Tagged: Disclosure stories
January 13, 2019 at 7:39 pm #26593
I had my first experience disclosing a couple weeks ago. Bear with me, this is a long post. But I’m in need of some support.
Let me back up. About 5 years ago my partner gave me herpes (HSV-1 G). He took my virginity, and he didn’t tell me. Although I will never know for sure, I suspect that he knew he had it. I felt like my entire world was crashing in on me when I realized what was happening to me. Just as I was opening myself up to this new world of sexuality, I felt like the door was being slammed in my face. “How could this happen to me?”, I thought?
Cue the destructive thinking. “No one will ever love you with this.” “You can never date someone who doesn’t have it, because you would never want to put them in the situation you are in now, even if they decided it was worth the risk.” And yes, I’m ashamed to admit, even judgmental thinking of “And if you date someone who already has it, they probably have been with tons of people, they’re not like you” (I quickly learned this was not true, of course, and anyway, who was I to judge?).
5 years later, and I still struggle with the first thought. It’s that thought that also led me to stay in an abusive relationship for four years. At the time I felt my only choice was to get married and have a family with him or be alone forever. Ultimately things go so bad that the choice changed to “be with him and unhappy forever” or “be alone and have peace.” In my mind, the second one meant having no children, and still things got so bad that it won out. I haven’t dated since, and it’s been about one and a half years since I left him.
The second thought about the possibilities of being with someone “healthy” is where this blog post comes in, though. I met a guy online a little less than a year ago, through a language application of all things (I’m improving my Spanish, him his English). It started with a very strong foundation of friendship, nights spent “practicing languages” but discussing things like our views on life, children, current events, etc. We had a lot in common and we connected well. Our conversations went on effortlessly for hours.
I never thought he would be interested in me and maybe he thought the same thing. Then one day, out of the blue, he gave me a compliment that caught me off guard and made an elusive comment about falling for someone. He wouldn’t tell me anything about this girl, and I would be lying if I said that a little part of me wasn’t hoping that it was me. Over time, it became clear that we were both interested in each other.
Then came the fateful day. He wanted to clarify things between us. I should probably mention a few important details–he’s 27, and I’m thirty… and he lives in Chile. The odds just didn’t look great for us, I can admit that. He told me he wasn’t quite ready to settle down yet, that he wanted to enjoy his single years a bit longer, and I could understand that. I’m not quite in a permanent place in my life either, and am figuring out a number of things. The timing really wouldn’t have worked anyway, because at the moment neither one of us could move.
I think most people would have just scratched the disclosure all together at that point. I mean, he basically said he couldn’t offer me a relationship. But I felt that he needed to know what he was walking away from in that moment, and what future possibilities really meant. I felt that it was deceitful of me to conceal something that had such an important impact on our “potential” future possibilities, even if it wasn’t applicable in that moment specifically.
But I felt like he knew (almost) everything about me–the pieces of myself that I typically hide from others. He accepted me for all of them. That was a testament to our connection and to his character, really. And this was the last barrier. So I told him. I told him despite the advice of those close to me to wait until we actually met, if we ever did. I told him despite the fact that I knew that we weren’t going to be in a relationship in that moment anyway. I told him, in theory, knowing full well that it could mean that he would never look at me the same way, or never talk to me again.
I took the risk.
He responded honestly–that he didn’t know a lot about it. And I knew that he would research it himself. I told him if he had questions, to ask me, that I’m an open book with him. And that night when he had to leave the conversation he said, I would stay for hours more (but he had to work).
It came up again during one of our skype conversations. He brought it up. He had been reading about it. He wanted me to feel optimistic, because there are millions of people in the world who have it too. In fact he even said, “It made me wonder if I have it.” Bless his heart, you know, for being there for me and wanting me to feel like the world wasn’t ending, that I should still have hope. But I was confused by his level of support… did this mean he didn’t think it was a big deal? Or was he just trying to make me feel better.
Fast forward a couple weeks, to about 3 days ago. During one of our very deep conversations about painful experiences we’ve had in the past, he concludes by saying, he hopes one day he finds a good woman to be by his side through everything. And he says he hopes the same for me. I tried to calm the thoughts–“this means that he doesn’t ever see “us” as a possibility.”
But I couldn’t. The mind can be a dangerous place. I knew I couldn’t continue talking to this person every night for hours on end like everything was the same, because I was hanging everything on the hope that he would accept me and want to be with me… eventually. So it came out–“when you told me a few weeks ago that you weren’t ready to settle down… did that mean that there is a possibility in the future? Or is this a hard no for you?” I needed to know, because I needed to change my mindset, to protect myself.
And then the most heartbreaking response came.
“Katy, it’s not impossible, but it’s very difficult. I don’t know what to say. You’re asking me to be with you, but you’re offering me a life without sex. I could never sleep with you, because there would always be a risk. And I’m so sorry, not for you, but for us, because I really love you.”
Cue the emotional breakdown–every negative thought, every destructive feeling, but most importantly, the true crumbling of this house of hope I had created in my mind. He is a really good man. And if he couldn’t look past this, if for him I’m not worth the risk, then I won’t be for anyone else, either. And I wept.
I wish I could end this story with something uplifting. But this is where I find myself. I’m devastated.January 26, 2019 at 10:42 pm #28027
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