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Personal Tug of War


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So I am brand new to this site, thought I would share my story and get some advise.

I pretty much self-diagnosed myself after I developed an outbreak about a week after I let an old friend perform oral sex on me. I had just recently shaved my entire genital area before seeing him, and so my skin was tender and all too vulnerable. Little did I know, he had HSV-1 (orally) and must have been having asymptomatic shedding when he went down on me. So, I went to one Dr. who told me that it wasn't herpes because it was located on the pubic bone area and not exactly in the genital area, but swabbed the sores and sent it to the lab. As I began to feel worse, I decided to go to a more familiar and trusted doctor, who also insisted that it was not herpes (although I had a gut feeling that it was) and gave me an antibiotic for an infection. Several days later, I received a call from the first doctors office, who had received the results. The doctor was probably more shocked (but not devastated as I was) than I was to hear that I was positive for hsv-1. I was given medication for that outbreak, which i have taken upon myself to take once daily as it is suggested on the internet to prevent recurrences.

Ultimately, I feel ashamed, frustrated, and depressed. I confided in a couple friends that I thought i could trust, who ended up telling a couple of their own friends.... so now when I should have told no one, many people know. I definitely think that the bad part about having herpes is not the actual disease itself, but the social aspect of what people think, and having people leave you because of something you have.

Now, for my "personal tug of war" I am having has to deal with relationships. I am currently seeing someone who has known from the very beginning what I have. It scares him all the time, and although he decided to risk it a couple times (most likely because he was in the moment) he has refused to have anything to do with that area of my body physically anymore. I know that the chances of him getting it are extremely low (I am healthy, take medication, only had that one outbreak so far, take lysine pills...) however I don't think I could forgive myself if he ever ended up getting it (for now). But at the same time, I wish he thought being able to share something as intimate and special as sex with me would be worth it to him to want to take the risk. Sometimes I ask him to, and when he says no I feel even worse for asking someone I care about to risk getting something that was my fault in the first place, and that they would have to deal with forever. In the long term, if I was with him for a long time, and say we decided to be together forever, I kinda think I would want him to risk it and have sex with me (although taking precautions).

Is it unfair to even ask someone to risk that for you? Should I be less hurt by his decision? I don't know what to do? Is there anyone who is ever going to "accept" the risk or even the virus itself to be with me? This is definitely one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.

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Oh, I wish I could give you all the answers you need right now to make you feel better! I was only diagnosed a week ago, and so I have not yet had to deal with telling a potential partner that I have herpes. However, maybe I can give you some comforting words, from one woman to another. I'm so sorry your friends have betrayed you by telling other people, and I really hope that you can find others in whom you feel comortable confiding. You mentioned that getting HSV-1 was your fault, and that's totally not true. No one asks for this damn virus, and you certainly didn't, either. As for the guy that you are seeing, he might just need time to adjust to the news of your diagnosis and learn as much about HSV as he can. Hopefully he will do that and learn that you are doing everything possible so far (taking meds, supplements, planning to have safe sex, being aware of your symptoms, etc) to reduce the risk of transmission. You asked if it's unfair to ask someone to risk having sex with you, and I don't think it is. What would be unfair would be to not inform your partner about your diagnosis and never give him the chance to make his own decision (as you are doing now). You totally deserve to be with someone who has sex with you and wants to love every part of your body. You deserve to have a healthy, satisfying sex life that makes you feel wonderful and loved. Maybe this guy will be the one to share it with, and maybe he won't, but please don't settle. The advice I'm giving you (and I try not to give out advice often but just let people make their own decisions) is the same advice and self-love-talk that I am giving myself right now, and I have all of the same fears as you. As for wondering if anyone will ever accept the risk and choose to be with you, I am most certain that they will. I've read a lot of "success" stories in this forum written by people who don't have herpes and choose to be with a partner that does, and also by people like us (who may be hurt and doubtful right now) who find love and good sex with a non-infected person. Hopefully I've made you feel a little bit better. Please know that you aren't alone.

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Hi freakinout- you are definitely not alone. I just told my boyfriend about my diagnosis and he made it pretty clear that that "area" won't be as visited anymore. Will it affect our relationship and hurt us? Only time will tell. I wish I had the answers, all I can say is that you want to be with someone that can appreciate and care for all of you. That is what a relationship is based on. He cannot pick and choose the parts that he wants to appreciate. I hope it works out for you, but know that there are other fish in the sea (they even have dating sites especially for people with herpes). I wish you the best of luck during this tough time :)

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Well, I started this just when I knew things were getting pretty bad with my guy so I could get some advice, but looks like I was a little too late. We broke up last night ( me being affected by herpes is probably 1/2 the reason...). Oh well I guess, I will probably have to get used to rejection and not let it affect me so much. I feel almost like I don't want to get to the position of having to get to know someone enough to have to tell them about it anymore, so we will see if this scared me away from looking for someone for good or not.

To all of you who replied, thank you. It's good knowing that there are others out there having to deal with this too. It is definitely not an easy thing. I just wish so bad I could take back the split decision I made that will now affect me and people I want to be with for the rest of my life.

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Sorry about the breakup :(- but, you want people on your side, and him not supporting you will just bring you stress. Please don't feel like you don't want to get close to someone so you don't have to tell them. It is a common virus and many of these people are in healthy and intimate relationships. It's not worth closing yourself off from things that could be really great. Good luck :)

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