I've had herpes for a long time and this is my herpes story.
It hasn't been easy. But now I am at peace and have found some happiness.
Was born in England, spent my childhood in the Bahamas, and pretty much grew up in Southern California (Los Angeles) where I live now.
Back in high school, I can vaguely remember getting cold sores.
Of course, back then, they were worse to get than even pimples. Even cold sores had a stigma in high school. Who knows where or who I got it from.
I only had one girlfriend in all of high school. I know.. that's kind of ridiculous.. but I was a geek and very shy.
Throughout high school and college, I never thought much of STDs or Herpes. Like many young men, I was just having a good time: drinking and trying to get dates.
In college, I had a total of two girlfriends. One long term. One a very fun and short term relationship my senior year in college.
I can't remember having any genital herpes symptoms during college. I graduated and started dating another girl about six months later.
Then the sores appeared..
Initially I couldn't believe what I was seeing appear on my penis: red nasty sores.
I did get flu-like symptoms before my first primary outbreak. I do remember that.
So shocked, I visited my family doctor. He took a viral sample, in other words, he used a swab to take a little bit of the blisters to the lab.
After about a week, I returned, he told me "you have genital herpes or HSV 2". He also said, "There is no cure. But you can take some medication to suppress it and reduce outbreaks."
My mind began freaking out right then. And didn't stop for many years after that.
I broke up with the girl I was dating. I was too terrified to tell her.
After my Genital Herpes diagnosis, I felt dirty and embarrassed.
Maybe I got herpes from this girl or maybe the girl before that. Hard to say. But the more research I do, the more I think I got it from this girl.
I don't recommend running away from the issue like I did. The courageous thing to do is tell your partner if you are diagnosed with herpes of any type or even if you suspect you have symptoms.
In my mind, I had so many fears and delusions about herpes.. I kind of blocked it out of my mind. For years.
Then I dated a beautiful woman as I went back to graduate school. A woman so beautiful inside and out that I should have married her.
The sad thing, I hid my herpes from her. I'd avoid having sex during outbreaks and giving the excuse, "Honey, I have a headache."
Until one evening, I could not hide it any longer. I admitted my condition, and upset her very deeply because of my deceits.
We only dated for a little while longer after that. In conversations with this wonderful woman, my deceitful ways really doomed the relationship. I would have been much better being very honest with her at the start.
Lesson: admit and divulge your situation fully to your partners. Especially if you care about them.
They'll either choose to love you or move on but they need to be given that option before you have sex with them.
For many years after that, I was in a dark place.
Upset after losing the love of my life, my drinking and drug using accelerated. I lost interest in dating. Like I was living in a "cave".
I was doing a job that was highly stressful. I despised my boss. Consequently, with this type of life I was unhappy, overweight, and getting Herpes Outbreaks often.
I became increasingly isolated, and my herpes became an excuse for not growing in my relationships with women.
It was my dark little secret, I was not going to tell anyone. No one including my family or even close friends.
Until one day, I had had enough!!! I deserved more love, more openness than this, I told myself.
And so my herpes story continues... I began a lifetime process of getting healthier.
First step was to quit the drinking and the drugs. Also quit smoking. Joined a twelve step program for spiritual recovery.
With these changes, I began training for a marathon. Went on to train for fifteen marathons!!! This made me feel great about myself.
Even became a marathon coach. I've helped many people finish a marathon or half marathon in the Los Angeles area. Search for me, I'm sure you'll find me.
Also quit my crappy job, and began teaching college which is what I do now. I love educating people, especially struggling students.
Even went on to study yoga, and became a yoga instructor for a while.
In all, I began loving Gary again by living a healthy lifestyle.
I got super serious about my nutrition, and with all these changes, my outbreaks reduced to practically 0 a year. In the last two years, I have had maybe two minor herpes outbreaks.
Generally I don't take suppressive medication unless I am actively dating someone.
With all these lifestyle changes, the thing I was missing was a love life.
After being diagnosed with herpes, it sent my love life back a thousand years it felt like.
Tired of letting this little "virus" limit me, I began an active process of learning to date again. Took some communication courses. Did some internal work, and then began asking girls out on dates.
It had been a while, so I had some things to learn. I still do!!!!
This time I was to be very honest with my partners. Especially regarding my herpes.
On the third date... no later... and certainly before we would sleep together or even get physically intimate I learned to have "The Talk".
"The Talk" in herpes lingo is when you tell your partner that you have herpes. It's scary to do the first time but after that it's not so bad.
I've had two relationships now in the last two years with two beautiful women... after "The Talk".
And from this experience, I learned the only thing that held me back from an active, loving dating life for all those years was not my herpes... but was my fears!
Writing this website is a big part of the healing process for me from Genital Herpes. Happy-with-Herpes.com is a website of living with herpes, loving with herpes, and just being happy with this amazing life.
I've written a bunch of websites before. I'm an amateur web developer. This time around I am using Site Build It to build this website. And I am learning so much from Site Build It, this is all I want to do now: build web pages. I'm finally learning how to build a website correctly. I hope this website is helping you.
I believe that we heal best by helping others less fortunate than ourselves. Call it the Christian in me, but LOVE HEALS.
My dream is that people will read this website from all over the world and be something helpful or inspirational to guide their lives with herpes.
It's the website that I wished I had read 20 years ago after coming home from that doctor's office.
After having two good relationships, and doing some serious soul searching in that time, I realized something else.
I have some dreams to pursue. Dreams that have been calling me for a long, long time.
The primary one is to go Travel Around the World.
So believing that we are happiest when we are living our dreams... I started that journey last summer 2010.
I would love to come visit you. Contact me on the left and tell me where you live and we'll go out have dinner or a cup of coffee, share stories, and talk about ways of bringing more happiness into the world.
Two things before you go...
1. If you got something from this website and from reading about my herpes story, please "pay it forward" and help another person by leaving your success story at Happy with Herpes to help others.
2. If you would like to learn more about Site Build It (the technology behind Happy with Herpes), click the link below. Learning about website development in my opinion is very important in this challenging economic times.