People with herpes go through a number of different stages from the moment they receive their diagnosis to the moment they finally accept their condition. It usually all starts with the infamous “nobody will ever date me again” train of thoughts and ends with making peace with the situation and carrying on with your life. Oddly enough, people with herpes usually do not fear physical symptoms as much as potential ramifications on their love life.
Going from defeatism to acceptance is a huge mental leap, but it is nothing you cannot handle with some patience and support from your loved ones. Even though dating with herpes presents a number of unique challenges, you are not alone in this fight and the sooner you realize that you can have a normal social life, the faster you can get back in the game.
Here are some useful tips that can help you overcome the initial hardships of getting diagnosed with herpes and boost your love life after the diagnosis.
Define Your Dating Pool
Herpes dating is stigmatized in ways that have much more to do with uninformed panic than with anything else. Namely, despite the fact that this condition is among the most common ones (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8106731) in the U.S. and that it rarely causes any symptoms that are too bothersome, herpes is often equated with much more sinister conditions, making herpes dating a right ordeal. People who have herpes know that the condition is often reason enough to be rejected by someone. Sooner or later, you are going to tell the person you are dating that you suffer from this condition – and in many cases, they will reject you for it.
With that in mind, you have two options once you become aware of your condition – you can either continue dating like you did before or focus on people with similar problems. The advantage of the second option is that you will not be forced to “have the talk” with your love interest because they either have the condition as well or are willing to date someone with it. The surge of herpes dating sites in the last couple of years made meeting people with this illness as easy as googling herpes. Apart from not judging you for your condition, they also went through the same thing and can help you cope and move on.
These sites also do an excellent job at raising awareness of this condition and explaining to people that it is a common infection and one that does not cause any symptoms that can ruin a person’s life.
Tell Your Partner The Truth Before Sex
Another thing that people with herpes discover very soon after being diagnosed is that their casual sex experiences become almost non-existent. Of course, this is provided they do not try to be horrible people and hide their condition
The very fact that you will need to tell someone you have herpes is another huge challenge of herpes dating. In fact, most herpes sufferers say that this is the thing that terrifies them the most. And it really is a difficult thing to do.
Broaching this subject is incredibly hard and it seems it is never the right moment. But it has to be done. This is the reality. You cannot hide it from the other person and you need to bite the bullet.
Remember Your Value
Receiving a herpes diagnosis can definitely feel overwhelming, but you will quickly realize that people will still want to date you in spite of the risks. You are not your illness and you should not let anybody define you by it. However, this will never work if you are just standing in front of your mirror repeating it over and over again without actually believing in it.
If you truly come to terms with your infection and persevere in rebuilding your life around it, people will pick up on that extra confidence and they will want to date you. When the time comes and you drop the “H-bomb”, if they truly care about you, they will stick around and work on your relationship.
Dating with herpes is just one of those hurdles in life that appear to be insurmountable at first but actually do not have to be a big deal if you are determined enough. In order to revamp your dating life, you first have to work on yourself and come to terms with your current condition. If you are still riddled with regret and insecurities, you will project those feelings onto your potential partners and they will be looking for the nearest exit the moment you break the news.
Whether you are looking for casual relationships or something more meaningful, you should inform your partners about your illness before sex and let them decide whether they can handle the risk or not. You should never take that choice away from them. With that in mind, you will have to become rejection-proof since many of your relationships will eventually go there. This, however, does not mean that you should simply give up and never date again. The special somebody is always out there.
Finally, you should never let your illness define you and allow other people to see you just as someone with herpes. So, yes, dating with herpes is pretty much more tedious than the infection itself, but if you adopt the right mindset, you should be able to lead a perfectly normal life with plenty of dates, sex, and long-term relationships. In the end, it is all up to you.