Many people do not feel comfortable talking about sexuality and sexual health issues. This pamphlet will explore ways of feeling more confident in discussing herpes in the context of a sexual relationship. Cold sores on the mouth and genital herpes are medically the same condition. The significant difference arises from the stigma that tends to accompany a herpes infection that is sexually transmitted. Most people find that their partners are both supportive and understanding. It is a common assumption to initially think that a person may base their judgement of My boyfriend has herpes on the fact you have genital herpes.
However, for most this is a minor skin infection. People fear the possibility of rejection but the reality of this is that it rarely happens. Because fear of rejection is a concern, it leads some to question why they should risk talking about herpes. Accordingly, some people choose not to tell. Instead they abstain during herpes outbreaks, practice safe sex at other times, and hope for the best.
This strategy may have more disadvantages than advantages. First of all, you spend a lot of time and energy worrying that your partner is going to get herpes. For most people, the anxiety over not telling your partner you have herpes is worse than the telling itself. On the other hand, by telling your partner you have herpes and allowing them to enter into the relationship with full knowledge of your infection, you reduce the likelihood of them becoming infected with herpes.
Excuses create distance between partners and often lead to misunderstanding and guesswork. Your partner might interpret your excuses in ways more detrimental to the relationship than an honest discussion of genital herpes would be.
Inaccurate and stigmatising articles and advertising have contributed to many of us having a lot of negative beliefs related to herpes that make it difficult to convince ourselves that others My boyfriend has herpes want to be with us.
Accepting the fact that you have herpes and are still the same person you were before will make it easier to have a fulfilling relationship. The more emotionally charged an issue, the more important it is to find out the facts. Most people know little or no facts about herpes. Frequently, what knowledge "My boyfriend has herpes" have is coloured by myth and misconception. Having the correct information about herpes not only makes it easier for your partner, it makes it easier for you.
Following are some of the basic facts about herpes that might be important points to tell a partner. There is a lot of information about herpes.
Have educational materials on hand for your partner to read. Be prepared to answer their questions. What you say and how you say it is going to depend on your own personal style. Your attitude will influence how this news is received. Psychologists have observed that people tend to behave the way you expect them to behave, and expecting rejection increases the chances of an unhappy outcome. A straightforward and positive conversation about herpes issues is the best approach and may be helped by forward planning.
How long should you know someone before you tell them? Allow the relationship to develop a "My boyfriend has herpes." There are good and bad times to bring up the topic of herpes.
Talking just prior to love-making is not a good idea either.
The discussion could take place anywhere you feel safe and comfortable. Some people turn off the TV, take the phone off the hook, and broach the subject over a quiet dinner at home. Others prefer a more open place, like walking in the park, so that their partner will feel free to go home afterwards to mull things over.
This allows both people to work off a little nervous energy at the same time. Try to be natural and spontaneous. If you find yourself whispering, mumbling, or looking at the floor, stop for a moment and try to speak calmly and clearly. Look your partner in the face.
Your delivery affects your message. The following opening statements represent a variety of nonthreatening ways to prompt discussion about herpes. They are not intended to be regarded as scripts. Try not to be melodramatic. This is not a confession or a lecture, simply the sharing of information between two people.
Avoid negative words and keep the dialogue simple and factual: Could we talk about what this means for us? Look for logical opportunities to bring up the subject. You might even be surprised to learn that your partner has been equally concerned about telling you that My boyfriend has herpes have genital herpes or another sexual infection. In fact, the probability of this is reasonably high, given the statistics My boyfriend has herpes HSV.
People may just need a little time to assimilate the information. This is where having good written information helps. Consider giving them reading material or referring them to a Sexual Health Centre, the Herpes Helpline.
Whatever the reaction, try to be flexible. Remember that it took you time to adjust as well.