Relationships with People Who Have Herpes

We conducted interviews with people who do not have herpes. We wanted to get an idea of how those who don’t have it view people who do.

Here’s the first in our series.

I dated a woman who has herpes. She didn’t have the courage to communicate to me about her STD in a honest, trusting and intimate conversation. She wrote me a letter about her herpes that was completely unreadable and expected that to be the end of the topic. I had to do my own research about the disease. I believe because of that, we never developed a level of trust that made me feel safe about the issue or the relationship. The way the topic about her herpes was handled affected the relationship from that point on. We are not together anymore. My advice for anyone considering getting involved with someone who has herpes or any std is to insist on complete disclosure and honest communication. You have to protect yourself first because if the relationship dissolves you will be left with this problem forever after your former partner is long gone.

I’m a 30 year-old guy. I have not been diagnosed with herpes, but would be willing to date someone with it.

Personal views on how and when you tell someone you have it

You have an obligation to tell your partner 24 hours before you have sex, so they understand the risks. It’s manipulative to tell your partner just before sex, when they’re already hot and bothered.

How and when you’d prefer to be told that someone has it

Tell me early on, but not on the first date. Show me a book or website about how common it is, how most people don’t know they have it, and for how likely I am to catch it if we have sex. Mention how you believe in being honest with your partner. That would strike a home run with me.

What are your greatest concerns?

Catching herpes, of course! As a guy, it’s hard enough to find a date without another strike against me. With a bad case of oral herpes, it might even be visible enough to impact my ability to give presentations at work.

Do you see it as a big deal, breaker or non-issue?

It’s an issue, but it’s not a deal breaker. I would be open to some sexual intimacy, but might delay contact in ways that could lead to infection.

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