Herpes Disclosure: After You’ve Slept with Them
This topic brings up so many emotions. If you just slept with someone and they then later told you that they have herpes, I’m sure you are angry and confused. And if you have herpes and just slept with someone and didn’t tell them, I bet you have a lump in you stomach.
First, I want to talk about why it’s important to disclose. At the end of the day you are sharing the most intimate part of yourself with someone else. That does not just mean emotionally, that also means physically. You are potentially passing all your infections and that person is potentially passing all his or her infections. When you put the shoe on the other foot you’d probably what to know what risks you are taking, herpes or not.
There are so many times that people will not disclose for whatever reason and then they get themselves in a pickle. They thought it was just going to be a one night stand or a really casual thing and then it either tuns into a relationship or the person ends up getting herpes. Either way, it is now a really hard conversation you have to have with your partner and by now your partner might be you spouse.
When we create relationships we want to create them with a solid foundation. By keeping secrets, avoiding conversations and not telling the truth it just sets you up for failure. Your partner can lose trust. Obviously it ends up a bit discussing and most likely a fight and can even results in breaking up. All because of the fear that sets in when it comes to disclose.
Why is it we don’t disclose?
Ultimately, its fear. But it goes a bit deeper. Obviously the stigma of having herpes is real. There are so many harsh words, assumptions and drama that goes along with it. It can be really hard to learn how to get over the stigma so that you can disclose.
And let’s face it, nobody likes rejection. I mean nobody. It really hurts. Especially when you really really really like somebody and you think that its a match made in heaven and that you were going to ride off into the sunset.
So why is it we don’t disclose? Well yes it’s the fear of rejection, but it really is because we haven’t dealt with our herpes diagnosis. If we haven’t dealt with it and don’t accept ourselves with someone living with herpes then there is no way anybody else will. And that truth keeps us from disclosing.
If you didn’t disclose, please don’t beat yourself up, here’s why. You have the opportunity to change that today. Now it might lead to a fight with the person and rejection and lots of bad words. But it’s your opportunity to make it right and lay out the truths and rebuild your foundation. There are many ways to break trust in a relationship, I don’t think we need to get into it. But when this happens, it either breaks up a relationship or will build your relationship back stronger. If you are in a marriage or in a committed relationship, I’d like to suggest couples counselling and talking to a professional.
But let’s get to the point. How do you disclose you have herpes after you’ve slept with someone?
You need to be crystal clear on why you are disclosing.
- Is it because you want to continue a relationship with this person?
- Is it because you have dealt with your diagnosis and are ready to own it?
- Are you feeling guilty?
- Do you think you accidentally transmitted it to him or her?
You will have your own reason, but it’s import that you lead with your why. That way you will be leading from your heart. And if it doesn’t go in your favour, then you will be able to constructively understand why you did this.
Next and this is something I already mentioned, but lead with compassion. Lead with honesty. Lead with, we need to have a conversation and it’s important to me and our relationship that we have this talk. Also make sure that you let your partner know that it was not intentionally to hurt them but it was something that you were personally dealing with and you have now been working through it. Have the conversation as, I’d like to educate you on herpes and what it really means.
Apologize for not having the strength or confidence earlier in your relationship to have this conversation. A very important part I want to bring up is don’t apologize for having herpes. That is something you can not apologize for, but you can apologize for not letting him or her in and working through this together.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a tricky conversation and it does require some thought and some inner work. I’ve put together a toolkit that can walk you through a discloser weather it’s a hookup, a past partner, a future relationship. There are 14 videos in there where I walk you through it all and I even have scetips to walk you through it.