One of the single most difficult things that a person with herpes can face in a relationship is “The Talk.” In fact, I personally know a few individuals that have genital herpes that almost avoid relationships altogether, because they don’t want to have to divulge it. Personally, I don’t think anyone needs to go to that extreme. If you have herpes, then you know that herpes is extremely contagious and when you’re in a relationship, it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed before things get intimate. I hear time and time again about how individuals caught herpes because their partners willingly never told them. I don’t believe there’s any excuse for that. Everyone deserves the choice whether or not to be intimate with someone that possesses herpes. It would not be fair for them if they didn’t know something that would affect their life if they caught it. Most people are scared of telling their partner because of how he or she will react. Here are a few simple guidelines that may help you get through “The Talk.”
First and foremost, you never want to tell someone that you have herpes when you’re already under the sheets. When you think your relationship is to the point where you might become sexually active, that’s a good time to start discussing it. Some people like to tell people right away, so they feel there’s nothing to hide going into the relationship. I believe potential partners should get to know you a bit, before you give out this personal information.
One of the keys is that you’ll want to make sure that you don’t frighten your potential partner when explaining to them that you have herpes. Make sure that you think of how they might respond so that you can best prepare yourself with the information that they might need. Being knowledge about about the virus is extremely helpful to answer any initial immediate questions they may have. Try to avoid telling them that you have a problem that you need to talk to them about as this might already set panic in on them. You need to be straight forward and honest with the person before considering sexual intercourse. They deserve that much from you with this kind of commitment.
You may start off with “There is something I need to tell you. A few years ago, I contracted herpes from my boyfriend/girlfriend,” etc. Calmly explain to them what herpes is and maybe telling them that one in five people suffer from this condition or that even as high as 80% of the HSV-1, oral herpes and may not even know it. You may also want to tell them about ways that you can avoid passing it and how you can both lead healthy, active sex lives without ever infecting your partner. However, mentioning that herpes is a disease might not be in your best interest when trying to keep the conversation calm. Most people tend to freak out when they hear the word disease. Mentioning that herpes is common might help ease some of their concerns and make swallowing this news a lot easier on them and you.
Find the perfect time to tell your partner this news. Don’t force the action on someone by calling them at work or walking into their home before a date and saying that you need to talk about something. Wait for the perfect time, like over a romantic dinner or something. Don’t become defensive when talking about your herpes as the other person will more than likely have questions concerning it. Even if you have herpes, it might still be in your best interest to politely ask if your potential partner has any sexually transmitted diseases as well. This might protect you from further discomfort. The news might be hard for your partner to deal with at first, but time should help heal this problem. You and your partner will grow from this and have a better relationship because of the honesty.