T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 60699
posted 05-03-2012 06:30 PM
About 3 months ago, I had a sexual encounter with a guy at my college who performed oral sex on me. I guess he had a cold sore in his mouth and ended up giving me genital HSV-1. I was upset, but I think it took me a long time to process. After I got diagnosed, I told him about it, and he felt bad, but I sort of acted like it wasn't a big deal. Looking back, this seems really weird to me, the way I acted. I think it was because a) I hadn't quite processed it yet, b) at the time, it was looking like maybe we were going to have a relationship, and so I was kind of in this unhealthy mindset of "well, at least I have someone," and c) I understood that it was possibly just as much my fault as it was his, because I took a risk in hooking up with him. I also know that he had no idea that "cold sores" were the same thing as "herpes." So when we talked about it, I didn't yell at him or get mad, even though inside I was pretty upset. We hooked up a couple more times, but didn't end up in a relationship. The truth is, I wasn't THAT into him, and had it not been for the herpes, I probably wouldn't have cared when we started to drift apart, but I've just felt like I had to hang onto him because he is my "last hope for a relationship." I know this is a ridiculously unhealthy mindset, but I couldn't help it. But eventually, we stopped talking. Flash forward to now. I found out the other day that he is now dating another girl, and suddenly, I was just completely livid. Not because I really like him and wish he would date me, but because I am so angry and jealous that after all this, he can just go and date like normal, because no one is afraid of "cold sores," whereas I am stuck in this horrible place, feeling so completely alone, like I'll never be able to get close to anyone again. I haven't even been able to talk to any of my friends about it because I'm too scared to admit to anyone that I got herpes. I saw him with his new girl the other day and I just broke down. I called my college's anonymous crisis/counseling hotline because I just had no one else I could talk to about this. I feel like he doesn't fully understand what I've gone through and am still going through. He doesn't realize that my life is ruined (okay, I know my life isn't ruined, but that's what it feels like right now). And I know it's not entirely his fault, because I completely downplayed the situation when I talked to him back when I was first diagnosed. But my phone call to the hotline the other day made me think, maybe I should confront him about this. Maybe I should be honest about how horrible I feel. More than anything, I want to scream at him and tell him he ruined my life and he doesn't even care, but of course I'm not actually going to do that. But when I was upset after seeing him with his new girlfriend, all I wanted to was make him understand what I'm going through. Now that I've calmed down from that breakdown, I don't feel as urgent about this, so I'm trying to think it through. Do you have any advice on what I should do? Is it wrong to be mad at him, since it's my fault too? Is it wrong to bring this up after months of pretending it was no big deal? More than anything, I hate having hard feelings toward someone, but I don't think I can eliminate these hard feelings unless I can get them out in the open. This is just the worst thing I've ever had to go through, and I feel so alone, and it just completely breaks me to see him around now-- the guy who gave me herpes and can just go on with his life like normal.
Member # 42505
posted 05-04-2012 12:26 PM
You know, herpes really isn't a life-ruining thing. You can still do everything you could before... It seems like you already did talk to him about this, so I don't really see how confronting him with the fact you are mad he is dating again is really going to help either of you.
Do you want to talk about why you think this "ruined your life"?
Member # 60699
posted 05-16-2012 11:21 AM
Well when I talked to him about it three months ago, I was completely underreacting to the situation. I presented it to him in a way that didn't show I was upset at all, and sometimes I feel like because of that, maybe he doesn't realize that this is an STD I have for life and that because there's such a stigma against genital herpes but not one for oral herpes, I have to feel ashamed, embarrassed, afraid of sex, and afraid of rejection, whereas he has the same virus but without the social stigma, and can feel totally normal.
I know that ultimately, herpes won't "ruin my life." But it does change the way I have to approach dating and sex... which isn't a bad thing in reality at all. I know it's much, MUCH better to have to talk about sex and to have it only with people I am close enough with to talk about it with...but it still scares me because with herpes it's like you have to talk about sex way before you're even sure if this person wants to have intercourse with you. I've recently started talking to a new guy and we've really hit it off but I just hate that little voice in my head that, everytime I talk to him, reminds me, "you have herpes! You have herpes! He's never going to like you once he finds out you have herpes!" i really like him, and i'm terrified. i wasn't expecting to suddenly find someone who i'm interested in and is interested in me so soon. i'm not quite ready to deal with this. It took me a while to respond to this because I calmed down a lot since the initial anger, but these feelings of fear and aloneness are still always there.
Member # 3
posted 05-16-2012 11:28 AM
Without aiming to downplay your feelings -- after all, it makes sense to feel very upset about any kind of lifelong illness, and I totally feel where you're at with the differences between the guy who gave it to you (assuming he also doesn't have genital herpes, who knows if he does or doesn't) -- can I inject that what you'll have to do now is really what everyone should always do, right from the start?
In other words, using safer sex every time -- especially when not in a long-term, exclusive partnership where both people get tested and are transparent about what they do and don't have -- is something we should all always do if we want to prevent sexually-transmitted illness as best we can. Having talks about sexual safety and sexual health is something we all need to learn to do with partners and get as comfy with as we can. The good news is that all types of HSV are very, very common. And our cultural conversation and frameworks about them have really changed so much, even in just the last ten years, and certainly in the last 50 or more. So, ultimately, once you work out your own feelings around this -- which might obviously take some time -- things truly aren't going to be as bad as they feel like they will be right now. (And if it helps, I've had partners in my life disclose having HSV of both types to me, so I'd be happy to talk about how that can go or feel on that side of things if you think that'd be helpful to you.) I also don't think you do have to talk about sex with a potential sexual partner way before sex is close to on the table. Can you fill me in on why you think you'd have to do that?