My Life Felt Like It Was Over, And Then All Of A Sudden It Goes On

by Olivia
(Midwest)

I have never shared my story with anyone in this way but felt that maybe it could reassure someone somewhere finding out about having herpes or open eyes to someone who doesn't from treating someone with it a certain way or feeling a certain way about it.


I was just barely 19 years old and my freshmen year in college living with my best friend in an apartment off campus. I had been in a relationship for about 4 years prior and was my first and only. I was single for about a year when I met the first guy I'd had feelings for in a long time (I'd dated on and off but nothing serious). We dated for about 3 months before we became official and slept with each other after about 2 months.

So basically RIGHT when we became official I noticed one night when we were having sex that it hurt TERRIBLY. I almost felt like I was super dry and everything was ripping so we stopped.

The next day I was in a lot of pain but I couldn't figure it out. I didn't have "sores" I had what felt like little cuts near the bottom of my vagina. I spent the day contemplating what it was (I sort of knew) and then went to urgent care late that night because I couldn't take it. The doctor of course was an ER doctor so he was very rude when he told me I had genital herpes (obviously not his forte or what he signed up for but can't a young girl get a little KINDNESS?).

I couldn't even move. My friend drove me home and she went inside and I sat in the car in the cold for 5 hours and called my step mom and told her because she was a nurse and could help? I don't know. I wasn't even close with her I just needed help. I kept thinking about killing myself (SO dramatic I know, but I was naive and thought my life was over).

I remembered knowing of girls in HS who had herpes and everyone thought they were gross and I thought to myself "Even IIII couldn't help but think that". How could anyone else think of me differently? How could I think of it differently? My step mom gave me numbers of support groups because I couldn't barely talk on the phone I just cried.

It was one of the hardest moments I've ever experienced. I couldn't handle all of the thoughts that were pouring in and especially the pain I had physically. I thought my roommate (who knew) would treat me weird and not want me to sleep in her bed or be weird about using the same toilet as me (she kind of was at first but got over it).

My boyfriend showed up and with a LOT of hesitation I told him. I suspected he gave it to me and he suspected the same and so did the doctor when we explained the timeline and situation. We decided we had to take our relationship seriously and really put effort into it and make it work, not force ourselves to be together, but not try to mess it up.

He was quiet for a while but realized obviously he will have to sort this out mentally for himself later, because I needed him. So he calmly told me it will all be OK and this changes nothing. If he has it, we'll find out, if not, I will take medication.

Four days later, he had an outbreak. We went to the doctor together and she explained he probably carried it all along without an outbreak and was shedding when he passed it to me and I got my initial outbreak which caused him to have his first outbreak too. He had a few one night stands and wasn't so shocked because his outbreak was VERY mild and thought he could have had one before and thought it was an ingrown hair or something.

We both got our medication and supported each other (mostly me, I was a disaster, he's my rock). I was worried that even though we both had it, if he would still find my body to be gross. I had so many insecurities about it all. I was afraid of our relationship failing, I was afraid of people finding out, I was afraid of having this forever. But I learned to love myself, let him love me without insecurities, and knew if people found out and can't handle it that's their problem.

Years later, we never broke up, and now have been married a year. I am 23 and he is 25. From starting our relationship from the hardest pill I've had to swallow came the most amazing and wonderful 4 years (so far).

I have had 2-ish outbreaks in the past 4 years, one VERY severe and one not (caught it in time) and he has had 3 very mild ones. Soon after realizing it's no ones business and I'm the same me, I got over it. I moved past it and handle each day as it comes. I'm not dying, and I won't die from it.

What I learned from it is that although I have this understanding about my body and my disease I had a HORRIBLE understanding of it before I got it. I wasn't sleeping around at all, and thought only wild people who slept with everyone got it.

That's just not the case, it can happen to anyone and no one should look down on someone for having it. I feel horrible about how I felt about that girl in HS. I can't imagine how I would feel if everyone found out and we're like that. Regardless of the circumstance we really all need to treat others how we would like to be treated.

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