If I Have Herpes, How Can I Tell The New Guy I’m Dating?

If I Have Herpes, How Can I Tell the New Guy I'm Dating?

Hi Evan -

Really enjoy your blog. I found out a few months ago that I have herpes. After going through the normal flip out and that my dating life would now consist of Ben and Jerry’s and DVD’s every Saturday night, I’m ready to get out there again.

I have gone through "the conversation" a million times in my mind. I have seen men post on various dating sites where they come right out on their profile stating they have herpes. And before I found out about my little gem, I would immediately think, "not in my backyard". I think that is a TMI on a profile. I thought that if I meet someone, and there seems to be some sort of vibe, I would have the talk pretty quickly, possibly even the first date. And I wouldn’t be dramatic, just simply say, you need to know something, I have herpes. I control it with medication, but no matter how you slice it, it is what it is.

There are "herpes sites" but they kind of creep me out at this point.

I have enough common sense that I wouldn’t casually mention this as we are flinging clothing all over the room.

What are your thoughts? Is there a "right time or wrong time" to have this discussion?

If ok, want to jump on my soapbox for a second, if anyone reading this has herpes, do the right thing, let people know. One of the most difficult things I had to do was call former boyfriends I may have exposed (think it was dormant in my system for quite sometime, I honestly did not know). None of these guys started screaming at me, they THANKED me and said they would get tested – none of them had it -YAY!!!!

This is forever, don’t make it forever for someone else – have "the talk".

Thanks Evan, happy new year!

Jen

Important question, Jen. And while I’m not an expert in herpes, per se, I do know a number of people who have it, and continue to lead rich, happy, limitless dating lives. So don’t worry. It’s all gonna be okay.

I do know a number of people who have it, and continue to lead rich, happy, limitless dating lives. 

I think all the readers should take a second to put themselves in your shoes for a moment. Because one second you’re saying “No way” to a guy with herpes, and the next, you’re praying that a guy doesn’t judge you for this one minor thing.

And let me be clear, it IS a minor thing.

According to Herpes.com, 50-80 percent of the American adult population has oral herpes. Ever had a cold sore? Congratulations. You probably have oral herpes. As far as genital herpes goes, we’re talking 20% of the population. That’s 50 MILLION people, a majority of whom don’t even know they’re infected. The scariest part of this whole thing is the staggering ignorance about herpes – a disease that undoubtedly affects someone that you know.

Don’t think so? Well, let’s just say that I have close friends, clients, and ex-girlfriends who have genital herpes, and none of them are traumatized, hospitalized or ostracized because of it. So let’s get past that.

Just know that if you have the disease, you may be entirely asymptomatic, which would mean that you could potentially transmit it without knowing. And if you do have symptoms, they are easily controlled with the use of drugs. The question is how do you explain this to someone else who is freaked out by this kind of stuff?…

I think the best answer is to treat your condition matter-of-factly. The bigger deal you make out of it, the bigger deal it becomes. This should be like talking about how your father died, or how you had anorexia in high school, or how you didn’t lose your virginity until you were 25. All of those things might be sensitive and relevant, but they don’t have to be dealbreaker-type issues if dealt with effectively.

I wouldn’t put it in a profile, I wouldn’t say it on a first date, and I wouldn’t say it when slipping on a condom. I’d wait until you were ready to have genital contact and initiate the conversation prior. Perhaps even a few days prior. Do it in person so your partner can look you in the eyes and ask any questions. And make sure you have your facts ready in case he’s curious. You want to make it clear: this is a fact about you, and it’s something you have under total control. He need not worry.

You can literally have this conversation after dinner or a movie while walking, so as not to make the situation feel too pressurized. And while it’s not quite “Please pass the salt”, you can probably cover what you need to cover in just a few minutes, as opposed to a two-hour herpes summit.

Major bulletpoints:

You trust him and feel he needs the truth if the relationship is to progress.

You have herpes. It’s a fact that he needs to know about you.

You have a handle on the disease and outbreaks are rare.

He will not catch it since you take drugs and carefully monitor the situation.

He can ask you questions, research it, digest it, but understand that it’s not a big deal. 1/6 of the country has it and most don’t even know.

Again, I’m no expert, but I coached one client through this tricky process. She said the conversation with her new guy took less than five minutes and didn’t blow her chances with him at all.

And finally, if there are herpes dating sites for people who aren’t afraid of your condition, maybe you should at least take a peek, okay?

Take care and good luck.

Evan

 

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Comments:

  1. 181
    tamara

    There was a news story earlier this year about a company called Gardisil which had created a herpes vaccine that passed initial human trials and proven safe. “The vaccine is designed to prevent transmission of herpes simplex virus in people never previously exposed, as well as to act as a treatment for those already infected.” There’s still some way to go, of course, plus Gardisil’s HPV vaccine had been effective But came with serious side effects for some unfortunate people, so perhaps pple with milder forms of herpes may be wary of trying the vaccine when it’s completed.
     
    However it’s still encouraging, and I felt glad seeing the thrilled comments of some pple below the article. I’d read that 30% of pple with herpes contemplated suicide, so this illness has severe emotional effects on some pple.

  2. 182
    Emily

    I always thought that Herpes or any type of STD to stop from spreading the effected people should do dating with only other effected people, Then the spread rate will drastically come down. I have found some sites like http://www.Sensitivedating.org, http://www.Meetup.com and if you search online there are many more sites.

  3. 183
    TruthTeller23

    To all those saying people with herpes should just join a herpes dating site:

    Have you ever been on those? They are horrible! First of all only 25 percent of the population has herpes. Then 80 percent of the people who have herpes don’t know they have it.  Can you imagine how much that limits your options? Put into account attraction, common interests, and a connection and good luck with finding anyone worth while on there. 

    That being said I’m an attractive, genuine person who deserves love as much as anyone else on this planet. Sorry I won’t limit myself as a leper, but I’ve been accepted before and I know I will be again.  

  4. 184
    xyo

    I started seeing a guy and after 2 months after he told me he had STD test done, he had one partner after that so I took the risk of having unprotected sex with him.  I know he gave it to me since I have no antibodies but my sore turned up positive for GH.  I haven’t had unprot sex with anyone else 4 months prior to developing it for the first time.  And now we are using condoms.  I think coz he is afraid that I might transmit it to him and I am still waiting for him to get tested.  My first OB was last April.  Just curious to read people’s comments about my situation.  Like everyone else, I was so distraught but I have to live one day at a time. 

  5. 185
    Elva

    When I got Herpes, it was from someone who pretended to be my friend for three years. He knew he had it and he really didn’t give a crap about if I got it or not. He flat out lied to me and told me he had had a clean std test. When I turned up with it a week later, he told me to go to the doctor and ask them for Valtrex and herpes treatment. “You will be fine.” He told me. 

    Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of faith in humanity or men left after that happened to me. When I found this http://www.mpwherpes.com I was too scared to date or to seek out a relationship. I had told several people about my new found curse and had mixed reactions. This site gave me the confidence and understanding I needed to be happy. 

  6. 186
    Cindy

    I was honest and told the first guy after a 30 yr marriage ended and it freaked him out and he ended everything. Very disappointing. Now what ? Almost wish I hadnt. I have been asymptomatic for years and wasnt totally sure I even had it until I got a blood test. My first outbreak in the late 70’s apparently was when I thought I had a UTI. I feel like I am old and will never have sex again for a payback from wild times.

  7. 187
    Gary

    To the singles who have herpes:
    You are not alone, many people got herpes in USA. To find the hope, the support and the love, you may consider the  <a href=”http://datingsiteforpeoplewithherpes.com/” target=”_blank”>dating sites for people with herpes</a> . You don’t need to have the talk to tell your partner that you have herpes. The first recommended site also has counselor to help you on dating. 

  8. 188
    555K2

    So, I was just shot down. After 4 great dates the guy I was dating called to say he couldn’t handle the fact that I had herpes. I told him on the last date and was honest about the fact that I’ve had it for almost 20 years and have never given it to any of my partners, including my ex-husband and about 5 other long term relationships. He said I was great and loved hanging out with me and that I was sexy, but that from all that he has read about it on the internet made him not want to pursue this relationship. He mentioned something about himself not being more open minded and that I made it out to be less than it is. This is something that really bothers me though. I’ve never had an issue with this before. I’ve never given it to anyone and it’s never been a big part of my life, but I guess the right minded person is important. Man, I’m bummed out right now.

  9. 189
    Ben Kanobi

    Wow, after reading so many comments, I’m saddened to see the enormous amount of ignorance most of the writers convey about their knowledge of viruses. Herpes is a virus folks just like the common cold is a virus. After studying viruses for so many years throughout my academic career, I consider myself an authority on the subject.
    Let’s get some facts straight here. I know for a fact, that person cannot expose a partner to the herpes virus if they don’t have an open sore. It’s not like the virus is just swimming around a woman’s vagina or camping out on a man’s penis for the lifespan of an individual. The virus must have specific conditions to be transmittable. I’ve seen cases where subjects had herpes and never transmitted it to their partners after over seven-years of sexual activity without condoms.
    To ostracize a segment of our population because of misplaced fear is the ultimate  mark of an ignorant society. Get your facts straight before you judge an individual.

  10. 190
    KG

    This post has probably been going on for awhile but I wanted to join in. Men AND women are both culprits in not disclosing; and as stated some don’t even know they have it. Are you going to trust everyone based on their word? Don’t trust anyone to make decisions for YOU; this is YOUR life too. Take control and use it as a learning experience. Keep your mind at peace, and before you have sex with anyone exchange test results. It’s the ONLY way to know that you both go into a relationship knowing what the other has, and you both go in with trust and honesty.  Together list everything that can be communicable or that you are concerned about, and ask the doctor to test you for those… even if the doc says you don’t need them, DO IT. Then compare results and go from there. And if you’re too embarrassed to discuss sex or this list or this test with a partner, then you’re not ready to have sex with them… and shouldn’t. (Sample List: Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis (A,B,C), HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, etc.)
     
    In my experience, I’m always amazed at how little doctors and the public know about Herpes. Depending on the doctor and region when you ask to be tested for STDs, they will test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. That’s it. This is done by a urine test or through a swab inside the penis in men or from the cervix in women.
     
    Sometimes an STD test will include the above and Syphilis, or HIV, and Hepatitis. Most of the time, you have to request these tests and they are NOT part of the STD testing (again, depending on the doctor and the region). These are done through a blood test or a swab over the sore.
     
    You have to request a test for Herpes. It is not part of STD testing. The best way is to ask for type-specific herpes testing; you then get tested again 6 months later. The test will show you whether you are positive or negative for HSV1 and HSV2 based on antibodies. These two results will give you the most concrete answer. Usually this is done through a blood test or a swab over the sore.
     
    You have to request a test for HPV. It is not part of STD testing. For women, a pap test will give results. “No HPV test yet exists to detect the virus in men. However, men can be infected with HPV and pass the virus along to their sex partners.”
                                               
    According to the Red Cross, you can still donate blood if you have herpes – “genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements”.
     
    NOTE that Oral herpes can also be transmitted to your genitals. “You can get herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease. Fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection. You can also get herpes from an infected sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner(s).” And if you have a sore in your mouth or he has one in his mouth and you have oral sex, YES one or the other can get herpes.
     
    Oh, and to side track just a tad you can even pass STDs from kissing. So you probably shouldn’t be indiscriminately going around French kissing everyone on first dates either. (What you can catch from kissing – Meningitis, herpes, hepatitis B, cold and flu viruses, cytomegalovirus, stds, chlamydia, HPV, gingivitis, mono(nucleosis )).
     
    ‘Hwerks’ is another good dating and support site.
    Sorry for the length, but I felt compelled to share information.
    Good luck everyone! And you’ll find that you are more than a skin condition. It’s the social stigma that makes this worse than it is, and the more we talk about it the more “acceptable” it will be. Don’t be so hard on yourselves. Life is so much more… than a sore. :)
    To lighten the mood, the next post has some funnies. J
    ————————————-
    For more information on herpes and STDs, you can check the CDC site or the Mayo Clinic site. Here are some other links.

    http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/84422   
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-testing/art-20046019
    http://www.questdiagnostics.com/testcenter/testguide.action?dc=TH_HerpeSelect
    http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-topic#stds         
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/sharing-drinks-healthy_b_3241147.html 
    http://infectiousdiseases.about.com/od/respiratoryinfections/a/kissing.htm

  11. 191
    KG

    Here are some funnies I found online to lighten up the mood:

    “You know you have Herpes when….

    Your towels in the bathroom are labeled his and herpes.

    The first question you ask at a new job is “do you have a prescription plan?” and “do you monitor internet usage?”

    When friends bug you as to the reason your single you state “I am just really picky”

    You have tried to use Clearasil on your $%^#.

    You no longer drink to get drunk and get laid; you drink to forget you have herpes… so you can get laid.

    You cover your webcam with a condom before you cyber.

    You only talk to one 1 out of every 4 people you meet.

    You try to look kinky with a strap on so you can hide the bumps.

    You wash other peoples hands after they leave your bathroom.

    You look at the glass half full on a site like this by saying, “well at least I know these people put out”.

    You know that body armor, mace, a baseball bat, and a very angry cat are required to be in your possession before you have “the talk”.

    You know what “the talk” is.

    You refer to HSV1 as herpes simplex, and HSV2 as herpes complex.

    You threaten people with your crotch when they make you angry.

    You start to sweat in a room full of people whenever a Valtrex commercial comes on.

    You hope someone out there with herpes is sleeping with beautiful women so you have a shot.

    You pay for a site like this to talk to someone 3,000 miles away that does nothing but kayak, run, hike, lift weights, and play in the park all day??????”
     
     

  12. 192
    PD

    I don’t have Herpes. But I might get it. On purpose.
    You see I’ve been dating a very cute girl for a month now and wondering lately why we’ve never gone past 3rd base. So I asked her what’s up. And she told me GH2, hasn’t had an outbreak in over 4 years.
    So I started taking Lysine and ordered some lube that has Carrageenanin it. We’re going to have PiV sex this weekend. And hopefully many more times. Lots more.

    Yes, I am intentionally putting myself at risk. But wait, have I been a wall flower all my life? Hell No. I’ve always taken risks, from rock climbing to having my airplane engine quit to … well you get the point.

    1. 192.1
      Melissa

      Hi PD,

      I commend you for dating someone that has HSV, visiting sites like these, and preparing yourself. People forget to realize that everyone has their own set of issues, it is up to you whether you want to deal with it or leave. Whether it is an STD, drug abuse, etc.  You can’t help who you like and who you love…

      I have had HSV2 for seven years. The outbreaks have been less and less over the years. I have had two partners, been extremely careful, and NONE of them have contracted it. 

      Before you become intimate, please make sure you:
      1. like this person enough to take a risk like this,
      2. remain monogamous,
      3. make sure she isn’t getting an outbreak or has one,
      4. use protection for everything,
      5. clean your toys,
      6. Wash up immediately after sex,
      7. Don’t touch her down there during sex and if you do, don’t touch other parts of      your body.
      8. Make sure you are healthy, meaning your immune system is good. 

      6. If you don’t want to use protection, leave foreplay for the beginning of your hot session, you don’t want her vaginal fluids in your mouth or your bodily fluids in her mouth. And, then you can imagine the rest. Nothing may happen, but don’t take that risk.  

      Just have fun, enjoy this new relationship, and  be careful.

  13. 193
    hunter

    PD..
    …if you have to have her, you have to have her….I know a man that caught syphilis from the same woman, twice….he liked her alot…

  14. 194
    andrew

    For a person dealing with herpes, there is probably no better place than a herpes dating site, where you can not only get the much needed support but also know more about the nature of the virus.Some of the websites under this herpes dating niche give you access to some of the best support groups and an environment that is free of discrimination. Most of the websites offer impeccable privacy options which make you feel much comfort. However, there are a few herpes dating sites that may lack on this front.

  15. 195
    pearlie

    In November 2013. I met a guy and, he told me that he had herpes but, I couldn’t get it if he gave me oral sex. After that I met a guy in December 2013 and, we dated for 8 months and, engaged in unprotected sex the whole time.  In July 2014. After having sex with him. I noticed that my vagina and, rectum was itchy, painful and,  raw. I also felt flu like symptoms.  I thought the vaginal irritation was from my new shower gel. A few days later I told my partner about the symptoms and, he got very defensive but, I didn’t think anything of it.  So we continued to have unprotected sex. Last week the vaginal irritation started up again. I thought it was a yeast infection.  I went to the doctor and,  she tested me for herpes. The results were positive! ! I haven’t told him because,  we broke up in August.  I’m not sure which man gave it to me. I feel i

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