"I want my life back. . ."
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Jewels Click to EMail JewelsClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 01:20 PM (CST)
"I want my life back. . ."
I was diagnosed with herpes in 1982 at the age of 28. I am now 45, after 17 long years of living with this disease. In the beginning I thought that within 5 years a vaccine would surely be developed to "save me", but 5 years turned into 10, and now 17 years later I am still waiting. In the last few years I have reentered the world of new relationships and find myself looking all of the psychological problems in the face, struggling with depression and desperation. I really hope that this is rock bottom because it is hell.

To my good fortune, I recently met someone with whom I would like to have a lasting relationship, but now the seemingly impossible task of telling him I have herpes is pressing on me. I am very seriously considering just bailing out of the relationship rather than enduring the painful ordeal of telling him and the possible rejection. I realize that people do find tolerant and accepting partners and I have been encouraged by this, but in any event the harsh reality is truly overwhelming. To think that sex is not one of the central issues in a "normal" relationship is unrealistic in my mind, and rejection on the basis of herpes seems to me to be a very valid response from a potential partner that does not necessarily say anything negative about the person's worth, compassion, or capacity to have a meaningful and committed relationship. As I see it, the problem is herpes, not the other person. If I manage to find the courage to deal with my situation, I am not sure that I will ever choose to go through this agony again if things do not work out.

I could use some help from others on the following dilemma -- Isn't it unreasonable to ask a person to risk something so precious as his health (for possibly a lifetime illness) when I know how awful this virus is and also knowing that relationships can be very short-lived for any number of reasons? Since a person whom I love is someone I most want to protect from anything so injurious as herpes, how at the same time can I justify putting that very person at risk (assuming he consents)? Certainly one can reduce the risk as much as possible, but the risk is still there. I also can't help but imagine that a partner will feel as if he has been taken for a fool by "false advertising" or feel that just the simple fact that anyone would even consider risking his health reflects negatively on his "value" as an individual. I am equally afraid that I will not even be able to have a good sexual relationship with a partner when I feel this way. In my eyes these contradictions appear to be irreconcilable, but it may just be the twisted thinking of a herpes affected mind, so any comments about this would be helpful.

Overall, the worst and saddest thing is that after herpes, I felt that I lost my sexual identity -- a sexless and undesirable person. I see other people having relationships and it really hurts to know that this disease is an obstacle for me. I would just like to have my sex life back again, unburdened by any herpes baggage, before I am too old to care any more. I know I need to deal with it, as I am not naive enough to think that life is a fairy tale, but herpes still sucks no matter how much we downplay its significance.

Finally, my heart goes out to the young people who find themselves in this predicament. I couldn't cope with it at 28, and feel only slightly more capable now, so I can imagine how difficult it must be for them. I can offer only the observation that it is not productive to base your hopes on a vaccine or cure, because there will be many false summits in the development of new treatments for herpes before the final goal is reached. There are no doubt many people out there who spend alot of their energy searching for and clinging to any shred of news about a breakthrough. Knowing about these developments is important, but don't make life decisions based on what might happen at some point in the future.

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 Table of contents

same fellings, wolf, Jan-06-00, (1)
Right with ya, Beth, Jan-06-00, (2)
count me in, too., windy, Jan-06-00, (3)
thanks again widy,..hey beth, wolf, Jan-06-00, (4)
Hey Jewels, lisx, Jan-06-00, (5)
wow :), ruby, Jan-06-00, (6)
lisx-Love your positive attitude, Beth, Jan-06-00, (7)
another perspective..., M'sMom, Jan-06-00, (8)
dear MM :), ruby, Jan-07-00, (12)
I was 28, too..., Molly O'Reilley, Jan-07-00, (9)
loving, telling, living, tinman_o2b1, Jan-07-00, (11)
Tin, I agree - wonderful thread.., Rajah, Jan-07-00, (13)
Tinman..., lisx, Jan-07-00, (14)
Check out this link, falks:, Vesely, Jan-09-00, (18)
Jewel's Post, Fisher, Jan-07-00, (10)
Jewels, Ice, Jan-07-00, (15)
Many, many thanks!, Jewels, Jan-08-00, (16)
A *lot* of things need telling, M'sMom, Jan-08-00, (17)
Telling went, tinman_o2b1, Jan-10-00, (19)
Yay!, M'sMom, Jan-11-00, (20)
movie perfect , wolf, Jan-12-00, (21)
Well,no, tinman, Jan-12-00, (24)
Tin...., lisx, Jan-13-00, (26)
More contagious thatn Herpes, wolf, Jan-13-00, (27)
Sounds like a good idea to me.., Rajah, Jan-12-00, (25)
Yea T-man!!!, J, Jan-12-00, (23)
your dilemma, justme, Jan-12-00, (22)
RE: your dilemma, charade, Jan-20-00, (29)
RE: your dilemma, Jewels, Jan-21-00, (30)
RE: your dilemma, charade, Jan-22-00, (31)
RE: your dilemma, M'sMom, Jan-23-00, (32)
RE: your dilemma, jewels, Jan-23-00, (33)
RE: your dilemma, jewels, Jan-25-00, (34)
1 day old and I hear that loud and ..., pariah carey, Jan-13-00, (28)
RE: 1 day old and I hear that loud ..., yada yada, Jan-27-00, (35)
risk analysis.., Rajah, Jan-27-00, (36)
me Me ME!!, Keyser Soze, Jan-27-00, (38)
Is it true that >>>>>>>>??, Katkin, Jan-27-00, (37)
RE: I want my life back. . ., Arianna Lei, Jan-30-00, (39)
One thought for Arianna, M'sMom, Jan-30-00, (40)
RE: One thought for Arianna, Arianna Lei, Jan-31-00, (41)

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Messages in this topic

wolf Click to EMail wolfClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 02:15 PM (CST)
1. "same fellings"
i feel all those things youve mention.Im a 29m not self proclaimed attractive guy i get lots of attention from girls and yes its tough having herpes. you feel you cant take action on any of it even if you really like someone. i find myself looking at girls and couples and think yeah but they dont have herpes.I have had that false hope and ae moving to suppression.but theres gotta be a way to live through it and places like hhp will help.
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Beth Click to EMail BethClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 03:09 PM (CST)
2. "Right with ya"
I am 29 on have had herpes for about four months. It is very hard for me. I ended a relationship because I couldn't tell him about my special situation so I ended it before giving him a chance. Everytime I tried to tell him I would break down and cry. The most important aspect in telling is that you have to feel comfortable and confident in talking about it and I am not at that point. I hope you will find the courage to tell him and I hope it all works out for you. Everyone deserves to be happy...

Take Care
Beth

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windy Click to EMail windyClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 04:15 PM (CST)
3. "count me in, too."
Jewels,

I'm struggling with the same issues, but you're a little ahead of me in that you have a potential partner to tell. I'm about the same age as you, too.

One thing that's making it easier for me to talk about it is telling some of my friends. It gets easier.

There's a good post below, in the thread "Herpes Hot Line" by Danielle, read the one called "A lot of us have seen worse than HSV" by M's Mom. It might help to put it in perspective.

I sure hope you can find it in you to tell this guy, rather than bag the relationship. The worst that can happen is that he says "no thanks" to the relationship. Is this really much different than if you end it? Same result either way. Is he someone you would be friends with even if you did not become lovers? If you tell him, he will admire your honesty and it will raise the intimacy level of the relationship.

Below are some links to sites that talk about telling your partner.

Take care,

windy


Telling, How To Tell, Honesty:
When Your Partner Has Herpes http://www.ashastd.org/  Bad link edited to generic link..
The H Files http://members.aol.com/herpesite/hfiles.html

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wolf Click to EMail wolfClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 04:55 PM (CST)
4. "thanks again widy,..hey beth"
thanks windy this is an answer to my topic post question on how to tell. guess i should read everything before I post.how do i unpost.

hey beth. where ya from im on long island. we should chat. same age same situation..freinds? romance? who knows. im trying to get the courage tell someone too. it would really help to talk over our fears you want to e-mail me?

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lisx Click to EMail lisxClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 06:37 PM (CST)
5. "Hey Jewels"
Thanks for your honest post. You raise some very good points.

I would say tell him, and be honest about what having herpes means. For tips on how to tell, maybe check out the bio page, there are some great experiences documented there.

I have had herpes for about 16 months, and I am 31 years old. I got it from a man with whom I had a three year relationship. I am not with him anymore. I have to say with regard to my current situation, that if I could go back and do it all again, I wouldn't change much. I loved this man very much, although it all turned to shit in the end. I have many happy memories of my time with him, and through dealing with our break up and the initial trauma of discovering I had herpes, I have learned so much about myself and about life. I have become a much stronger and more compassionate person. I have learned to love myself better. I wouldn't trade these experiences to not have the virus.

I am not trying to say that having h is one of the best things that has happened in my life, of course that would be ridiculous. But so much good has come out of it for me.

I think that your point about whether or not it is reasonable to ask someone you love to risk their health is a very good one. But love is very precious, and comes along so seldom. If the situation were reversed, and your feelings for him the same, would you think that he were asking a great deal? I have often wondered this myself, if I didn't have it and met someone who did, would I be prepared to take the chance. But often what it comes down to in the end is not my physical health, rather the lack of knowledge that the pre-h me had on the subject, and the social attitudes towards STDS.

I like the issue you raise about waiting for a vaccine. I hope that one day there will be a vaccine/cure for this, but in the meantime I feel it is imperitive to remember that life is not a dress rehearsal. The present moment is all we have, and we have a responsibility to make it the best and most rewarding moment we can.

Thank you once again for your thought provoking post. I am sorry that I haven't given much advice, but your post did get me thinking a lot!!

Take care,

Love, lisx

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ruby Click to EMail rubyClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 07:02 PM (CST)
6. "wow :)"
LAST EDITED ON Jan-07-00 AT 05:04 PM (EST)

what an incredible post jewels.

(and lisx http://www.racoon.com/dcforum/Images/happy.gif";> - you are incredible as well - xxoo to you)

you put a lot in your post, jewels. it is a wonderful, thought provoking sampler of all that we go through in our minds - especially when we were first diagnosed.

i know that it's hard to think about telling someone about H - but don't you think he should be the one to make the decision? that perhaps he can truly feel that being with you far outweighs the risk of H?

i am 40 - i'm afraid of talking about H with strangers and even friends too

and at times it's easy to become overwhelmed by the thought of telling (anyone!)

- but i try to remind myself - that i don't have to do this immediately - i can get to know a man and take my time and decide if it's right to tell or not tell.

i'm not sure i'd want every potential love interest to know everything about me esp. if i thought the relationship would not become physical and lasting.

don't try to solve it all at once - take your time. - i think H can be like any intimate secret - the one thing that hallmarks H is that it can be passed; it can be shared.

if you don't think you can make peace with the issue of transmission - can you think about getting to know someone with h???

and.....this stupid virus can rob you of so much if you let it.

try to fight it.

you are a valuable human being.

you deserve to be loved for who you are <img src="

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Beth Click to EMail BethClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 08:33 PM (CST)
7. "lisx-Love your positive attitude"
Lisx, People who are new to this really need your positive attitude.

I would just like to say that I have spent hours and days trying to find a cure for Herpes.. I spent all my time looking that I didn't have time to accept this disease. I am now in the healing process because after spending about three months trying to find a cure and then realizing that there is not one I need to accept this and move on. Its VERY hard but a part of me is over and (the part that is not going to spend days and nights trying to find a cure) I must now find myself and learn to accept it and get back to loving life...

I do need to keep reading people that have the positive attitudes because that is what is making me overcome this....Thanks everyone...Time will heal....

Beth

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M'sMom Click to EMail M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-06-00, 10:24 PM (CST)
8. "another perspective..."
I'm sure you guys are getting tired of hearing from the (theoretically hsv -) cheap seats BUT...

I think you need to keep in mind that a large amout of the trauma of "telling" has to do with the stigma, not the disease.

I mean, you can't compare it with telling a partner you have HIV, because neither one on you is gonna die,

you can't compare it to HPV, because neither one of you will get cancer,

the closest comparison I can come up with is skin contact meningitis or hep C (both of which can be transmitted by touch). Would you be as agonized over discussing this with a partner? I'll bet not, 'cause the connotations of being "loose" or "dirty" just aren't there.

I'm not trying to downplay your concerns, but I promise you that there are a lot of people who won't consider this a major drawback, and will feel that your honesty and concern for their health more than compensate for it.

Sure, you do need to be concerned about infecting your partner, and you definitely need to give them the option to decide, but don't encourage them to reject you by assuming that your hsv status is going to be a primary factor in their interest in you.

Something to think about: if you choose to not to pursue a relationship with someone because you don't want to discuss herpes or because you don't want to infect them, aren't you depriving them of choice?

Take care now,
MM

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ruby Click to EMail rubyClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 05:17 PM (CST)
12. "dear MM :)"
please, please never stop posting here http://www.racoon.com/dcforum/Images/happy.gif";>

you are a wonderful addition to the forum - and you aren't even a member of the club!!! - please keep sending up your thoughts and insight.

tin and lisx - you guys are the best

good luck tin...somehow though, i don't think luck will have anything to do with it - maybe another "L" word though....(hey! a friend of mine went to N.O. for new year's eve and had one big adventure! hope you had a good one too.)

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Molly O'Reilley Click to EMail Molly O'ReilleyClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 00:44 AM (CST)
9. "I was 28, too..."
I was diagnosed at 28 years of age, just a year and a half ago. I was with someone at the time, who didn't have my type, but who did have a lot of hangups. I decided very quickly that I didn't want to have to deal with someone who 1) didn't understand herpes, 2) couldn't handle the thought of a partner with herpes and 3) would let herpes interfere drastically with our romantic life. I decided that it might be best to find somebody who already had herpes, and who knew what it was like, and what the real issues are, somebody who had gone what I was going through, and could not only understand, but sympathize.

To that end, I posted an advertisement at Meet People with Herpes, a site run by http://www.antopia.com/herpes/ . There I met my perfect match, it was if we had been born for each other, more or less. It has worked out beyond my wildest imaginings. We met in August of 1998, and married in September 1999. Herpes is only the smallest issue in our lives, occasionally requiring that we be particularly careful in our expressions of physical affection, and otherwise not interfering with our lives in any way. I realize that personal ads aren't for everybody, but I urge you to give it a try if you feel you can. You can use the address I posted here, or click on the banner for Antopia at the top of the page.

I wish you as much luck and good fortune as I had. Check out our wedding photo in the gallery, while you're here. That would be Molly and FlyingOrca. http://www.racoon.com/dcforum/Images/wink.gif";>
Molly O'Reilley
.....Pirate King extraordinaire, Occasional Bitch, and Earth Goddess par excellence.....


Visit the Bioethical and Societal Issues Forum:

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tinman_o2b1 Click to EMail tinman_o2b1Click to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 03:43 PM (CST)
11. "loving, telling, living"
Such a great thread....some points that stand out to me

Lisx says "But love is very precious, and comes along so seldom."

and

M's mom says "Something to think about: if you choose to not to pursue a relationship with someone because you don't want to discuss herpes or because you don't want to infect them, aren't you depriving them of choice"

and if i may add Living. Don't be afraid to love, to tell, its all part of living. if you aren't trying to live, you are slowly dying. sure we are all slowly dying any way, but don't have to sit and wait for it and not grab life by the short hairs while we still can.

i will tomorrow tell a woman my status. my telling will be a success too. I've known her for 4 years and love her as a friend and well yes a little more than that too. whatever her reaction and determination on the direction of our relationship, we will still be friends and that is something I wouldn't ever want to risk losing by not being honest or pushing her away.

peace, health, happiness, hope, love

tony

ouch....where'd that darn "L" word come from?

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Rajah Click to EMail RajahClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 09:22 PM (CST)
13. "Tin, I agree - wonderful thread.."
This one seems to go to the heart of one of the most important issues we deal with here. The physical aspects of herpes are bupkus. It is the emotional/psychological part that does all the real harm in most cases. Congratulations to all you who have participated in this one!

Tin, tomorrow is a "telling" day for you? I will be thinking about you and wishing that it goes as well as you seem confident that it will. If this is someone that has been a long time friend, then it should be no problem.

Good luck and (((HUGS))) to you all,

Rajah

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lisx Click to EMail lisxClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 10:23 PM (CST)
14. "Tinman..."
A beautiful response! I will be thinking of you and hoping that it all goes well for you. Your attitude to life and to love is commendable.

Ruby, thanks for the encouragement...and for always being there for me when I need you. You are a princess.

Re-reading this thread has really brought to mind, for me, the old quote, "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." I really believe this to be true...try and risk the failure, because it easier to live with than regret. Regret can consume you for the rest of your life..

Love, lisx

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Vesely Click to EMail VeselyClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-09-00, 06:33 PM (CST)
18. "Check out this link, falks:"
http://www.herpesweb.net/general/menupage/general_info.htm
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Fisher Click to EMail FisherClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 03:31 PM (CST)
10. "Jewel's Post"
I've been lurking here for quite awhile and have corresponded with a few posters via email but this is the first post that compels me to reply. Though h members of the opposite sex, we are contemporaries in terms of age and, shall we say, experience.

My very first reaction is that someone as thoughtful and compassionate as yourself should not be hiding away. The person you've met should consider himself lucky.

Anyone who's made it to this age of ours carries their fair share of baggage. It comes with the territory. Maybe it's physical, maybe emotional or psychological, the truth is it's there and anyone of them can have a negative or lasting impact on a relationship. Your friend has is fair share and in time you'll find them out just as he'll learn yours. Time and time again I read the worries of rejection, as if we are completely at their mercy and without any say as to whether the relationship should continue. It frustrates me. For me, their reaction to the news tells me a lot about them and provides some insight into how they may deal with life's larger issues (because there will be many larger ones in the future.) Ironically the person I'm with now (for close to a year)was probably the most concerned but her reaction was more thoughtful than negative.

I really appreciate your questions, but please don't dwell on the ones that have only one answer.
Life is full of risks and the next person he meets may not be as thoughtful as you. When it comes to actually telling him, maybe write him a letter, it's the way I've done it. It allows me to clearly articulate your thoughts and allows them to take their time to absorb it. You're obviously good with words.

Take the chance Jewel, for his sake.


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Ice Click to EMail IceClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-07-00, 11:16 PM (CST)
15. "Jewels"
>>>17 years later I am still waiting. In the last few years I have reentered the world of new relationships and find myself looking all of the psychological problems in the face, struggling with depression and desperation. I really hope that this is rock bottom because it is hell. <<<

Dear Jewels,
You have been given a lot of great advice here. Don't deprive your partner of choice. This may take more away from him than you realize. If things don't work out, do investigate MPwH. It will help with the fear.

Fear can rob us of an awful lot. Seventeen years even. Everyone would have a lot of fear in your situation. Even without herpes, being out of the game for that long would scare anyone. Psychological problems, depression, desperation, rock bottom, hell. The way to overcome these things is to tackle the problem that is causing them. Overcoming fear is one of the hardest things to do. Like you said, your herpes is going to stick around for a long time. Work around it. If you find yourself avoiding the solution to the problem, please consider seeing a therapist. I'm sure many of us have. You only have one life. Try to get on with the good parts. Good Luck.

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Jewels Click to EMail JewelsClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-08-00, 01:24 PM (CST)
16. "Many, many thanks!"
Thanks for all the great responses and a world of support to my original post. If I decide to tell, it will be in large part because of your encouragement. Thanks especially to Lisx for sharing her thoughts on going into a relationship HSV- and coming out of it HSV , to Windy and Tinman for emphasizing the friendship aspect (see my thoughts on this below), and to Fisher for jumping into the thread and mentioning the letter option - I've considered that as well. Lastly, but most importantly, I have to say that I would be the richest person alive if I had all of the people who have responded here as friends! What a wonderful group of people! I hope others will add to the feedback, either positive or negative, and that I will be able to contribute some thoughts and support through this forum that will make a difference for people suffering through this like me. It is also very helpful to hear from those who are HSV-, because it is difficult for us HSV people to imagine how this is seen through their eyes.

I wanted to also add here the following response that I posted to another thread regarding rejection. Although I don't have any direct experience with this yet (and hope that I don't get too well acquainted with rejection!), I think we need to be careful about assuming that acceptance is the true test of a potential partner's worth or character. It may be convenient to believe that a partner who rejects us is unworthy, and this might make us feel better, but we would only be kidding ourselves. Rejection on the basis of an informed evaluation of the health risk seems to me to be a very legitimate response. After all, we are not talking about transmitting the common cold or flu virus (otherwise we wouldn't need all of the herpes support services!). Of course there are worse things, but herpes is a serious, often painful, and sometimes debilitating disease that has to be recognized for what it is. A potential partner who does not want to take the risk may be a very fine individual. By the same token, rejection does not mean that we herpes sufferers are bad people, only that the problem is herpes.

My sense at this point is that the real litmus test in telling is whether a person rejects a future *friendship* with you on the basis of herpes. In this case I think it is quite clear that the person was not worthy of love and effort in the first place.

So, I feel we should keep in mind this important distinction and not broadly condemn every person who rejects us by choosing health over one particular relationship. These potential partners will undoubtedly find other relationships, and so will we (I hope!).

P.S. to Tinman - I recently told a longtime friend about my herpes, not because we were seeing each other, but because he recently separated from his wife and I could see the potential for his thinking that we might get together at some point. Whether that happens is anyone's guess, but at least he understands the practical limitations of an intimate relationship with me. He made it clear that he was not going to abandon our friendship, but has not given me any direct feedback on the herpes discussion yet. I gave him a few good web sites where he could learn more about this, which he will nevertheless need if he gets back into the dating scene. I would be interested to know how your conversation went. . .

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M'sMom Click to EMail M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-08-00, 02:23 PM (CST)
17. "A *lot* of things need telling"
Hey, Jewels,

Glad to hear you back and feeling better. You are obviously a smart lady, and I'm sure you will manage just fine.

Your point that HSV is not always trivial is a good one - my daughter suffered a great deal during her primary. I believe it was the sickest she has ever been. One thing that people do need to keep in mind is that the severity of *your* symptoms don't necessarily indicate what your partner will go through if they contract HSV. I know of at least one person (the guy that infected my daughter) whose symptoms were so minor that he didn't think transmitting it was a big deal. BAAAAD assumption.

My take on this though, is that herpes is not the *only* thing that we should tell our partners about before entering into a relationship. For example, I fell in love with a man who is seriously bipolar, but well under control when we met. I don't think I would have rejected him, but I really wish I have known about his illness before we became so close. Believe me, the impact of his illness on me and my daughter (both physical and emotional) was much greater than if he had been infected with hsv, and yes, we are still dealing with it even though he has been out of our lives for some time.

I think that the h-plus community, by insisting on honesty before intimacy, is behaving much more ethically than the population in general, and for that, you deserve to feel proud.

Your point about not assuming that a person is a jerk because they don't want to be in a relationship with a person with HSV is also valid. I can certainly understand not wanting to expose yourself to risk, especially if there are other factors that limit the relationship. (For example, if one party is not ready for a serious commitment, or has just gotten back on the dating scene, or perhaps has other health problems in the picture). I suspect that in most cases, the h-discussion just forces people to consider the state and possibilities of the relationship overtly when they otherwise might just have drifted along. I mean, if we each really thought about it, we would come up with some specific criteria that we think are a "must" in a partner, and if some people's include that the person be free of communicable disease, so be it. That's definitely not at the top of my list, but that's a personal thing.

One point that I found very interesting: you seem to be taking the approach of telling people as soon as there is any possibility of a relationship, so that it can be part of the formative process, and Ruby recently mentioned that she doesn't tell unless she's pretty sure they are on the bedroom path. What's the rationale behind the different modes of operation? How do you decide the right point in the relationship to tell? I would like to hear from my friends on this.

Take Care,
MM


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tinman_o2b1 Click to EMail tinman_o2b1Click to check IP address of the poster Jan-10-00, 02:39 PM (CST)
19. "Telling went"
Well!!! Really well..

Thanks for all the well wishes beforehand too.
I am glad that someone mentioned in the thread about a letter also, i forgot to suggest that.

1st to preface anything else, I was still nervous about telling her, but my choice is to not let nervousness or fear keep me from living. That doesn't mean i may not get my butt kicked from time to time though, that's part of life too.

I chose to tell through telling her negatives about me and i was going to finish by giving her the letter telling her how i got it and with a little info on h. For the first part that was easy since we have known each other so long and have been really close friends and she knew most of them anyway.

Then i told her i had one more negative and had put it in a letter to her....that was the hardest part, and waiting while she read it. Before she finished she took my hand in hers, then when she did finish she kissed me sweetly and told me it didn't change a thing between us.

What a wonderful woman, a great friend she is, and damn, what a lucky guy I am (No matter where our relationship goes).

peace, health, happiness, hope, love

tony

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M'sMom Click to EMail M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-11-00, 08:18 PM (CST)
20. "Yay!"
Happy story, Tony! Thanks.

Rajah, do you keep success stories? Maybe you should....

MM

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wolf Click to EMail wolfClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-12-00, 00:15 AM (CST)
21. " movie perfect "
That's excellent could of ended better. What a sweet way to have her respond did you cry. I am. What a burden of your heart. Couldnt of had a better ending in the movies.
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tinman Click to EMail tinmanClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-12-00, 02:55 PM (CST)
24. "Well,no"
As the screen fades to black, aren't the couple supposed to be embracing each other and kissing while looking longingly into each others eyes??
That's what we did.

And we both are confident this story will continue for a long long time, as friends if not romantically. personally I'm voting romance right now though.

Suggestion to everyone who is contemplating or hasn't had much success telling. Don't approach it or do the telling like it is the end of the world. Have some confidence in yourselves. Your attitude and outlook on life is in my simple minded opinion a hell of a lot more contagious than herpes ever will be.

People like being with other people that are happy and outgoing, not the ones that are wringing their hands despairing all the time. If the person you tell can look at you and see a person that is happy, living life, trying to grab the world by the tail, and has herpes......makes the h not look like that big a deal. Then again, that's just my goofy assed way of trying to live.

Oh, and i do still cry every time they shoot "ol yellar" and at then end of "Saving Private Ryan".

peace,

t

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lisx Click to EMail lisxClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-13-00, 03:06 AM (CST)
26. "Tin...."
So Happy!! Good for you!! And thanks for talking us through the way it went, how you felt, etc, this will certainly help a lot of people.

Love, lisx

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wolf Click to EMail wolfClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-13-00, 12:47 PM (CST)
27. "More contagious thatn Herpes"
Absolutely, the way you act in life is more contagious than herpes. We should all strive to live our lives in this manner herpes or not. Aren't your animals upset when you are and happy when you are. The world is over if you say it is. Give gloom get gloom. How bout this one live an let gloom. ill stop:-0 Some day ill live by by my words, but not completely yet.
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Rajah Click to EMail RajahClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-12-00, 03:09 PM (CST)
25. "Sounds like a good idea to me.."
First, Tinman, congratulations. Sounds like you handled it just right, as I was confident that you would.

I am open to suggestions as to where to put success stories, for the moment I would think a topic area, "Success stories" on the biopage would be OK.

Continued good luck,

Rajah

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J Click to EMail JClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-12-00, 02:27 PM (CST)
23. "Yea T-man!!!"
It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

Congrats!!!

J

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justme Click to EMail justmeClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-12-00, 00:35 AM (CST)
22. "your dilemma"
Short and sweet... I am married, but had an affair not too long ago. Reasons for it are immaterial..
However.. this new person and I had sex and I did not tell him I had herpes. The guilt killed me and I ended up telling him. He was taken aback, of course, but took it in stride as well. The feelings we had for each other existed before he knew and they existed after I told him as well. We continued to have a sexual relationship, even though I had herpes. It may help you to know that I found this type of understanding in a man of 26. My husband had a much harder time with it, due to the fact that he thought I had contracted it through an infidelity, which I did not... have had it ALL of my life ( age 2 somehow) and only began having outbreaks as a teen. I did not know then what they were. I was diagnosed last year at the ripe old age of 30. He has since "come to terms" and we have sex accordingly.
So, you see, while telling someone you have herpes is obviously not high on your list of things to do, it CAN be ok. If this person truly cares for you as a person and not an object d'sex ( and I assume that you have not had sex), then he should be willing to accept the fact that you have herpes...If he doesn't, then he probably is not the type of person you'd want to spend your life with anyway.
I hope that this little vignette has helped you.. I would tell him...
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charade Click to EMail charadeClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-20-00, 11:52 PM (CST)
29. "RE: your dilemma"
i read jewel's post and thought to myself that i was reading my own thoughts over the last 6 years. I can't even remember what it feels like to think like a normal person anymore, i guess that's what jewel refers to by asking what a HSV- person would think in order to measure the degree of twisted logic we sufferers have.

it seems that this disease forces you in one of 2 directions. if you deal with it honestly, you risk being discriminated against, ostracized, isolated, and labeled by others if word gets out that you are infected with the disease. it's not so much a tell or not tell issue, it's if I tell, do I want to risk them telling others if they get mad at me? You find yourself apologizing, not arguing, being overly nice, just in case your horrible secret gets out, at least you won't have any enemies to viciously spread it around...

So many people choose to deal with herpes the other way, dishonestly. Not telling partners, sleeping with them, breaking up later when the guilt gets too great...this disease pushes us to either have meaningless, shallow, sex without risking our privacy and telling someone, or not having sex at all. I mean, if we never had sex, we wouldn't spread the disease. Isn't that a noble cause to live for when a more meaningful intimate relationship just seems impossible with our condition?

Just be very careful who you tell, all it takes is one person to tell the wrong person, and suddely everyone is aware of you status...

good luck.

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Jewels Click to EMail JewelsClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-21-00, 11:40 AM (CST)
30. "RE: your dilemma"
Hi Charade,

It sounds like you are stuck in the same place I described in my earlier post. I never thought I would say this, but I am beginning to see, and to some extent believe, that a person can have a meaningful, committed, intimate relationship with herpes, whether or not a partner is HSV negative or positive. I can't say that I *will* succeed in changing my perspective, but I can say that it is ONLY with the help of the people here that I have been able to imagine how it can be done.

It is interesting that you feel to a certain extent subservient in a relationship because of the fear that your partner might tell others about your herpes. I don't worry about it for that particular reason, because I believe that anyone I tell will honor my desire to keep it confidential, but instead I am concerned about becoming too accommodating once I am in a relationship simply because I feel that in some way I have to "make up" for putting my partner at risk, even though he consents. And, if my partner were to contract herpes from me (heaven forbid!), I may feel even more inclined to be submissive. Having said that, however, if there is truly a complete understanding of herpes and the risk involved between you and your partner, won't this be a non-issue? I think so.

I also know that I had absolutely no confidence in human compassion and/or the capacity of others to accept me (in my "damaged" state) until I told a longtime friend of mine recently. He did not abandon our friendship, which I fully expected he might do, and this has shown me that I can be accepted "as is" and that I need to give partners the right to choose for themselves without imposing on them my own desire that they be protected at all costs, even at the expense of the relationship.

I hope this rambling helps you to get unstuck. There are demons of all shapes, sizes, styles and flavors lurking in every corner of my head that need to be hunted down, flushed out and put down the toilet. We will see.

Jewels

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charade Click to EMail charadeClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-22-00, 10:55 PM (CST)
31. "RE: your dilemma"
Thanks for your response jewel, it is encouraging to see some hope. For a man, however the situation is a bit more complicated than for a woman. Typically, the man is the one in a relationship who at least in the beginning, instigates it. Asks the woman out, pursues her to a certain degree...that is the model our society subscribes to. For a woman who has this, she is in a much better postion to be honest, for if the guy is persistent in pursuing her, she can decide whether to tell him or not. in a way, he asked for it, he was the one who "forced the issue" by continuing to pursue a relationship with the typical courting and dating women expect from a guy who is interested.

From my perspective however, I find it pointless to pursue a relationship with more than just a halfhearted effort for several reasons. I feel like a dishonest salesperson who gets a person all interested in something, and if i want them to "buy it", It's like i would be "selling' something that could only hurt them, change thier life, alter thier interpersonal relationships for the rest of their life, and the guilt of pursuing is much more intense than from the woman's perspective of just letting a guy continue to pursue.

I can't help but think what would my friends think of me if i pursued thier sister? Or my father's friend's daughter? Or a friend of a female friend of mine?

Intellectually I think i will only be able to get past this once i learn to love myself and accept myself. I feel like a phony, someone who is only going through the motions, not living, but living a charade of a life.

what is most debilitating about this is the slow, gradual deterioration of optimism toward the future, when you only realize this trait when you catch yourself watching a movie, or listening to a song that reminded you of life before this..

I wish you the best of luck in getting through this. Any suggestions would be taken to heart.

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M'sMom Click to EMail M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-23-00, 02:12 AM (CST)
32. "RE: your dilemma"
Hey, charade,

Hope you don't mind some input from another quarter, but this particular subject is fairly near and dear to me for a number of reasons.

You're right that a good percentage of women will let you be the pursuer and do all the work in starting up a relationship, but I'd avoid situations like that for a lot more reasons than herpes. I mean, do you really want to be in relationship where your major qualification is your persistence? And do you really want to set a precedent that says you take the lead all the time? I would think that since you are an hsv plus guy with a conscience, you would probably want a woman who wil assess the issues, make her personal decision, and accept responsibility for her choice.

Practically speaking, it seems to me you might be a bit more comfortable considering a relationship if you were comfortable that the attraction was mutal and natural, rather than feeling like you are "selling" yourself. There are a fair number of women who are willing to take on some of the responsibility for getting a relationship going, especially if you make it plain that it's o.k. with you. (Some of us worry about damaging the male ego, ya know.)

You wrote:

>I feel like
>a dishonest salesperson who gets
>a person all interested in
>something, and if i want
>them to "buy it", It's
>like i would be "selling'
>something that could only hurt
>them, change their life, alter
>their interpersonal relationships for the
>rest of their life, >

Gee, charade, this sounds like what happens in every serious relationship I've ever had. There is *always* pain, and I always come out changed. I've never been sorry I did it, though. So far, the reasons for the pain/change has never been herpes, but as I've said before, there are a lot of issues that a man can bring to a relationship that are just as bad or worse.

>I can't help but think what
>would my friends think of
>me if i pursued their
>sister? Or my father's
>friend's daughter? Or a
>friend of a female friend
>of mine?

This para makes me think that you are still dealing with the ignorant social stigma that is associated with herpes. You need to work through this. Herpes is a communicable skin disease, not a scarlet letter. Would you have the same concerns if you had hepatitis C or contact meningitis? I'm sure that you would want to tell your potential partner and give them the choice, but I'll bet you wouldn't be nearly as wrapped around the axle about it.

>Intellectually I think i will only
>be able to get past
>this once i learn to
>love myself and accept myself.

So very true. So why don't you start working on that? You obviously have some things going for you - you are well spoken and self aware, and you have enough concern and compassion for a potential partner to worry over this stuff. Doesn't sound too bad to me.

Take care now,
MM

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jewels Click to EMail jewelsClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-23-00, 10:48 AM (CST)
33. "RE: your dilemma"
Hi Charade,

My first reaction to your comments is to say that you are not alone, I suspect that many/most of us H folks think that way, initially. (Note that I am not over the fence yet, I am still trying to find my way the best I can.) And, you are right that many times the man takes the lead in a relationship, but, in my case you would be wrong. I am the one who has, over the last 3 years, continued to initiate contact with a man that I met and felt good about (ours is a long distance relationship), so I understand all too well the "loss leader" syndrome. However, I try to always keep in mind that if we decide to be just friends in the end, either because of my herpes or some other plausible reason, then I will be very happy to have that friendship.

There is always the awkward time when you (or your potential partner) have to test the waters, but you should *expect* a two-way street with someone that respects you and your feelings. If you have to do all the pursuing and convincing, and be perfect as well, then I would look long and hard at the value of that relationship. I know that to say she might have some baggage too doesn't necessarily make you feel any better, but it is the truth. It is also true that with herpes I don't feel I have the luxury of being coy with someone in establishing a relationship, so I am trying to determine the right time and way to tell him about my "limitations". The bottom line is that if we stay stuck in the mud, it will be a long life. I, for one, do not want that.

email me if you'd like to talk more,
Jewels

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jewels Click to EMail jewelsClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-25-00, 07:49 AM (CST)
34. "RE: your dilemma"
Hi Charade,

I wanted to make just a couple of other comments on your thoughts.

{I can't help but think what would my friends think of me if i pursued thier sister? Or my father's friend's
daughter? Or a friend of a female friend of mine?}

First of all, in my eyes your friends would not be real friends if they did not accept you for who you are as opposed to what is in your medical record, and secondly, my sense is that they would think their sister, daughter, or friend was very lucky to have an honest and caring person like you for a partner in life.

{what is most debilitating about this is the slow, gradual deterioration of optimism toward the future}

I know the future looks awfully black, because I still feel that way sometimes too, but I see now that people do live happy lives despite their herpes -- what it takes is some rethinking, support, and determination. I am willing to risk getting kicked in the teeth a time or two, if that's what it takes to find an accepting partner. Although, as I said earlier, I think you have to change the way you play the game a little, and surprisingly, this is probably a much *better* way to build relationships. To quote a friend, "Good things sometimes come from strange places."

Jewels

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pariah carey Click to EMail pariah careyClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-13-00, 03:46 PM (CST)
28. "1 day old and I hear that loud and clear"
Please excuse the apparent spelling errors--I am hooked up to a dysfunctional keyboard, and correcting them is as much a pain in the ass as the things that currently occupy the real article.

I am 35. Was celibate 2 years. After a decent-seeming friendship with a fellow medical professional, broke that celibacy on New year's Eve with oral sex from the rear. Doc I saw yesterday says I'm lucky in that I managed to contract HSV-1 on my anus--HAH. What a bad bad bad joke...very much like my life to date.

I have several long stories that are probably not germane to this discussion, at least not at this time. Whereas I had felt that, due to depression, anxiety, borderline personality and its lovely host of addictive/impulsive disorders, and a bad track record at lots of stuff, I was badly damaged goods. And now this to confirm it.

In a sense, I guess I lucked out...what desirable human would want to be with this package, and I have enough difficulty with sober sex as it is. Have been struggling with a 2 year old weight problem that has really decimated my physical image...and now, license to become a condominium for germs and fat cells. Oh this sucks. But, as always, I am focusing on myself.

You are under some kind of obligation, I feel, to tell. It is so sad that you are only starting to deal with it now, that you have had so many years of pain, and are meeting someone you want to be with at this point. But...oh, who am I anyway but a stupid, suicidal skank. I don't have anything of real value to say except that I feel I have been 'taken out' of the interpersonal arena for good...and am not sure that this is a good or a bad thing,.

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yada yada Click to EMail yada yadaClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-27-00, 11:21 AM (CST)
35. "RE: 1 day old and I hear that loud and clear"
Pariah Carey and others-
Great thread - Just about everything anyone ever felt about this disease is here. M. Carey, if I understand correctly, you have a case of HSV 1 genitally (confirmed by type specific test????) If so, you are pretty unlikely to ever see or notice it again. Further, any prospective partner would likely be accepting more risk of contracting the type 1 virus from oral sex from another person than genitally from you. Yes, these statements are somewhat controversial, but based upon hours and hours and hours..... of research, I think pretty accurate. Genital HSV-1 is, in my opinion, almost a non-disease. Granted, it can be just as painful as HSV-II on the genitals during a primary - it's just not likely to recur. Your state of depression is much deeper than this - It sounds to me like you ought to seek professional counseling - I did, and continue to, and it has helped a lot.

To everyone else, there are a couple of possibilities I wanted to cover. First, I'll be controversial (and somewhat dark) in saying that "telling" isn't the hardest thing (for me.) Going forward with the relationship is. The hard facts are what they are, and there is no way to eliminate risk. But, as so many people have noted here, life is one big risk. One possibility that I don't see in the posts is to eliminate vaginal intercourse from a relationship altogether. I'm in my first post H+ relationship, and there is almost no physical content to it whatsoever.
Weird? Yes.
Frustrating? Yes.
Fear of no "Try before you buy?" Definitely
Un-doable? No.

My current girlfriend understands the risks and is unwilling to accept them for now. I don't blame her. This is not a "deal-breaker" as the fear is, as always, the social consequences of the disease. We have a deal that if the relationship matures to marriage status, my H status is immediately a non-issue. So, my experiment with this asexual relationship continues.
Second, and possibly more importantly, is your potential partners real options. He/she can certainly move on to the "dating pool" and hope for a lucky draw. There is a very real possibility here that they will get unlucky (1 in 5 or 1 in 4 people have this after all, and lets not forget about all the other fun stuff out there!) A convincing argument can be made that the prospective suitors' risks are not all that different out there than with an educated, practical H+ person. The fear of god will definitely be there after all, and so the logical precautions (consistent condom use) will more likely be taken. We who take this seriously know our bodies and our symptoms much better than the general infected public. Finally, suppressive antiviral therapy seems to offer much benefit. Combining all of these factors, the transmission rate might drop to 5%/year or so. If your potential mate has a 20+% chance to find another H+ person, and that person is either unaware of their status or just plain ignorant, then.......
I guess my point is that this disease is more a fact of life for sexually active people in this culture than most would like to believe. The only way to limit risk for anyone is to request a Western Blot of all new partners, a step most simply won't take.

For now,
Yada Yada

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Rajah Click to EMail RajahClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-27-00, 11:41 AM (CST)
36. "risk analysis.."
LAST EDITED ON Jan-27-00 AT 11:42 AM (CST)

Nice post, Yadda. Well written and a good analysis. Certainly the risks are out there in the general dating pool as you suggest. Very few of the folks are going to get a WB test given that it is expensive and it is not a part of the usual STD screen. And, given that there is no cure, if they know, then they might feel some compulsion to "tell" and that might limit their chances of scoring. Besides, the results are out the door the next time they have a new partner not to mention that there is a delay time before the results are valid anyway.

There is still a lot to be said for old fashioned monogamy and waiting until marriage....I mean besides saying, "Like, get real, Dude!"

It has been proposed many times here that, statistically one is much better off with a known HSV partner who is aware of their condition and educated about it, as you obviously are, than with someone from the dating pool who is clueless. Makes sense to me.

Regards,

Rajah

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Keyser Soze Click to EMail Keyser SozeClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-27-00, 05:26 PM (CST)
38. "me Me ME!!"
"there's something to be said for good old fashioned monogamy and waiting until marriage..."

I have a whole lot to say about it...most of it would be censored (ha ha ha), so let me just say that in the end, it will be worth it for me.

Regards,
KS

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Katkin Click to EMail KatkinClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-27-00, 05:16 PM (CST)
37. "Is it true that >>>>>>>>??"
I have been doing a bit of research lately (reading text books and talking to doctors)...is it true that in the majority of cases, genital herpes (mainly type 2), is not as severe in men ?

I was told that women are more fearful of catching this virus specifically because the ease of transmission to the female genitalia....and that it is literally more painful and takes longer to heal.

i know that this is a general statement as secondary infection can occur in both sexes.

Recently I was talking to a male friend of mine and he agreed basically that he would rather sleep with a H+ woman that he was in love with, after knowing all the details of the virus.

Not many people enjoy getting out there and diving into the unknown sexual waters.

What's that saying "Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't."

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Arianna Lei Click to EMail Arianna LeiClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-30-00, 07:19 PM (CST)
39. "RE: I want my life back. . ."
Hi everyone

I just discovered this forum today, and I was going to start my own question/discussion thread, but after spending the last half hour reading all the posts in this thread, this seems like the perfect place to get the answers I hope to get.

I am quite moved after reading all of the heartfelt stories and comments, and I must say it has been a real eye-opener for me and has triggered a lot of self-reflection on my own personal misperceptions about herpes, the people who have it, and the people who love them. Since I just discovered this board and read the posts very quickly, I will have to ask your forgiveness if I don't recall the names of anyone whose comments I might reference, as I have limited time to go back and check the accuracy/source of any referenced remarks.

Your candid and moving discussions mean a *lot* to me - NOT because I have herpes, but because I *don't* have it and now finding myself standing on the other side of the dreaded fence that so many of you have found yourself standing up against - having been just informed last night by a blossoming love interest about the herpes thing. I feel like I'm standing in a pile of quicksand and the only way out is through a minefield - no right or wrong answers - but every step I take in either direction could have dire consequences.

I hope I don't raise any judgmental eyebrows in describing my situation, but it seems pointless to try and present only the part of the situation that would not upset the faint of heart. In any case, I am currently involved in an intimate long distance relationship with a happily married couple who happen to live in the place where I have been planning for the last two years to relocate. I have harbored a dream for over 20 years of one day being part of a polyamorous relationship, and now it seems that dream is coming true and I am happily contemplating the upcoming move this summer.

I found it interesting to read so many comments from people on this board who view themselves as "damaged goods." Even in the absence of STD's, I have had that same view of myself as a result of my entire childhood being cloaked in the daily trauma of severe verbal, physical and sexual abuse. My ex-husband whom I married at 17 helped to reinforce that perception because he felt *he* had been somehow injured by the fact that I was "all used up" by the time he got there. After a brief period of promiscuity, I totally bowed out of the social scene and did the celibacy thing for 13 years, followed by another brief attempt at a relationship which ended disastrously, and now I've been celibate again for another 3 years.

One of the things that intrigued me about this couple, and what got us started talking in the first place is their professional work as counselors and one of their specialties is sexual healing. They have done wonders for me already via hundreds of hours of phone calls in terms of how I view myself and my body and my sexual identity. In the process, we seem to have connected on all levels of human emotion and senses. We revealed in the very early days of the conversation that none of us has AIDS, and I'm sure I stated my usual spiel that I have no known STD's, but obviously I overlooked their response or non-response to that statement.

So last night in the midst of a long and enjoyable phone call, the woman revealed to me that she contracted genital herpes 5 years ago and that her husband contracted it 25 years ago. She says he takes a daily dose of acyclovir and has not had an outbreak since his initial infection, and she says she takes it (or something similar, I think) only when the symptoms start to show up and has controlled it that way. She also seems to feel quite comfortable about their ability to control it, and she stated that her research has shown that 90 percent of the population has it but most don't even know it, and that it is not diagnosable unless you have active lesions.

Today I have done some research on it (which led me to this site) which seems to indicate that it is diagnosable with a blood test, so her theory about that seems to be incorrect. And the 90 percent figure seems to pertain to the HSV-1 virus, not the HSV-2 type.

When she first told me, I went on a major emotional roller coaster ride. In addition to having to wrestle with all my fears and all I know and *don't* know or understand about the virus, I also had to wrestle - unexpectedly - with the casual attitude in which she informed me. Instantly, my mind started this warring debate in my head about the "right" and "wrong" way (and when) to tell someone about that. Like there *is* any such answer.

At first, I was put off by the casual demeanor in which she mentioned it, knowing the dynamics of our relationship and what that would mean to me. But then I asked myself, how would I have *preferred* that she tell me? And what if it were me having to do the telling? Would I have handled it better if she had written me some downtrodden letter with dramatic overtones of "if you never write to me again after knowing this, I'll understand ... Love XXX."? Would things have been different if she had told me the first time we talked so I could allow all of my socially stigmatized beliefs to kick in, which would have surely resulted in me keeping my emotional distance from them ... would that have been better, *not* to have experienced all the wondrous emotions I have gone through when I didn't know that? Someone (maybe the original person who posted in this thread) mentioned how she was concerned about *her* responsibility to her boyfriend, even if he chose to stay with her, in not allowing him to risk his sexual health by being with her. I wonder if I was somehow offended on a subconscious level that my friend's casual attitude - *knowing* that we plan to be sexually intimate one day in all the various manifestations that a triad presents - maybe I thought she was being careless with *my* body in treating their herpes more like a minor annoyance than a major ordeal.

Then after we hung up, I reflected on my own feelings and blissfully ignorant comfort level regarding herpes. I have had many platonic friends who have suffered from it and felt great compassion for them and never felt uncomfortable around them. I didn't go around in a state of paranoia cleaning toilets, sterilizing everything they touched, or other such phobic behavior. Still, I didn't want to get it myself and thought it would be a fate worse than death. But was I careful? Nope. Not back then in the b.s.s. (before safe sex) 70's. "Safe sex" to me back then meant asking the person if they had anything, turning on the lights and looking them over pretty good to make sure they had no visible sores. If they looked okay and said they were disease free, that felt "safe." The angels surely must have been watching over me and my naive body and mind.

And now I think of all the people I have talked to more recently about sexual issues, and how easy it is to fall into the same belief and comfort zone patterns just through casual conversations. I automatically assume and want to believe that anyone who says they're very selective about their partners and don't have any disease and don't want to get anything - or are concerned about getting stuff - that they must be "safe" and disease-free or they wouldn't be so concerned. This belief is especially reinforced if they tell me they declined to have sex with someone after finding out they had a disease.

So that means that in my mind I climb into this comfort zone with this person and feel totally safe with them when in fact they could have every disease in the book and just be a very good actor - or in denial themselves. And as more than one person so wisely pointed out in previous posts, the absence of disease does not guarantee the person will be a good mate on all other counts. I have had my heart terribly broken by more than one disease free man. In fact, all 3 major relationships in my life ended in a terribly hurtful way that took years to get over, and the only disease they had was in their capacity for love and honesty.

So now, here, I have a chance to be with two people who I have come to love deeply on so many levels, and I have been looking forward to a very exciting life with them. And now I have to wrestle with how I'm going to process this new information, and what it means to me and to our relationship. I think I have identified the biggest demon that must be dealt with in my mind - it's not so much the fact that *they* have it or even that I might get it that scares me. I think even if I did get it, if our relationship lasted forever, and it didn't cause any major interference with our lives except for occasional outbreaks, I could probably live with that. But instead, my biggest fear is, what if I do get it from them, and then we break up, and then I have to go out into the mainstream of society and find a new mate(s) ... but this time I will be billed as "damaged goods" and will have to deal with the rejection and social stigma as I am facing it right now on the opposite end.

So I suppose the answers I'm hoping to find are assurances that it's possible to live with someone who knowingly has the virus and still not get it - but somehow still have an active and enjoyable sex life. But in the absence of that assurance, I'm hoping to find some way to make sense of the rest of the feelings ... how to deal with loving someone who has a health problem that is incurable - and contagious - and could end up being *my* health problem too - and one which happens to be feared and looked down up by society as something to be feared and dreaded. And at the same time, knowing that in the scheme of things, with all the other things they have to offer me in the way of joy and happiness, it's really very small. And I could just as easily let them slip through the cracks and the next love of my life could bring me more misery than the last 3 disasters combined - without the risk of disease. I have spent a lifetime trying to find peace and learn to love myself and be comfortable in a body that I already felt was damaged. I know that sense of being damaged is all in my head. But if there were something physical to add to it which truly did create an image of me being defective in the eyes of others, I don't know how I could live with that.

I'm also wrestling with the fear of telling them about my fears. Just as the people in this discussion have dreaded telling their loved ones the bad news, I dread telling the people I love just how scared I am and how much of a bomb this feels like because I *don't* want them to feel like damaged goods or to worry that the relationship is now tainted with this black cloud. I am afraid that if they know how scared I am, they might back off themselves, thinking they are making it easier on me and saving me the emotional trauma of doing so, and then I could still lose them in the end. I don't want that to happen. But I don't want to live in fear either. All my life I have been afraid of being touched because of my sexual history. What an irony that I'm now afraid of being touched by the very people who have managed to help me recover from those fears and want to experience life as it was meant to be.

Sorry for the length of this ... brevity is not among my character traits! I would appreciate any feedback from anyone on exactly what the risks are healthwise to me and how I might go about dealing with the emotions and fears that I'm now wrestling with. I have been very enriched after reading so many of your wonderful stories and seeing what people go through who live with this on a daily basis. I applaud you for your courage and your successes and achievements. I hope I can find a way to stamp out my own fears after learning so much about how the other side lives and that there is, indeed, life ... and love ... after herpes. My hat's off to all of you ... and my heart goes out to you.

Respectfully,
Arianna Lei

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M'sMom Click to EMail M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-30-00, 10:18 PM (CST)
40. "One thought for Arianna"
Hey, Arianna,

Thanks for posting, lots of thoughts there, and I'm just going to respond to one. You wrote:

"So I suppose the answers I'm hoping to find are assurances that it's possible to live with someone who knowingly has the virus and still not get it -
but somehow still have an active and enjoyable sex life."

There are a number of discordant couples who manage to stay that way for years, but I would really encourage you NOT to enter into a relationship with an HSV pos person assuming, thinking or hoping that you won't contract it. Although there are things you can do to reduce your risk, there is no way that you can ensure that you will remain HSV free. Imagine the trauma to a relationship when you DO contract it after thinking that you never would.

I think that contracting herpes is a reasonable risk to take for love, but please don't delude yourself that there is no risk. It can happen. My daughter contracted genital herpes during her first sexual interlude, from a man showing no symptoms, while wearing a rubber and using nonoxynol-9.

Good luck to you, and I hope you figure this out.
M'sMom

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Arianna Lei Click to EMail Arianna LeiClick to check IP address of the poster Jan-31-00, 04:23 AM (CST)
41. "RE: One thought for Arianna"
Hi MM and thank you for the very thoughtful response.
I think you hit the nail on the head with the real issue I need to wrestle with but have probably been afraid to bring to the surface of my conscious mind ... and that is can I truly accept the risk involved in entering into this relationship, and that it's important to have made that choice *before* I go into it so I won't have to fight that battle if and when the risk becomes a reality.

There's so much to wrestle with in this relationship in terms of other issues that are not pertinent to this board, but the herpes thing now seems to be weighing on my mind and I think it's adding a distorted picture to the weight (or weightlessness) of the other issues. I was already mulling over all the ups and downs of each new discovery and inner revelation, and now I find that as I reflect on each aspect, the funky programming my mind is weighing each thing ... whether it's positive or negative or even neutral ... against the herpes thing.

I'm asking myself on the positive side ... if this is fulfilling to me and really what I want, is it enough to help me accept the herpes issue? And on the negative side ... this is something I'll have a hard time with ... PLUS I'd have to deal with the herpes issue. So now everything is suddenly appearing to be secondary to the herpes issue. It makes me give a lot of thought to the questions i have seen posted on the board and other places I've come across that people with herpes wrestle with as far as *when* is the "right" time to tell a potential romantic interest about the issue, and I understand the fear completely, because I guess the "right" time is different for everyone. I have asked myself a hundred times already if things would have evolved differently if I had known a few months ago ... or if I would be less impacted if I were to find out a year from now after we were so bonded and enmeshed in each other's lives that I would not want anything to separate us and would be less concerned with the risk to me.

Either way, every minute that I sit here wrestling with the news, I remind myself that the people living with it must feel what I feel a hundred fold, and I can't help but wonder how I will feel if and when I am ever on that side of the fence. I can't even be with them for at least seven more months, and for other reasons having nothing to do with the herpes, we have expressed a mutual desire to avoid being sexual for at least several months after we are together, to give the relationship time to "gel" on all other levels first before taking that final step. So there is certainly no fear of rushing into something that will have dire consequences if it doesn't work out. But now I have to wonder how I can identify with that part of me that can act on my feelings of love regardless of fear or consequence, as I can see from these boards that so many other non-HSV folks have done. I admire them for their courage and capacity to love and trust so completely. I wish I could find a board frequented by folks who have been in that position and find out what processes they went through, if any, as they made their choices. It may not change my ultimate decision, because I know I'm the only one who knows what's right for me. But I think it would help to know if and how much of my feelings are normal and how people deal with them if they are.

Thanks for listening ... and thanks so much again for responding!

Arianna Lei

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