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Ain't nuttin but a thang...


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Hey everyone! I've been incommunicado for the last little bit - life's been a bit hectic. But I love what's going on here, I love what A is doing, and I wanted to contribute (finally!).

 

I got herpes by choice, which I realize puts me in a category of a select privileged few. I mean - I wouldn't have CHOSEN to get it if I had my druthers, but I was with a man who I loved and who made the responsible choice of disclosing to me. Thought we would be together forever (*dreamy stars in my eyes*). We're now divorced, have been for over a year. When I first contracted herpes, my doc was very nonchalant about it - I appreciated that, actually. He gave me stats on how many people actually have it, said it wasn't life threatening, wouldn't affect potential future babies (I already had one child at that point), etc, etc. I'm sure it didn't occur to him - and it certainly didn't occur to me - the emotional ramifications I would suffer should my husband and I ever split.

 

So let's talk about the emotional ramifications. Initially, being single with herpes, I'm not going to lie - it sucked. My stats were stacked against me - single mother, twice divorced, mortgage payment, and now herpes. How would I EVER find a man who would be willing to put up with all that?? I dated a decent amount - did have some sex. ALWAYS disclosed. (Side note - let me stress how important this is. ALWAYS disclose. As much as it hurt when people opted to back out, having had someone give ME that choice, I knew how important it was. Yes, I have herpes. Yes, my ex-husband gave it to me. But I've never felt any resentment or regret. It was my choice. I'll never take that away from someone else.) Still I felt like I would never really be able to get close to someone. But when I really stopped to think about it, the herpes was only a small part of that. It's just like anything else - we put up barriers, make assumptions, wall ourselves in with our baggage and use it as an excuse to not take chances. Before I had herpes, I used my child in the same way. How would I EVER find a man who would be willing to take in a child that wasn't his own? What 20-something dude wants to be responsible for a kid? But I overcame that, I thought, and I'll overcome this too.

 

And I did. I met a guy on PS who's awesome, and wonderful. Sex with no condoms! Conversations and jokes about outbreaks! Sharing vials of Valtrex! It's all very romantic. Will we be together forever? Who knows. At some point, I may be back in the dating pool - and next time, it'll be with two divorces, a kid, a mortgage payment, herpes, AND I'll be into my 30s. Let's get real people - time does not do ANYBODY any favors. The longer you go, the more baggage you have. I hate that word - "baggage". I'm going to say "life experience" instead. Our life experiences can shape us into who we are, but we ALWAYS have a choice. We can choose to let it consume us, alienate us, depress us. Or we can choose to suck the marrow out of each experience, learn from it, grow. Move on. Ten years ago I was in school studying molecular genetics in California, on track for a very lucrative career, the world at my fingertips. Now I'm twice divorced, a single mother with herpes, living in North Carolina and working as an office manager. That could sound horribly depressing, like my life went completely awry. To be sure, it did not go in the direction I thought it would. But it's made me who I am today, and I LIKE who I am today. As stressful as it is being a mom, my life is so much richer for it. And if I hadn't contracted herpes, I wouldn't have met the awesome guy I'm dating. I also wouldn't have been able to be a support system for my friend's sister (19, just contracted it from her *she thought* monogamous boyfriend). Life has a funny way of working out. You just have to open your eyes and see what it's trying to show you, where it's trying to take you. Embrace it. I know, in my heart of hearts, that all of us WILL find someone to share joys and sorrows with - maybe not even "in spite" of the herpes, but "because" of it! In order for that to happen, though, you have to open yourself up to some hurt.

 

You cannot appreciate the miracle of a sunrise until you have waited in darkness. That doesn't mean you have to muddle through the dark alone, though. I reached out, found support with local groups, with people like A and this website. We can all muddle through together. Just imagine how sweet it will be at the end when the going was so tough. :)

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Eriiiiiin! Great to have you back, girl! Congrats on what seems to be a pretty frickin' awesome relationship. Glad to hear you're enjoying it for what it is. Sounds fun/sexy/deep/awesome. You deserve it. :) I'd give you a longer response, but it's getting late and I'm super tired. :) So much love! Big hugs! Say what up to your man for me, will ya? He's a lucky one. (He better know that!)

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content 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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He knows. ;) He's moving closer over the summer - I'm going to try to drag (nudge?) him to come to a meeting after that happens. He has a much more negative take on the whole H thing, has had a lot more unfortunate experiences with it than I have. I know I've only been able to come once thus far, but it was SO wonderful. This website - the group - it just fills you up with light, you know? Glad to be back. :)

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  • 5 years later...

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