Herpes: An Anonymous Letter
A friend of mine contacted me after my post on Herpes. She wanted to anonymously share her experience as someone who has successfully dated and managed her outbreaks for years now. I am pleased to have the opportunity to post her letter, directed to any girls who are currently struggling with their diagnosis and the storm it may cause in relationships.
To a friend who might need to hear these words right now –
Just some background info – I am female, almost 30, and found out I had herpes when I was 24, before meeting my husband.
Herpes – feels like such an ugly word. I once was convinced if they would only rename it, it would get a much better reputation. I knew little-to-nothing about herpes when I was diagnosed. I only knew that I couldn’t get rid of it; I would have it forever. If someone asked me today, almost 6 years later, I would laugh as I explained it as a cold sore or fever blister… on my vagina! While it is not the same virus exactly that causes coldsores, they are related. For more information about the difference between Herpes Simplex 1 (most often the culprit for oral herpes) and Simplex 2 (genital herpes) I suggest reading this great article: “Good” Virus/”Bad” Virus (http://www.mpwh.net/goodvirusbadvirusHSVHSV2ASHA.htm)
The first 6 months after I was diagnosed were the darkest. I felt quite hopeless and if it weren’t for two good friends I probably would have really lost my shit. These females were there to listen to me and lift me up. I have no doubt people who learn they have herpes should find someone to talk to about it. I was lucky to have these individuals to trust and confide in while they helped build me back up. If you don’t have someone you can directly share with then reach out across the internet. A quick search can turn up many support and dating sites, but I suggest starting with Antopia (www.MPwH.com). When I was cruising this site 6 years ago they were even hosting weekends for members to gather together.
Now, while I was quite active on Antopia I actually dated outside of the website dating pool. I live in a more rural area so the numbers were against me for the site. I tell you this because I want you to know that you can tell another person you have herpes and not be met with absolute rejection. I have done it more than once. My advice is this – the more upset you are about telling someone, the harder it will go. Think about it – if you take it upon yourself to have this discussion with someone else and you are crying and quite upset – they are going to take the cue from you that this is a very, very bad thing, rather than a manageable annoyance.
I want to leave you with one last thought; this change in your life can become a positive thing. I don’t know how it will play out for you, but I found there were several benefits to dating with herpes. First, I had to become a very good judge of character. I was still free to meet and socialize with many people, but I found I began to divide them into 2 groups: those I could trust with “the secret” and those I could not. Second, I found that I approached dating differently with those males I thought I just might be able to trust. Since I still felt like I was carrying around a bit of a time bomb, I learned to value myself enough to deal with the possible rejection from others. I learned how to stand on my own and prepared to welcome a partner, but not craving it as I had before.
Although I do admit to cruising the “success stories” located here. http://www.mpwh.net/herpes-dating-success-stories.sht
I hope that some part of what I had to say helps you feel like there is a silver lining.
Thank you again, Anonymous, for sharing your struggle and triumph.