You know it is a conversation that must take place. But that understanding does not make broaching the subject any easier. Having a diagnosis of genital herpes confers a responsibility onto you to inform potential sexual partners that the virus infected you. How you approach this vital but uncomfortable chat may make all the difference in the world to the sustainability of a future with a potential mate.
Choose The Right Time
Even though disclosure is a must prior to intimacy you need to be sensitive to when you open the conversation. Be sure the relationship is headed toward a mutually held desire to take it to a sexual level. Only then should you share this personal information. You need candor in cases where sex seems imminent. However, not every new acquaintance or even old friend needs to know about your infection.
If it is clear to you that you want to explore a sexual dimension to an evolving relationship do not wait until the moment before the point of no return. Bring up the subject when you are alone and relaxed but not panting with desire.
Focus On Sharing Information, Not Hysteria
You will be dealing with this diagnosis for the rest of your life. Therefore you need to put it into perspective for yourself first. Keep in mind you have joined one in five people who have developed this condition. It does not define you, although it must be discussed and understood prior to sexual activity. Work on becoming as comfortable as you can with your diagnosis before opening to others. Your attitude toward the challenges of genital herpes is everything. It likely will set the stage for acceptance or horror from your desired mate.
The key is familiarizing yourself with the facts about your diagnosis. You then can connect the dots for your possible mate in such a way where herpes is just one part of the complex and fascinating person you are. Prepare yourself to explain, in general terms, how you were infected and what can be done to limit the risk of contracting the virus through sexual intimacy with you.
You have to be completely honest about the diagnosis and the general risk to other who have sexual contact with you. But do not overwhelm the person with an excess of information. Let him or her know you will share all the knowledge you have at the speed the facts are wanted. Encourage questions and be forthcoming about anything you cannot answer while pledging to seeking answers from competent medical authorities.
Give Him Or Her Space And Time
Once you have brought the subject to his or her attention give your potential mate some room to become comfortable with the news and to consider how to react. Remind the person you are willing to answer any concerns and look for solutions. Remain calm and promise to be nonjudgmental.
Give Yourself A Break
If your special someone decides the issue is a deal breaker accept the decision without beating yourself up. After all, you are living proof that a herpes diagnosis is not a death sentence. You are so much more that this one facet of your life. You did not seek it and now have to deal with it. And, your mature and compassionate attempt to be transparent is commendable not contemptible.
However the conversation resolves itself maintain an interest in your diagnosis and any treatments or adaptations that make living well while infected possible. If this love interest takes a pass there are many more who will see you as a total package, not just a single issue.