I don’t call myself a relationship counsellor, but when it comes to herpes I think I know a few things about herpes and relationships.
I had two relationships after discovering I had herpes. The first ended in divorce. I’ve never really mentioned it until now, because it was a painful time in my life. It certainly wasn’t herpes that caused the problem. Herpes was a problem in our relationship at first, because I was still looking for a formula that would help me minimize the asymptomatic shedding periods and I had one or two outbreaks at first. My husband wasn’t really afraid of herpes, just mostly frustrated by the fact that he couldn’t have sex with me at certain times. I’m glad I refrained from having sex with him though, because today I don’t have to bear the burden of having given herpes to him.
Sometimes, though, herpes would lead to tension in our relationship. I have found that some men can be much more supportive and my husband was a particularly impatient man. Yet I still have female readers who confide in me that they’re going through the same problem.
I understand that sex in a relationship is very important to men, but if you are a woman and really doing your best to become asymptomatic I think you should ask for his support along the way. If he is not supportive, please try and explain to him that his rejection, aggression and withdrawal is not helping you get better. Worse, it’s most likely to create some sort of emotional trauma around sex that will make it harder to enjoy sex with him.
In that situation, herpes is just showing you an aspect of your husband or partner that you may not want to see. Of course, this holds true if it’s a woman putting pressure on her partner.
If you disclosed things clearly at the beginning, you are not responsible for his frustration. He’s a mature adult who made a personal decision to stay with you knowing you had herpes.
For your part, you’re doing your best and he should try to remember that. My husband ended up being verbally abusive in many other respects, so his attitude towards me during herpes outbreaks should really have told me something about his character.
Some women have also told me that their boyfriends or husbands will totally freak out during sex and stop in the middle or just become extremely nervous. I can’t say I experienced that with my latest boyfriend but I can say that he was nervous at first. He got a small yeast infection and called me frantically to ask me whether it was herpes. I was the frustrated one, but I understood his stress and gently explained everything to him. It’s hard when you have herpes not to take things personally but it’s important to stay calm and not feel personally rejected. Your partner is just expressing fear of catching a disease, not rejecting you as a person. The fact that he or she confides that fear in you is proof that they trust you. Be honoured to have this conversation and just look at the fear for what it is – fear.
If you start taking things personally and are constantly obsessing about herpes yourself, your negative attitude may put a big strain on your relationship. I always recommend people who are obsessing on herpes to join a local support group and start taking my herpes antidote. The sooner you start, the faster the results. It’s not possible to eliminate all risks of herpes transmission, but you can reduce asymptomatic shedding time to just a few hours and almost never have any. I did not transmit herpes to my two last partners and that’s a fact I can relay to my next , who I hope will become my next husband.
If you build confidence in yourself and your ability to control herpes, you will be much more likely to attract a supportive, loving partner and you won’t tolerate any aggressive, behaviour. I think we all deserve the best from life and having herpes doesn’t make us lesser people. You deserve to be treated with care and respect and you should remind your partner of that. Hopefully, you won’t have to. It’s not easy to find a balance between lovingly accepting your partner’s fear and setting a limit to any bad behaviour. I think you will know the difference.
I’m happy to say that several women have written to me telling me their husband is the sweetest man on earth and very supportive but they are feeling guilty because they can’t enjoy sex with him all the time. My last boyfriend never had to complain about that. That was because I hardly ever feel potentially contagious, so I never had to tell him “sorry honey, not tonight.” He even told me after we broke up that the break-up had caused him huge amounts of stress, yet he never had the slightest symptoms and believed very strongly in what I did.
I believe the kind of relationship you should aim for is one where your partner feels safe because he sees that you don’t have symptoms and that everything is under control and gives you all his love and support.
Please share your comments below. I’m sure you have plenty to say about this. One last thing, I conducted a survey once to and was very sad to hear that some people had given up on having a relationship because of herpes. I find that very sad. You can find love with herpes and build a great relationship so give love a chance if you haven’t already.
Learn more about how I managed to control herpes symptoms for life.
Love to you,