[Image: A person with a beard and a disgusted facial expression giving a thumbs down gesture.]
As most people know, I can see some of the terms that people Google that bring them to my site. One day I checked my stats to see that someone had searched “herpes rejection stories” and found their way to the Scrapbook of Truth. And there was good reason for them to arrive at my doorstep this time. A lot of the searches I get are for porn or weird stuff. But part of having herpes is, unfortunately, rejection. It’s not fun, but it happens and all you can do is respond with grace and understanding.
My first real rejection came in August 2014. I wrote the short story Sore about it. The man in the story was one of the first people I had met from OKC after I had started dating again and I really liked him. Our second date got a lot more physical than I had been expecting and I hadn’t thought to disclose earlier. When it came to the point where we were sitting on his hotel room bed, I knew I couldn’t let it go further. So I told him the truth and he was not okay with it.
I was very hurt and disappointed by his rejection (hence the story). But this is just a fact of life. I don’t hold it against him that he didn’t want to take the risk of contracting it and refused to sleep with me. I would never criticize someone for making what they believe is the best choice for their health. Even though the risk involved with me is very, very low (1% infection rate for a year of regular sex), sometimes 1% is too much. But he was someone that I really liked and wanted to be with. He also would have been the first person that I had sex with after reclaiming my sex drive following my relationship with my ex. Not to mention, we had spend the entire night kissing and touching and I was quite turned on by the time we went back to his hotel room. Being left cold wasn’t fun.
But also, his rejection of me was not just sexually. After he found out that I had an STD he tried to get rid of me. The following day I texted him and told him that I understood why he didn’t want to be intimate with me and asked if we could be Facebook friends. He basically told me to have a nice life. That shit hurt more than him just not wanting to have sex.
Other men have done disappearing acts after I disclosed. After a certain point, I learned not to put stock into anyone as a potential dating partner until I had disclosed. I sometimes would make guesses about who would be okay with it and who would not be. And I was always wrong. So I stopped. Now I just wait to see what they say before I put any stock into the relationship at all. Having an STD can be a deal breaker, not just for the disease itself, but because of all of the stigma and misinformation there is floating around out there about STDs in general.
Rejection isn’t fun. It isn’t pretty. But it’s going to happen when you’re dating. But the only thing you can do is disclose in a way you feel safe, when you feel comfortable, and be prepared for what happens after you do. For every guy that rejected me because of it, there was usually one that surprised me by being okay with it. I didn’t ask to get herpes, but no one that I date wants to contract it either, and I understand that. Rejection hurts. But it’s part of living with an STD.