Telling someone you have herpes and when to have the conversation are issues that I get asked a lot...and there seems to be a great deal of controversy about it too. Some people want to tell immediately and I have even seen people state it in their online dating profiles. They'll even put in the little herpes code #437737 and assume that everybody knows what it means.
From my conversations, most people feel that if they don't tell a new partner right away that somehow they are deceiving them or being irresponsible.
Other people will wait until they know that a connection is made before telling someone you have herpes.
I'm in the corner of not telling someone you have herpes until you have a possible connection or at the very least know that your partner is someone that you'll be interested in dating and getting to know more.
Why is this the best approach?
Simply put, I surely don't need to know about a herpes diagnosis (or any other medical condition for that matter) before I even get the chance to get to know someone. There are too many more important things that you'd want to know...like what type of fun things do they like to do in their free time.
You'd want to know if you and your partner share similar interests. You'd also want to know if you and your friend have the same spiritual beliefs. You basically want to know if you and your friend are compatible before telling someone you have herpes. It just makes sense.
During my 5 years of researching this topic and talking to many of my herpes talk program students, it has proven itself time and time again that if you rush into a relationship telling someone you have herpes, then more often than not you will experience bad results and a lot more rejection.
During the first month or so of any new relationship the main focus should be having fun and getting to know each other. This is the phase of the relationship that will define whether or not you want to move forward. Nobody wants to experience a lot of drama during this critical time and revealing any of your hidden issues is a part of the drama.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel a person is selling herself short if she does not make at least a small attempt to sell me on the many virtues I would encounter if I continued a relationship with her.
I don’t want to know about the warts on the bottom of your feet when I first meet you. I figure I’ll see those while I am learning how beautiful and playful you can be when joining me at the beach and kicking off your socks and shoes.
If you don't explain it right, dropping a bombshell like herpes in
someone's lap will often cause them to run. There are exceptions to
this that I explain further in my program but most people get it wrong.
You will probably stumble through the conversation uncomfortably and make critical mistakes if you tell a partner about herpes before you get to know them. Getting to know them first will actually help you relax and be more confident when you do decide to disclose your diagnosis.
Herpes does not define the person that you are but a lot of people seems to feel that it does define them. Telling someone you have herpes too soon will cheat them out of experiencing the amazing qualities that you have to offer a new relationship. Just let your partner get to know you first. Revealing too much too soon may color how your partner sees you. It defines you before you're ready to be defined.
Most people want to disclose their diagnosis because of their own insecurities about having herpes. Doing things...anything...based on insecurities is never a good thing and leads to more disasters than successes.
When you experience a negative outcome out of an insecurity the effect on your emotions is magnified and can actually reinforce that negative belief in your mind when there is no basis for it.
You may say to yourself something like, "I knew that he
wouldn't find me attractive when he found out!" or "No one will ever
accept me because I have herpes." These are all self-defeating
statements and based totally out a false belief and kill your chances at successfully telling someone you have herpes without being rejected!
Honestly there's no hard and definitive time when telling someone you have herpes. I know this may disappoint some people...especially the people who want an answer immediately. But the thing that you have to remember, is that all relationships grow at different rates. Some people may not be able to invest much time in a new relationship. Some people are more guarded and will take a little longer to get to know. While still others may go on 3 or 4 dates a week.
But for those of you who must have some sort of time line, then I would suggest that you begin telling someone you have herpes no earlier than your fourth date. After 4 dates you should have some sort of idea of whether your new match is someone that you'd like to get to know more of. If not, then by all means wait until you know.
Now, with this being said, you don't want to continue with a relationship with someone that you have a connection with for too long before telling about a herpes diagnosis. If by some unlikely chance that it is a deal breaker, you will not have invested too much of your time or theirs.
Of course if they decide to not to continue to date you it can be painful, but if that's the case, it's better to know before you get too involved. It's complicated if you withhold it and they find out too late. Dishonesty can ruin a potentially good relationship.
It's hard not to kill the mood with your herpes secret, because it's probably not something that can be easily segued from a topic you would normally discuss. However, I recommend some kind of a conversation bridge, such as, "I feel like we're heading in a great direction, so I wanted to tell you something."
Just don't overdo it. You don't want to frame this in a way that ends up making a bigger deal of something you don't want made into a big deal. In other words, make your delivery as drama free as possible.
THE ONLY HARD RULE TO FOLLOW: NEVER EVER Tell Someone In Bed or Any Other Place Associated With Intimacy!
Although this is a good guideline to follow when dealing with all types of relationships, there's only one instance in which it is a hard-and-fast rule...Don't wait until you're naked in bed with someone to tell them you have herpes.
Don't take rejection personally
A good person will listen and be kind and not judge you after telling someone about herpes. But if herpes is something they can't live with, that doesn't make them a bad person. It just makes them a bad match.
And there can be multiple reasons for a rejection -- many of which have nothing to do with you at all. If your Dad was an abusive alcoholic and you date someone who's an alcoholic, you might have to make a choice that it's not healthy to be involved with someone in recovery. It's nothing personal but rather something that you rather not have in your life. It doesn't make your or them a bad person just a bad match.
Besides, your perfect match will accept you no matter what. If things were going well up until the time you told them, keep in mind that they rejected herpes, not you. At the end of the day, it means that they were not the one.
In healthy relationships, people lean on each other and are honest with each other. I want to encourage any of you who struggle over this issue to take a deep breath and relax. Real relationships unfold over time. Don’t try to force the entire relationship into the first few dates. They can learn about you and discover both your wonderful qualities and your liabilities over time.
Do you have a great story about having "The Talk" with someone?
Are you currently dating someone and have a question about having The Herpes Talk?
Share it below and we'll respond as soon as possible!
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