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Does age matter?

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Hey everyone! I'm 19 and I feel kind of discouraged about dating... I suppose at this moment, I'm still in the process of accepting things-just want to say that I've come so far in my two month journey so far..better than I ever could have imagined. At the beginning, I had some pretty dark thoughts and I just felt miserable ALL the time! Now, because of this site and another support group I joined, I feel much more happy. And, time heals all wounds :) I am hesitant to say this but I'm sometimes...grateful for this virus. Never in a million years did I think I'd ever say that..and mean it!! :) It has opened my eyes up a lot and I've become much more accepting of people's differences.


But my question is, have any of you younger people on here had a good dating experience? I feel like I won't find someone accepting of this, until I'm in my mid to late twenties. I see my two older sisters dating and they're both in their early 20s and I'm incredibly happy for them but I feel kind of discouraged because I feel like I'm not going to be in a relationship until five, maybe ten years down the road. Have any of you younger folks found someone accepting of H? :-/

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Hi SJ,


I'm an oldie (42) :) so I can't speak to your particular age group, but I do remember being 19. I can't answer your question, but I CAN tell you what I would say NOW to my 19 year old self about men and sex and love and the whole dang thing. And there is a lot!


So...I thought I'd write a letter to 19 year-old me, from 42 yo me, here for you to read. It will be what I wish I could go back and tell 19 year old me. Maybe reading that will help you in some way. I hope so.


Sending you the biggest hug ever. >:D<


Dear 19 year-old Me,


You are such an amazing young woman! You have come through so much, and you have survived! Not only that, you are learning more every day how to take care of yourself in this scary, crazy world and working so hard to figure out the kind of woman you want to be. I know how much you look forward to finding that special relationship that will heal your loneliness, that guy who will make you feel like the only girl in the world. I know you long for the one who will be your best friend and lover. I know.


But here's what 42yo me wants you to know. You will look back on this time in the future, after you've married young, at age 21 and borne two children, and wish you'd taken the time to know yourself, love yourself, and discover how to heal your own loneliness. You will wish you had spent more time thinking about what you need in a partner rather than how to get a guy to want you. You will wish you had waited until you knew this before you jumped in with both feet and set in motion a life you would eventually struggle to make fit. You will have hurt a lot more than you hurt now, waiting for a guy to like you. You may not be able to imagine it, but you will. So listen to me, ok? Because you are so much more than you realize.


Spend more time with your grandparents and/or find other older people to talk with. Old people were 19 once, and though their 19 year old experience and yours are vastly different, they have perspective you need, especially when your heart aches. And they will be so cheered by your smile and by a younger person taking the time to ask them about their lives.


Spend more time giving to others. You will wish you'd done it when you had the chance. You will know when you are my age, that serving others is a good way to connect yourself to the big picture of living in this world and in doing so, you will find yourself and your place in the story.


Fill the empty, angst-filled nights you spend listening to Richard Marx wax poetic about love, offering to take a single mother's children for ice cream so she can enjoy a relaxing bath, or create some art or bake something yummy to take to a nursing home so you can brighten someone else's day. You will wish you had done that when you had the chance, because doing so would have revealed to you the incredible difference you can make in this world, just by being you. And having this knowledge would have given you the resolve not to choose a partner who doesn't know the same.


Plan a cool trip with some girlfriends or even by yourself. Choose an adventure and do what it takes to make it happen. Because when you are 42, you will know that setting a goal for yourself, just to nurture and invest in yourself, is a great habit to develop. You will know that travel broadens you and opens you in a way nothing else can. You will wish you had found a way to see different people and places and cultures while you were so young, so you didn't feel like a small girl from a small town, but like the citizen of the world you are.


I want you to know what you will miss by waiting for a guy to validate you or make you feel special. What you will miss is the chance to be extraordinary before your time. What you worry about is important to you, but it is less important than you realize, because here's the thing: the kind of man you want to create a life with will be there when you are ready. He will. And he won't care about the things you want to hide about yourself, mostly because there won't be many left. Please do what it takes to know and love and trust yourself. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you. The results of your efforts will light you from the inside out and draw all of the right people and experiences to you. I promise.



42 yo Me

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Wow Kristen :) That's a really great letter. I loved reading it!


It's funny that you mention visiting a nursing home, because I've actually thought about that before, I just never have the courage to go in by myself. But independence is something I'm working on. This letter further shows me that I need to fully accept myself and my past and I need to have much more independence and step out of my comfort zone-it's grown a lot over the years, but it's still pretty small. Loneliness is also something to work on. I get bored SO easily and I really need to find a hobby or something to make me feel more at ease with just relaxing. But thank you for writing this letter. It says everything and more than I needed to hear :)

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What an awesome letter Kristen. It's too bad it takes all these years to get that but hopefully we can pass that along to our own kids or anyone who asks. :) Every young person should read your letter my dear!


sjj, take to heart what Kristen has written. It is all so true. In her letter are lessons I am still trying to get at 48. :) Just remember to LIVE now. Don't worry about making mistakes because you will learn from every one of them. If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't really living. Nothing in life is permanent. Well except herpes. :) But there are so many amazing gifts in that, as you are seeing. No experience is a waste. Things are only good or bad if you make them be. Love with all your heart and tell the people you love how much they mean to you and don't ever dim your own light because someone else is intimidated by your strengths and gifts. You are an awesome, lovely, beautiful, amazing young lady my dear. Enjoy every moment!


Love you! Brenda xox

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Thanks Brenda :)


Have either of you found any help dealing with this with therapy? I'm doing a lot better than when I first found out. A couple issues such as waking up with H on my mind every morning and feeling gloomy for a little bit, but then I'm fine. And I don't like to think about "that night"..having a hard time accepting my actions from that night. And not being "pure" anymore. But other than that I'm fine. I guess I just don't know if I should deal with these issues now, even though I'm not as upset about it all as I was in the beginning...or if I should wait it out and if they still bug me in a while if I should deal with it then...What are your thoughts about that? Has therapy been part of your healing process?

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I haven't been checking posts as much as I should so sorry for my late reply....I haven't had therapy for herpes per se but I did go to the H Opp weekend which healed a lot. I have done a lot of things though to heal. When I found out I had herpes I had a lot of things happen at the same time so have been dealing with all of them sort of at the same time. I would say though, from my experience in life, that therapy is never a waste. Give it a try and see how you feel. If you are feeling like it would be helpful for you, then absolutely!! :)

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Hey sj,


I have been in therapy and it has helped. Initially I felt like this herpes thing was so HUGE...but what I realized is that herpes just really brings up a lot of junk we've buried about ourselves and it's not really the herpes we're dealing with per se, but the deeper part of ourselves where we have shame. We all have it, and we all need healing. Herpes can be the catalyst for deeper healing if you allow it to be. You can learn to love yourself in spite of all of the things you see as flaws or broken places.


I would give therapy a go if you can swing it. Find a therapist that feels right for you. It may not be the first one you see, but find someone you feel comfortable with who will ask you what your goals are for therapy. A goal oriented, skilled therapist can guide you through dealing with all of your emotions surrounding herpes and help you get to the deeper issues in your heart and soul.


And like Brenda said, I would also highly recommend the herpes weekend seminar. Adrial is amazing and wise and experienced in walking hundreds of people get to the root of their shame about herpes and themselves. If you can get there, you should go. If you're struggling with getting there, email Adrial and find a time to talk to him.


much love,


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I was watching a TV show (The Client List) where the mother and daughter were talking about dating. The mom has been married and divorced four times and has started seeing someone new. Her daughter asks her, "why do you keep trying?" And she answers, "cuz I deserve to be happy. We both do." It really stood out to me and I wanted to share it with you guys! Because, well, WE deserve to be happy too :)


I will definitely go to a therapist-I'm working on setting up an appointment now. As for the weekend seminar, it's just not ideal for me right now. I'm a broke college student haha if I were to go, it wouldn't be until after I graduate probably, which is in 3-4 years. Hopefully Adrial is still doing the seminars down the road! Plus only two people know about the H, so I'd have to find an excuse for my parents, family, and friends.

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You are so right sjj - we and you DO deserve it! :)


I hope the therapist can get you going in the right direction. You already are making such HUGE strides to healing. As Kristin said, herpes dredges up all our "stuff". It is so easy to focus on the herpes as the cause of all our problems, but it's just that push we needed to deal with all the other unhealed bits of ourselve. And we ALL have them. See this time as a positive time of healing, learning, self-acceptance and love. It seems so huge at first, as Kristin said, but once you realize the gifts hidden in the virus, you will blossom.


The weekend will be here when you are ready. In the meantime you have us to talk to and hopefully a chance to find a local group of "real people" to hang out with. I think that will make a huge difference to see that people with herpes, real live people, are just that - people. You will see that it doesn't make them any less fabulous or normal than they are, with or without herpes.


All in good time gwasshoppa. :)




Brenda xoxox

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I found it so hard at the beginning when people said that it would give me time to step back and see what the real issues and insecurities were there, because I was SO sure that it was H and just H. But the more I think about it, I realize that before H, if I liked a guy or a guy liked me I would go all in with texting him and wanting to hang out. I thought that if I made out with a guy at a party that maybe, just maybe, something would come of it. I was so upset about H because while all my friends were hooking up with guys, I go..half way haha with a guy and I get H. It was SO hard on me.


The more I think about having H though, I realize that one good thing is that now when I like a guy or a guy likes me, I can step back and really think about my feeling towards him before jumping in with both feet and getting hurt. Because being honest, I've been hurt a lot my first year of college. I was getting attention from guys that I never got in high school, so when someone was even remotely interested, I jumped in with my feelings and texted them and just got hurt, because in the end things didn't work out. I was so blinded by what guys wanted until someone I chatted on the phone with from another support group said that guys will hook up with anyone just to hook up. That hurt but was a huge wake up call. I hate saying this, just cuz it sounds weird to say, but I've never gone all the way with a guy (my school counselor referred to it as intercourse, which is technically what it is..) but I've had oral :/ Which I REALLY hate to say...I've only done it once and look where I am..I was going to wait until I got married to have sex because I would have been pure, clean of STDs, and it would have been really special. I don't know if I consider oral to be sex-I know people think differently about it and I'm still on the fence about it...I'm just still so ashamed that I won't be pure when I meet "the one."


Looking back I get really mad at the guy I was with because I kept pulling my pants up and he kept doing it. I didn't think much of it at the time because I was SUPER drunk but I even told him at the beginning that I didn't want to have sex..but again, at the time I guess I didn't really consider what we were doing as sex..I wasn't exactly in the right mind set though..i'd had a lot to drink that night.


Anywayyys...I think having H will be good in the long run, because it now makes me really want to get to know a guy and really see where my feelings for him are at before I jump in. Whoa, sorry this is getting to be a novel ;) but I just had to get it all out there.


So I guess the more I learn about my opportunities, the more accepting of having H I become. I don't know if this makes sense, but I'm on the road to being accepting of having H and realizing that it's not AS big of a deal as I once thought it was, but I just cannot accept the night I was with that guy. it hurts so much to think about what we did and how I realize now that I didn't really know what we were doing. Time heals all wounds though, and I think therapy will be a huge step for me-I hope!


Wowza this is way longer than I intended haha thanks for always listening though :)


Love, Johanna

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I'm loving this conversation ... Loving it. The shifts in awareness and acceptance are beautiful. It's not immediately understandable (and quite possibly perceived as quite crazy off the bat) that herpes can actually be an opportunity, but there you go. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. I'm glad you're here. :)

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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Thanks Johanna so much for sharing yourself with us. I am so blown away by how far you have come in such a short time. You amaze me girl. Understanding that herpes can be an "opportunity" seems pretty out there at first and some people never ever get it but here you are embracing it and making peace with all that has happened, the disappointment, the fear, the anger, the "what ifs". You rock Johanna. :) And you are such an inspiration to others who are also struggling. This whole thing is a process. We don't ever "arrive" but it's more of a journey. I am so glad you are here as well. I have loved getting to know you and watch you blossom. I know there are amazing blessings in your future.


Love you lots!

Brenda xoxo

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Thanks, that means a lot. I finally got an appointment in for a therapist. Next Thursday at 4 pm! I'm really anxious about it...I'm excited to finally be talking to someone but also worried and feeling the same way I did before my doc appointment. But I'm SO GLAD that I went to my doc appointment. My sister and I were there for 4 and a half hours (!!!!) but it was well worth it. So I'm hoping the same goes for this appointment.

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I'm so glad you're taking these steps for self-care, Johanna. Those nervous feelings are completely normal, only now they are telling you that you are on the edge of some change in your life. It might actually be excitement misinterpreted as nerves. ;) FYI, I'm also available for one-on-one private coaching if therapy doesn't end up being a good fit for you. You have so many options for healing! Much love to you. I'm proud of you.

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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