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Breakup, Herpes, and Just Feeling Down

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Some of you may remember my disclosure story from a few months back. Well, that relationship seems to be over. We had a lot in common on the surface, but were not connecting on the same level emotionally. I know this should be a reminder that there are *many* reasons why relationships fail, and that H is really nothing in the scheme of all the many issues and compatibility challenges that must be overcome to create a successful couple.


But... this is my first breakup since dating with H. I know I should take heart that I got through my first-ever H talk with success, had a dating relationship despite H, had sex, and all that...but to be honest I still get a bit down about putting myself back out there into the dating world, which is brutal enough when you're a woman in your 30s, even without adding the H-factor. I will try to take heart in the fact that H is still a good filter for those men who are into one thing and one thing only.


Just wanted to vent and hopefully get some advice from those who have been dating with H for longer than I.

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Hi Atlantic,


I am proud of you for disclosing, whether or not you're "accepted" just the fact that you disclosed from your heart is huge. Courageous. Integrity. And I understand the sadness, too. And breakups are always sad. Bittersweet. I went through a breakup about a month ago. I feel you. And yes, good reminder that relationships are much more than herpes. ;) That's just one piece to a much larger puzzle called the heart.


My advice? Take time for yourself. Being single isn't hell! Remember! ;) Being alone doesn't mean you have to feel lonely. Take this time to reconnect to yourself and when you are ready to open to the possibility of a new relationship it will happen without you having to push it. Living your life, doing things you love will bring the right people into your life, friends, lovers, everyone. So live on! And feel all those feelings that you're feeling right now: The sadness, the missing, the humble pride around your successful disclosure ... It's all there and it all deserves to be there. Let yourself feel it all without being consumed by it. The best medicine to heal is to live your life and do the things you love. Everything else falls into place from there.

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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Hi Atlantic,


I am so sorry to hear about your relationship but you are already seeing your strengths in this relationship. You had a successful discussion and a relationship after that, so now you know it's possible. Breaking up sucks no matter whether you have herpes or not and if there is something you are self-conscious about - whether it is herpes, weight, whatever, then it seems to come to the forefront at the end of the relationship. I have been there many times. I know for myself, the break up can be hard because it's the connection you miss, the good times, the good parts of the relationship you miss. All you can do is work through it and do what you need to do - cry, miss him, get mad, and then eventually you can brush yourself off and put on some lipstick and a smile and say "yes, I am ready" and you will go out there and try it again.


I have been through my share of break ups and I am actually after a divorce a year and a half ago. I have been learning to love my time on my own. It wasn't easy at first, but slowly I started to get back to having a life and getting out with friends, doing things for myself, learning about myself and learning to finally love who I am. It's been a process but now I really enjoy my time on my own. I also enjoy my time with friends and I have decided that I am going to take a break from looking for love. If it comes by and knocks on my door, great. If not, well, I am enjoying my time and enjoying my life. Whatever happens is perfect.


We are here for your my dear. I know some days it hurts like hell so reach out and let us hold your hand and soothe your heart for you. I wish I was there to give you a hug in person. Hang in there. It gets better!!




Brenda xoxo

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Atlantic,


I decided to stop lurking and create an account for the singular purpose of responding to your post. I am not dating and I am newly diagnosed, so I have no words of wisdom and comfort for you on this particular subject.


But I've followed your posts and observed you enter a relationship where you bravely disclosed H to a new partner. I am in my mid-thirties and also navigating the complicated process of dating at this age. You do not know me. We have never met. I am another anonymous stranger on the Internet. But I rejoiced when you found the right man to disclose to and cheered when he accepted you. Throughout your posts, I have rooted for you; I have hoped for the very best; and I have grown to love you, like I love so many other people on this forum (who all happen to have posted on this thread too!). You have always displayed empathy, compassion, and thoughtfulness in your posts; you have consistently engaged in sincere self-reflection. If an anonymous stranger on the Internet can respect your opinions and love your character, then I am sure a man in real life will too.


I think H was an interesting wake up call for me. I am smart, accomplished, and have a fantastic career. I am surrounded by friends and family who love and adore me. Yet, I found myself seeking validation and affirmation from men. Validation through dating, through sex, through attention, etc. Why should a person's opinion of me (whether I'm attractive, worth a date, worth sex) determine how I feel about myself? But that's all easier said than done. It's hard, I know. At this age, it feels like everyone is getting married and living happily ever after. But I've decided, before I start dating again, I need a firm foundation for me - I need to be confident and assured in my character, my integrity, my principles, so another man's perspective of me won't impact how I view myself. Herpes certainly complicates things. But it is not fatal to my sense of self-worth.


I don't know if this is your situation, but this is mine. Your posts, as well as the posts of so many others on this forum, have guided me through my own process. You have an enormous impact on people, which you probably don't even realize. I know that you will attract smart, kind, reflective men who will recognize your fantastic qualities. (It's so much easier to say this about other people, than about yourself, right?!)


I am rooting for you everday. You are not alone.


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What beautiful support, Pacific. I'm touched by your words for Atlantic. I love our community and how authentic sharing can help so many realize they're not alone and that it's okay to be human. All of us talking about what's up for us, what's true for us, (even in the shitty feelings) gives all of us that much more permission to be ourselves and feel the whole range of feelings. :) And welcome out of the shadows! It's nice in the light, isn't it? ;) I'm glad you chose to come out to support. And I reflect back to you your kind heart in what it took for you to come out from the "lurking" to encourage a fellow community member. Feels good to see these kinds of connection here. Much love!

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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Adrial, I think I can speak on behalf of the Interwebz when I say that many of our lives are enriched by YOU. You have built a love-filled, life-affirming community. You live your life with purpose and you are an inspiration to all of us. You have urged us to reflect and to be conscious; I am forever grateful.

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I so love our community too and this thread is awesome. Atlantic I have followed your journey too and know just where you are coming from...and your sharing opened up Pacific (love both oceans coming together here lol!).

Breakups are so hard emotionally because we expect they will go on and there's a time of letting go...and working out what we want in our future. I have learned that that is a precious time for me to just be with me...put more energy into things I love doing, people I love being with and finding something new to excite me (and not a person ;-) ). I have gone through the same fears of thinking Herpes (and my HPV) is going to stop me dating and meeting someone new.


The only thing that stops that is me and my thoughts - and believe me I've had them all!!! You really are just one person closer to the right one for you when you break up with someone...they just weren't the right one. It has taken alot of emotional work for me to find the right one and the funny thing is he had to do the same...just not with herpes but other stuff. He felt just as unworthy and afraid as me, felt like he would be rejected - we all have this negative stuff.


So I finally met my 'one' and just yesterday he reminded me of how amazing he is. We were laughing about him snoring and he apologized for me having to deal with it, I replied that he had bit to deal with being with me so we were more than even...he asked what it was, couldn't think of what was a big deal. Tears welled up for me, I felt so loved and accepted...and when I said Herpes he replied "OMG I don't even think about it, it's not a big deal to me - I think my snoring is a way bigger deal!"


I was the same with the man who I contracted it from...I knew and I thought he was worth any risk. Well, I did get it and now...after much despair of thinking I wouldn't find anyone else...we found each other at the right time for both of us. He thinks I am a gift to him and think he is a gift to me...that's the kind of person you deserve and it's worth the work and the wait for you to find each other.


In the meantime trust that you will meet the right person at the right time, enjoy life along the way...and stay connected with this great community. It does feel so good to connect and I love it that we don't know each other, or have never met, but at a deep level there is a connection and wonderful support. Thanks for sharing...it helps us all on so many levels. xxx

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God, I love this place and you people!! I have goosebumps reading these posts. :)


Pacific, thank you SO much for coming out of the shadows and posting such a heart felt and lovely response to Atlantic. It is people like you who make me thank God everyday for the gift of herpes. Without it I would have missed out on all of this and what a shame that would have been.


Lelani, I am SOOOO happy to hear you have found someone who loves and appreciates you and sees the gorgeous woman you are both inside and out. He is a very very lucky man to have found you and it sounds like you two are so perfect for each other.


Atlantic, thank you so much for being who you are and being such an inspiration to so many. Obviously you have a positive influence on so many people, and that is such a gift to share.


Adrial, you have a life purpose that will affect so many lives in such a positive way. You have initiated something that will heal so many people and have such an outreaching effect that you may never fully appreciate. I am so grateful you are in our lives and you chose to use your pain to help others heal.


Much love to you all!

Brenda xoxo

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Brenda and Lelani,


I have drawn so much strength and inspiration from your words. I have gone back and read almost all of your posts and comments!


Lelani, I think of you when I am bars or in other social situations. You are so confident, so sensuous, so sexy! I draw a deep breath and think "it's okay to flirt! I'm not repulsive!" I try to channel my inner Lelani.


Brenda, I remember a particular moment when I read one of your posts. You said something along the lines of "damn it, I'm worth it! I'm not lowering my standards because of herpes!" I paused, sat up straight, and for the first time (I think, ever, in my life) thought to myself "hmmm, maybe I'm worth it too."


There are still moments of insecurity. Today, I was walking to work and thought "what if I passed herpes onto a really great guy? And things didn't work out between us? Could I live with that guilt?" Then I reflected on your words Brenda. Maybe, just maybe, I am worth that risk. And maybe I have to learn to let go, to release that desire to control how people react to herpes.


I'm not ready to date. But all of you have made me a bit stronger, a bit more whole, and definitely more mindful and reflective.

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Hey Pacific,


I wanted to jump in here — I LOVE how inspired you are and how much healing has happened in your heart already. And notice how the shame still creeps in even in seeming moments of positivity: "It's okay to flirt! I'm not repulsive!" That's certainly better than "It's not okay to flirt because I'm repulsive." BUT our minds don't know the difference between "not repulsive" and "repulsive" ... We're still using the word, still feeling the feeling of repulsiveness. Classic example: DON'T think of a PINK ELEPHANT. You just thought of a pink elephant, didn't you? Well I told you NOT to! As long as we're talking about pink elephants (or repulsiveness) — whether agreeing with it or disagreeing — we still have it on our mind. Try actually switching your focus COMPLETELY from the possibility of being repulsive to the FACT that you're beautiful, lovable, funny, honest, etc.? Why even focus on NOT being repulsive when you can focus on BEING all those amazing things you are? See what I mean? It seems to be the next step for you in your healing process, as far as I can see it. Embrace your awesomeness. Now. ;)


Just wanted to jump in and share that since that phrase jumped out at me. :) Much love!

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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