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Reconciling herpes rejection

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Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and have only ever told prospective partners about having herpes, so this is a big step for me. I've had it for several years and have been able to get on with my life. I really felt that herpes was a minor problem in the scale of things. I feel very positive about myself and life. But a recent experience has rocked me a little.


I have approached new relationships optimistically and honestly and felt accepted and loved. I started seeing a guy and we were wonderful together. I hadn't felt so excited and happy about a relationship in a long time. After several great weeks I explained about herpes. He was upset, did research and we took it slow.


We kept seeing each other, but after a while he broke down saying he couldn't ever come to terms with it. He was distraught and said me telling him about herpes was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. I wasn't sure what to do, but was calm and said I was giving him a choice and it was fine to leave it. I tried to walk away on good terms. He seemed really disturbed by the experience, but I feel I'd really done all I could to address it properly. He was really angry with the people who give others herpes, but I don't feel angry like that and I have it. I feel really bad about distressing him so much and I feel so sad to have lost something that was potentially really special. But at the same time I can't help feeling that if he reacted really dramatically to this, perhaps the relationship wouldn't have worked anyway.


Sometimes I feel really tired when I think about embarking on a relationship. I haven't ever experienced being rejected for herpes, although I have expected it would happen eventually and I've never had anyone seem so uncontrollably distressed about it. I don't have anyone I feel comfortable talking to about this and would love your thoughts about whether there was anything else I should have done and how I should think about it.


Thanks so much

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Hi! After reading your post, I must say that being rejected because you have herpes is really hard to deal with. The aftermath can be challenging, however, I have been rejected twice because of it... the first time I told my date about it, he said he was fine and still wanted to have sex! I didn't sleep with him, I told him I wanted to take things slow since this was new to me... I never heard from him again, that was years ago and in hindsight, he was not the man for me. The second rejection was more recently, a friend who just happened to be a nurse was terrified of catching a disease. He was nice about the rejection, although it still hurt. Regardless of the herpes diagnosis, ANY type of rejection from someone we care for will hurt. We walk around this world not knowing the future, the only thing we can do is keep a positive outlook on life and be kind to other people, in hopes that kindness will find its way back to us. It usually does.

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Hi Rosy and welcome! I have had men who had strong reactions to herpes. In my experience, both of them had had a really negative experience with herpes in their life and so the association they made with it was something they couldn't overcome. There was nothing I could have done or said to help them not have a strong reaction. Your fella's reaction is his issue.


People are going to have strong reactions to many things and often I find it comes from fear. One fellow I met had a sister in law who caught herpes from her cheating husband (first bad association). Then she had a boyfriend and the boyfriend caught herpes. He was so upset he would show up at her work everyday and tell all her coworkers that she had given him herpes (second bad association). When I met him we got along great. I told him about having herpes and he really did try to get around it, but ultimately he was so freaked out that he ended up having to leave.


The second fellow who had a negative reaction I have known for a long time. We were actually engaged about 10 years ago. We broke up and ten years later he found me again (looong story there). Anyway, when I told him that I had herpes, you should have seen the look on his face. It was like I had slapped him. Come to find out his dad had cheated a lot on his mother. He didn't have a good relationship with his dad as a result and guess what his dad got - yep, herpes. So negative association. The interesting thing is he has since come around. We have been together and apart more times than I care to get into but he has recently come back into my life and said that he read somewhere where a person had posted "why let a simple skin condition make you lose the love of your life". He said that really got him thinking and that he has decided that he is okay with the herpes thing. He has come to terms with it and it's not worth losing me for a skin condition. So, who knows.


Everyone comes with their own experiences and fears. Sometimes there is nothing we can do or say to make them change their minds.

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