One of the most stressful things, when it comes to dating and herpes, is telling a new partner you have it. The way you approach this talk can make all the difference in the world, for both you and your partner. Many people fear The Talk so much they end up having it too late.
Here are some basic ideas about how to have The Talk and not ruin your chances by having it:
1. Take your partner to a relaxed, private location and try to avoid public settings. Although you might be used to talking or thinking about herpes, your partner probably isn’t, and it may be very awkward for him. He or she will probably feel better if they weren’t feeling exposed or self-conscious at the time The Talk happens.
2. Don’t talk about herpes when you and your new partner are in the heat of passion. Also, don’t try to have the conversation if either of you are preoccupied with other concerns. The best way to do it is have a long, sincere conversation during which neither of you would be affected by other problems or worries.
3. If you try to be confident and accepting of your own health situation, the whole conversation will run more smoothly. This might sound like something that’s easier said than done, but if you show your partner that you are at peace about your condition, and still feel positive about who you are, regardless of herpes, the easier it will be for him/her to respond with acceptance and even confidence. Even though you can’t make someone accept your condition and still be with you after you have the talk, the way you project a sense of being a confident, happy person who lives with the condition, can make a remarkable impact on how your partner accepts the news.
4. Give your partner some time to think about what you’ve just told them. This sometimes means you might have to wait for a few days before you get an answer. It’s ok to give them some time, and not be too invasive once you break the news. They will need the time to adapt to the situation, to maybe educate themselves on the subject a bit, and, finally, to think about it clearly, once the initial shock steps out of the picture. Even if they are instantly ok with the fact you have herpes, they still might need time to process the news and get used to the idea.
5. Be absolutely prepared to provide him/her with all the necessary information about herpes. Be open to answering any questions they might have, no matter how inappropriate those questions might feel. Many people really don’t know much about herpes, and you might get ridiculous questions, but still, be ready to answer all of them. Remember, in this situation you are the calm one, and they are the person who just got a huge load of news that aren’t exactly easy to digest. Help them out.
6. Don’t have The Talk too son, but don’t wait too long, either. Timing can make all the difference on many levels. Try to find your own sense of balance between too soon and too late. Everyone is different, and each relationship is a story on its own. Still, remember you shouldn’t have any skin to skin contact with your genital, pelvic or anal area, before you tell your new partner about your condition. It’s ok to be strategic about the talk, but it’s also crucial to give your partner an opportunity to decide for himself if the wants a close contact with someone who has herpes, or not.