I Waited Over 10 Years to Tell My Wife
I have had herpes for about 20 years. I worked in the nightclubs in my 20s, and was pretty promiscuous. Actually, I would have sex with nearly any girl that was pleasant to look at and would let me. I still remember all the emotions that went through me when I had my first outbreak. I had just started dating a girl that I had liked for quite some time. I was scared, and immediately went to see a doctor. He was pretty blunt, if not rude, about the whole thing. He handed me a tube of Zovirax cream, and said I would have this my whole life. That was it.
I immediately took my girlfriend to the doctor and had her checked. She was told everything was fine, and was sent on her way. We used condoms from that point on, but neither of us had ever been told about any kind of medication or anything to treat it. I don't know if it was available back then. Anyway, at some point we both decided to go our separate ways, and she never had any symptoms.
A few years later, I met who would become my first wife. We talked about the herpes before we got married. She was OK with it, and never brought up the subject again. We were married for 6 years, and to my knowledge she never caught it. I had frequent social contact with her after for a while after we split, and it was never talked about.
My (2nd and last) wife and I just had our 9th anniversary this year, and have been together for somewhere around 12 years. I am in my early 40s, she in her late 40s. I never told her that I had herpes until about 3 weeks ago. She initially took it better than I expected, though she was disappointed that I didn't trust her enough to tell her in the beginning. She said if I had told her about it in the beginning, it wouldn't have made any difference in her decision to marry me. It's hard to say for sure if it would have really made a difference, but I believe her.
A couple of weeks ago she developed a couple of sores. She was angry beyond belief - and rightly so! She immediately scheduled a doctor appointment and had a culture and blood tests done. She got every test for every STD known to man, including AIDS. This last week has been the most miserable of my life. I can't complain about the way she has treated me, because I deserve every minute of it. However, I have thought about what I have done to her. I never gave her the choice to make the decision for herself if she was willing to take this risk. I also never started any medication because she does the bills and would know.
Today, the doctor called. The sores were nothing more than ingrown hairs or something like that. There was no trace of anything in the culture. The blood test shows that she has been exposed to herpes, but the doctor said if she is showing to have been exposed but has not had an outbreak by now, she probably won't. She will only carry the virus. We have spoken, and she is now OK with the status of things, and we will work on repairing our relationship. I will also continue on the Valtrex I started last week.
MORAL: Be open and honest FROM THE BEGINNING. I don't necessarily mean on the first date, but at the point that you think things may progress beyond the friendship stage. You need to give the other person the opportunity to make that choice on their own. We, as a community of people exposed to this virus, need to do all we can to stop the spread of it, and not allow others to go through the devastation and heartbreak that we did.