Can You Be in a Monogamous Relationship and Still Get Herpes?

Can You Be in a Monogamous Relationship and Still Get Herpes (Blog Banner)

Recently on social media someone commented on my live and said that if I hadn’t been so promiscuous I wouldn't have gotten herpes. 

There’s a lot of ways we can dissect this comment. Also, instead of going off on this man I used it as a learning opportunity to talk about how promiscuity has nothing to do with getting herpes. 

However, I’m going to contradict myself really quickly here. On some level it is a numbers game. So the person who has sex with 100 people is far more likley to have herpes than the person who has sex with 1 person. But hear me out on this one. 

Something that is so interesting about the HSV virus is that the incubation period can be all over the place. Most of the time the incubation period, meaning when a person is exposed to the virus and then has his or her first outbreak is typically between 2-14 days. This was my personal case for both HSV 1 and HSV 2. However, in other cases people are exposed to the virus and don’t get their first outbreak weeks, months and even decades later. Yes, not only years but decades. I’ve had numerous conversations with people who have been celibate or in a monogamous relationship and suddenly gotten herpes - or rather, a herpes outbreak.

So this gets to the question, can you be in a monogamous relationship and still get herpes? Yes, absolutely and here’s why and how. 

First there is the obvious way, when your partner cheats on you and picks herpes up from someone else. This right here also just really gets me going with the stigma because people assume you had multiple partners and that is why you have herpes. Someone can be in a monogamous relationship but their partner is not honest. This to me personally would be a huge one to overcome. Talk about the betrayal attached. Yet, this happens all the time and it has happened to personal friends of mine. 

The next three ways are typically a surprise when I discuss it or when people get diagnosed with herpes. 

When one partner has HSV1 orally and then transmits it to their partner genitally. Suddenly there is genital herpes in a monogamous relationship and people didn’t know it was possible to transmit cold sores to ones genitals.  

The next way that herpes can sneak into a monogamous relationship is kind of twofold. Either the person infected was asymptomatic and didn’t know they had herpes and suddenly they get a herpes outbreak or their partner suddenly gets infected and gets an outbreak. 

And finally, that kind of tag teams onto the person not knowing is when a person has contracted herpes from a past relationship that could have been months or years earlier and then suddenly boom gets their first outbreak. 

I can’t tell you enough how often this happens. People who are in monogamous relationships will get herpes via one of the examples I explained. Just know that if you get herpes in a monogamous relationship it doesn't mean that your partner was cheating on you. What it means is that nobody knew and suddenly the virus decided to pop up. 

So before we start assuming and pointing fingers use this as an opportunity to discuss your sexual health, what are you now going to do going forward. Use this as an opportunity to discuss your relationship and so on. There is no sense on looking back and trying to point fingers or even guess who it could have been from. If you’re in a relationship just look at it as a way to build your foundation, trust and move forward. 

So…like I said earlier, this happens all the time. There are many people in the Secret Society who have this same story. If this is your story and want a community to talk to, then I recommend joining our Secret Society. It’s an online group of people who are living with herpes. We are from all over the world, all different ages, different stages of our relationships and so on. Anyway, we are all here to support you and each other.  It’s a monthly membership and we have 2 live calls a week.  

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