When you are diagnosed with genital herpes, it can be extremely difficult to bring up your condition with a romantic partner, especially a new one, because herpes is still socially stigmatized, and many people fear that they may be rejected because of their condition. However, if you pick the right time and place to say the right thing, there are chances that things will work out just fine.
What you are preparing to disclose to your partner makes you vulnerable, and there are possibilities that your partner may reject you, but he/she won’t leave if they are truly interested and attracted to you.
Herpes is in no way whatsoever, a representation of who you really are, you are so much more than this small virus. However way it goes, whatever the outcome be, you will be a stronger and better person for doing what is right and putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.
Approaches to Telling Your Partner You Have Herpes
If you start by saying, “I have some awful news for you,” your partner will likely take it as awful news, instead, be calm, casual, and direct.
The first and most important thing you can do is to educate yourself about herpes and its actions. That way you can answer almost any question from your partner. You can also refer them to well-researched articles and links to get answers themselves.
Choose words wisely, do not load the discussion with negative imagery. Although genital herpes is a disease, but avoid using that word, and don’t describe your condition as “horrible,” or “incurable.”
In addition to your language, the setting and place can also affect the outcome. Do not interrupt what your partner is doing to break the news. For example don’t call him or her at work, or barge into his/her room and say, “Hey, we have to talk.” Rather, find a right setting, a relaxing one, just the two of you, where there won’t be distractions.
You can start up with conversation that looks like this:
“I don’t know if you’ve been tested for the herpes virus, but being diagnosed the way that I was really made me to believe in the importance of getting tested, and asking you as my partners to be tested before we start having sex so that we will know where we stand.
I think it is only fair to treat the people I care about the way I would want to be treated, and that means being honest with information that I think they have a right to know. I would like to be intimate with you, so if you haven’t been tested recently it would be a nice idea if you would consider doing so. I really like you and attracted to you, or else I wouldn’t be having this awkward conversation (*laughs*).
Also, since I would like to have sex with you eventually, there is one more thing you should know, I am considering going suppressive therapy to make sure the symptoms doesn’t break out, and making use of barriers for all forms of sex, including oral sex, can also help reduce transmission and I think we should plan on doing that. And just in case an outbreak occurs, which usually last for a week or so, we can still do other stuffs, you know.
Please take some time to consider what I just told you. You can read about herpes someplace with reliable information. I really hope you will be sticking around some more, In the meantime… do you want to go grab dessert, ice cream, drink etc.
Alternative Ways to Tell Your Dating Partners You Have Herpes
You can also use the following approaches to disclose your condition to a prospective partner:
- Utilize an STD advertisements on TV or online as an opportunity to introduce, and subsequently discuss about sexually transmitted diseases and herpes.
- You can use true stories on some articles that you read about sex and STDs, in newspaper, magazines or the internet to introduce the discussion. Share such article and see how your partner responds to it. Positive response from him is an opportunity to bring up the subject of having herpes.
- If you find it so difficult to bring up the subject yourself, you can buy a health or medical pamphlet or print out one yourself on herpes or related herpes topics like medications for herpes. You then ‘casually’ leave it in your car or table. When your partner sees that, he or she will most likely inquire about it and why it is there, then you use that opportunity to have “the talk.”
Telling your partner in person is the best way to go about it, however, in case of rejection, embrace it and move on positively. The possibility exists that, no matter how well you deliver the news to your partner, he/she will receive what you say poorly. Don’t become defensive, just bear this in mind: prepare for the worst but pray for the best, as Lil Wayne once said.
Be proud of yourself because you have done what is right for both of you by sharing your situation, and how he/she receives the news has nothing to do with whether or not you did the right thing.
You have presented your situation with integrity and conquered being vulnerable, and if your partner rejects you because of that, that is their choice. There are plenty of people out there that are interested in and will be attracted to who you are.
As relationships progress toward sexual intimacy it is advised to ask if your partner carries any sexually transmitted infection. You may find out they are also carriers or have had experience with other partners with an STI, if you ask the question.
Before bringing up the “talk”, it is very important to be realistic, down to earth, and to keep in mind other events going on in your partner’s life. If he/she is struggling with a difficult job or enduring some stressful real life issues, wait until those situations are resolved before bringing up the “talk”.