Generally, our first outbreak is so bad and we’re in so much pain that we think to ourselves that we’d never want to give our partner herpes. I know this was how I felt. I was like, I’d never want to put someone through the physical pain or the emotional pain I just went through. I can remember telling my doctor that I was never going to date again or have sex for that matter. I felt like I was going to just shrivel up and collect cobwebs.
I know this sounds familiar. Obviously, I got past this cobweb part and put myself out there, dated, and dated some more, and got married. And trust me, you will also.
When it comes to dating and having sex you have two options. To tell your partner you have herpes or not tell them. Clearly, we know what the right and the ethical decision are, but it’s not always that easy. The stigma can put so much fear in our heads that we just freeze and “forget” to mention that we have herpes or just decide that what our partner doesn’t know won’t hurt them. My personal opinion and where I draw a hard line is it is important to disclose for the reasons being that your partner is always at risk of getting herpes and at the end of the day it’s just the right thing to do. I talk about not disclosing here and here if you want to read more.
So back to what to do if you give your partner herpes. I want to break it down into 3 sections; if you’ve disclosed, if you’ve not disclosed and you didn’t know.
It might be hard to comprehend but the majority of people with herpes don’t know they have it. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, 80% of the people with HSV don’t know they have it. Because the STD tests don’t include herpes testing and most people are asymptomatic it’s possible that you didn’t know you had herpes and unknowingly transmitted it to your partner. In this situation, it’s important, to tell the truth, and explain how you had no clue. You can let your partner know that you both will get through this together and you’ll both learn how to live with your diagnosis.
At the end of the day regardless of you disclosed, didn’t disclose, or didn’t know it’s going to be important for you to see how you can support your partner. He or she is in shock, pain, and doesn’t know what to do. And if you just found out too, chances are you’re going through this too. At the end of the day, it’s just herpes and it’s a silly skin disease. The more you and your partner can communicate on this matter and support each other the better and stronger your relationship will be.
I interviewed my husband, Bill, on the Life With Herpes podcast and we talked about what it’s like being in a relationship with someone. I talk about how I’ve had to let go of the fear of giving him herpes and he talks about how it really doesn’t impact our relationship at all. Basically what I’m saying here is if you want to learn more or hear more then you should go listen to our interview. Go here to hear more.
And of course, if you want to hear more from Bill about what it’s like to be married to someone with herpes and how it impacts his life he’ll be speaking at our upcoming live retreat. So go here to book your seat.
Telling your partner is seriously one of the hardest things to do, and it is what holds us back from dating. So... I put together a toolkit that walks you through how to disclose to your partner that you have herpes. It’s super helpful and will give you step-by-step tips and tools to get out there and tell your crush you have herpes.
Originally posted on Life With Herpes.
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