The Challenges of Dating with Herpes

Dating with herpes or any other type of STD proved difficult to some, especially for those looking for long-term, serious relationships. Despite the remarkable progress in regard to society’s inclusiveness, many topics relating to sexually transmitted disease remain a social taboo hardly spoken about by anyone. This quickly led to a great deal of ignorance about herpes and its effects. Most commonly, people incorrectly assumed herpes to be a barrier in regard to a healthy sex life, that anyone who came into contact would no longer live a healthy sexual existence.

However, nothing could be further from the truth, as people with the disease and researchers in the field proved anyone with an STD could enjoy a healthy and active sexual life. Although those suffering from STD’s did have to make some life alterations, they were often small and relatively simple. That said, living with herpes is certainly a challenge compared to living without the disease, and you should briefly consider the life of a person suffering from it.

Fear of Diagnosis

One of the biggest stigmas associated with herpes and other STD’s is the feeling of being contaminated and the fear of the disease spreading to others. People nearly diagnosed often binge read everything they get their hands on to learn more about the disease and how to continue living a relatively normal life. Although they do have an STD, they quickly found it to be extremely manageable. With time and building of confidence, those who discovered their disease slowly overcame the feeling of dread and worry and began working toward putting their life back together.

Public attitude surrounding people diagnosed with an STD would say those people are promiscuous, careless, dirty, etc. Many people with herpes also struggled with these initial feelings. If you feel as if no one would want you and that you are somehow unclean or dirtied, remember that you are not alone in those thoughts any more than those thoughts are true. Consider these feelings a part of the first wave of emotion self-inflicted after diagnosis, often fueled by a lack of knowledge about herpes. As you begin to sort out your feelings, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to adjust and search for others in your situation.

After you finally begin to feel yourself again, whether you need to find some sort of forgiveness or acceptance for yourself, you may choose to begin dating again. Be advised, you should never hide the fact that you have herpes from a potential partner. Although you do not have to spill that out in the same breath you introduce yourself, you absolutely must do so before any sexual contact. Disclosing this fact may cause some to pass judgment on you and leave, and you cannot do anything about that no matter what you do to avoid it. You simply must remember, there will be people who choose to stay, and those who leave left herpes, not you specifically.

Fear of Disclosure

Those diagnosed with herpes often feel awkward, fearful, and anxious about disclosing the fact they have an STD. While this is a difficult discussion to have, any person with which you want a serious relationship, or even just a sexual relationship, must know the truth. Often, those who have the disease fear rejection, feel intense embarrassment or do not want to be judged. These are all normal and expected feelings, but they should ease with time and practice. The right person will ask how to move forward from there, and the wrong people will leave. Remember, any person turned away by your admission was not worth keeping around in the first place. You need someone willing to look past something such as this that is out of your control.

Some people live in smaller communities, leaving them with the additional fear of word getting out about their STD. Although it might be embarrassing to know a large group of people know you have herpes, you cannot hide this fact as if it were something to be shameful about. People respect honesty, and you cannot simply take a pill and make herpes disappear. Rather than hiding it as if it were a bad tattoo, hold your head high, tell your partners, and then never apologize to anyone else who might find out. After all, you know people with drinking problems, terrible personalities, large scars, and more. A flaw, whatever it may be, does not define a person, and you are not defined by your STD.

Fear of Rejection

Everyone has been rejected in their life, and not all people who say “no” do so gently or for rational reasons. Some people reject an entire race because they find key features associated with that race unattractive. Others refuse to date a man below the height of six feet. As much as it may frighten you to be rejected due to herpes, you must understand that nearly everyone you know experienced the same painful situation at least once.

Rejections are the most common wound people with STD’s sustain in the dating world, with or without herpes. Even if you expected a person to reject you, it likely hurt more than you thought it would. As social creatures, humans need to feel wanted and valued by the many different social groups with which they associated themselves. Those who feel rejected experience destabilization to their feeling of belonging, leaving them feeling unsettled and untethered to society. Therefore, you must remind yourself that rejection is a natural part of life, and you will face it in many forms as you grow.

Although rejection may never become easy, it can become less painful with experience. As you come to terms with the fact you cannot avoid rejection, you may become stronger against the psychological damaged caused by such a situation. Just as you were once fired, chosen last, or simply ignored by someone else, so have the people around you.

Go to someone you know for help, ask for advice, and put people who care about you by your side. You can find people with similar experience at some herpes dating sites, a local herpes support group or some online support groups at some social websites. They understand a fear of rejection because they have it, too, and they can help you work through your negative feelings to turn them into something positive. With some clever thinking, an open heart, and a bit of confidence, you should easily find a life-long partner ready to work around the STD because they love you and see beyond it to the person you actually are.

Further Reading

If you’re looking around to learn more about dating with herpes, then some of our in-depth articles about sex, dating, and herpes facts may be of interest to you:

Sex With Herpes-Facts You May Know To Have A Fulfilling Sex Life

Living With Herpes-How To Have A Normal Life After Herpes Diagnosis


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