I chose celibacy rather than take the risk of having ‘the herpes talk’ with every potential Mr. Right. I wanted a time out. I thought … What man with an ounce of sense would take a chance on catching an incurable disease? I now consider myself to be a big bad brave 'Herpes Warrior,' slaying the demons of fear, anger and shame! But, there was a time when my light saber couldn’t seem to annihilate my fears of being undesirable, rejected and exposed.
I dove into my celibacy head first. I told myself that I wasn’t LOSING love, intimacy or relationships. I was GAINING clarity, peace of mind and a new understanding of who I was. I wore my celibacy like a badge of honor and proudly let everyone, who would listen, know that I was celibate. I felt empowered and safe behind my choice of celibacy. I could control when and if I ever had sex again. And I didn’t have to worry about some jerk spreading around town that I was contaminated!
Celibacy had some definite perks. By not nurturing a relationship, I had more “me” time. I participated in numerous self-development workshops, went on a retreat, volunteered, and started writing my book. I could spend as much time on myself as I wanted. I didn’t have to rush home to anyone or cook for them. My time was better spent regaining my self-esteem, rediscovering who I was, honing my gifts and talents, and seeking a passionate and purposeful life.
I discovered that not thinking about the whole dating scene and the stress of maintaining a relationship had some profoundly positive effects on my life. It allowed me to deal with the diagnosis in a more compassionate way. When I was first diagnosed with herpes, I was so distraught. I couldn’t think clearly and was more consumed with how I got the disease then dealing with the virus itself. I wanted to know who handed me this virus on a silver platter. Then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks: It doesn’t matter who gave it to me. I am still going to have herpes! Forever, unless some cure comes along or divine healing occurs. I realized that I was giving all my power to this infection and it was stifling my growth and understanding.
Now, after 5 years of celibacy, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the clarity that has come from life without sex. I didn’t realize how much thought and effort went into the dating game until I was no longer a part of it; and I have saved a ton of money eliminating the need for Victoria Secret lingerie and bikini waxes.
I advise every person infected with herpes to choose celibacy until you are 100% ready to have “The Talk.” Why? Because it isn’t fair to lead someone on and then suddenly disclose your status 3 months into the relationship. To do that is being disrespectful, manipulative and cowardly. I say, “Be upfront as soon as possible, at least by the 3rd date.” Even if you are rejected, you will be seen as having the utmost integrity and bravery. And while we all deserve love, it should come from a pure honest place. Not from a place of half-truths and deception. Just imagine how wonderful you will feel when you meet Mr. Right, tell him about your status and he simply replies, “You are worth the risk!”