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I'm a coward, but I didn't manipulate him

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I guess I’ll just start writing…


My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 months. I disclosed to him a week ago that I have HSV2 from an ex. We haven’t been in good terms since.


I made a stupid and cowardly mistake. I neglected his health and put him at risk. He feels betrayed and has implied he'll never forgive me if I passed it to him. I haven’t had an outbreak and neither has he. We’ve had unprotected sex and he’s convinced he already has it. He feels dirty and gross. And I told him he isn’t.


He didn’t know who to talk to about this, so he called his ex-girlfriend and told her… Maybe it was just the shock that made him act this way? I try not to let the fact that they communicate bother me, but telling her I have H crosses the line. I’m trying to be understanding because he doesn’t have family here, but I feel hurt and betrayed. But I feel that my thoughts and feelings about all of this aren’t important. They're not valid compared to how he must be feeling.


Anyway, I’ve just been bawling my eyes out because I was there. When I found out I had it. I felt like no one would ever love me again. And it brings me so much pain, regret, and guilt that I did this to him. And it hurts that the man I love might feel that way about me—that I’m disgusting and gross. Despite the fact that he said he loves me for who I am, that he can’t live without me. He's said all of this prior to my disclosure, but now he says his heart has shifted and I don't know what to do.


He feels I manipulated him into loving me so it would make it harder for him to leave. But that’s really not true. He thinks I’m evil and is disgusted by the fact that all the times we had sex, I knew and I never said anything.


I really just didn’t know how to bring it up. As careless and irresponsible as that sounds. I admit I was terrified. Most times, I honestly forget cause I haven’t had an outbreak since the first time (2 years ago). I know there is no excuse. If I could do it over, I would have told him before we’d done anything and take the risk of him leaving rather than not give him a choice.


I try to be there for him. He doesn’t want it. He’s angry and I feel his resentment. I’ve exhausted all my apologies. All I can offer him is space. I’m also hurting, but I can't talk to him about it because I feel like my pain isn’t justified. If I told him, he’d think I’m playing victim for what I’ve done. If that makes sense, I don’t know how else to explain it.


I haven’t talked to anyone about this. I do my best to put my own needs aside so I can focus on his. So he knows that I do care about him and that I do love him. I'm really trying. I want our relationship to get past this and thrive. I want to believe that he's reacting like this because he's in shock and is consumed by the social stigma of H. He's getting his results on Wednesday and I don't know how to handle the situation whether the results are positive or negative.


I guess all I really want to know is if there’s anyone out there who’s been through something similar. Do you have any advice?


Thank you for reading. I truly appreciate it.

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"I want to believe that he's reacting like this because he's in shock and is consumed by the social stigma of H."


Unless he has been testing himself between partners and expects all partners to test, that is likely what you're dealing with. I'm sorry. It shouldn't be like that. It should be taken in stride like cold sores. Hopefully it will change someday.


My advice is to think of it this way: you never have to go through this again. In the future, you can always choose to disclose ahead of time.

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I agree with @optimist. Your guy is most likely upset that you didn’t tell him before y’all had sex. There’s a level of trust there that has been shattered. I know if I’d slept with someone who knew they had something and failed to disclose I’d be pretty upset too. Even if there were no discussions about STDs prior to sex you should have told him. Hopefully he comes around but if not chalk it up as a lesson learned.

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The only thing you can do is start respecting his right to decide for himself, be supportive, and patiently understand that it will take as long as it takes to establish trust.

If he wants to talk to you, even if it is harsh, try to remind yourself that it means he wants to straighten out his thoughts so that he can feel comfortable with you, and confident that you aren't hiding more potentially painful surprises for him to discover after the fact.

You're in a really difficult position, and I'm sorry that you are going through it!

I think the best thing you can do is to tell him that you understand that he is thinking about breaking up, and that you know you screwed up. But that you want to prove to him that you care about him, and want things to be really good between you. However long it takes to build trust, you will be patient and understanding.


It is true that he may already have contacted the virus and has been asymptomatic. However I wouldn't recommend pointing this out, as it may insult him and make it seem you are trying to minimize and deflect.

If you get the opportunity to take responsibility, and to come through as genuine and understanding, he may feel better about a future with you.


That's really tough, and I'm sorry things went this way! Good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

@optimist Thank you for the comforting words. We discussed it and he calmed down after the initial shock of possibly contracting it when I showed him all the research.


His test came back negative and we both couldn't be happier.


We're still together. Will definitely disclose ahead of time in case he and I don't end up together in the future. I don't want to have to go through this ever again. :)

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Your advice was well-received. I did my best to be patient, supportive, and understanding without overstepping.


I'm so proud to say he tested negative! Things were still a little shaky after his results came back. It was such a tough time for the both of us. We were confused and didn't know where to take the relationship. But I'm extremely grateful he saw past it and wants to keep building a future with me.


We're rebuilding the relationship little by little. Slowly easing into it everything and I think we'll be just fine.


Thanks again! I truly appreciate it.

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I am happy for you and your boyfriend. I agree that you made a mistake and you should own that, and learn from it. At the same time, don't beat yourself up about it. What happened has happened. We cannot change the past.


I was in your boyfriend's position a few months ago, having had sex with a girl that I met fell in love with pretty quickly albeit we always used a condom (except for oral sex). I truly fell in love with her like never before. For some reason, however, I felt that she was hiding something from me, and she ended up disclosing a few weeks after we had had sex (with a condom). She said that she had found out right after we had sex but I just had a hard time believing that. My trust was shattered, I did not know what to believe. If she had told me that she knew all along maybe I would have forgiven her knowing that she can't be lying at all anymore but this time it sounded like I had to accept such a huge coincidence to move forward. I was very anxious about my results- the worst part was having to wait for 4 months post-exposure to know for sure (the IgG antibody test takes a while to become positive) while at the same time not knowing whether she was truthful or not with me. My results came back negative (more than 6 months have elapsed). However, we are no longer together and rarely talk.

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