A question posed on a support group was:
Do you feel like getting herpes was a 'blessing in disguise'?
Do you feel as though having herpes has forced you to be more selective and to "slow down' when it comes to moving forward in a relationship?
My response to my own question was: "I know it has for me and yes, in a weird twisted sort of way, I'm kind of glad I have herpes because it does make me more selective in who I choose to be involved with. I believe that if all they want is 'a roll in the hay', then they aren't worth it. I've often referred and heard people refer to having herpes as a "jerk or bitch filter" :-)
Here are some of the responses I received from others who have either been recently diagnosed or finally coming to terms with living with herpes due to their current life situation:
John said: Not all of us who have Herpes got it because all we wanted was a roll in the hay! I dated the women who gave myself Herpes for several weeks prior to becoming intimate, we discussed STD'S she said she had none. She took a test for HIV at my request and I did the same. Sometime later she revealed her Herpes to myself (we were still together when she did that). She felt guilty for not telling me about it, but was too late I already caught it from her. One can be selective, educational background etc. means nothing as far as STD'S are concerned and does not pre-determine who will be honest about it and who wont be. I see no blessing with this, being careful has no defense against one who lies about it. I have been alone for 6 years now and expect that will be the case the rest of my life. Is that a blessing? I think not!
Bill said: Some people may have done it to themselves with multiple partners etc. That has never been how I have approached women or sex, still I'm here in this mess. Yes we did use condoms, some I was allergic to, others would break at times. For myself there is no good time to tell a woman I have Herpes, presentation seems to not matter either, they have all passed judgement against myself based on their own ignorance and prejudices and pre-conceived notions. Maybe I should call that the 'bitch filter' For myself, I'm tired of explaining the H thing! If there are good women out there, they are in hiding.
Fred said: My story is close to yours, except he didn't feel guilty about not telling me......and the ending. This will help weed out the women "bitch filter". Some will run, but not all. I know this, because I can honestly say that had my donor told me, I would have stayed and completely educated myself on the disease. I met several GUYS who have had long-term relationships after "H", so the good women are out there. Do, I want this "NO"!! And, I don't consider it a blessing. But, it also isn't an END. I thought that I was undateable after getting this, but realized that this wasn't the case. I also won't see anyone just because they can "accept me". The connotation of "accepts me", bothers me. Its like saying that I'm defective. I tell in advance because its the right thing to do, but, I don't think I'm less or on unequal standing with someone who doesn't have it. We are all people and God loves US ALL THE SAME. Those women that pre-judged you would have wasted your time. You filtered them out. Dating is always difficult, and finding the right one is difficult even with or without "h".
Annie said: If you see yourself being alone year after year, you will be. Because you have set your mind to your destiny. BUT, if you see yourself as having someone, being in a loving relationship, I take the "its their loss, not mine" attitude. You will send out that signal to others and for women that is a magnet. Herpes or not, most women will be drawn to you. Herpes may make the process take longer, because of the filtering out process. But in the end you will have someone who doesn't care about a skin condition or things that can befall someone in the future. Long-term care has caused couples to break up. Cancer, accidents, debilitating diseases etc. Ask yourself, do you really want a KEEPER, someone who will be there in the long haul? Well, if herpes, is an obstacle for them, what are they going to do when something REALLY happens???
Carol said: I feel pretty much the same as John. I hate the thought of having to have "the talk"...so since my divorce, I've pretty much been keeping to myself. I'm a great person, but can't get past that "who wants an old menopausal granny with h stigma"? I am only 47, go figure. Got mine from my darlin ex-hubby who cheated on me, hence the ex part. Maybe something good will come of this. At least I can't die from it.
I don't have herpes said: I dont really care about if my partner has HSV...even though I myself dont have it. There is more to life than that. If I love someone then I will love them for who they are and not hold back because they have a virus. i would be upset if someone neglected to tell me about it for a long period of time. a relationship is built on trust and trust is overcoming fears.
Lorna said: I have had herpes for over 25 years and had not heard how other people with it felt and how they deal with it. I am so pissed at having this. I was diagnosed Christmas Eve 1980, when I was 7 months pregnant. The diagnosis and reading up on herpes led me to choose having a c-section and a tubal ligation. Then, with no anitvirals back then, I just settled into life. I was married - we just continued life as usual. Even with unprotected sex, he never showed symptoms, so it was an occasional inconvenience. After awhile I quit thinking about it. Sixteen years married and they even came out with acyclovir. I really didn't think of herpes as an issue in my life. Then, when I got divorced ten years ago, I realized it meant no more sex. Ever. As soon as I tell a man I have herpes, he is not even the slightest bit interested in me. Scared. And I can't blame someone for that. I've grown used to the idea. It doesn't affect me, because I have had it so long and I take the acylovir prophylactically. But it does affect me. It cuts off part of my life. I filled the last 10 years with school and work and taking care of people. Now I have noticed that we are all mortal, with but a few allotted years. I changed antidepressants and started estrogen. And now I realize again, I am facing a brick wall. So, do I think of it as a blessing? No.
Maire said, Or who even knows! The statistics I have seen say that up to 70% of people who have it may not even know! Worse, a lot of people think that if they're asymptomatic they can't transmit the virus. WRONG. *sigh* And every doc I've ever talked to says that testing for it is inaccurate at best unless the patient has had a recognizable outbreak. Without an outbreak there's no immune reaction sufficient for the presently available tests to detect it. Or so i was led to believe by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, USA). I have been alone for 6 years now and expect that will be the case the rest of my life. Is that a blessing? I think not! As a woman, i admit i would have reacted that way myself to a man telling me he had HSV. Before, anyway. Now i know better....but of course, now it's too late. As for the guy who gave it to me....he WAS a sociopathic bastard who knew he had it, and then had the gall to deny that i had contracted it from him later. F*cktard. Maybe I should call that the 'bitch filter' *lol* Maybe someday i will. I think if i'd contracted it through sex that i wanted to be engaged in i might have a different attitude about it, but for the most part it's just a permanent reminder of an abusive sociopathic man and what he forced me to endure for 8 months. I'm glad that i had the intestinal fortitude to kick him out of my life that quickly, but i wish it had been faster. Much faster. Like the first time he crossed a line. Also, i think if my body were dealing with it well, i might have a different attitude. My body can't handle it, and my immune system has been struggling ever since. It's a little stronger now than it was a year ago, which is saying quite a bit, but it's still not as strong as it was two years ago when HSV was still something OTHER people had. If i weren't still dealing with post traumatic stress, i'd probably be able to view HSV as a jerk filter...but right now it's just one more thing that makes trying to interact with other people romantically feel anywhere from unlikely to improbable, even impossible (though i do know the last to really be literally untrue).
Sally said: It's only been two years for me, but honestly I have had nightmares about getting attached to someone romantically and wanting to make love with them, and then forgetting about it all in a moment of heat. The likelihood of such a thing happening is so remote as to be not worth considering...but my subconscious mind still won't let it go. Frankly, that's probably for the best..at least for everyone else.
Pete said: For myself there is no good time to tell a woman I have Herpes, presentation seems to not matter either, they have all passed judgement against myself based on their own ignorance and prejudices and pre-conceived notions.
Stacie said: having this wonderful virus in my life has made me bolder, more outspoken, and like you said, you get an automatic jerk filter. You find out who really wants you for you, and then there's the rest. I had it for 2 years. I have been called disgusting, nasty, I'm spreading my evil disease around, someone tried to blackmail me with it (little did they know the person they was trying to tell that i had herpes, already knew), make it bad this guy wanted to date me. I made a couple of friends. I starting talking to people about it on a regular basis. I actually like it now when people come to me for advice.
Susan said: I contracted herpes from somebody that knew he had it and wanted me to contract it. We were living in the same house at the time and it turned out he was a con-artist but that's another story. In any case, I do see my having contracted herpes as a blessing in disguise. I believe that God has used what has happened to me for good so that others can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't expect that everybody with herpes will see it as a blessing. I just know that things could have been worse for me is all. Also, the fact that you have been alone for six years.. are you blaming the fact that you have herpes OR are you blaming yourself because that is a decision that you made for yourself?
Angela said: 'bitch filter' 'jerk filter' Whatever you want to call it is fine with me. I think there is always a light at the end of the tunnel for every situation. Things happen for a reason and our lives don't have to be miserable because of those things. Some good can come out of it.
Patty said: its funny because i think its kinda two-fold for me ,,.......did i want to contract herpes? no,,,,,, dont think anyone wants to. but the lifestyle i was in it was kind of inevitable. and i wanted out. i think this was gods way of saying "ok you want out , you're out "! lol
Kelly said: Well, I'm not necessarily glad I got it....I was just so miserable married to this controlling, cheating man and that was my cue to get rid of him. Since he gave it to me. Now he's gone and I feel better. Everything happens for a reason, and something good has got to come out of this...luckily mine is very "mild" however they guage that.
AJ said: I'm with Patty in that I was, as the old song said, lookin' for love in all the wrong places. :) Getting H allowed me to stop and realize I needed to love and respect myself and find a partner who would love and respect me, too. Am I glad I got H? Not really. Am I a better person because of it? Definitely. I like myself better and I find that I'm more compassionate towards others because we all have secrets and issues and burdens we're carrying with us each day and I now consider that more closely when dealing with people. I also look back at my exes and wonder what the heck was I thinking?!?!? lol!
Fred said: Several years ago; I remember a gentleman that posted on here saying that acquiring H actually saved his life! He was heavily into drugs, sex, and other bad things. It was a wake up call for him. He got into a clinic, and got his habit straightened out. He said he was on his way to destruction !!!
Jane said: For myself yes this hsv2 has been of sorts "a blessing in disguise" because it has help me understand and have more empathy for others with this disease and the others. Not that I was anything before this, but this has given me more perspective and a lot more knowledge. I have been "forced" to learn all I can. This does help me do my job better because now I am even more passionate about getting the word out to especially teens..."who think they have a clue but don't". People think I am crazy because I love to talk about STD's...but I do because I want others to understand how easy this is to get. You don't have to be a sleep around to get this...as all of you know it only takes 15 minutes of passion. Because I have God in my life for the past 8 years I have only had one partner, my ex husband. But yeah now that I have been out on the dating scene and if I did not have God..I would be a whole lot more selective.
Lemonade said: Yes, but don't you think you are making a choice to see it as a brick wall? Any time somebody has a say in how they choose to think or feel about something I say that it's NOT the herpes that is causing the issue. It's something else underlying beneath that rug.. lack of self esteem? too much self pity? poor attitude? failure to see the positives? You tell me...
Pam said: When I first was diagnosed last fall, I thought it was the end of the world. That it was a brick wall. I read negative messages on boards, about the stigma on the internet. I felt doomed. After, a few months of feeling doomed, I realized that herpes didn't send me to the place of despair, I DID. I believed everything, I read and heard. I don't believe everything I read in the newspaper or see on T.V. So, why should I believe everything I read about herpes. The first three months, I felt diseased, undateable and unloveable. That I might as well join a convent and call it a day. Yes, there is stigma. But, I realized that I was stigmatizing myself the most. I was my own worst enemy.
Lola said: When I was first diagnosed, I decided to use herpes as my crutch. But, as the months rolled in and I felt that using it as a crutch I was even more depressed. I threw that crutch aside It was either sink or swim. So, I went on a fishing expedition. I told a few guys that I had herpes. And, guess, what.... They didn't run. One, even offered to go to a help meeting to tell women that guys that care about you and not a "roll in the hay" will stay. I didn't pose it as a main factor in my life. That is was just a skin condition to me. I had the statistics and could answer any questions they asked. They told me they appreciated my honesty and that it must have been hard for me. And, if, they ran... I really wouldn't have felt devasted. Because, I know my worth. I didn't feel like.... Well, that should be expected... Who wants to be with a diseased woman. I'm the same person I was before herpes.
Anon said: Defintion of insanity.. Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Well it was time to stop the insanity and try something new. (A POSITIVE ATTITUDE) And, guess, what I got a different result. Happiness, non-rejections and more friends...
Jennifer said: Call it a crutch or a brick wall. Brick walls have been known to be knocked down and people have been known to walk/run again. Its all about choices, your reactions. No, you can't control what others may think or do. But, you sure can control what you do and how you feel about yourself. Are there those that are ignorant about herpes and may say "off-colored" remarks, yes. But, key word.... They are ignorant. And, why would you waste your time with ignorant people when there are so many better things to do...
Carlos said: If you see yourself as being a victim, then they will to. And, no one, wants to be around a victim. Attitude is everything. And, life is a journey. But, only you can choose how you are going to walk it.
Tara said: I don't feel glad that I contracted herpes. But, I will admit. That I wouldn't have missed the journey I had in the last few months. Processing out the anger, forgiveness and acceptance. When you weather out the storms, there is a peaceful sea. I Because, as, I was working out my issues with herpes...was able to work out my issues with myself..Things that were underlying.. And, I am still on this journey... What a ride. Wouldn't miss it for anything..Because I know when it ends I will be a better person for having traveled it....There are so many people with/without herpes that never get to go on that journey to having peace. I am grateful, that I got to go on my journey.... Life is short, so live it and I plan too.... Shouldn't you.....
Snowbunnie said: It's very inspiring to see people not letting this irritant hold you back from living your life. It has been 3 months since I found out and I find I am dealing with it better thanks to this group.
Sean said: Its nice to hear such positive input from people in here. I also have had Herpes for about twenty or more years heck I hope I am not the beginner of it. You live life one day at a time and be honest and all ends up good.
Gifted said: Am I happy that I have this well honestly no. However, I do appreciate how humble and strong I have became from the experiences I have gained with having this. You really do not learn who you are or how strong you are until something happens to you. Dwelling on the consequences will only cause you pain but the experience itself will cause you to grow and become an even stronger person. I did not like pain in the past but now with Christ in my life I fear no evil and have a much stronger appreciation for life. I do like the support this group and others give to people who are new to this. We all need each other and not the stigma this society gives us for having something like this.
MV said: -No I do not feel glad for getting herpes. I wish I was more educated about the disease and aware. I had to find out the hard way. I do agree that the disease makes you slow down in relationships. I guess kind of like a filter. The only thing is eventually you have to have the talk which I find very diffucult.........
Janice said: in a way, yes I am very glad. And much for the same reasons you have said. For most of my adult life, I have been overweight and it has been a great filter for keeping guys at bay. Who wants a fat girl after all? I know this line of thinking is true for me because, as I thin down I am finding myself very panicky at what to do with the attention. Having herpes has given me a different filter for keeping guys at bay. So I can lose weight as I ought in order to live long enough to annoy my grandchildren. Another thing is that I have had a tendency to equate physical intimacy with love. Having herpes and having to have the talk forces the communication issue way out on the table. I like that and have found that I have great conversations and some of my choices in men have been excellent even if we choose to not pursue a relationship. Herpes provides me the opportunity to put the brakes on a runaway relationship so that I can gain some perspective and keep it going at the pace that is truly more comfortable to me. And I have found that there are some wonderful men out there who are intrigued and pleased with a woman who is honest and has a good conversation. I have found that my medical providers trust me with anything since I have been willing to tell other than my gyn that I have herpes. I have also found that all this benefit I am reaping also points to the fact that the world doesn't spin it's axis on the issue of herpes. It all has put herpes in perspective for me: it's a health issue that warrants watching and care, but is not the definition of me nor the center of my focus or life.
Luanne said: Janice, I feel exactly the same way as you in regard to the weight filter vs. the herpes filter :-) I'm right there with ya :-) I also think I blow doctor's away with my candidness about the 'matter of fact issue of having herpes'. I'm not herpes, but I tell so that if others know of someone else in their lives who MIGHT be struggling with it, that they know where they can find someone who has walked in their shoes :-) It's truly all good.
Amanda said: Yes, I feel that H was a blessing in disguise in my life! Through the support groups, I got the support I needed and made many friends! My first NY HELP meeting was in May 1996 and I am still friends with some of the people I met that night! I've also made many friends through the herpes social groups. I helped found the NY Social Group in 1997 and made many friends through that group too. I've also made friends at the national H events and even met my husband at a national event in 2004! I've even gotten jobs and a home because of H. I had a boyfriend with H whom I met at a social event and the old H.A. newsletters in 1997. He had a friend of a friend who was a "headhunter" and she got me a job in the Banking and Securities Compliance business. Thanks to them, I have a great career now. And I bought my studio condo in NYC in 2004 from a friend whom I'd met at the HRA support group meetings. It was a great little place and I was really happy there. So if it weren't for H, I wouldn't have a husband, I wouldn't have all the great friends I have, I wouldn't have a career, and I wouldn't have had the perfect Manhattan home for a year.
TM said: I'll speak for myself and say that while I don't hate the fact that I have herpes, I am definetly not "glad". Basically, if you are glad you have herpes, that means that if you could go back and do it again, you would do the same thing and get herpes. I accept the fact that I have it, but I would go back to that one drunk night and not do what I did. That's just how I feel.