"The disclosure was the opening, but there is no block, as far as herpes is concerned, as far as connection and intimacy."
When you know you're going to be with someone for a long time, you make trade-offs and evaluate risk/reward. For most people, herpes becomes a non-issue in a long-term relationship. You'll look back on how much you worried in the beginning and realize that the disclosure was just the opening to a deeper relationship, and you might be surprised to find that herpes isn't the block that you feared it would be as far as connection and intimacy is concerned. In the first few years after getting herpes, whenever an outbreak would start to come on, it would take me right back to the first day of my diagnosis: I would feel dirty and unlovable. And I would project all those insecurities onto my partner. I'd go in defense mode. The freight train of shame would have a big impact on our connection and relationship ... and I would blame it all on this thing called herpes as the thing that disconnected us, that made it so difficult. But what I wasn't seeing was that it was a self-created experience. It had little to do with a virus and so much to do with my perspective. I finally saw the light and saw what I was doing ... then I got curious what would happen if I flipped my perspective on its head. So the next time I had an outbreak, I went to my partner and said (playfully, confidently) — "I'm still so turned on by you, but I'm on the verge of having an outbreak, but I still want to explore intimacy together in new ways. Are you down for that?" I felt flirty and playful and sensual, all of which I normally wouldn't have access to when having an outbreak. This kind of openness together became an outlet for creativity and allowed us to connect during an outbreak, and led to so much healing and growth.