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Author Topic: Bridging the Gap  (Read 4930 times)

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Offline Buckmark

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Bridging the Gap
« on: November 14, 2007, 01:11:31 PM »
Folks,

I've been working lately to understand better how HIV affects my approach to relationships.  What I have come to realize is that I have a big gap between my thoughts on the subject, and my emotions and feelings surrounding it.  You'd think that after 18 years of being HIV+ I'd have figured this all out, but evidently not.  So I would find your thoughts on the subject helpful.  Let me explain more.

Intellectually, I know that HIV is just one more significant fact about me that any potential new friend or partner would need to know.  I understand that I cannot and should not let it interfere with meeting new people, dating, etc. -- there's certainly a lot more to me than HIV.  I have tried disclosure both right up front (e.g. on or before the first date), as well as waiting until after I feel I've made some sort of connection with a person and they have learned more about me.  That's been discussed here ad infinitum, and there are pros and cons to both approaches.  Ultimately, it is whatever works for me, and over time I've realized it is the latter approach that works for me.

Emotionally, however, I find my HIV status to be terribly frustrating in starting new relationships.  To the point where the impediment feels so strong that it feels hopeless to even think that I could have new friends, or even a partner some day.  The same "interference" could be said to stem some other aspects of myself (e.g. sex, and not just the HIV aspect of it).  This leads me to conclude that meeting new people and dating are just too difficult and painful, which inevitably leads to isolation.

Lately, my emotional side has been winning out, though that has not always been the case.  I am, though, a rather strong "F" on the Myers-Briggs scale.

I am wondering if any of you have struggled with this, and if so, what has helped you reconcile your intellectual and emotional sides?  Perhaps more succinctly:  how can I prevent my feelings from rushing ahead and concluding that a relationship cannot work, and instead just enjoy getting to know people "in the moment", and leave possibilities open?

Yes, I'm working on this with my therapist.  That is part of what has inspired me to post this here.

Hugs,

Henry
(who feels like a "chameleon boy" lately)
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline thunter34

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2007, 01:40:43 PM »
Oh, Henry....

I can answer the first part, but not the second.  Yes, I have struggled with this...and I suspect may (if not most) others on here have as well.  I don't know what to say about the second half because it continues to be an issue for me.  Not so much for frienships, but sex and relationship-wise. 

AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline carousel

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 01:58:05 PM »
For me, it is probably that I spend too much thinking about it, rather than getting involved in relationships.

I can sit and think, going round in circles, debating every which way.  The problem is that I don't have an answer.

When I meet somebody, even if it harmless flirting, I usually find it a bit overwhelming  All those emotions that don't used, suddenly pour out of me. 

I've told people immediately about the HIV, often to deflect their attention.  The last person I told, he said, So What? 

HIV has made me very sensitive and wary when it comes to matters of the heart.

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007, 07:05:36 PM »
Tim, Carousel,

I appreciate your responses.  I suspected this was not going to be an easy question to answer.  Still, it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one struggling with this.  I'll be curious to see what other folks have to say.

Thanks,

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline thunter34

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2007, 07:07:59 PM »
Sweetie, we had this discussion in San Fran.  We're both head cases that over analyze everything.

Neurotically,

Tim   ;D
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline BT65

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2007, 08:59:28 PM »
Well, Henry, usually with me intellectual always wins out over emotional. I don't know if I've ever found a balance between the two.  But, maybe, sometimes I do.  When I'm making a decision about another person, I try to put myself in their shoes.  Ah, it must be just intellect.  I get so detached from things that involve other people when I know there's nothing I can do that maybe I don't allow myself to "feel" anything. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm kind of a "go with the flow" type of person.  I really try not to get emotionally attached to people I'm meeting for the first time.  I don't believe everyone that's put in my life is going to stay, so detachment is essential for me. 

As far as being in a relationship, the last person I was in a relationship with knew I was + before we even did anything physical because I was a good friend of his brother's (who had AIDS).  It was never a problem and I never tried to over-analyze it.  Of course, the guy turned out to be an abusive bastard, but that made kicking him out of my life easier.  Emotions are a hard thing to deal with.  Glad you're in therapy.  I am also and hope to get a better balance between the two.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Jody

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 09:06:04 PM »
Hi Henry...Your post was very passionate as well as an educated take on HIV and relationships...Many of us have remarked here that living with HIV is just a part of our overall selves, something we have and deal with as best as possible daily, not who or what we are entirely.

But let's face it, it really is a major part of our existences and it is not going away anytime soon...We will be living with this a long time (we hope) or at least until that day we wake up and the news hits us with a bang- A cure has been found and works for virtually all infected persons.  And until we have that celebration (what an AMG that would be!!!) realistically it is such an albatross, if you will, around our necks.

So when we meet new people or even get together with old friends who are aware of our status, we do perhaps feel as if this comes between us...After all if the are negative they would be most foolish not to want to remain that way at all costs and reduce any risk for themselves if possible and so sex or the promise (threat???) of it becomes something that has an asterisk next to it, like it or not...We must explain, teach, go over it yet again, think about it and deal with it yet again, etc. and spontaneity (like we had in the 1970's for instance) goes out the window.

It's not easy, but I say just meet people as friends, disclose when you feel the time is right, and don't fret too much over it, as I say it ain't just gonna go away anytime soon so dealing with it in every aspect of our lives is here to stay.

Keep on truckin' Henry

Jody
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
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Offline justice3175

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2007, 11:20:25 PM »
When i left my relationship of five years, i was terrified to start dating again - for many reasons.
I had tested positive at the beginning of our relationship, so I had never been in a situation where I had to disclose my status to a 'stranger' or someone i was dating. When i left him, i was struggling with many issues. Aside from the fact that this relationship made me feel incapable of being in love with someone, as I grew to despise the person I was living with, (I mean TRULY despise!) I also felt that I wanted to date...no relationships...just casual dating...but dating with an hiv status on your back was very heavy for me.
I called my ex up and actually asked his advice on the matter. He had told me that before me, he would have never considered dating someone who was positive...and that even after me, he felt the same way. He also told me that these were chances i had to take.
Ironically, about the same time, i was befriending someone online...i would say a complete stranger. in my second email to him, i told him everything, from the demise of my relationship to my status. i felt i had nothing to lose....and i opened up...comfortably. I also explained to him the fears I had at the thought of people rejecting me because of my disease...now, i'm a hard person to handle, but throw hiv in the mix, and that just fucks everything up...especially since i know so many neg guys out there who won't even take the time to get to know you once you mentioned something like this.
he was different. He took the time to get to know me. He is negative. yet, right away, he knew that there was something about me...something that connected...and for 7 months not a day has gone by that we haven't spoken. In less than two weeks, he and i will be moving in together - both coming from two different states.
i happen to consider myself very lucky.

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2007, 12:00:34 AM »
Justice,

Your story is very heartening and encouraging.  Thanks so much for replying.

What you describe below -- "something that connected" -- is something I wonder if I will ever feel again with someone.  It's certainly not for lack of trying.  But I can't help but think that when it comes to meeting people, there must be something I'm not doing that I should, or something that I'm not doing right, or worse yet, that I've done something to deserve my current lot in life.  Darned if I know what.  (This is usually the point where my emotions start a downward spiral that's hard to pull out of.)

Intellectually, I know those thoughts are ultimately unproductive, and that sooner or later it is likely to happen (although, I also realize there are also no guarantees in life).  But emotionally, I just want to scream in frustration and hopelessness.

I'm happy for you -- and hope you and your new guy will be very happy together.

Hugs,

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2007, 12:14:25 AM »
I really try not to get emotionally attached to people I'm meeting for the first time.  I don't believe everyone that's put in my life is going to stay, so detachment is essential for me.  

Betty, thank you for writing this.

My HIV path may be what led me to this concept, but it was so intertwined with aging and therapeutic breakthroughs there's no telling which horse was in the lead, or if they took turns. But, I am, surprisingly there and it's not only healthy, it's practical.

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2007, 12:20:04 AM »
Henry, did you have problems meeting guys and having a relationship before your diagnosis?
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline DCGUY2007

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2007, 01:47:59 AM »
Thanks for writing this post Henry. I can totally relate. I had a gay relationship for 8 years.  I think it partly worked out as long as it did because the relationship was before computers and dating sites became so popular. Ater that relationship I have found it harder and harder to meet people to date for a period of time. I just think it is sometimes difficult to form relationships now. People have access to so many people at one time With all the different gay computer dating sites. Hiv brings in yet another dimension. I think some people feel there are so many people out there to choose from that they don't need  to get involved with someone that is poz. I am not sure how to change this. But some people seem to be able to make dating work despite being poz. So I guess there is some hope.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 01:49:59 AM by DCGUY2007 »

Offline justice3175

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2007, 01:53:38 AM »
Well, i have to admit - i met my new guy on MySpace...as if that hasn't become a cliche'. Truthfully, I felt more comfortable opening up to a stranger online than I would having met someone face to face. I guess the rejection wouldn't be as hard...especially if you never truly got to know someone in the first place.
When I met this new guy, there were no intentions. i was done. I did not want to head back into another relationship. Unlike my past where every guy i met, we started dating after the first night of sex, we gradually moved into the relationship. A few emails, then a few phone conversations, and then we were "together". I only progressed faster when three weeks later, i asked him to marry me. He said of course he would. Crazy, I know. No one in my life truly understands that one...but he does, and i do, and that's all that matters.

Anyway, I believe that anything is possible and things happen when you least expect it. I also believe that there's someone out there for everyone, but that only happens if you let them in. if it's possible for someone like me, who has a crapload of heavy baggage - then, it's surely possible for anyone else.

Offline DanielMark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2007, 05:05:05 AM »
I am wondering if any of you have struggled with this, and if so, what has helped you reconcile your intellectual and emotional sides?  Perhaps more succinctly:  how can I prevent my feelings from rushing ahead and concluding that a relationship cannot work, and instead just enjoy getting to know people "in the moment", and leave possibilities open?

Number one for me Henry, is to remember that meeting new people involves risk of rejection for them as well. And even if my health status doesnít put them off there may be things about them that I wouldn't care for either. So although I don't give advice, I would suggest you try to remember that anyone worth knowing would overcome any prejudging they might initially do about you or your health. People can learn and hearts can change heads. Iíve seen it happen. Even my own boyfriend at first told me he couldnít ďhandleĒ it, then did educate himself and came around. People can surprise you. Try not to discount that.

Daniel
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Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2007, 12:26:18 PM »
Philly -- It sure seemed a whole lot easier to meet folks before I was poz.  Then again, that was 18+ years ago, and most everything in my life seemed a whole lot easier way back then.  I wouldn't say that this all revolves exclusively around my HIV status, which I tried to point out in my original post.  There are other signifcant facets of myself that I think are not exactly what folks would consider to be desirable.  I was actually wondering whether I needed to post this in the "Mental Health" or "Off Topic" forums.

Justice and DCGuy -- Interesting what you point out about more and more people meeting online.  While I prefer to meet people in person, I do recognize that online is the avenue of choice for many people.  Since I figure I have to go where the people are, I do have have several online profiles.  But I do find it even  more difficult to make a connection online than in person.  The one exception to that would be these forums.   :)

Daniel -- Intellectually, I know that meeting people involves the risk of rejection.  Goodness knows I've had my fair share of rejections, and can understand logically that they were not the right people from me.  A lot of times, however, when I'm meeting people, it doesn't even get to the point of rejection.  I just don't feel any connection at all, and I don't understand why.  I try to keep my mind open (which I admit I sometimes have a tough time achieving), and give things time to develop naturally.  Yet it hasn't happened for a long time.  Maybe I'm just experiencing a drought, but somehow it feels like more.  Emotionally, it all gets me feeling terribly frustrated, and sometimes even angry.  Then what I find is that frustration leads to isolation leads to depression.  I'm to work on changing this, but have to admit that I am at my wit's end (making me even more frustrated).

Thanks again to all of you for your thoughts and questions -- I am grateful to have all of you here.

Regards,

Henry




"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline woodshere

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2007, 12:31:36 PM »
What you describe below -- "something that connected" -- is something I wonder if I will ever feel again with someone.  It's certainly not for lack of trying.  But I can't help but think that when it comes to meeting people, there must be something I'm not doing that I should, or something that I'm not doing right, or worse yet, that I've done something to deserve my current lot in life.  Darned if I know what.  (This is usually the point where my emotions start a downward spiral that's hard to pull out of.)

Gosh, Henry, I could have written the same thing word for word!!!

Which makes philly's question:
 
"...did you have problems meeting guys and having a relationship before your diagnosis?"

relevant to me also.  And the answer is yes, I have always had difficulties meeting guys to date.  Sex is no problem, but dating is a completely different story. So HIV really can't prevent me from dating or having a relationship since I have such a hard time just getting to that point.  

As far as bridging the gap, since being diagnosed 18 months ago I have been on about a total of a dozen dates with 3 different guys.  HIV was dealt with differently in each with differing results.  One I told I was + on the first date, he was fine with it, we went out a few times, but that "something" wasn't there.  One the "something" was there, I didn't reveal my status for several dates.  When I did that was the last time I saw him.  The other guy things just didn't click, but we are great friends.  What I learned from these 3 experiences is that for me HIV is just another element of who I am that must be factored into every relationship the same as my personality, my past mistakes or my sexual preferences.
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline DCGUY2007

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2007, 12:47:00 PM »
Henry ,
like you when I was younger it seemed easier meeting people. But now I'm smarter and can smell trouble coming a mile away. I think getting older and hiv can sometimes make it more difficult to find dates at least for me. At the same time I'm noticing in myself and others my age that we don't go out as much. When I was younger I wouldn't be caught home on a weekend. I would have to be on my death bed (unless I was in a relationship) to stay home. Now that I have turned 40 I start talking myself out of going out  to gay events. IF I do get it together and go out I'm usually disappointed in what i see out there. So much of the community seems to be geared on youth and looks. Im getting gray hair darker circles under my eyes and fighting age and gravity to keep my body in shape. Sometimes it feels like Im just running in place. In some small way I dont feel so bad knowing some others also don't always have it so easy meeting people. Sometimes I think I am the only one. But I do think getting out there more might help. Then again even though i'm frustrated and depressed I will probably stay home watch a movie and have a beer Friday. And I wonder why I don't meet more people :-). I'm sure everything will work out for you though. You took the first step by putting your thoughts in writing. Plus from reading some of the post I can see that some others have been succesful in finding a relationship despite being poz. So this can give some hope

Offline allanq

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2007, 02:21:34 PM »
Sweetie, we had this discussion in San Fran. We're both head cases that over analyze everything.

Me, too. I always try to look at every issue in every possible way. Sometimes this is a good thing, in that it keeps us open to new ideas. However, in personal relationships it can be a real barrier, especially when your self-analysis always focuses on the negative.

A case in point: I recently started an e-mail correspondence with someone I'd like to be friends with. As soon as I get an e-mail from him, I start writing a reply. Then I worry if I'm writing too frequently and wearing out my welcome. I brought this to his attention and he assured me that this was not the case. It would be nice if I could just relax and not worry about such things. Certainly, if he feels that I'm writing too often, he'll just take longer to reply. I manage to construct problems even when there are none.

Sometimes our negative scenarios have nothing to do with reality but rather with our deep-seated insecurities. I think the only way to deal with this is to work extra hard to fight this kind of negative thinking. When meeting new people, it sometimes helps to remember the good feedback that we get from our friends and the people we live and work with. (My guess is that you get a lot of positive feedback from friends and co-workers.)

All the best to you, Henry.

Allan

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Offline David_CA

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2007, 03:14:30 PM »
Henry,

What you describe below -- "something that connected" -- is something I wonder if I will ever feel again with someone.  It's certainly not for lack of trying.  But I can't help but think that when it comes to meeting people, there must be something I'm not doing that I should, or something that I'm not doing right, or worse yet, that I've done something to deserve my current lot in life.  Darned if I know what.  (This is usually the point where my emotions start a downward spiral that's hard to pull out of.)

Although I was negative back when I met my hubby (on AOL, of all places), neither of us were looking for much... well, I was looking to get laid, but that didn't happen 'til the fourth (and almost final) date!  I can't speak for him, but for me, he was just an easy person to be around.  I could tell there was 'something', but I wasn't sure what it was.  We spent 13 of the next 14 days together and moved in together a few months later.  That was eight years ago. 

I'd casually dated quite a few guys prior to meeting him, but nothing clicked with them.  I mean, some were fun, great in bed, etc.  But there just wasn't that 'thing' that made a relationship even seem like a possibility with them.  I can honestly say that having HIV thrown into the mix would have made things more difficult.  One thing I always did was meet people as friends or just for sex, but even those often ended up becoming friends.  I guess the best way I can describe it is that I just enjoyed the experience (or not, in some cases) of being with these guys.  I didn't expect anything, but wasn't really opposed to becoming involved, if that's how it ended up.

I wonder if this issue stems from some feelings of being unworthy or something due to HIV.  I also think meeting somebody for a relationship gets harder as one gets older... HIV+ or not.  I don't know you really well personally.  I've seen how you post in the forums and met you in SF.  I've always had a very positive impression of you.  You've certainly got lots to offer to another man, when you do meet him.

David

(edited to remove a duplicate word)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 08:16:08 PM by David_NC »
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Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2007, 06:44:58 PM »
Sex is no problem, but dating is a completely different story.

For me, this strikes a chord in me, but sorta in the opposite manner:  In a way, sex has always been a problem for me.  I may as well be completely honest here (difficult as this is to admit):  other than about 2 or 3 occasions I can remember, sex has never been a particularly pleasurable or fulfilling experience for me.   This predates my having HIV.  Obviously this can get in the way of finding a partner, and even with friends, it can be a factor because I just can't relate in this respect.  Yes, I realize this could be a whole topic in an of itself, and yes, I'm definitely working on this with my therapist.  This makes me feel terribly different and isolated from others (as if HIV wasn't enough to so so).

That's one of the more difficult admissions I've ever made in a public forum.   :-\

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2007, 07:29:01 PM »
DCGuy:  You (and David) bring up an interesting thought:  is it generally harder to meet folks as one gets older?  I wonder if I am too "stuck" and set in my ways, or if I just know myself better, and am more discerning at knowing who is / is not right for me. 

Allan:  Maybe we should start an "over-analyzers" club.  Then we can have another thing to worry about.  ::)   As I've said above, I'd really like to be able to just experience and enjoy "in the moment", without playing out all sorts of scenarios in my mind that, frankly, are generally just speculation.  I've been getting better at putting myself out there over the past 2 years.  But even when I'm "out there" I still feel isolated.  That seems like a paradox to me, and frustrates me to no end.

David:  I think you really get what I mean when you say about meeting your David that "I could tell there was 'something'".  What I have really felt for a long time is 'nothing", with the exception being many of the fine folks here who I am grateful to have come to know.  It's also interesting that both you and DCGuy bring up that idea that it may be harder to meet people as one gets older.  Maybe I should have posted this in the "Long-Term Survivors" forums.

Thanks again for all of your thoughtful responses.

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline Jody

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2007, 07:53:08 PM »
Dear Henry...I do believe your observation that meeting new people is harder as we grow older, we get more set in our ways, going out alot is not realistic as we need more rest to function well when we do party...Hell it won't be long before 4 o'clock dinner specials while wearing white shoes become the norm  :D

But you are a very sweet, kindly gentleman and as you sat quietly in your sexy cowboy hat and I didn't really know you at the meet and greet in San Francisco I felt I might not get to, but as we spoke a bit over the long weekend and spent the relatively little amount of time together that we did I saw you were a very down to earth man and if you are out there and the time and place are just right and the stars are aligned, probably when you least expect it, that person will come along who will be just right and you will both know it.

You DESERVE happiness, whether with a partner or just out on your own with friends or family.

Jody
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline DCGUY2007

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2007, 02:15:05 AM »
Henry,

Don't get discouraged by what I wrote. Some older people do still meet and get in relationships. I'm only speaking from 'my' experience.  I  think finding a relationship has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.

I am also finding that no two relationships are the same anyway. Some relationships are open, some not, some have a lot of sex some don't have much sex. the list goes on and on. It is what works between two people. I'm sure you will find what you are looking for.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 02:17:04 AM by DCGUY2007 »

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2007, 09:49:38 AM »
Don't get discouraged by what I wrote. Some older people do still meet and get in relationships. I'm only speaking from 'my' experience.  I  think finding a relationship has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.

I'm not discouraged by what you wrote -- well, not any more discouraged than I already am.  It does help to know other people's experiences -- that is why I have posted here.  Many people say that finding someone will "happen when it happens", or "when I'm ready", or "when I least expect it", or "when you are in the right place at the right time."  In a way, I'm glad to know that it is not entirely me.  On the other hand,  sometimes it makes me want to scream, because it certainly leaves open the possibility that it may never happen-- there are no guarantees in life.  I suppose that is why I've also been trying to focus more on building friendships too.  Though I do find many of the same concerns come up for me.

Thanks again,

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline komnaes

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2007, 05:17:05 AM »
What I have began recently is to seriously re-examine the whole concept of a "relationship". I was in one for eight years and when it ended it screwed me up big time and now with my HIV status, I have more or less given up the idea of having another relationship in a sense that it entails building a life surrounding just one person.

I have found that it's more important to have more friends, and a few that I can relay on when I am in trouble and take care of my need of a sense of beginning. I have friends that I know I can call at 2am in the morning when I suddenly wake up in a state of panic and it's alright, friends that will take me to a hospital in an emergency and make arrangements if I need anything while laying in bed sick, and I am blessed that I know there are even one or two of them that will help me to "unplug" when I am suffering but simply cannot die. Those few friends are now my anchor.

It's good to have that special someone, but if it's not meant to be I will be happy with this group of special friends. Being with someone is great and wonderful, but it comes with a price. There are so many secret sufferings that we can never know by just looking at couples that everyone think are "perfect".

Don't let that relationship issue weights you down Henry, a big hug to you,  ;)

Shaun
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline justice3175

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2007, 06:01:05 AM »
friends are great and all...but what happens when you feel the need for intimacy. i know most gay men in the urban areas i lived in would be fine not having a relationship, as it would be just as easy to go to a bar, take someone home, have sex, and the satisfaction is done...
But then HIV enters. It's not easy to do that anymore.
Grant it, i've had enough experiences with plenty of strangers to know that they don't care about anyone's status - they just want to get off.
After my ex and I split up, i had plenty of friends...well, 2 that I can name...but I still felt that need for sex...so I'd call up my ex and take care of my urges...until I realised that even though I moved on emotionally, he didn't...and everytime we had sex that was just giving him more hope that I'd get back with him.
On another note, "connecting' with me and other guys was sometimes forced...as I forced myself into believeing that the things we had in common were what bonded us together. After two long term relationships, I've realised this was never the case. You should never have to search for your connections...or find the signs that you two were meant to be together, because, in truth, the signs don't mean shit.
i know it's hard, as i have struggled to find my own worth - even before i was positive.
But, i'm also someone who tends to get emotionally attached very easily. It was never really hard for me to meet guys - it was just harder to meet the ones that stayed in my life - and when i did, i was the one who left them in the end.
Really,though, pieces will fall into place...and if it's destined...well - then it will happen...
 

Offline david25luvit

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2007, 10:58:08 AM »
Relationships are tough...regardless of whether you're HIV or not.
I met David when I was negative....fell madly in love with him despite his HIV status
and stayed till the bitter end.   When the chemistry is right....and the attraction is more than
just physical....  I don't think it really matters whether or not your HIV.  I think its about
committment.

My two cents worth anyway
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline DCGUY2007

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2007, 05:22:29 AM »
I agree with your comments Henry:

"In a way, I'm glad to know that it is not entirely me.  On the other hand,  sometimes it makes me want to scream, because it certainly leaves open the possibility that it may never happen-- there are no guarantees in life.  I suppose that is why I've also been trying to focus more on building friendships too.  Though I do find many of the same concerns come up for me."

« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 05:31:39 AM by DCGUY2007 »

Offline Henritx

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2007, 01:40:36 AM »
Henry,

To answer:
....   how can I prevent my feelings from rushing ahead and concluding that a relationship cannot work, and instead just enjoy getting to know people "in the moment", and leave possibilities open?

For me the last half of what you ask  is what I do to get past the first half.
I try to meet AND get to know others without expectations. ie: be in the moment.
Only for enjoyment. Without ideas of anything else.
What happens for me is , later , when and if things were to progress
I am by then pretty dang comfortable with expressing my situation.

Just enjoy the process. Enjoy the process of new people and experiences and then,
and this is big, trust that things will happen just fine.
If i just enjoy myself the rest will take care of itself.

You know its true.... just trust...believe.

Naturally a little patience helps and of course help from
freinds when you are doubting yourself,  will go a long way
 towards trusting and enjoying!

Hang in there, as you obviously always have.
I frankly find you an inspiration given I ve only been positive for 3 years.
- Henri







Work like you dont need the money
Dance  like no one is watching
Love like youve never been hurt

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2007, 10:36:58 AM »
Hello Henri,

Thanks for your reply.  Nice name you have there -- but you spell it oddly.   ;)

For me the last half of what you ask  is what I do to get past the first half.
I try to meet AND get to know others without expectations. ie: be in the moment.
Only for enjoyment. Without ideas of anything else.
What happens for me is , later , when and if things were to progress
I am by then pretty dang comfortable with expressing my situation.

I sure try hard to not have expectations when getting to know others.  It's just very hard for me to stop my thoughts from moving ahead of the moment.  Perhaps it is because I perceive that others have expectations of me.

Quote
Just enjoy the process. Enjoy the process of new people and experiences and then,
and this is big, trust that things will happen just fine.

For me, lately, the process of meeting new people just hasn't been very enjoyable for quite some time (with the exception of the good folks here on the forums).  I'm not sure what is blocking all that, but I'm trying to figure it out.  I need some kind of attitude adjustment.

Quote
If i just enjoy myself the rest will take care of itself.

You know its true.... just trust...believe.

I don't know that this is true, I just have to take it on faith.  Especially since I don't see any alternatives.

Quote
Naturally a little patience helps and of course help from
freinds when you are doubting yourself,  will go a long way
 towards trusting and enjoying!

After such a long time, I really feel like I am running out of patience.  I need to find some more.  Lack of patience leads to doubt, and frustration, which spirals down into depression.  I know that cycle all too well.    ::)

Thanks again.

Regards

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline Lou-ah-vull

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2007, 12:50:41 PM »
Henry,

This one of the most thoughtful and interesting threads I have encountered on here.  I check it regularly.  I "self identify" with much of what you describe.  Oddly enough, this discussion on here has made me feel a bit less "unusual" for harboring many of the same thoughts and frustrations. 

I wish I had taken some initiative and time to get to know you when we were in San Francisco.  I arrived on Saturday afternoon and so it was difficult for me to meet the new people as much as I wish I did.  Also, like the issues you raised here, I have trouble initiating in those environments.  I tend to trust my perception of the environment, especially my sense of not "fitting in," and unfortunately for me, that is most likely not the case. 

This thread has really helped me begin to think about these issues.  I, too, am trying to benefit from counseling. 

Hopefully our paths can cross again (assuming AMG is affordable) and I will work on being less introverted the next time around.

Thanks again for taking the initiative to present this important subject.  I am going to keep tuned!

Gary
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline Henritx

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2007, 10:22:43 PM »
Wow Henry.. you've really struck a chord.
It resonates loudly within.

I have before, lost faith, lost patience, and have gotten depressed from the frustration of it all.

That faith was lost twice in life. By faith I mean the sense that everything would not ever be OK again.
There would never be a time of peace & prosperity for me again. I would ALWAYS be stuck where I was or worse.
Even reading that now seems ludicris to me in that I am older wiser and know that change is constant.
The wheel of fortune turns, just as it does for circumstance, friends, loves, health, etc.... Everything changes.


Not so long ago I know my well of patience had run completely dry.
Everytime I was gaining ground I then promptly took 2-3 steps back. My ability to absorb adversity was
gone. And yet life kept coming.  If I had a week of quiet, I was able to refill the wel, but only a little until
the next, all to soon.... catastrophe.  This applied to relationships, money, health...everything.
The universe hated me and wanted its pound of flesh.

I had no more patience. And honestly i still dont know how I held on. Or even sometimes still hang on.
It s not like i am out of the woods yet.

But this much I know. It will not last. Whatever it is. It will change.
And yes, dammit, it has sometimes changed worse.  But it does change.
And that, coupled with the wisdom of a few years allows me faith that
it will not always be like this. And then the question becomes
can I outlast this period of adversity (in whatever fashion it presents itself)


Henry I know what its like to outcast one's self. To feel so totally disconnected,
that i could nt go out and hang because all thats on my obsessive little mind was my issues.
I felt rejected before i even got to hello. An HIV reject, not matter how you looked at it.
But the feeling didnt last. (How could it... it really wasnt true.) And
I did wait for the change... and it did happen.


I know I have detoured from what you asked, but I wanted to address
the depression and faith connection. 
I dont have the answer for reconnecting with others..the world if you will.
Other than saying, just keep trying until it happens. Fake it till you make it.
It will happen again. Can you keep the faith until that time? While you keep trying?

-----


From a bumper sticker i saw at a much needed time.
Likely it was religous in nature
but it hit home, albeit a bit differently.
   Lose it all? Lost alot.
   Lose your faith? Lost everything.

Keep the faith Henry,
Henri

BTW & fyi...Henri is the french spelling and pronunciation of Henry
Work like you dont need the money
Dance  like no one is watching
Love like youve never been hurt

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2007, 10:15:22 AM »
Henri,

I appreciate your supportive and encouraging post.  I think you've characterized pretty well how I feel:  stuck.  And the more I try to get un-stuck, the more I feel stuck.  Kinda like quicksand.  Can I continue to hang on while I keep trying and waiting for change?  Honestly, I have my doubts.  If I thought I could answer "yes", I would not have started this post in the first place.  I just wonder how long I need to work on / wait for change.  After about 5 years now, I'm reaching my wit's end.

BTW, I know that "Henri" is the French spelling of "Henry" -- that was just my attempt at a little humor.

Thanks,

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline Henritx

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2007, 09:32:32 PM »
Sorry if i insulted your intelligence explaing Henri.. writing misses so much of communicatiing.

------------
Well ya know... if nothing else is working............. road trip!
 :)
works for me
well ...most of the time anyway


 
Work like you dont need the money
Dance  like no one is watching
Love like youve never been hurt

Offline mjmel

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2007, 07:31:56 AM »
Two things stuck me as I greeted you at AMG. I offer you my internal dialogue:
One: "yummy, marriage material! Some lucky guy will marry him someday!"
Two "Fiercely independent."
 :-*
Mike

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2007, 11:13:31 PM »
Mike,

I sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me --- and your kind words.
This really strikes me, as I've often thought the same things about myself (well,
not so much "yummy" but certainly "marriage material").  And definitely independent,
which I think comes from not having parents around much when I was a kid.

Question (for you, and for anyone else who wants to respond):  Isn't there a
contradiction in these two characteristics.  This seems to me to be a contradiction
I've often struggled with.

Henry

P.S.  I know that this thread is rather self-centered, though at least a few folks have
indicated they identify with some of this.  Still, I want to thank everyone for being
a bigger help to me than you may ever know.


"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

Offline Basquo

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2007, 11:47:12 PM »
I think Mike's mention of "independent" brings this conversation back around to taking some chances; specifically, if you take some chances and meet someone, then decide maybe you  want to spend more time with them, you're going to have to start conceding a little bit of that independence. I'm not saying independence has no place in a relationship, not at all.  Lots of couples have separate hobbies, finances, vacations...they still want a little to themselves but they also want to spend time with their partner.  If  you feel like you might make a connection, put a little of that independence up on the shelf for awhile, and see what happens. But you're still going to have to take some chances first.

God knows I'm a capital-H Hermit a lot of the time, but put yourself out there. PM me if you want to know my technique; it's already working for me. It only has to go as far as you let it.  Until you swoon, you're in control.

Hugs,
Creighton

Offline Buckmark

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Re: Bridging the Gap
« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2007, 11:51:49 PM »
Creighton,

Point taken.  Clearly, nothing is going to happen unless I take some chances and
put myself out there.  Still, it's not like I'm spending the entirety of my time at
home, pining away.  I go through phases where I do socialize; I do go out on dates
and such.  Yet somehow the feeling of connection with others seems quite elusive. 
Then I get so frustrated that I go into a hermit phase, and then come out of it
after a while.  But I feel this cycle is tiresome, frustrating, and unproductive (you
can probably tell what phase I am in right now).

Maybe I'm not taking enough chances?  Maybe I need to force myself to continue,
even after I've come to a point where I don't feel the connection isn't there? 
Maybe I'm just fucked up?  Or maybe I simply haven't met the right guy for me yet,
and need to be more patient?  I'm really confused.

You can count on receiving a PM from me, inquiring about your approach and
techniques.   8)  Thanks for caring enough to jump in and respond -- I appreciate it.

Hugs,

Henry
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:
     One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.
     The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
- Butch Hancock, Musician, The Flatlanders

 


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