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Struggling with how to be normal again.


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Hello all!

A little backstory... I was diagnosed back in January and hearing that diagnosis really hit me hard, as I'm sure it did with most of you. I went through the hard feelings towards myself and not knowing what to do. I poured my energy into working out and that has gotten my mind off of it but recently it's been nagging at me at the back of my mind.

 

So I'm asymptotic. I've never had an outbreak that I know of. I decided that I wanted to be on a suppressive therapy because I didn't want to deal with any outbreaks or shedding. I wanted it out of my mind completely.

 

Anyways lately I've been thinking about dating. And I just feel so torn up about it. I feel like being "casual" with someone isn't an option. I feel like I need to get to know someone for a long period of time before I even think of telling them to make sure their feelings are true for me. I am not sure this is the best way to do it. I don't want to "string" someone along if they don't like what I've told them. Or to hurt someone. Or to waste anyone's time.

 

I'm scared. I'm not sure at what point is best to let someone know. Or how far to let things go before I even mention it. I'm not even sure what is "okay" to do before telling anyone. If that makes sense... it feels wrong to be flirting with someone when I know I can't just go with the flow of things.

 

I fear rejection. Just like everyone else.

I don't even want to tell people because it's just not something that I want to be known, so the thought of disclosing terrifies me.

 

What techniques do you guys use when telling someone and how soon do you tell them? How far do you let things go?

 

I know going about it in a calm and nonchalant way is probably best. And I think me never having an outbreak and being on suppressive therapy makes it seem less bad to others? I'm not really sure.

 

I'm freaking out.

 

I guess I just consider that everyone will take it badly and no one will want to be with me. I can't get the negative thoughts out. Every time I meet someone the "you have hsv you can't do things the normal way, you need to tell them" thoughts start. I just need to put my mind at ease and I'm not sure how to do that

 

Please, any advice is welcome.

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It's really good that you decided to take the time to work on yourself in ways that helped you to feel both accomplished and constructive. That's a really important part of re-accepting yourself when the diagnosis has disrupted your sense of self.

 

Dating is a hard game for anyone.

Like a lot of people, I struggled with lots of loneliness and rejection before I was diagnosed.

For all my hard work in the gym, and trying to be a better man, I faced blunt disapproval often.

I didn't want to be guilty of wasting anyone's time. I wanted to find someone I genuinely clicked with, who I could try to build a great relationship with. I waited for a long time. I dated a lot of people who weren't genuine, or who tried to waste my time despite not being interested in something serious.

I felt like I had little to offer anyone, and that my few flaws were so deeply rooted in my being that I would never find the love and respect I need.

Sound like a relatable story?

If it does, that would be because most people feel this way when faced with the difficulties of dating.

It is difficult to meet the right person at the right time. But, it's reassuring to know that there are a lot of great people out there. You just have to find one of those great people who both think the timing is right, and that you are great, too.

That can be hard to find, but it's not impossible.

 

It's commendable that you value other people's time.

You already know that kping secrets and avoiding hard conversations certainly won't cultivate a meaningful relationship.

You should keep your timing more natural to you.

If your instincts tell you to learn more about a person before you would cobsider intimacy, listen.

If your instincts tell you sooner is better than later to get physical, go ahead and disclose.

 

Confidence, empathy, and being ready to answer questions helps. But I always recommend that if the pressure is high, and you find hope really riding on one person's response. It might be a good idea to try talking to several people, or having a couple of dates to work on before getting overly invested in one thing working out.

I'm not saying sleep with a bunch of people in rapid succession. But there is nothing wrong with juggling a couple of text convos or going on a few first dates before choosing who to break off and who to disclose to.

 

Personally, I found that when I felt the lowest and just wanted to go on a bunch of first dates to see who might actually honestly like a guy like me, I felt a lot of the pressure to be perfect fade. I also felt the investment in any one person fade to an appropriate level. Rather than putting one individual after another on a pedestal.

It especially made rejection easier to abaorb and bounce back from. Because at least some other person still thought I was worth their time.

 

It's not easy to do, but you have to treat dating as much like an evaluation of yourself as it is of others. You evaluate you independence from others' opinions about your worth. You test your ability to gauge another person's character. You guage your own preferences and needs.

 

It's better a question to ask, am I putting in too much hope with one person. Than to ask, am I right for this person.

It's better to ask, what do I need. Than to ask, what do they expect.

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Hi

@daisy215

 

I put a link to another thread where I and a few other people listed some of our disclosure experiences. I'm 40 and listed my experiences from about age 28-40 and was fascinated by the overall pattern I saw when I was done. Some of my observations were: 1) the person with the biggest issue about having herpes was ME! 2) My ability, skill, and comfort with disclosing vastly improved with each disclosure. 3) I wasted way too many years in fear- something I regret and hope others don't waste as many years.

 

As for when to disclose. People on here have different opinions on that. For me I usually want to disclose after 2-3 really good dates. This is because anything sooner and I feel I haven't given myself enough time to know if I even like them. And because if the dates are REALLY good then I don't usually want to wait longer because I run the risk of getting too attached and potentially hurt if there is rejection. I agree with @RegularGuy on dating a little more casually and with various people. But not just because of rejection, but also because dating is complex and people often seem wonderful in the beginning because they are giving us their best side and hiding their worst stuff.

 

With that said, there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that prevented me from disclosing after 2-3 dates, usually because I'm traveling or because a relationship had some kind of long distance aspect. In those cases there was usually a longer period of talking and emailing/texting and as a result a much stronger bong being built before I had a chance to disclose. Sometimes I would have tinges of guilt about "leading someone on" but guess what, I've had to learn my emotional needs and timing are just as important. In fact, every single guy I've ever dated neglected to tell me some very important "skeleton" in their closet even after I disclosed my "big one". These things varied from having children to massive debt, to mental health issues, to criminal history, to substance issues past or present. Their reasons for withholding that info for so long were always cited as "timing" for them (I have no doubt that fear was always a major part). So based on my experience most people have something they feel insecure and fear being judged or rejected about so I'm not going to feel bad about wasting anyone's time as my need to let the relationship unfold and see what they are all about and whether they are worth disclosing must be a priority! This has been a slow evolution over the last 20 years of learning to love myself first!!

 

 

Best wishes to you! It will be trial and error at first but you'll figure out what your comfort level and needs are.

 

Here's the link to that discussion on disclosures I mentioned:

https://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/7970/successful-online-dating-herpes-disclosures-female-to-male/p1

 

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I had a hard time my first 3 months. And I'm still having a hard time but honestly.... my quality of life since diagnosis June 2017 has greatly increased. I find myself only going on dates with men I might actually see as a potential partner in life. I have found myself in positions where I probably would have had casual sex with these men before diagnosis; but having herpes now makes me second guess if this is a responsible decision. And if it is are these the kind of men I trust with my secret? If I cannot trust them with my secret than I really shouldn't be trusting them with my body. Its an easy way to weed out the people who aren't going to be an enhancement in your life. Do you trust them to tell them? No, okay bye. If you do trust them enough to tell them, and they aren't accepting,,,, okay bye. If this person cannot accept you at your worst than they don't deserve you at your best.

 

As far as timeline goes, I think it's different with every person and just take it one situation at a time.

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