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JennL38

Dating Someone with Herpes

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JennL38

Hi there,

I've been dating someone with herpes for the past 3 months and am hoping that someone will be able to give me some advice about my situation. He was very honest and upfront with his conditon - told me on our 4th date. He has both types of herpes from previous relationships - he doesn't know who passed them on to him. I was naturally a little dumbfounded when I first found out but I liked him so much that I was willing to accept him just the way he is. I've told him that if I get it, I'll just have to cross the bridge when the time comes.

Since we started dating, he has started taking Valtrex everyday and we use condoms whenever we have sex. We would refrain from having sex whenever he feels that something doesn't feel right with his body. A couple of days ago, he told me that he has been stressed out and worried about the thought of passing herpes to me. He thinks about it even when we are having sex. He says that he doesn't know how my body would react to herpes if/when I get it. He knows that it's all in his head and that he probably needs to go to a support group.

I am the first person that he's dated who doesn't have herpes and the first person who actually accepted his condition. He was amazed that I was unfazed by his condition and I think that he's stressing himself out over a situation that's beyond his control. He's a great guy and I am falling for him. The past few women he has dated ran for the hills when he told them he had herpes. Before he met me, he tried the herpes online dating site but found limited potential matches there. He has even thought about the possibility of being totally alone because of his condition but doesn't want to be. I feel like he may just give up on this relationship because of this stress that he's brought on to himself.

Does anyone has any advice as to what I can do?

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MsLucy

The only thing I can suggest is to explain to him that you have two options... one is to accept the possibility that you may, at some point, contract the virus, which you have already done. The other is to give him up and not have him in your life, which you're not willing to do.

Everything we do presents a potential risk of some kind. Some risks are minimal, some are more significant. Even without herpes in the equation, falling in love is risky business. It leaves us vulnerable to heartache and hurt. One must be willing to be vulnerable to let someone into their heart.

The choice to allow yourself to be vulnerable is yours to make, and you've made it. Obviously, having him in your life is more important to you than the risk of contracting a virus. It's a matter of priorities... love versus risk factors.

It's obvious that he places more importance of the virus than you do. That may be difficult for you to overcome, especially since he's already experienced rejection based on his positive status. That kind of hurt can really rob you of your self esteem, and tends to make you defensive. One of his primary fears (aside from just not wanting to put you through it), is probably that you'll hate him if you contract it... more rejection, which he's already had more than his fair share of.

Overcoming his fears isn't going to be easy for you. The hardest part may be just convincing him that he's so much more than just a herpes carrier, and that you love the person he is.... the whole person, herpes and all. But if you do this, you have to be prepared for the possibility that you may one day actually contract it, and be able to accept it with grace.

If it helps at all, I got it from my lover (who I knew had it) about 4 years ago. We've been together about 10 years now, and I don't regret a thing. It seems a small price to have for having him in my life. Now it's just one more thing we share.

Good luck to you. I hope things work out for you both.

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JennL38

Thanks so much for the advice! I appreciate it. You're right - one of his fears is that he doesn't want me to hate him in the event if I do contract the virus. His last long-term girlfriend contracted the virus from him (he didn't know that he had herpes at the time) and kept blaming him for giving it to her. They broke up when she cheated on him and when the other relationship didn't work out after a couple of months, she begged him to take her back. She told him that they should stay together because they both have herpes. He didn't want to stay in the relationship just because of herpes. I have already told him that I would never blame him if I do get it because I will take responsibility for my own actions. I know what I'm getting into. I'm trying to look at the positive side of things and did resent it when he said "what happens if things doesn't work out in 6-8 months?" I guess I'll just have to try harder at convincing him that I'm not like the other women he has met.

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NewuserHS

I am actually in your boyfriends boat. I have type 1 of the genitals and my boyfriend is clean. I am now so scared to be close with him. I think its because I love him so much that the thought of me passing it would crush me. He is like you that he knows the risk but is willing to accept it because he loves me. I would just keep telling him you know the risk but you like him for him and not his past. I'm learning to move past it but it is taking time. It sounds like you two will be together for a while as you both really care. Hang in there, with you being so understanding about the whole thing he will see it and it will be fine.

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Green n Blue

You need to be patient. As a herpes carrier I can tell you all the things your boyfriend is telling you and worrying about are exactly the same things I worry about all the time. It is almost impossible not to. You look like you really care about him so be patient and show him little by little, not just tell him, that you love (and accept) the whole package as it is. I truly wish you the best and hope the relationship works out for you. You deserve him for being so understanding and open minded, and he deserves you for being honest and having the courage to give himself a chance despite all the fears.

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Ickabod

I know exactly how your boyfriend feels. Just be there for him as much as you can and understand that the decision is ultimately up to him.

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