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You Asked: I Can't Get Over My Herpes Diagnosis

You Asked: I Can't Get Over My Herpes Diagnosis

Dear Sugar,

Recently I was diagnosed with genital herpes. I didn't know that I had ever been exposed to it, and then an ex-boyfriend called to tell me that he was diagnosed seven months ago. I felt very betrayed and shocked that he waited so long to tell me. I haven't slept with anyone else, but learning this news has me totally devastated. I've been having a hard time moving forward, and I'm struggling with the thought that my life is essentially over. I'm just now starting to come to terms with the diagnosis, but my biggest fear is how and when I tell someone who I am interested in. I have gone on a couple of dates with a guy I really like, but I completely panic at the idea of having to tell him the news. I'm just terrified. Do you have any advice?

— Devastated by the Diagnosis Danielle

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Devastated by the Diagnosis Danielle,

Your feelings of shock, betrayal, and sadness are all completely normal. To learn you'll have to deal with a lifelong disease, no matter how manageable, is very scary and will take some time to process. But Danielle, your life is not over. You are very much the same person you were before this diagnosis and can live just as fulfilling a life, both emotionally and sexually.

But it's true, part of the burden you'll have to deal with is sharing this very private information with any potential sexual partners. As far as timing, I would wait until you've moved beyond the casual dating point; you want to be able to trust and confide in him. Before you do, I think it's important that you recognize that having this disease doesn't define you. You have to accept yourself before you can expect others to.

While there is always some shame associated with STIs, remember that you're not guilty of anything, so don't divulge this info as if it's a confession, but rather approach it as a fact. Be honest with him, and ask him to return the favor by telling you his concerns. Openly discuss the risks together and go from there. You can't control his reaction, so if it's not what you were hoping for, then don't let it feel like a reflection of your worth. The more comfortable you become with this, the more at ease others will feel when you discuss it. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Your better than me, i'd be in jail. Murder One. Seriously that sucks he lied to you and exposed you to a incurable disease but it's not life threatening.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
There is a commercial on TV that says 1/5 American Adults has genital herpes. It's pretty common. Just make sure you're telling every man you're going to have sex with and don't be like the man that passed it on to you. It must be devastating but it's not the end of the world. There medicines that really control outbreaks and you can go a year without one.
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
Re: last poster. Don't consider Prozac if you want to go on antidepressants. There are newer ones that are much more effective with way less side effects. Talk to your doctor. Know that now is the worst time. Things will get better, a year from now you probably won't even think about it very much at all. I have found educating yourself is the best way to deal with health issues. The more you know about it, the better you will feel. And as for partners, I would agree with a previous poster. You will find out right away if the man truly cares for you. As for the ones that are turned off, they really were not worth your time anyway. You will still have a happy life with good relationships, marriage and healthy children. Things will get better for you! Also, herpes is very common and does not affect your health in any major way. You will be happy again sooner than you think.
DarlingDA DarlingDA 9 years
Remember with antidepressants, never start, decrease or stop them without a doctor's permission and assistance!
DarlingDA DarlingDA 9 years
One of my best friends was diagnosed in 2003 and has been struglling with it since. But she found a great guy, who is understanding and supportive and doesn't give a shit - he says it's nice sometimes when she has outbreaks because they get out of the bedroom and bond over dinner, movies, walks, wine tastings. I know it feels like the end of the world, and is really hard to deal with. You might try finding a good therapist to talk to if you feel uncomforatble in a support group, and can also recommend medication if need be (my friend went on Prozac for about six months after she found out, and slowly as she came to terms with it decreased her dosage until she was off).
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Honey, your life isnt over! This happend to a friend of mine. Basically, she saw it as a way of weeding out the shitty dudes. A guy who really cares about you and wants a long term relationship will be willing to work with you and be with you. Think about it this way, you would do the same thing with a guy if he had an STD and you didnt care because youd rather just be with him. So, maybe some people wont want to date you after you tell them, but these are basically the guys that would've sucked as boyfriends anyways because they only care about themselves. People who dont have these kind of so called "deal breakers" in their lives (I think single moms and dads are kind of in a similar situation) have no way of sifting through the shitty dudes. We just have to date them for 2, 3 years wasting precious time until they show their true colors and we make a decision. Also, apparantly anywhere between 50% to 80% of the population has HPV, a different kind of herpes (I think, I'm not a DR or an expert), and most of them dont even know it, they just keep giving it to each other. So you really arent alone in your plight. I hope this made some sort of sense and didnt come out as weird as I know it could have! Keep smiling :)
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
This is not the end of your life! There are tons of support groups, friends, family and medical professionals that will always be there to help you out. I have a friend with Herpes who is in a loving marriage (to a woman he met after getting his diagnosis, who loves him just the way he is) and has a beautiful baby. There's still plenty out there for you!
karlotta karlotta 9 years
I'm so sorry for you, I know how you feel, because I've been infected with HPV for 14 years, and it keeps coming back - I'm a couple of days away from another colposcopy, and it really sucks. I have very intense feelings of shame and disgust for myself, even though my boyfriend is very sweet and reassuring. Well... he does not want to have sex lately because of my newest outbreak, but that's understandable! It makes me feel like shit, but it's the responsible thing to do, and he makes sure to tell me that he still finds me incredibly attractive and that our period of abstinence only has to do with medical concerns and not because he thinks I'm gross. So you see, there are wonderful, understanding guys out there, so that's one worry you can leave behind. As far as your self-image, I have no advice, because I struggle with my own; but I will tell you what everyone says to me: this is not a mark of you being promiscuous or dirty. It is like just like having a skin condition, except that one is contagious and you must be careful with your partners. Yes, it may mean you won't be able to have unprotected sex even with a long-term partner, and that's pretty darn horrible; but it is not the end of your life, and there are treatments now that work wonders and will prevent you from having outbreaks. Herpes and HPV tend to flare up when we're stressed, so the more we're driving ourselves nuts over it, the worst it will get. Accept that it is a part of who you are from now on, and keep your head high. You have nothing to be ashamed of; and in a way... neither does your ex, who must feel like crap too (especially since he gave it to you!). It is not a virus that will make you sterile or give you cancer; it just has a bad name. But a lot of people have it, and they live very fulfilling lives. I hope you can come to terms with this. I wish you the best of luck.
Marci Marci 9 years
It's a really tough thing, because from this point on in your life, at some point you'll have to share that information with a guy you're interested in. And that just sucks. But as other posters have pointed out, the statistics on herpes are staggering, so you're not alone, and any guy you're interested in could well be in the same boat. I think you 'know' when to reveal that information by how things are going with the guy. And I think it will tell you a lot about the guy how he reacts - which might hurt sometimes. But herpes isn't fatal and can be worked with, so any guy who really cares about you isn't going to be put off by it. And I know because my fiance told me he had it almost immediately when we met and it didn't dissuade me. 6 years later, I don't have it.
Karma87 Karma87 9 years
One of my closest and dearest friends who is no longer with us had genital herpes. She got it from her husband and who knows how he got it or when...they eventually divorced and when it came time to tell her new boyfriend, she wrote him a note. It was in very tiny handwriting, so that made her laugh at herself and let him know at the same time. He was fine with it. Adults know how to handle this. It's more common than you may think. Good luck, smile, and stay healthy. The advice above is very good, agreed vmruby!
vmruby vmruby 9 years
There's some excellent advice here. I wish you nothing but the best!!
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i've seen groups advertised that look like a combo support group/dating club. you might look into those at some point. or even an online support group. not to make light of your condition but 4th stage cancer is the "okay my life is probably over" diagnosis, not herpes. i just googled it and over 20% of americans have genital herpes. so there is always the possibility that the guy you are currently dating has it too. good luck to you :)
sorrowja sorrowja 9 years
I can only image what you're going through. Nevertheless YOUR life is far from over. Start paying closer attention to your body I will assume that you are of a certain age hence the position in which you're in. In doing so you will be able to pin point the smallest change in your body you might not be able to say exactly what's wrong but something will go off in your dead to go see your gyn or doctor. Get a good PCP and gyn either through your job health care plan or state. And see your gyn and PCP EVERY six month at first you'll feel strange but after the few couple of visits it won't be that bad. And you'll feel way better knowing that you're keeping a closer track of your health. I'm sure your gyn will be able to advise you on what to do and not do. Be safe and Good Luck . . . this too shall pass.
silkee silkee 9 years
Sweetheart... I know exactly what you are going through; it happened to me Nov. 2005. I had been with a guy on and off for 3 yrs, one night after I made sure he was wearing protection, he took off the condom w/o my knowledge or consent while we were intimate (cause I damn sure wouldn't have had been with him w/o one), and infected me w/herpes. It is very hard to deal with the emotions you are feeling right now, but overtime, it gets easier. Choose who you give your heart to wisely and a man who is truly there for you will be there even after you share this news with him. I haven't had a man turn their back from me after I have shared the news... only questions but remaining friendships and intimate moments. Most people are appreciative that you are honest with them and once they are informed of herpes and have had time to think, it starts to become a mere memory. **hugs** it is going to be okay.
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