How to tell the truth about herpes after having had sex.

Dear Dr. Amy:

I have been seriously involved with a man for almost a year now. I have hidden the fact that I have herpes from him. I take acyclovir daily, try to watch my diet, and I exercise. I haven’t had an outbreak in about a year. The point has come in our relationship that we are thinking of moving in together.

I know I have made the mistake of not being honest with him regarding my affiliation with herpes. But how do I approach the subject? Do I admit that I have been dishonest this whole time? What should I do? I am absolutely sure that I must speak about this with him, but I feel like such an ass for being so deceitful. The whole time I have been with him, I have been so uncomfortable when sexual relations are brought into play.

I have a feeling I will lose him. I don’t really want to give him up.

Dr. Amy’s Response:

Your questions and concerns address why many people fear telling a partner that they will lose the relationship. Sometimes individuals decide to tell depending upon if the relationship is serious or casual. HERPES DOES NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN LOVE AND LUST. 

I agree with you that you must speak with your lover. Timing is very important. Choose a time and place where you can have uninterrupted time when you tell him. This is certainly not a topic to bring-up in the heat of a moment as you need to deal with his and your reaction. 

Let him know honestly why you did not tell him sooner. Claim your feelings of guilt about being deceitful. If you lie about how long you have had herpes, you will still be carrying a secret. This can continue to create guilt and distance in your relationship. As you also mentioned, keeping this secret has created discomfort for you sexually.

In addition to expressing your feelings, it may also be helpful to have some information about herpes available so that his medically related questions can be answered.

There is no guarantee as to how your lover will respond. The fact that you have been together for a while and plan on living together indicated there is a foundation for your relationship. Build it on trust. It will last longer.


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