Why do we feel the need to segregate ourselves to STD-only sites anyway? Who are we to minimize our chances of finding our fish in the sea by limiting our sea to only the herpes fish? How presumptuous are we to make the decision for our potential lovers by taking ourselves out of the general dating population? Let them make that decision for themselves about whether or not they want to be with you, just like you'll be weighing the options when you determine if you want to be with them or not, too. So let’s not pre-reject ourselves, shall we?
Dating someone with herpes or not is a preference. In the dating world, some people have deal breakers and pet peeves that they just can’t be with. Some people can’t tolerate kissing smokers, some people don't mind it a bit. Some people can’t live with people who travel all the time, some people can. Some people couldn’t date little people or super tall people; to others, that’s their thing. Some people don’t want to chance getting herpes, some people can. Being human involves having a smorgasbord of characteristics that make us all unique in who we are and what we like.
And everyone’s got baggage and skeletons in the closet, too. Everyone’s got stuff they carry shame around. Herpes just happens to be one of those things for us. There are plenty of things that I’d rather not “admit to” on the very first date before the prospective partner has had a chance to get to know the real me, the deep-down me. And think about it: imagine a world of segregated dating sites that are baggage-specific that everyone was expected to hole themselves up in ... Not much of a dating pool, right?
The very reason there are STD-only sites out there speaks to our own shame of somehow being “found out” — whatever that means to each of us. I’ve felt that way myself early on in this journey. Like, “Damn, if anyone finds out about this, they’ll definitely run away screaming, much less want to sleep with me.” Then when I have shared these supposed deal-breakers, the general response has been "Really? That’s it?” Sometimes we hide ourselves based on false assumptions and projections. Everyone has shame, herpes or not; herpes just seems to be a more visible version of shame, right? The point is, it’s unfair to make a decision for someone who hasn’t even had the pleasure of meeting you yet. Rejecting ourselves before anyone else might.
If roughly 16% of Americans ages 14-49 have genital herpes (view all the herpes stats in the ebook and handouts), then only dating within that pool cuts out 84% of the American population (and that's only if you go for both men and women!). You are cutting out quite a sizable amount of potential suitors. If you don’t even let the non-herpes population know you exist, you are taking all those great people who could care less about herpes off the menu. And that’s simply not fair to those people who would fall deeply, head-over-heels in love with you, regardless of herpes. And yes, one of the biggest fears we have is to be rejected. And yes, if you put yourself out there more, there are more chances of being rejected. But you’re also cutting out the potential of being accepted. So don’t make the decision for all your potential lovers out there. Learn how to be okay enough with who you are to put yourself out there and take the chance.
There is a deeper strength that can be developed in living with this and disclosing herpes to potential partners. It says a whole lot about the kind of trustworthy person you are. And isn’t that the foundation to any real relationship anyway? When disclosing that we have herpes comes from the heart instead of shame, then there really is no such thing as rejection (more in the free e-book). It becomes a preference they are working from instead of a personal put-down to your worth as a human being. Disclosure becomes a caring and authentic thing we do that shows the kind of person we are — at our core, underneath it all. I really do believe that herpes can be an opportunity to really get the depth and connection in relationships that we've been looking for.