how much she hated me and that "if I wanted to destroy her good job because I finally did it". I tried talking to her but she didn't want to hear anything. After she finished she retreated to not talk to me anymore.


I feel horrible because it is not like I was trying to give her anything but she has come down really hard on me (I guess I deserve it). I didn't do anything to hurt her like I said I have had this condition since being a small kid. Maybe I am wrong but I just feel it would be different if I went out and cheated and came back with something that I gave her. I think she will only stay married to me because she thinks she worthless now and with herpes no one will want to be with her. I am trying to get her to still go to the doctor because I feel if they say she doesn't have that then maybe I can just give her a divorce so she doesn't have to worry about me anymore. We also have a 3 month old which she told me is the only thing good that came out of her entire time being with me...



I just don't know what to do or what I am supposed to say... Any help is appreciated.

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Unfortunately, the medical community does not educate people well about herpes, transmission risk, and what you can do to minimize.

I know it is difficult to discuss herpes when in a relationship, I have been through it with my current girlfriend after I found I had contracted a few months after we started dating.


Coming from the opposite end of the spectrum, I can tell you she is probably mad at herself, mad at you, ashamed, and experiencing a loss of identity.

If you can do your best to be supportive, talk to her about what she is thinking and feeling without getting defensive, she will start to feel more like herself sooner.

Expect that she is going to have reservations about sex.

Expect that she will have very blunt questions and statements to throw at you.

Expect that you will need to prove you can be both understanding and strong for her.


You can help her regain her sense of self. Just avoid getting defensive, and make her feel like she can talk freely about it.

Remind her that it can't change who she is, that she will continue to be the great person she has always been. And encourage her to focus on things she will look forward to doing in the future.


Sorry you are both in a tough place. Let her lean on you.

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{{{Hugs}}} to you, @Tmyers123. That’s a pretty stressful situation you described. I have not been in this exact situation as I was single and only seeing someone casually long-distance when I found out I was positive for HSV1 and HSV2 (and later realizing I’d had both for about 20 years and was clueless the whole time), but two things came to mind reading your post.


First, I think a trip to the doctor is a great idea. At this early date, the lesions can probably still be swabbed to confirm it’s really herpes and which type it is. For all we know, it may not be herpes or it may be an outbreak of HSV2 from a previous partner that simply hadn’t manifested before.


Second, and this is a really tall order, I know.....try not to take much of what she’s saying right now personally. As Brene Brown says, “Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain.” It’s so true. I know when I got my diagnosis, my emotions were—on a scale of 1-10–about a million. I had so much going on in my head....for months, really, but especially in the first few weeks, there was no way I could be rational or empathetic or even calm. An HSV diagnosis often brings all of our baggage and “issues” to the surface, creating quite an emotional storm. I have no idea who gave me HSV, but had the source of my infection been in front of me, I’m sure I would have been on the blame bandwagon too. Your wife may need a bit of time to process her thoughts and emotions. @RegularGuy gave some great suggestions for supporting her when she’s ready to open up with you.


It’s very normal that neither of you knew it could be transmitted from the mouth to the genitals when there was no cold sore (assuming this is HSV). I had no idea myself. I’ve only been reading these forums for a year, but it’s clear that the vast majority of individuals have no idea how HSV is spread. Ultimately, it’s a relatively harmless virus (for most people—I recognize there are some exceptions) which we’ll never stop or eradicate and just happens to have a ridiculous stigma attached to it.


If it’s helpful to you or your wife, I really like this simple handbook for basic facts about HSV (written by a clinician and HSV expert) plus this infographic showing just how insanely common it is.





Hang in there!

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OP - Your wife is out of hand. I feel like there's other things brewing outside of the hsv stuff. But yeah, it's possible to transmit hsv1 down there. However, it doesn't rule out that she may have had hsv2 prior to your relationship (or you had it prior). You should try to support her and educate her, but looks like she's being stubborn. If it helps, see a therapist but I'm assuming she won't be supportive of it. Sucks man, but try to sweet talk her after the symptoms clear up and the initial shock is over.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just had my first outbreak and tested negative for IgG (meaning my exposure was recently) the only possibility is that my husband of 15 years is an asymptomatic carrier. You can imagine my utter shock. As we were trying to unpack this he mentioned he had a cold sore once as a kid but never again. Of course he could also be packing hsv2 around. I won't know for sure unless he gets tested, which he may or may not do.


Anyway, as someone who is kind of in your wife's situation I believe your wife is completely out of line. You should not feel bad and she should not be mad at you. Sad. Scared. Unsure of what to expect. Confused. Frustrated. Sure. But not mad at you. Mad at crappy sex education, yes, but not mad at you. Not. Mad. At. You. You did nothing wrong. If I were in your situation I'd tell her to stop being so deplorable. How she is acting is not how you treat your partner and father of your child. Of course I'm assuming in all areas of your relationship you've been decent to her.


Had I known my husband had herpes (again, I'm assuming until lab tests come back) I'd get herpes again. And again. And then again. Why? Because my husband is awesome. And we're awesome together. Besides, soon enough there'll be a vaccine and the stigma of herpes will be gone quicker than you can say vaccinate.

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  • 1 year later...

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