Do I have to join those herpes dating sites?
Really, why do we feel the need to segregate ourselves to STD-only sites anyway? Who are we to minimize our chances of finding our fish in the sea by limiting our sea to only herpes fish? How presumptuous are we to make the decision for our potential lovers by taking ourselves out of the general dating population? Let them make that decision for themselves about whether or not they want to be with you (just the same decision that you’ll make if you want to be with them, by the way). Let’s not pre-reject ourselves, shall we?
Herpes can be seen as simply being a preference. In the dating world, some people have deal breakers and pet peeves that they just can’t be with. Some people can’t tolerate kissing smokers, some people can. Some people can’t live with people who travel all the time, some people can. Some people couldn’t date midgets or super tall people; to others, that’s their thing. Some people don’t want to chance getting herpes, some people can. Being human involves having a smorgas-borde of characteristics that make us up.
And everyone’s got baggage and skeletons in the closet, too. Everyone’s got stuff they carry shame around. Herpes just happens to be one of those shame candidates for us. There are plenty of things that I’d rather not “admit to” on the very first date before the prospective partner has had a chance to get to know the real me, the deep-down me. And think about it: if there were separate dating sites that are baggage-specific that everyone was expected to segregate themselves into, there wouldn’t be much of a dating pool, now would there?
I feel that the very reason there are STD-only sites out there speaks to our own shame of somehow being “found out” — whatever that means to each of us. I’ve definitely felt that way. Like, “Man, if anyone finds out this deep down thing I’ve been trying to hide, they’ll definitely run away screaming.” Then when it has happened that I’ve shared with those close to me these supposedly deeply shameful things, they respond with “Wait, that’s all you got?” Sometimes we convince ourselves of things that just aren’t true. Everyone has shame, herpes or not; herpes just seems to be a visible version of shame, right? The point is, it’s just plain unfair to make a decision for someone who hasn’t even had the pleasure of meeting you yet. It’s a classic case of pre-rejection!
Herpes-only dating as pre-rejection
If roughly 16% of Americans ages 14-49 have genital herpes (view all the stats on herpes), then only dating within that pool cuts out 84% of the American population! You are cutting out quite a sizable amount of potential suitors! If you don’t even let the non-herpes population know you exist, you are taking all those great people who could care less about herpes off the menu. And that’s simply not fair to those people who would fall deeply, head-over-heels in love with you, regardless of a little virus named herpes. And yes, one of the biggest fears we have is to be rejected. And yes, if you put yourself out there more, there is a chance of being rejected. But you’re also cutting out the more likely scenario of being accepted! So don’t make the decision for all your potential lovers out there. Learn how to be okay enough with who you are to put yourself out there and take the chance.
There’s a lot of strength that comes with living with herpes and disclosing it to potential partners. It says a whole lot about the kind of trustworthy person you are. And isn’t that the foundation to any real relationship anyway? And when disclosing that we have herpes comes from a heart place instead of a shame place, then there really is no such thing as rejection (talked about at length in the herpes disclosure e-book). It just becomes their preference against herpes, not against you as a person. Disclosure becomes a caring and authentic thing we do that shows the kind of person we are — at our core, underneath it all. I really do believe that herpes can be an opportunity to really get to the heart of the kind of people we are in relationship. Who are we really when herpes is a non-issue?
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