It is not easy or comfortable to talk about sexual health issues with your girlfriend, so here are tips for how to tell her you have herpes. If you have herpes, then you must tell your partner. If you pick the right time and say it the right way, there's a good chance things will work out. It is natural to initially think that she may base her judgment of you on the fact you have herpes. It is also quite possible that you may fear rejection, but in reality, it rarely happens. You may experience an unsupportive response, but most partners are both understanding and supportive. Here are some ways to ease the fear and tension when telling her you have herpes.
- Before you tell her that you have herpes, you have to come to terms with your own diagnosis. Remember that herpes doesn’t change all the wonderful things about you. It has nothing to do with you personality, intelligence, hobbies or bank account. The virus didn't choose you, and you don't deserve it. Be aware that herpes is extremely common. Studies suggest that in some countries, up to one in five people are infected with this virus, whether they know it or not.
- Know the facts before telling her. Having the correct information not only makes it easier for her, it makes it easier for you. There is a lot of information available about herpes, have educational materials on hand for her to read, and be prepared to answer her questions. If you don’t know an answer, don’t make it up, find out.
- If you don't tell her, you are putting her health at risk. When it comes down to the basics of telling, there is no foolproof method. What you say and how you say it are going to depend on your own personal style. Ideally, it’s best to go out on a few dates before telling. Allow the relationship to develop a little. It's going to be easier if the two of you enjoy a level of comfort, and trust in each other's company first. But do tell her before you become intimate with her.
- Tell her you have herpes when you are in a good mood, confident and relaxed. Do not tell her via text, email, or on the phone. Do not tell her at a loud ball game or noisy concert. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable. Look her in her eyes, speak calmly and clearly. If you feel yourself getting nervous, or you start mumbling, take a breath and start over. Keep it simple; discuss the facts about symptoms, treatment, transmission and protection.
- Start out with some statements that are easy conversation starters. "Honey, there's something important I need to talk with you about. I just found out that I have…," or "I really feel that I can trust you, and I'd like to tell you something very personal. Last year, I found out that I had contracted herpes," or "I really enjoy being with you, and I'm glad that we're becoming more intimate. I think it's important that we talk about sex. Can we talk now?" Once you tell her, be prepared for her to express anger, sadness or hurt feelings. Any of these responses are perfectly normal. Make sure you give her time to think about it; eventually she will want to talk.
- Be completely honest with her, negative reactions are the result of misinformation. She might overreact and be upset, and she might not. You trusted her enough to share this with her, and hopefully she will respect that. The hardest part was disclosing this information to her, but the most important part was telling her.
You and your partner should both get tested, and abstain from sex during outbreaks. Make sure you always practice safe sex.