Lesions, severe pain, burning sensation (especially when urinating), fatigue, even cold sores, and mouth blisters: these are some of the common symptoms that you may typically suffer from when infected by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
But the agony and anxiety do not end with the physiological and physical manifestations of this sexually transmitted disease (STD). Fear of rejection and judgment are quite common and valid feelings, and a person with confirmed herpes diagnosis is no exception.
Overcome stigma with hope
If you suffer from herpes—whether oral herpes or herpes genitalis (genital herpes)—then you know how it feels to think and anticipate that your romantic and dating life may be over. And while you may have visited dating sites for people with herpes at one point, there may be many times in your life that you might feel like giving up on finding an ideal and significant other.
However, despite the societal stigma and the very own pressure that you may put on yourself for having herpes, you need to know that there is still hope. Life does not stop with your diagnosis, and it surely does not end every time you get an outbreak. Dating, finding the love of your life, and marriage, is still possible, even with herpes.
Begin by educating yourself
Dating while you have an STD can be completely overwhelming, and that is quite understandable. While dating as a Christian means honoring your belief to leave sex until later on in marriage, knowing that you have this infection may give you a fear of even investing emotionally.
Our sex life is not always a breeze. Sometimes, we experience loss of libido, which consequently can have an unfavourable impact on our lives. Some women experience a low sex drive that derives from physical and psychological discomfort, for instance, such as discomfort caused by problems in their genitalia.Labiaplasty is a procedure that has been growing in trend across the past years, that aims to help women who are suffering from such physical and psychological discomfort. While some women feel insecure because of such discomfort or else functional or aesthetic concerns with their vagina, other women have a low sex drive for other reasons such as pregnancy or menopause, or depression, among other reasons. It is normal to lose your sex drive at some point in life.
The important step here is to acknowledge your situation and know the facts behind your condition. Remember that it is one thing to be a carrier of this lifelong virus, but another to condemn yourself forever for having it.
Instead, arm yourself with the information you will need to prevent your condition from causing harm to a potential partner. This will also indicate to your potential partner that you are making his or her health safety a priority, allowing him or her to place trust in you despite the situation.
Start by finding resources that can help you understand the disease, whether in published books or online (like a TED talk or similar articles about it). Learn about shedding and dormancy and how you may even live asymptomatic throughout your lifespan.
As you go along learning about herpes and its surprising prevalence, you’ll start your journey towards self-acceptance. This is crucial because even when you find and choose a conscientious partner, at the end of the day, relationships – especially marriage – thrive on authenticity. And the best way to do this is to begin by being true to yourself. By accepting what you have been dealt with and knowing its consequences, you can build enough courage to reveal your genuine self to your spouse.
Reinforce with open communication lines
When you have been infected by HSV (whether HSV-1 or HSV-2), communicating effectively can greatly impact the outcome of your relationship.
From the moment you start dating, you need to learn how to establish and reinforce communication lines with your partner. And while you have all the prerogative to choose the manner and timing of revealing your condition, you need to understand that total disclosure is the end goal.
At the end of the day, if you find yourself in a serious dating relationship, you need to be able to communicate with the person with respect to the status of your sexual health. This is applicable even if you both understand that your sexual intimacy starts after getting married. It all boils down to the positive perspective of ending up in marriage (which ultimately results in sexual intimacy), and your crucial responsibility to inform your spouse beforehand about the means to prevent the spread of herpes.
Be honest and bold enough to admit that you have herpes and discuss its possible implications. This is where your initial step of learning about the disease comes in and how you can refer to the facts to enlighten your partner about your condition. More than seeking acceptance, this is a means to show respect towards your partner as you will be sharing a lifelong relationship of marital intimacy together.
In closing, a herpes diagnosis may be undesirable news, but it does not mean that you will have to live your life in complete solitude. While it may be true that stigma for people with an STD infection can be widespread and challenging, you can help yourself deal with your condition by not allowing societal stigma to dictate your future plans and actions. Start by educating yourself and accepting your situation, then follow through with healthy communication. By being both authentic and open to your partner, you lay the groundwork that will be one of the most important foundations of your marital union.