How To Be Yourself When You’re Dating With Herpes
Dating can feel like it’s overwhelming and scary. We put so much pressure on ourselves from society, our family, maybe our friends to pick the right one and settle down. Being in love can be scary too. We don’t want to put our hearts out there to have it crushed or our ego completely shut down.
Now let’s add our herpes diagnosis to dating. The thought of even dating with herpes sounds and feels impossible. Back to the ego and fear of rejection well adding herpes to that fear can feel immeasurable. Thoughts like, how will anyone ever like you with herpes, or how will you even go on a date with herpes or maybe you feel like an imposter because you have herpes.
These are all valid thoughts and we’ve all felt them from time to time when we were first diagnosed or first dating with herpes. I know I sure did and that’s why I stayed in a relationship for 2 years too long. I was so scared that nobody would love me or want to be with me because I had herpes.
Firstly, you need to know your self worth. Knowing your self worth means knowing and believing you’re equal. I’m guilty of it and have seen in so many other people dealing with herpes diagnosis thinking that they are not equal to the person they are dating. This is uncalled for and there is no reason to feel like you’re a second class citizen. It’s important for you to stand up for how you want to be treated. There is no reason whatsoever why you should be treated differently or have a different set of standards because you have herpes. Herpes is just a virus, that’s it.
Secondly, know what you want. This sounds super obvious but there’s so many times we start down a path and really have no idea why we’re on it. What I mean by this is to know what you want out of dating. Are you dating to just get out of your house and meet people and have fun? Or are you dating to find a committed relationship? Or are you dating to get out there and have sex? Ask yourself why and what you are after. There’s no wrong answer here but what is important for you to know is what you want.
This way you can go into the date with a clear idea of where you want it to go. Every person you date can’t be the “one” and that’s ok. You don’t want them to be the “one”. Some of them are great for going to the movies with, some are great for just friends with benefits buddy and some are the type you’ll want to bring home to mom. My point is don’t try to make someone something that they’re not. Know what you want to enjoy your time and have fun.
Thirdly, don’t take the rejection personally. This means herpes rejection and non herpes rejection. The truth is you’re going to get rejected. And guess what? That’s ok. You’re going to reject people too. Rejection is such a blow to our ego, I get it. But rejection can be a good thing too. Back to what I was saying earlier about we can’t date everyone there has to be a method for weeding people out. If someone rejects you because you have herpes then you have to brush the sting off and believe that this person was not worth your time or energy.
If they are willing to walk away with something so little as herpes then think about the bigger picture in life. Herpes is a skin disease that causes blisters here and there, there are other things in life that are a way bigger deal. You have to know that if you get rejected for herpes that this person really wasn’t into you. Brush it off, move on, and enjoy finding someone who is into you and doesn’t give a rats ass about your herpes.
Back to dating and dating with herpes. It can be as big of a deal as you make it. I know you feel like you’re bringing your herpes with you every time you go on a date but do your best to leave your diagnosis at home. Go out there, stand up for what you want, know your self worth and embrace the bumps along the way.
I talk about this in depth on the Life With Herpes podcasts on my interview with Dr Aziz Gazipura who is the world’s leading confidence expert. We spent an hour talking about confidence and dating and specifically dating with herpes. You can find the episode here
Also, if you’re finding yourself in the position where you need to tell your partner that you have herpes you should check out the Tell Your Partner Toolkit. It’s a series of videos that guide you through the scary conversation and give you tools and scripts to disclose.