Just Diagnosed & Having "The Talk" with My New Partner
It was just two weeks ago, the week of Christmas actually, that I started feeling symptoms. At first I had thought I awkwardly scratched myself, but the pain got much worse, and by the time I woke up the next day I couldn't pee without screaming in pain. I knew I had to go to the doctor's because something just wasn't right. I didn't really even see anything when I had checked myself out down there when I was first experiencing a little discomfort, but when my doctor first looked at me down there she goes, "Well...there are some ulcers so we may be looking at herpes"....WHAT? HERPES?! You're not even going to ease me into this conversation?!
I love my doctor, but this news was NOT okay. I felt like my life was over. I had her write a note for my boss and didn't go to work that day (obviously, I was a hot mess after getting this news). I went right over to my best friend's house and told her, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to handle this if I kept it cooped up for only me to know...she was really understanding and we did some research together, making me feel a bit better. I think I've come to realize that the stigma surrounding herpes is 1000 times worse than the actual skin condition, and being judged in the future is my biggest fear.
At this point, I basically had two people in mind that could've done this to me, that could've ruined my life (or so I thought). One of them, I just recently started seeing, a couple months ago, and I got symptoms about two weeks after sleeping with him for the first time...convenient right? So I still like this guy, as angry as I am inside about how he may have done this to me....but I knew the right thing was to tell him I was diagnosed with this. I knew I had been acting especially weird around him for the week and a half after I was told, and knew he should find out why, also for his own sake health-wise. I waited the whole night, we watched a movie and ate dinner at his place...but I just couldn't build up the courage to do it.
I told myself I HAD to before I left, or I knew I'd just be thinking about it even more than I already was. He went out for a cigarette, and I was sitting on his couch FREAKING OUT. He came in, and I just blurted out, "I have to tell you something". Probably the best way to go about it...yeaaaah. So I asked if he
had ever been tested and he said in the past he was, and obviously now he's automatically curious and freaking out about it. I tell him I was diagnosed with herpes, and he was very quiet, thinking about everything...
I keep talking to ease his mind a bit, telling him it's more common than we realize and that most people don't get symptoms and that he wouldn't have known...and he finally looks at me and says, "I can't decide what is bothering me more...the fact that I may have the virus, or the fact that I may have given it to you without having a clue...".
That right there made me feel a lot better, because automatically I knew he was upset and more concerned about my well-being. He then followed up with, "Whatever the fuck happens with these results and no matter how sucky this situation may be, I still want to see you and it doesn't affect the way I look at you." WELL DAMN. I had no idea my first 'talk' was going to go over so well.
As rough as it was to bring up, and I'm sure in the future it may go differently, it felt great to still be accepted for who I am as a person, not a statistic. Not to say I won't be judged in the future about it, but if I am, hell...that probably means the person isn't worth it, right? If someone isn't going to listen to you and accept you for who you are regardless of your health conditions, who needs them?! This really showed me that he's a good guy and cares about me.
I contemplated for future partners to not say anything and just practice safe sex, but even still the disease can be transmitted, and I would feel completely awful to give it to someone being fully aware I have it. Being open and honest with someone is much more relieving and even more intimate than having to skate around it. I think after the whole talk we had, this fellow and I already feel much more connected and closer, because we were able to have this mature conversation about such an awkward and uncomfortable topic.
We'll see how the rest of my future pans out, but I am extremely proud of myself for opening up and doing the right thing by having this discussion, especially so soon after finding out I have the virus. I wish each and every one of you reading this the same luck, to find someone so understanding, and also hope you have the courage to stand up and own it, instead of living overly cautious with this stupid freaking' virus. Take care, everyone! <3