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Herpes Disclosure Spree

I contracted HSV2 about 4 years ago from the second man I'd ever slept with and the first sexual partner I had after a 15 year realationship. We used condoms and discussed sti's, but he was unaware he had it. We remained sexual partners and friends for sometime after my excruciatingly long first OB.

After a while, this virus was emotionally crippling. I am an awesome, "gorgeous" (as I'm often told), single mom with a great education, career, family, friends, house, car...everything most people want and yet, I was harboring this horrible secret and didn't think I was WORTHY of sexual love.

I'm very goal-oriented, so last December I decided that in 2017 I was going to find an awesome boyfriend! I said it aloud to myself, and then completely freaked out! And then signed up for a couple online dating sights. I'd only had two disclosures up to this point (ironically, both were positive and face-to-face), but I was tired of living alone, in shame, with a secret.

Since January, I've disclosed 7 more times (5 in the past two days as sort of a empowering experiment) and I'd like to share the responses:

1- guy made a herpes joke over text, so I texted him that I had it. He felt like an ass, actually knew quite a bit about it since he had HSV1, still wanted to take me out, and was more interested in pursuing a relationship than I was so it ended with no sex.

2- had a few awesome conversations with a guy who wanted to start dating me exclusively, tho we hadn't yet met. I texted my situation to him, and he still wanted to see me. We ended up having sex a few times but we didn't agree on lots of different things, so it ended quickly.

3- met a guy who lives a few hours away. Communication became very sexual, so I disclosed to him over text. The direct quote, "I respect you for telling me. I still want to fuck the shit out of you." That was easy! Lol.

4- went out of town with a much younger man who also lives out of my area. We spent two nights together, made out, no sex. He was really busy finishing his degree so we didn't correspond for a few months. He came back on the scene this week and asked if we could "make something happen." So I told him yes, after I shared my situation with him. He replied that he didn't know, but that he wasn't saying no, the last girl he was with had it, and he was paranoid checking himself for a few weeks after they were together. I told him that's not something I want to deal with in a relationship, that I respect any choice he makes, that he didn't need to know tonight, and we agreed to leave the ball in his court. Normally I would just say goodbye, but I see TONS of value in this person as even a potential friend.

5- met a guy online. We had everything in common! He couldn't stop texting me and wanted to talk to me every night. The other night our texting got pretty steamy, so the next morning I sent him (my now semi-standard) text since we were supposed to meet and go out over the weekend. He told me it was a deal-breaker for him. I was sorta shocked because I was on a winning steak! But my feelings weren't hurt at all. I did say, "That's the first time a man has said that to me! Lol" and he was surprised. He thought he would automatically get it from me if we had unprotected sex! So I told him that it's way more common than he would think, that I respected his choice, and then I asked if I could send him the disclosure form from this site and he said yes and agreed to look at it. I haven't heard back from him. I'm not bothered by it and actually feel sorta bad that he is among so many people who are just uneducated about it.

6- told a guy I was chatting with online about it before we texted or talked...he said he was sorry that happened to me and that he gets cold sores. He still wants to talk.

7- had an AMAZING conversation with a man I totally connected with last night. We talked for over 3 hours and made plans to talk again tonight. Well now I'm on this disclosure-spree-high so I (while I've been writing this post) told him that he's someone I'd really like to get to know more but that I have something personal about myself I want to share early-on. Sent the text. He replied back quickly that his ex had it, he does not, but he thinks with open communication it shouldn't be a problem. The highlight is that he said "I so so appreciate your honesty and transparency. I look forward to talking with you more tonight."

SO. It really can't be this easy!!!! And why did I wait so long? Well, the answer is that I wasn't ready to invite anyone into my life and herpes was my cave. Since I decided to come out of the cave, I'm realizing that I deserve to find the love that I want and am indeed worthy.

I know lots of people don't like the texting method but I dated a lot earlier in the year and could never find the right moment to get the words out! So this method works for me because I can send it (I just say "fuck it" while I hit the send button) without feeling too much anxiety and without too much emotional involvement on either side. I sorta figure that I want someone who isn't afraid and who is open enough to have the discussion with me because those are important traits to me in a partner. I also like it because they can have their reaction in private without worrying about hurting me. I know everybody does it differently, but this seems to be working.

I have spent countless hours on this site, worrying and wondering if I'd be alone forever. Now I feel so silly!!!

Below is my standard text; I change it up a bit for each scenario:

"You seem like a man I'd really like to get to know better. Because of that, I have something personal about me that I want to share with you. I like to share this early because I think it's more fair to us both.

A few years ago I contracted HSV2 (one of the viruses that causes cold sores/herpes) and I'd like to know how you feel about this and also give you any time to ask questions and/or do research about it. It's just part of my life, something that is not a big deal for me, but also something that I like to be up-front and open about. This issue hasn't had a negative impact on my dating/sex life, and I respect any choice you make. Please let me know if you'd like to continue our conversations. And thank you!!! :)"


  • Love it! Thanks for sharing!!
  • Thanks Optimist! I OWE it to this community for being here to support and educate me when I needed it. :)
  • @trying2bok I've disclosed many times now and still found your post very inspiring! And I'm especially exciting about Guy #7. :)
  • Wow! Thank you! I wrote it so others would gain inspiration when they really need it!

    Guy #7 has been texting all day so currently the H is the least of my worries and I'm a happy girl!
  • edited May 2017
    Thank you, @trying2bok, for taking the time to share your experiences with us!! I absolutely love your attitude and also found your post really inspiring and encouraging. You're a rock star!
  • Thank you @HikingGirl! I'm so happy to know this post is helpful to others. :)
  • Wow! I just found out I have it and that was my first thought was I will never have a love life again. This makes me feel so much better. I'm still terrified about telling the guy that I think gave it to me and the rejection and anger I will get but the more I read on here the better I feel. Thank you so much for sharing your strength!
  • I spent way too long worrying! If I could give you one tip, it's to not be afraid! It will ALL be okay!!!!
  • This is awesome. Doing it via text gives them time to process it without being put on the spot.
  • Exactly! It's easier for me and my potential partner still gets the info he needs.
  • Wow, this was eye-opening for me. I never thought about doing it in a text but it might be a golden rule now. I am definitely going to consider it for future dating. Thanks for posting this and sharing. Very inspiring! And you wrote the text very well.
  • Thank you @Chanel. I'm thankful for the compliment and even more for knowing this is inspirational! Good luck to you!!!
  • So glad I read this. I need this!
  • I'm always too afraid to put it in writing but maybe that's better than verbally since then you can prove disclosure.
  • @nature_girl75 this is the post
  • edited July 2017
    The first thing is to find out what the other person knows about it, not what neccesrily what they feel about it. The reason for this is that the majority of people either don't know much about it, or are informed by misinformation and false stigma. If they base how they feel off of that stuff, then you are going to probably get a rejection. Before you start to talk about feelings, find out what they know about it. If they don't know anything about it, or have the wrong info, you can educate them right then and there.

    Once they have an accurate picture of what herpes is, then you will have an accurate gauge on how they feel about it.

    In general, too many people make decisions based on how they feel while completely ignoring the facts.
  • I've only just joined the site (diagnosed May this year but only just split with the guy who gave it to me) and have been reading through all the disclosure stories in an attempt to boost my confidence in getting back out there again when I'm ready. This definitely helped! Thank you :)
  • One of the biggest stresses for me since being diagnosed is thinking about having to disclose to potential partners and what their reaction will be like. This post makes me feel a lot better and less worried, thank you :)
  • can I just say that you people give me life–this is the kind of thing that gives me confidence even with something that seems so bad but **literally** isn't. I love you people and, frankly, I hope this shit doesn't get you down. I'm SO tired of it getting me down and I'm so tired of it being a big ol' secret...if anyone else feels this way please message me...support and love to everyone! amazing post
  • i liked reading these posts, its a candle in the dark. Lately, my life is being like drinking a lemonade with no sugar ... is not sweet anymore. Im kinda new to this virus, only 2 months, 30 years old and single. Dreadful thoughts of permanent loneliness linger in my head right before i fall a sleep and as soon as i wake up, i shake em off and get busy to distract my mind ...i havent disclose to anyone yet and i feel like i still need a little time for the virus to settle in and my body to handle it, but ill wait...and after, when im done licking my wounds im going for it harder than ever, ill meet someone and im going to tell her my story...
  • This was very helpful & encouraging!
  • Thank you so much. I have been struggling with all the same stuff even the fact that I'm told I'm an amazing catch. So many ask why I'm single. Well this secret is why. Hopefully I find your courage. You made me honestly smile for the first time in a long time!!
  • I love this post! Thank you so much! I am recently diagnosed and in the three month period of abstaining from sex. After the three months, I am going to try online dating. I will be referring back to your disclosure protocol. I personally really like the text message disclosure.
  • Something to consider about text message disclosure: It takes the possibility of connection and true humanity and vulnerability out of the exchange. There's a double-edged sword here when it comes to wanting to "distance" ourselves from the sting of possible rejection: We also distance ourselves from the deep connection that's available, too. So text message disclosure can work when connection is already established, but disclosing face-to-face and actually *feeling* all of what comes with that level of vulnerability actually opens the door to a much deeper and richer connection in the moment.
  • You're right! I think the difference would be if it was a casual relationship or someone I could see myself with long term.
    For the past nine years I have been celibate, focused on being a great single mom. I started having a few sexual encounters about four months ago. Rang in the New Year with my first GHVS-2 outbreak. I haven't had a real relationship with a man in a long time, I don't know how to do it!! I have become too independent, have to learn how to be vulnerable.
  • edited February 10
    @PresentMoment @Adrial I've had really positive experiences disclosing over text. In some cases, it has sparked deeper conversations about vulnerabilities on both sides. I've also experienced people politely telling me over text that they were not interested in moving forward, as well as people who said they were fine with it but then disappeared. But those who proactively pursued me after I disclosed via text did not seem to have regrets later. That's one complication I've experienced when disclosing in person.

    I've disclosed four times in person. Three of those times, the guy really wanted to have sex that same day after I disclosed. I very strongly prefer for people to have a day to think things through before getting sexual which is the main reason I tend to text about it instead. In one of those cases, I did make out with the guy but did not have sex with him (my choice) and he majorly freaked out immediately after, imagining risk scenarios that did not exist. It's my opinion that someone with that level of anxiety about it would've opted out of meeting had I disclosed over text, and that's a preferable outcome to me.

    I do respect the approach of disclosing in person, but I don't think it's the only way.
  • Thanks for bringing that up, @optimist! I certainly didn't mean to poo-poo text disclosure overall. In some situations, it can work just fine. It's just that the majority of people I've talked with who are considering text disclosure, it's (subconsciously) used as a way to hide or insulate themselves from the intensity of a perceived rejection. When text disclosure is used in this way, it's a recipe for even more disconnection (and possibly even a self-fulfilling prophecy of actually being rejected). So it's just something for each of us to be aware of what means of communication we're using and why. So yes, it definitely depends on context.
  • I have not even made my first disclosure- although I have suggested text would be the route I would like to take, I don't know yet. Haven't been there, but I love all of the advise!! adrial, optimist, thank you for your debate!! You cannot even imagine how much you are helping people!! You are opening conversations and expanding our possibilities into something better!!
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