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Avatar universal

Dealing with feelings of resentment - how?

As you may know from my previous thread, I was diagnosed with genital HSV1 this week. I caught it from my current boyfriend who had asymptomatic oral HSV1 (presumably, test results TBD but my sexual history would indicate it's probably him and it's probably oral by statistics). I have come to terms with it now, especially given I am feeling physically a lot better. My question is - how did you deal with feelings of resentment towards your partner for passing it on?

A bit of background - I'm only 23 years old and have been with this boyfriend for ~3 months. We started having sex a month and a half ago and I had never had sex before (but had had oral sex, foreplay, etc.). It was my first series of occasions having sex with someone and I did ask him to have a STD test before. He did but now we know that the test did not cover herpes. This is something we both know he should have been more cautious about/asked, but he was careless. The consequences are not. I am moving in a little more than a month to another city and we had spoken before about breaking up vs. long-distance. In other words, this is not a relationship that will likely last (especially after this!)

I don't mean to be melodramatic, but I am resentful that he will likely live the rest of his life casually warning people he has oral herpes, but hey, so doe 50-80% of the population! I doubt he'll mention that he has previously infected someone and he'll likely just refrain from giving oral sex.

Meanwhile, as the receipient, I will have to live the rest of my life with something I hadn't had to have if he had been more careful. I'd have to tell people I have genital HSV, which is a little harder (or at least more stigmatized).

He has apologized, and seems more sensitive now, but I can't help the feelings of resentment. How did you guys deal with it? It's complicated by the fact that we both know we probably can't do long-distance. We have also not kissed or done anything intimate since I found out. It's definitely lost some of its attraction.

We're going to talk about it likely tonight or this weekend. I don't know what I want - him to compensate me emotionally? I know that's not possible. It'll help when I don't see him every day in a month or so, when I move away.

Sorry for long post.
7 Responses
Avatar universal
Just to let you know that oral herpes is a common STD, over 90% of the population has oral herpes.

HSV1 Genital herpes has far few outbreaks than HSV2.

the good news is that most people with HSv1 genital never have a breakout, its the same as the cold sore.

101028 tn?1419606604
It's up to you what part you let this play in your life. You can make it a heavy ball and chain you drag around with you or you can make it a marble that you can carry around in your purse with you.  We all learn more about std's in hindsight after we've gotten one than we do before that. Our schools do a poor job of educating us about std's, part of which is because our parents and churches don't think they should be telling us. by the time we get to the college level, we are too darn busy to take time to take std's seriously to better educate ourselves. Once we actually get a std though, we start reading and wonder how in the world we didn't know all this before hand!!  

we can't control everything. That is a very hard concept to accept in life though I know.  Your partner wasn't getting tested to know his status. Neither were you. No one ever told either of you I'm sure about hsv1 orally and how you can have it and not know it and transmit it during oral sex to a partner. It's part of why 70% of newly acquired genital herpes infections in the under 25 age range are due to hsv1. No one is talking about it to educate us so we can think about it and ask for testing :(    Hard to be resentful long term for something that wasn't purposefully done to you if you ask me.  

This is all new for you. the way you feel now will not be the way you feel 6 months from now or a few years from now. Give yourself time to adjust to the idea of knowing you have genital herpes. That's a hard hurdle to get over no matter if you have hsv1 or hsv2. Society has stigmatized std's in general because heaven forbid we acknowledge that we are sexual beings and have wants and needs.  We don't think twice when a lover gives us a cold but if they pass on anything below the waist to us, we are conditioned to think that's "bad" instead of accepting it as what it is - germs proliferating and not caring who we are or how we got them.  

Definitely keep talking about this with your partner - it's why you are together. Even though it's still a new relationship, leaning on each other for support is part of why we form relationships in general as humans. You are both dealing with so many different feelings right now - use this to grow as a couple , don't let it rip you apart before you really even had a chance to learn about each other.

Avatar universal
Hello friend,

There are 2 types of herpese hsv1 and hsv2.  It is rare to get type 1 genital herpes but it does happen.  

Hang in there, I know that the initial reaction to any type of news espeically these kind of news is shock, and I don't blame you, we are all there with you and you are not being melodramatic at all, trust me.  

Just to give you an example, not sure if this story will help you feel better or not, I have just been there for a friend who received the same thing as you did but she got hsv1 genital from her husband, they must of had oral sex while he had a cold sore on his mouth and the next thing she knew she experienced certain symptoms and was diagnosed with genital hsv1.  And believe you and me they were both tested and they knew about him having cold sores, but no one thinks that this will lead to something more severe.  

Today, she is in a much better place, i spoke to her and she said that there are worst things in this world and thank God she has her health and she is fine.  You should feel the same way.  So this happened and yes, it is hard to grasp but at the end of the day, it is not the end of the world, I'm sure you have a lot of things to be thankful for and you should remind yourself of those things every day.  You will go thru a period of shock for awhile, questions on hows and whys will go thru your head, I get it, trust me, but eventually you have to tell yourself that
there are worst things out there and if this is the only thing you have than you will be more than ok.  Keep positive, just try.

As for the STD testing, based on myh own experience, it is very important to be very specific on what you want done, because just because you say that you want to get STD testing, doesnt necessarily mean that they will do everything, so always be very specific and ask a lot of questions.  For instance, at the gyno office for women, they do generally run all of the tests but at the general doctors office, you need to be specific.

Goodluck with everything!!!!
Avatar universal
Thanks to you both, Grace and curioustoknow, for your responses. I read through them in detail and I think it helped with my talks with him in the last day or so.

I did have a talk with him this morning and a little last night. Mostly, he listened, and I shared my worries, feelings of "what if we had not..etc." and even how it didn't seem fair that I would live the rest of my life likely having this at the back of my mind while he will probably not (even that he had infected me). It must have been a hard thing to hear, but it  helped me to talk about it. Unfortunately, though, I see no "resolution" - it's not like at the end of a talk I would reach a breakthrough, just feel better talking.

The hard thing is continuing to keep this from my family and friends (apart from my best friend and him) - it would break my parents' heart (they're conservative people) and I have to be aware of anyone I tell will also knows he gave it to me, and hurt his reputation as well. I'm the type of person who likes to share news, good and bad, with others, and keeping this to myself and not tell my roommates or even family has been hard.

The way forward - be cognizant of outbreaks (and hope I don't have many). Figure out if this relationship is worth trying long-distance, especially given this additional incident. Try to not let this affect me too much as a person - as much as I feel differently, I am the same person. Try to figure out how and best time to have future "talks".

Does anyone have awareness of how this is seen in Asian countries - where I am relocating to - i.e. how common it is and how stigmatized?  

Also, has anyone ever talked to STD Clinics (he went to a public city one, so you would think they would have informed him better) about making such information (i.e. which STDs it tests) more apparent? The ironic thing is we're both highly educated people who simply were ignorant. It could happen to anyone.

Thanks again for the kind support and responses through this difficult time.

Avatar universal
One additional question - I alluded to it in my first post. We have not done anything intimate (even kissed) since I found out. More of an emotional issue than anything else, but it's starting to feel like I'm dating my roommate (who happened to give me herpes...)

I know it's a personal risk that I need to evaluate, but does anyone have any thoughts/stats/info on whether it's safe to kiss or even maybe eventually have sex genitally or orally?
I am guessing he has oral HSV1 (test results tbc in next few days,but won't tell him where it is). I obviously have genital HSV1 but am a bit worried about whether I have oral too (no symptoms yet).
1. If I kiss him, I may catch oral HSV1 if I haven't yet built the antibodies, right?
2. If I give him oral sex, this MIGHT give him HSV1 if he doesn't have genital HSV1. We would probably use condoms, but know that is not 100% safe.
3. If he doesn't have genital HSV1, I presume it's also unsafe to have sex with him (with condoms, after my outbreak completely ends). Right? Compared to anyone else though, you would think because he presumably gave it to me he'd have the antibodies.

I know this is all a risk and based on chance/stats, but any info/anecdotal or otherwise, appreciated.
897535 tn?1295210035
When I found out I had HSV1, I had some similar feelings and slight resentment towards my partner. I had it genitally now, and he had had it for 30+ years with ne'er a cold sore since his teen years. Neither of us knew the risk of having oral sex, whether he had a cold sore or not. We just never ever thought about it. Still, over time, it really has become such an incredible non-event in my life. It will just take time to you get over the initial emotions of having it.

As to who you tell - no reason to feel compelled to tell anyone you're not comfortable with telling. That being said, conservative or not, statistically at least one of your family members has oral herpes! It's not dirty or bad; it's a skin condition, plain and simple. And furthermore, someone in your family almost certainly has genital herpes too - it's all based on the factual statistics of herpes. Granted, they may not know it, as a good 80-90% don't. But for them to judge you is incredibly wrong. Education is key with herpes. Even when I shared it with my sister and a couple close friends, I knew they needed to be educated about it, just as I had to be. Every single one of them did not know that it could be transmitted oral to genital, and pretty much all of them agreed that it wasn't a big deal and life goes on (especially my friend who'd just had a mastectomy - kinda put it in perspective). But still, no need to feel burdened to tell anyone who may judge you. As I said, two years later and no symptoms for a year, I never think about it, aside from when I post on this forum. It clearly does no define me, at all.

As to when to have sex again (and no reason whatsoever not to, even if your BF is negative), it will come in time, based on your physical and emotional healing. My sex life is as good as ever, and after I got through my initial OB and a few weird feelings (similar to what you wrote), once again it all dissipated into the wordwork.

If he is HSV1 positive, presumably oral: there is no reason to worry about any form of sex, as him having antibodies gives him significant protection against getting it genitally. I know on the experts forum, Dr. Hook and Dr. Handsfield write time and time again that it's a non-issue. Should you, or he, be having an outbreak, just avoid sex (not that you'd want to - ouch!)....

Even if your partner, or any future partner, is HSV1 negative, genital HSV1 sheds very little. You could consider using dental dams for oral sex and condoms for intercourse. As to kissing, personally I can't imagine refraining from it, nor will I. I have no way of knowing if I have oral herpes, as I've never had any symptoms. Kiss away, and of course with any partner you can discuss all of this! Education is key :-)

Have you read the herpes handbook? http://www.westoverheights.com/genital_herpes/handbook/view_the_chapters.html   It's a great resource. Terri Warren has a great book as well, "The Good News about the Bad News" for newly diagnosed and their partners.
101028 tn?1419606604
One of the main messages at the CDC std conferences the last few years has been that it's important to tell people what they are being tested for as well as what they aren't being tested for - mainly herpes.  the public health clinics don't have the funding to offer routine herpes blood test screening ( or much of any screening in this economy unfortunately ) so they want them to start saying specifically that you aren't being tested for herpes and offering info as to where you can be tested. Obviously the message is slow getting out there everywhere :(  Also unfortunately they still do not recommend herpes testing as a routine std screening when all the panels get together . Makes no sense to me that they will recommend hiv testing yearly for everyone over the age of 12 when only 1% of the population has it but won't recommend herpes testing yearly when 60% of adults has hsv1 and 20% has hsv2.  Ok , off my soapbox.... Still I think most of us just assume we are getting tested for "everything" when we ask for std testing so most folks assume herpes is included in that testing when it isn't.  

as for future partners, talking about your hsv1 infection is a good opening to talking about their own std testing and status. You can still contract hsv2 so getting potential partners screened is important so you can both make educated decisions about what precautions to take together.  Unless you get obvious cold sores, no easy way to know if you also have hsv1 orally or not. Discuss with partners this and decide together if you want to have protected oral sex or not.  If a partner has hsv1 orally, they are at very low risk of contracting hsv1 genitally from you. Usually just avoiding sex anytime you have any genital symptoms is all it takes to protect them. Even a hsv1 negative partner is at low risk but it's worth talking about. hsv1 genitally only sheds about 3% of days. the odds of having sex on one of those days is very low in general.  

You started building up protective antibodies against hsv1 from the moment you were infected.  No reason to worry about kissing your partner at this point.  Also no reason to worry about giving him hsv1 genitally through oral sex at this point either to be honest.  the risk is so low of that occurring that it's not worth worrying about other than if you have an obvious cold sore present, avoid sex to err on the side of caution.  

keep asking questions :)
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