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Success stories for women over 40??? Need to hear the realities please...

I am a female who has had H for all of my adult life. I have been in several long term monogamous relationships with men who didn't have H but eventually they would come to an end (usually men who were not ready to settle down). I finally thought I found the one at 38 (he also did not have H); he was wonderful and we got engaged. After a year of engagement I had to end it because he was not the same person I met at all and was not treating me well. I've now found myself at 40 and single. I've heard so many negative stories from women in their 40's and beyond (and these are women who do not share in our "gift") about basically being ignored by any men in their age range and only being approached, especially online by men a good 15-20+ years older. I recently joined a dating site and after a week this is exactly what I'm experiencing.

It has been challenging enough to date with H all my life (more internally than an actual reality as many of us know) but this new dynamic really scares me. I'd like to hear what other women over 40 have experienced. Do you know anyone who actually found the one at this age and beyond? I know plenty of women who have actually given up. I'm normally an optimistic person but I also want to be realistic so that I'm not wasting my life and time. Thanks for reading.


  • I'm in my late 40s and started online dating at 47. I haven't been searching for a serious relationship but my ex did take that approach and I'd guess he was 42 and she was 44 when they started dating. So it certainly happens.

    I do understand the phenomenon you're experiencing online. Some of it is that many men your age are still married and some who are single seek younger women for a variety of reasons, including still wanting to have kids. I find things open up a bit more around 44 or so. I'd say most of my matches are in the 28-32 range and then jump to 44+ with not as many matches in between. But I have certainly heard of exceptions, as I noted with my ex and his girlfriend.

    As for the HSV thing, bear in mind infection rates climb with age. By 45, a majority of single and divorced women in the U.S. have HSV2. And some have genital HSV1. Of course, most guys aren't aware of this, and even most of the women who are infected aren't aware of this. But you are now in a decade of life in which 93% of all people your age (40s) have HSV.
  • Hi there, l was diagnosed in my early 50's with HSV2. Had HPV from my 20's. I know what you are talking about...has a lot of older men contact me when l was dating...juar told them they wouldn't be able to keep up with me and wished thwm well. I dated younger men, was always up front at the beginning. Yes l was turned down the odd time but most men didn't worry about it. I decided that if they did l would just move on. I didn't want smokers or unfit men...l have deal breakers too! I realised was happy single and a good relationship would be a bonus. I had fun dating but didn't meet the right one, had my heart broken a couple of times, realising they weren't for me anyway and moved on. Now l have been in a relationship for 5 years with a good man who doesnt have either condition and accepts l have them. Herpes has changed my sex life and sometimes l wish l didn't have it, it bothers me more than him. My philosophy has always been that l work to be the best version of myself and l look for that in a man. If they fell short of that standard l would rather be single. It took about 5 years to find the right man and l enjoyed being single. Don't compromise , enjoy the good things about being single, be up front so there's no awkwardness and have some fun
  • Hello, I’m 42 and was diagnosed 4 months ago so I probably won’t be of much help because I’m single again. The guy I was seeing when I found out is 41 and we met online. I was diagnosed via blood test I requested during my annual physical. My symptoms are mild, if any, so finding out was a shock to my system and he left immediately. My plan this year is to focus me and learning to pay attention to my body closer when it comes to this virus. I’ve been reading that most people in our age bracket have this virus but I know of no women outside of this site with it. I guess people are just not talking about it...at all! I do plan to get back out there next year and hope to find someone who either has it too or is truly accepting. It scares me tho and I think it’s because of the way my ex responded when I told him. I normally attract those my age or slightly older on the dating sites. I have a guy friend that I have hung out with a couple of times lately. We met online last year and he’s 39. We ended up being friendly but that’s it. It’s nice to get out sometimes and try to quiet the voices in my head about this virus.
  • @MakingIT2017 Most people who have it simply don't know they have it. It is not a routine part of STI testing and causes obvious/noticeable symptoms in a minority of people who have it.

    I had the same experience when I tested positive but have found accepting partners since then, including a partner who happened to know he had it as well.
  • I was diagnosed June 2017, it was a complete shock & I was devastated at first. Prior to the dx- had been dating alot meeting lots of nice guys online. At the time, was just starting to see one guy when we decided to get tested before committing into a serious relationship. What a shock when the results came back! He was negative while I tested positive for both. He was very shocked & reacted negatively towards me- I was devastated. We didn't see each other for several months, however, I met a man on a HSV dating site and we started seeing each other. Then the man I had been seeing prior, wanted to see me again. So fast forward to the present - we are now together and he has accepted me as I am , knowing that he is at risk of contracting this "gift". We are in a monogamous relationship and quite happy these days.
  • optimist said:

    @MakingIT2017 Most people who have it simply don't know they have it. It is not a routine part of STI testing and causes obvious/noticeable symptoms in a minority of people who have it.

    I had the same experience when I tested positive but have found accepting partners since then, including a partner who happened to know he had it as well.

    Yes, I realize that it is not included in standard STD testing which is crazy to me. Lol
    The only reason it was included for me is because the lab dropped the ball. During my lab work for my physical I requested that they include STD testing but they didn’t. I asked my doctor for the results and that’s when she noticed so sent me back to the lab and mentioned she would do a full panel this time.

    I’m glad you have found success! It definitely gives me hope. I liked online dating because I rarely go out so I wasn’t meeting people. I’ve met some strange ones but have also met people that have turned out to be pretty good friends.
  • edited February 5
    Great story, thanks for sharing!
  • Thanks for the supportive comments. And Lelani thanks for the reminder about having standards. I don't feel I have any outrageous, unrealistic standards and am not looking for perfection in looks, height, job etc but was starting to feel like maybe I need to "take whatever their is"- and if you could see what pops up on my online matches you might want to run. Seriously, I've opened up my messages and just burst into tears. And Optimist thanks for sharing that there are women still able to meet men in their age range. I think that has been the hardest part. I accept that I have herpes and have learned to be comfortable disclosing, but now feeling like I'm in "no man's land" due to age and it has really has left me feeling isolated. I definitely think its the bracket I'm in. I am very active in the community and social groups and I almost never meet anyone single in my age range, male or female. So its a lonely age group overall if you are not paired up. I'm hoping that you're right about things seeming to open up again around age 44. It has been extremely hard on my self worth to get all these messages from men in my dad's age range and barely a look from anyone in their 40's. And it literally happened the moment my birthday came and my profile changed over to 40! I'm trying to stay positive about the future. This is just not where I saw myself.
  • edited February 6
    Excellent thread - being diagnosed at 52 while having abstained from sex for a long long time was a true shock. I also found out I have HPV and the more uncommon cervix pre-cancer issues that can come with.... yuck. Toss in an incurable disease diagnosis January, I'm freaked. As when I would love some physical touch and comfort I'm like, ewwww, I'm infected!

    I'm not yet comfortable enough physically, 3 months later to even think about friction sex with HSV2 - but I am encouraged by all of you brave ladies! And I love the statistics - I had no idea it was so prevalent in us "older" women or that it was not a standard STD to test for. That shocked me.

    Thank you!
  • I don't know that I can provide any advice on the HSV side of dating as I was just recently diagnosed. LoveTheMountains - Love Yourself!!!! I am 50 - and I know I am hot! When I walk into a room men see me! If you approach life with confidence men love it! Let them make the moves but just know that you know your something special. You don't say it - but it is just the way you carry yourself. Tao meditation has many practices for women that will improve your confidence. I have off and on done a toa jade egg practice for the past 6 years. I know this has improved my self esteem considerably. For nine years I was celebate while raising my daughter. Recently, I got back out into the dating world - the age range was 26-31. Unfortunately the extremely hot 31 year old gave me HSV2.
    Don't approach dating with an attitude of defeat- know that you are an amazing person and you will find the right person!
  • Hi. Just experienced my first disclosure and rejected. I’m devastated because I have been looking to find mr right long time and met this guy I knew 5 min in it’s him. Dont remember when I felt like that about anyone. I know he liked me a lot too but he just can’t cope with it. We stopped talking. I had my 40th Birthday in meantime no text with bday wishes but still when I was blowing candles on my bday cake I wished he come back to me. Couple nights later I got text that he can’t stop thinking about me..... I tried talking to him but it was still hard for him. I was not desperate to win him back because I know he is scared but just wanted to talk to him about H and show him this web and some facts. He agreed to meet me next weekend but from the now silent treatment again I just know it’s not going to happened. I even managed to get rid of work on that day but probably I will just sit at home stood up and devastated. I’m a strong but even for me it’s been a torture. Probably if he didn’t text after a week of breakup I would be now in better place but it raised my hope just to let me crashed hard. Cruel. It feel so bad to know someone I was waiting for to come along came just to damp me because of this. It even makes me think I will never disclose again but I know it’s not fair. I was raised in right way and taught worse true is better than best lie and it’s horrible for me to think I may go against what I was believing in all my life. I feel very very sad and I hate it because I’m usually happy and confident. Life hey!
  • Thanks for the continued supportive comments. My dating life has started to pick up steam online with age appropriate men. Though I went on a couple of dates last week that made me think; whew, I'm glad I only have H to deal with! Isn't it funny when herpes seems miniscule compared to some of the other things life can throw at a person?

    @Monika; so sorry you are having to go through the feeling of rejection and repeated uncertainty by this person you cared about. I have on one occasion dealt with someone who was very torn and kept dragging things out; he couldn't let go yet couldn't move forward and I realized it was not good for my emotional health. He tried to reach out a few times down the road but I had met someone else.

    @Present Moment; lol I have on occasion entertained a date here and there with the younger men but honestly there's such a huge generation gap I don't usually relate (except when I'm living in the mountains and rural areas with these young guys who still call you up versus text for weeks, pick you up!, take you out fishing and camping and hold doors open etc : )

    Well I'll share how my dating experience goes... I have a Sunday date with a 44 year old book-wormish/outdoorsy father of 2 girls and I'm looking forward to it!
  • I know what you mean with the younger men wanting to text and not really communicate. I just recently told one not to bother messaging me again. He was wasting my time.
    Glad you have a date! Have fun, good luck!!
  • I honestly don’t know what I would do without without this website. I feel instant lift when I’m on here reading other people stories and advises.
    I even feel caming to terms with my rejection and although it was not so much the rejection as such as I can’t blame him for not wanting to put himself in risk but the fact that we really cared about each other and letting this go is the hardest part. But also now thinking maybe he is not for me if he can’t see beyond the minor skin condition. I’m so much more than that.
    Funny that in meantime two other people asking me for a date right now and they both are really trying hard. Maybe only till they find out about my little secret but if again that will be too scary for them oh well. Hopefully one day I meet someone who is open minded and see the qualities I have instead on tiny little condition that is not ruling out happy life.
  • Good luck Monika! I hope one of the men will turn out to be really good for you!
  • Last night I had a very positive experience! I went out with a friend and while she was running around doing her thing, I saw an attractive man sitting alone. I asked if I could join him. I am in my first three months of diagnosis so I was not trying to have a sexual relationship. For 2 hours we talked, just had a 100% friend connection. Listened to the band, a lot of Tom Petty, Bob Marley, some Prince!! We love the same music, grew up with hippy parents, talked about gardening, jobs, mutual friends. He is young, just had a real friend connection, never sexual. We didn't exchange numbers but I know in my small town we will run into each other again. I have a new friend!
  • PresentMoment: that's awesome that you did that! I've traveled a lot and I love meeting people spontaneously like that!

    So it has been an unexpectedly whirlwind weekend for me on the dating scene. As mentioned earlier I had a date lined up with a 44 year old single father. (I'm doing online dating) well another man contacted me and asked me out the same weekend. His date happened first. He was handsome, a little older than my 10 year age comfortable age range so 53 (puts him at 5 years younger than my dad and 4 younger than my mom!), but I said what the heck. Anyway, we had great physical chemistry and fun during lunch but midway thru it was apparent he was aggressively and assertively trying to move the conversation to something sexual. Lol, I considered dropping the H bomb right there at lunch just to chill him out. Anyway, it was overall a fun date and he messaged me after to say he thinks he's a little to wild for me but just in case "here's my number". I have no idea what would happen if I disclosed but I really am not interested in going forward because other than the chemistry we didn't really relate on anything else.

    Then went on my other date last night. He couldn't be more opposite than the first guy. Super serious and intellectual. But I have this side too and we clicked on an intellectual level and our date lasted 4 hours of fascinating conversation. Unfortunately I think he lacks any passionate or relaxed side and I think my free spirited and especially outdoorsy side was not to his taste. Anyway, I would totally spend time with him again but I have a feeling it may not go that way and I wouldn't have any hard feelings.

    And the unexpected story of the weekend. I signed up for a social meetup group that was going out latin dancing Saturday night. I was so tired by 8pm and really not feeling social but forced myself to go. A guy showed up in the group and we ended up dancing all night. I mean really dancing latin dancing the way I love to and rarely ever get to. And we didn't leave each other's side when we didn't dance and pretty much were holding hands or linked together physically in some way all evening. I can't tell you how much I miss that feeling of laughing, non-stop smiling, and connectedness. Great conversation too- he's both intellectual and lively! So it is possible to find both qualities in one person! He suggested we get together again and I definitely want to!

    Right now I'm not in disclosing mode since and trying not to think about it. Still to fragile to handle a rejection. But I'm definitely reading lots of other success stories to start building up to that again.
  • Well I'm posting again because I'm I had my first successful "talk" since the end of my engagement to the ex! With Valentines day looming and no significant other I wanted to treat myself to something I really enjoy and hide out from all the couples that day lol! I went to a small ski resort a couple of hours away- the snow season has been bad so I figured there wouldn't be many people there, much less valentine's celebrators. At the end of the day I went up to the little bar for a drink and there was a very handsome man (a year younger) sitting there. We started up the usual easy small talk that happens in ski resorts with strangers talking about the day on the mountain. I figured the wife would be coming out of the bathroom any moment.

    Anyway, turns out he was single. We hit it off and talked till the bar closed at 7pm. Lots of chemistry and fascinating conversation. Inevitably since we were having so much fun and it was early we wanted it to continue so he invited me to his room. I had a feeling one thing could easily lead to another and I really was not wanting that at this time BUT I really wanted to test out having the talk again- its been 3 years since having to do that when I met the ex. At his room as things got more flirty and we kissed a few times I went ahead and moved forward with the "talk". He fell silent and had a strange look on his face and I was like oh shit brace yourself!! So I said "it looks like you might have some questions or thoughts on this". He replied with, "well... don't a lot of people have this?". That was a great segue into talking about the stats, and he was really curious. I personally have never gotten really into giving stats on it because I feel like I don't want to minimize or try to convince someone, I prefer they then go do their research. But he was very interested in learning more. Then he kept telling me how amazing I am for caring and disclosing. He couldn't get over my "honesty" and found it super attractive!

    We talked more about the prospect of getting physical in the future and he was very open to it, including this night but I was adamant that I wasn't about to take the risk outside of a serious relationship without a condom. He was actually bummed about that because where we were there was no chance of finding a condom! He told me how much he enjoyed spending the evening with me and still wanted to spend the night together talking and kissing and cuddling. So we did! I did have to "talk him down" a few times because at one point he was like "I don't care" but I am well aware this was the heat of the moment talking and he thanked me for being the level headed one.

    It was a wonderful way to spend my first Valentine's day single. We met up on the mountain a few times the next day and exchanged numbers. Unfortunately I know it won't go anywhere as he is extremely fresh out of a bad divorce/long unhappy marriage and a nightmarish rebound relationship so getting involved with someone on a serious level is the furthest thing on his mind right now and I've learned to protect myself from people who are in that place. But it did give me much needed practice and confidence on having the talk again!
  • LoveTheMountains - great story, glad you had a good experience!! AND girl get some condoms, A couple different sizes even, LOL!! Carry them with you, you never know!☺️
  • Unfortunately one of my date was not a hit and it made me think even more about the guy that rejected me. I just still can’t stop thinking about him every bloody day. We meant to be meeting today to discuss things but not to my surprise he did not text to confirm it. Eh.. I’m not very positive I will ever find someone. Do you guys ever considered not disclosing?
  • @LoveTheMountains, great Vday story! I’m glad you got out and enjoyed yourself.
    @monika, I’ve entertained the thought of not disclosing as I’ve heard and read of plenty that don’t. People getting married and having kids and never disclosing. For me, I’d much rather disclose than face the wrath if they found out later. The guy I was seeing when I found out..I told him immediately after the nurse called with my results. He flipped out and said some very negative things to me. That was 4 months ago and while there are others interested in me I don’t want to have that conversation just yet. Eventually I will put myself out there again and will work on my disclosure speech in the meantime. I definitely will disclose when I think the situation is heading into something solid. How long have you had the virus?
  • @monika, sorry to hear your date did not go well. So just to clarify, are you saying the date did not go well and that made you think of your ex? Or you had a disclosure with your date and it didn't go well? If you are referring to having a bad date in general and it making you miss the guy that rejected you I can totally relate. Every time I had a bad date in the last 9-10 months since my broken engagement (either they were jerks, or looked nothing like their photos in a really bad way, or had really poor social skills through the date, etc) I end up feeling miserable and wishing I was with my ex (even though I have really really good reasons to never want this!) and have come super close to trying to reconnect after a bad date. I think its just a knee jerk reaction to that awful feeling of despair after a terrible date when your not quite healed from someone else. Instead of reaching out to my ex (thank god) I keep a bunch of books handy by the bed that I find helpful, just motivational and self help favorites- and grab any one and start reading. And read till that anxiety starts going away.

    As for not disclosing, I personally can't do that. And over the past 20 years of having it at least 2 long term relationship partners did get it from me eventually. I can't imagine what that would feel like if I hadn't told him and they went into the relationship willingly- there was enough guilt for me as it was.

    I know you are not feeling positive about meeting someone and I definitely go there regularly myself. For me it is rarely if ever about having H because I have found most people are accepting, for me my fears revolve more about how dating options change for women after a certain age (see my original post at top), and just general changes in society about commitment these days (being at an age where lots of people are divorced and wanting nothing to do with settling down again as one example). However, the past few weeks have started to make me more optimistic on the age part. As for societal changes on commitment, I am trying to focus on the stories I hear of people who are finding the "one".

    Similar to MakingIt; I'm wondering how long you've had herpes? I know it took me until my 30's, so over a decade to really accept it and not feel H is such as obstacle (but there was so much less support and forums and info back then). We're so lucky to have all this access to support now!
  • My date was a nice guy but I just didn’t feel any connection or spark. I didn’t disclose H to him. I was sitting there talking to him and just think oh dear.. then things just got worse because I started thinking about my ex and today is the day when we meant to meet and try and talk but he did not text to confirm today and to be honest I’m not surprised. He said he really liked me and can’t stop thinking about me but he just can’t do it because what if we split up and he gets it from me. I had few moments thinking should I text him but I know deep down it’s pointless. I just feel like I lost something really big and I will never be happy again. I was waiting so long for him to come along just to lose him so quick. I’m still in big shock to be honest.
    I had my first outbreak last year and on meds since. Did not date anyone because I just did not meet anybody that would interest me until.. Not mentioned that this rejection happened week before my 40 and in time when I was changing jobs. So had shitty bday time and I can’t be even bother to start my new job. It’s so sad all this. I feel destroyed.
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