How Genital Herpes Can Affect Your Dating Life
Posted by Admin on Dec 21, 2021
For many, trying to date and make connections with others while living with herpes can feel like a difficult experience. Though HSV-2 affects nearly 20 percent of adults and HSV-1 affects around two-thirds of the same population, there is still a lot of stigma around the virus. Discovering that you, too, are affected can impact the way you feel about yourself, as well as how you feel about trying to meet new people.
Living with herpes adds a new layer to the overall dating experience. Not only are you faced with the typical tasks—getting to know your date, figuring out if you're compatible and hoping not to waste your time, you also have the knowledge of your virus hanging over your head when you think about becoming intimate with someone.
How does herpes complicate dating?
With the nerves that you may feel at the idea of disclosing your positive status, it can make you reluctant to even try to find a date to start with. Those living with herpes have a whole separate spectrum of anxieties to contend with, asking themselves questions like: what will they think of me when they find out? Will they be interested in pursuing a relationship with me once they know? Are they educated about herpes and how to have safe sex, and if not, will they ever feel comfortable being intimate with me?
These questions can lead to the person living with herpes stigmatizing themselves indirectly, lowering their self-esteem and confidence. As anyone who has ever been on a date knows, confidence goes far in getting a date's attention and showing off the best parts of yourself. Knowing that you may feel anxious and not at your best when on the dating journey can make you feel like you shouldn't even try it at all.
Does it have to be so hard?
Though you may think your dating life is over if you receive an HSV-2 diagnosis, the reality is that it isn't as bad as you think. Genital herpes tends to affect people differently; many people who live with it don't even have symptoms, or they have very mild symptoms that don't get in the way of much. Some only deal with outbreaks every so often. Even if you do have them, they are always temporary.
In the modern age, herpes is also easy to treat using antiviral medication that can suppress the virus and treat such outbreaks. Of course, this means a lesser chance of actually transmitting the virus to someone else. Still, you need to let your partner know that there is a risk.
When to Disclose
Even if you take steps to mitigate the chances of transmitting the virus, you must be transparent with your partner. You should let them know about your positive status before the two of you become sexual. Some people choose to tell them after only a few dates. Others wait until the conversation turns to sex. Whatever you decide, as long as your partner knows your status, they can make their own informed decision about intimacy with you, lessening your stress.
Living with herpes can complicate one's dating life and add some extra steps to it, but it doesn't completely bring it to a halt. With proper precautions, transparency with a potential partner and self-assurance, anyone living with herpes can lead a normal dating life.