Dating With Genital Herpes: Dating Yourself First

Dating With Herpes- Know Thyself

Do you have genital herpes and are terrified to date? Are you terrified of the rejection? Have you been alone, waiting to get enough courage to even talk to a guy or girl? Then I have the perfect solution for you…

Start by dating yourself!

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, you can stop thinking about your loneliness and victimhood and start thinking about all the reasons why you are an awesome catch! I first got this idea from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”. At the time, I was single and I wanted so much to find that perfect guy. I would imagine what our lives would be like, where we would live, what activities we would enjoy together etc… But there was one catch. I had genital herpes. At the time, I thought it would be a deal breaker, so I decided to turn inward and “date myself.” What do I mean by this?

I decided to take myself out on dates. Going to the movies, out to dinner, to art shows, skiing, candlelit baths… you name it. If it lit me up, I would make it a point every week to do at least one thing that I totally loved… AND I did it SOLO. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any friends, but I wanted to remind myself of what I loved about life and what made my heart sing. I wanted to know that even if I never met someone, I could totally love and accept myself for who I was. How could I expect someone else to love me unconditionally, if I didn’t love myself! Now I know that there are millions of women out there with genital herpes that have resigned to be alone for the rest of their lives. Hey….I’m talking to YOU. I am living proof that there is a love life after a diagnosis of genital herpes. You are your worst enemy! After I really learned to love my own company and I was able to release and surrender to the great mystery of life, my now husband came into my life. I’ll let you in on a little secret… I even bought myself a ring to signify my wholeness and completeness despite my not having met my man yet. (If you want to read about that magical experience, you’ll have to read my book: Live, Love and Thrive with Herpes: A Holistic Guide For Women).

Now, take a moment and think of the happiest and emotionally healthiest couples you know. More likely than not, they are happy because they individually know who they are: their strengths and weaknesses. Genital herpes gives us a unique opportunity to really practice and learn radical self love and this starts with two simple words… Know Thyself

How do you do this?

  1. Make a list of your favorite things to do
  2. Make a date with yourself to do one of your favorite things. (Put it in your calendar)
  3. Make a list of your best traits
  4. Whenever you feel down, refer to number 3 and do number 2
  5. Journal your experience

Believe me, your attraction quotient will soar when you start making dates with yourself on a regular basis. After getting out in the community and experiencing your birthright of joy, you will begin to evolve from the inside out. You will rediscover your awesomeness. As your self confidence begins to resurface again, then it’s time to get out in the dating scene again. I have met so many women who have used this solo time to make some fundamental lifestyle changes that dramatically shaped their lives. They began to eat better, exercise and take overall better care of themselves. Use your genital herpes diagnosis as a stepping stone toward the life you never thought was possible. Never give up on your dreams! I know I didn’t. I am now happily married and raising the most amazing little girl in Boulder, CO. None of this would have been possible if I didn’t first take the time to Know Thyself.

Live. Love. Thrive.

Dr. Kelly Amazon Bestselling Author    


  1. Nia Ngoma says:

    I read your suggestions and I go dinner, movies, concerts and I travel alone. My reason is that I will be alone the rest of my life so I better get used to it. I’ve gone out on several dates in the past year, but I never went out on a second date. I always just stop communicating with the guy because I feel I’m being hypocritcal. I know I have this virus and I just feel like we’re out having a great time and looking forward to seeing each other again, but I have this secret. It just feels wrong and I don’t know why or how to shake it.

    • Dr. Kelly says:


      I am so glad to hear that you are out there having a good time; however, at some point you need to open up and share. Believe me, most people feel relief after they have shared. Please don’t allow herpes to rob you of a love life. You deserve it!

      I would suggest you first share your story with us women on our forum. Ask for other’s advice. Read other women’s success stories. If this isn’t enough, check out my online course to get you over the hump to feel empowered and lovable.

      Thank you for being part of this community of Women Supporting Women With Herpes

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

  2. T A says:

    I actually just experienced telling someone that I looked forward to spending a lot of future time with about my diagnosis and I haven’t heard from that person since. It left me with this perception that I will experience this everytime I open and share. And we’d been friends for years. So some level of trust had been established. In reading this I can be confident and ok with being alone and being all for ME! I have a lot of love to give but not to be rejected and put down for this condition.

    • Dr. Kelly says:


      Thank you so much for sharing! I can totally understand your fear of opening up again in the future. The best advice I have for you is to “bookmark” this experience. What I mean by that is to acknowledge how you are feeling right now. Consider writing it down in a journal. Then, step into a place of possibility. What would be the worst case scenario and the best case scenario? Write it all down. After you have gone through this exercise, begin to focus on what you would like to attract into your life. What you want and dream of at night. Where the mind goes….energy flows. While that might seem silly right now, it is so true! Know that anything and everything in life is still possible for you and that there is someone out there who is perfect for you. Our past does not have to create our future! Your next experience could be totally different than the experience that you just had. I hold much hope and grace for you.

      Once you are able to “bookmark” this and all the different scenarios played out in your mind, take the time to surrender. This is where the grace happens. My guess is that you will look back on this in the future and see that it wasn’t so bad and you will acknowledge your growth and how your worst nightmares never came true.

      If you need some help in the meantime, I encourage you to post on the forum, purchase my book and/or purchase my Foundations Course. All of these are amazing resources to help you to stay focused on the positive.

      I have faith in you!

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

  3. Kalee says:

    I’m newly diagnosed as of 3 days ago and I don’t know if I’m in shock or what. Anyway, I’ve already been single and abstaining for a couple of years and have been dating myself for sometime.

    Now adding this into the mix of dating seems like all the air has been sucker out of the room. It’s certainly a new chapter on all accounts and at 42, no kids and never married. …my daily goal is to just keep from putting my head in the sand.

    THANK YOU for your insight and all the tools you provide because I know I will never tell my family and friends that I have herpes, but am grateful for an outlet to talk to.

  4. Laura says:

    Thank you Dr. Kelly,

    for your amazing work for women with herpes. (and their men and men who also benefit from your resources) I have had it for 30 years, and I recently separated after 25 years of marriage. I never thought I would have to have “the talk” again. I found your inspirational website, when I needed updated information about herpes in general. I have to say that I have been starved for attention and intimacy, and sexual attention. It was missing in my marriage, for many reasons. So, I was so worried about this. I found someone I really like who I needed to have “the talk” with. I am waiting for his decision. I felt incredibly relieved. And because of Dr. Kelly, I am going to be fine with whatever his answer will be. Because, herpes is not who I am or who we are. Herpes is a nuisance. Its a thing we have to deal with. I learned things from telling him. I will take that knowledge and apply it to next time… Because, you know what? We only have one life. I know that is cliché. But, really, I want to have happiness, love, desire, challenges, hopes, dreams, all the magic of Hallmark movies! I could die tomorrow. You could die tomorrow. I want to have an undeniable connection, with another. I want to experience life with someone who gets me. Someone who will lay his life on the line for me. And there are men out there, who will do that for ME! Me, with herpes! YOU with herpes. I rarely said the word during my marriage. I would say H. haha. Now I am going to say it! HERPES!!! So what? Who the blank cares! OMG, look that girl over there, she has a cold sore! And look over there, that guy, he has a rare skin condition! Gasp!

    We all deal with things every day. I am not going to let this rule my future. I know what was missing in my relationship with my husband of 25 years. I know what I want in the future with another man. I know myself. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know what deal breakers are on my list.

    Life is amazing. I love so many things in life. I am passionate about so many things, I want to share the passion I have with another person! With my marriage, we didn’t connect on so many levels, that neither of us, felt the joy about the things we did, and liked because they didn’t match up. We were not a match. Think of all that can happen between 2 people when you are a match. Yep! It’s a Hallmark movie!
    You get to experience life and all this world has to offer on a totally different playing field.

    So Nia, TA, are you with me? Those guys…. say, “See you!”. There are a lot of guys around have you noticed? Yep, I do believe there are more than 2 guys living in my town. What are you waiting for?

    Heres to me, Heres to you!
    : ) I can not wait for my future to begin.

    Dr. Kelly, your work is changing peoples lives!
    And I thank you because you already changed mine.

    • Dr. Kelly says:


      Thank you so much for speaking up and taking a stand for women with herpes. You, dear, are now a source of inspiration for others. When we can stand in our power and feel good about ourselves, regardless of any labels placed upon us, we are more powerful than any obstacle. Cheers for you staking your claim on a man that will unconditionally love you. You deserve it!

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

  5. Laura says:

    Thank you Dr. Kelly! You made my week! To even think I could be an inspiration to others, makes my soul feel good. And, you know what, I say to myself, ” Yes I can!”

  6. Laura says:

    Hello again! It’s me. Laura, with a little update to my story above. At my last post I told you all I had given the talk to a man I really liked, and was waiting on an answer. Before I go on, and you are dying to know, I don’t have the answer yet. But, I wanted to share something on my mind about “our talk”. When I told him, i did ask him if he had cold sores. To my surprise he said yes. Me, “how often do you get them?” Him, “about every 3 months or so.” So I went about the rest of the talk. Keep in mind this is a very smart and level headed guy. He did comment that having cold sores and genital herpes was not ” the same thing.”
    Since that conversation, I have given him space and our “talks and texts” have been more friendly than sexy, laugh out loud, here! I think both of us like each other, we connect, the sexual attraction is through the roof, and we connect on on many levels. I think he really likes me, girls! He’s hot! We also challenge each other.
    Then I read Dr. Kelly’s first chapter and how she contracted herpes. I find out more info and the science behind the HH virus’s that are prevalent in most of our bodies. I learn cold sores are caused by HSV-1 and are commonly transmitted to the genitals (causing genital herpes) through oral to genital sex. Up to 40% of genital herpes is caused by HSV-1.
    Wow! Like, OMG WHOA, kind of Wow!
    Because, immediately what comes to my mind? Why shouldn’t he (or those with cold sores) have to have “the talk” with a potential sex partner? Because there will be times he has a cold sore and he will not be able to perform oral sex, and kiss and all! Seriously! Think about it!
    I can hear the naysayers now!
    In our texts back and forth since, I feel I am the persuer and I am waiting for him to decide If he’s wants me. Well, I decided I had enough, I turned the tables!
    He was all flirty and fun but somewhat withholding than before. I get that. I gave him good web sites to learn the information. I decided I’m a good catch and basically said, this is me, your in or out, until then, don’t contact me.
    I will let you know!!! 😉

    • Keepmesane says:

      Hi Laura,
      I am fairly new to this forum and I came across your post. Reading it gave me hope. I am newly diagnosed. Before this diagnosis I had a hard time dating and now I feel this makes it harder. I’m curious how did your ending turn out?

  7. Kash says:

    Hello ladies
    I actually just found out that I have herpes, I thought it was a hair bump that lasted for 3 weeks until something told me to go to the doc, I went and she told me that they were not hair bumps, she then ask me if I ever had an STD before and I didn’t, she did test and sent them off && that’s when I received that bad that it was positive , so much was running through my mind as in OMG I hope I don’t have HIV not that I read up on HH , who will love me, how did I get this and I been with my boyfriend for 2 years, did he give it to me and not know, going to work crying feeling depress not wanting to tell anyone bc I am assume, saying that I’m dirty in the inside, what if I wanna have kids…. Yea there are the questions that I always kept asking myself, I google herpes and Kelly popped up So hope I learn a lot more and gain more friends to talk to about this btw I’m only 24

    • Dr. Kelly says:

      I promise you that it’s not that bad! There is someone out there who will love and accept you just the way you are.

      Take a deep breath and know that you are loved beyond measure.

      Please share your story with our community of women at Pink Tent. We are here to support you!

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

  8. Diana says:

    I wanted to get my story out as not many people in my life know that I have genital herpes. I must admit it has been a major source of stress an anxiety in my life and I have had it for over 5 years. The good news is, I was open and honest about it with my ex boyfriend, and he was OK with it right off the bat. He simply told me he wasn’t worried for himself and that he appreciates me telling him. Throughout our relationship I was able to openly tell him if I was feeling symptoms and such which was very comforting and relieved lots of my feelings of secrecy and anxiety around it. However we have now broken up due to other reasons (nothing to do with herpes). I am so scared to get out there and date again and have to disclose this to someone new. I also feel added stress and anxiety because I really want a family in the future and I feel like it will be so hard for me to find anyone who is willing to accept the fact that I have herpes amongst all the other trials that come along with making a relationship work. I think the actual stress I’m feeling about constantly thinking about this is making me experience more outbreaks. I know I need to calm down and re-connect with myself so that I start to feel confident to date again- but as you all know that is easier said then done. I’m happy to just get my story out there.

  9. Tammi says:

    Hi, I’m very new to this and I am so nervous about spreading this to my son, I just need some advice from someone with very small children. Because right now I’m scared to give my son a Bath with a paper cut on my finger…..

    • Dr. Kelly says:

      Thank you for reaching out. If you get herpes on your hands, then you would only be contagious when you have an outbreak on your hands. If you just have a paper cut, then you are just fine. Herpes is transmitted by skin to skin contact at the site of the body where you get your outbreaks. If you get your outbreaks on your lips, then you don’t want to kiss your son when you have active symptoms on your lips. Does this make sense?
      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

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