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Author Topic: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure  (Read 2353 times)

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Offline MBK

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HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« on: January 15, 2010, 04:27:11 PM »
Hey Everyone!

I really need advice/feedback/thoughts/experiences on how to handle sharing your HIV status with others. I know the site is full of similar postings, just thought I would reach out anyway and share my particular story in the hopes that this incredibly supportive forum can help alleviate the impossibly strong anxiety I feel about this topic.

A few months ago, I started talking to someone who happens to live abroad. We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance and from the very first second, we hit it off. The first conversation lasted well over 10 hours (yes, I know, it sounds absolutely silly) but we essentially spent the entire day on the phone. There was not a single silent moment. It was like meeting a soul mate. Hard to explain but essentially, the chemistry was perfect and continues to be: we speak/video chat several times a day every single day regardless of how busy we are.

A few days ago, when he shared with me that he would like us to be together... I panicked. I honestly have not disclosed my status to anyone (save for people in the medical field and single solitary best friend). I have been + for about just about 2 years and have tried to deal with it as best as I can (mostly by shoving it in the darkest recesses of my mind).

A few months after infection I decided to start meds. I just take them every morning and I go about my day trying not to think about it and haven't really dated or been interesting in anyone since (HIV was a parting gift from a a cheating partner). I go to the gym, work, etc.

Dating or relationships had not been on my mind until he said he wants to move to the US to be close to me. He wants to date, be exclusive (not that I am having sex with anyone else anyway ;-). To be perfectly honest, he and this whole thing feels like a dream come true... until I think about my reality and it turns into a nightmare. He is coming in February for us to spend two weeks together.

I don't know what to say to him? Should I disclose my status now on the phone. Wait until he visit and then tell him? I am lost, scared, and very much confused. What if he freaks out on the phone is it better in person? What if he gets mad that I waited for him to get here to tell him? I apologize for being verbose but I have been bearing this cross on my own for two years I can't hold back the words (or the tears). I welcome anything constructive! I don't know what the etiquette is here. I have shared what I thought was relevant, if you have questions please feel free to ask!

Thanks
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 04:45:36 PM by MBK »

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2010, 04:47:33 PM »
This person is your soul mate? You should tell him now.

MtD

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2010, 04:47:49 PM »
I also got HIV as a parting gift from a cheating partner, don't you hate when that happens?

I'm still in that phase where I am not interested in dating anyone and can't even imagine it will ever happen and I'm fine with that.

Reading your post the main thing I come away with is the sense of urgency you are feeling about this new person. It's great that you two hit it off so well but don't let that get the best of you and go head over heels (or heels over head for that matter) just yet. Take a breath and step back for a moment and get some perspective.

You two may end up dating and in a great relationship or it may not work out at all, either way it's fine. I can't give you advice as to when to disclose but I just want to stress how important it is that you don't get carried away and get ahead of yourself. If there's one thing I've learned in my 47 years it's that it is not advisable to get over excited about anything ever.

Offline MBK

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2010, 04:54:20 PM »
@ INCHLINGBLUE Completely understand your suggestion to keep my cool. Been around the block a few times myself. I have been talking to him for several months. There seems to be a deep compatibility here... Either way, I feel compelled to tell him if this goes forward (I can't imagine not having told him and having to broach the subject at some point as the relationship develops)... so you would just wait until you meet and spend time?

@ MATTY Even though he is my soulmate if I was in his shoe I would want it to be told to me in person. If he had shared it on the phone I would not handle as well. But that is me personally. Do you really think it is better off not to wait?
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 04:59:42 PM by MBK »

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2010, 05:07:13 PM »
@ MATTY Even though he is my soulmate if I was in his shoe I would want it to be told to me in person. If he had shared it on the phone I would not handle as well. But that is me personally. Do you really think it is better off not to wait?

Well you're the one at the coal face, so you're probably best following your instincts on this. I was thinking if you can spend 10 hours on the phone with a body, the conversation probably ranged widely and touching on the issue of HIV wouldn't be unreasonable.

Personally I think these things are best dealt with sooner rather than later. "Before we get too into this and you fork out for an airfare, there's something you need to know . . . " that sorta stuff. But I'm straightforward type and I appreciate that approach.

MtD

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2010, 05:08:04 PM »
. so you would just wait until you meet and spend time?

Admittedly I don't have lots of experience in this area, I haven't known about my status for that long and haven't been in a situation similar to yours.

But my gut tells me that there is no right answer to the question of when to disclose. The main problem with people who get scared off by it when they're told is that they're not very informed about the subject; they have these blanket notions of "HIV=Bad" so it's easier to avoid it rather than confront it intelligently.

Has he given any indication at all where he stands when it comes to this?

I have a friend who has been poz since 1986 and he's been in a relationship with a guy who is negative for the past 10 years or so. He disclosed after they had had two dates but had not yet had sex. The reaction he got was that the guy wanted to think about it and learn more about it. He did some research and came back and said he was fine with it. They're still together, the boyfriend is still negative.

Not everyone is that mature. This guy you met might be that mature or he might not be. That's why it's important not to get too carried away just yet. If you tell him and he can't handle it you can't let that get the best of you.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 05:28:42 PM by Inchlingblue »

Offline Brooke P.

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2010, 06:45:02 PM »
I know how you are feeling.  I've been there and done that.  I feel that it would probably be better to get it out in the open before he spends the money and time coming all the way to you.  If you can tell him over the phone/internet he would have a some time to think it through.  It might scare the hell out of him at first but then he may do some research and see that there are plenty of  + and - couples out there.  If you wait until he is there in person he may tuck tail and run and never have anything to do with you again. 

I'm just speaking from my experience.  I met a wonderful guy online and came out and told him I had HIV when we first started talking about meeting in person.  He accepted my poz status and we are still together today just as happy as can be.  I asked him about this topic and he did say that it scared him but really thought that we were meant for each other!   
Feb. 2003 -tested positive
Started Kaletra and Combivir
2/26/03  CD4=1080   VL=218,333
3/3/03    CD4=1072   VL=546,010
4/10/03  CD4=1886   VL=1901
12/23/03 CD4=1711   VL=<50
STOPPED MEDS IN JUNE 2004
STARTED BACK WHEN I GOT PREGNANT
9/2009  CD4=274    VL=199,420
WENT 4 YEARS WITHOUT MEDS NOW I'M BACK ON MEDS, ATRIPLA
11/2009 CD4=574    VL=350
2/24/2010 CD4=851 VL=48

Offline MBK

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  • Posts: 19
Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2010, 06:50:25 PM »
you are both bringing up valid points. I think inchingblue's perspective about hiv=bad automatically is very valid and is probably at the crux of my fear. Given how knowledgeable I am about it now, I would not care about whether someone is pos or not... but in the past, despite my MD, I was prejudice... Part of me feels like I just would like the opportunity to be in a comofortable and private setting for us to talk...

Offline MBK

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2010, 06:51:57 PM »
Hey Brooke, would you mind asking him if hypothetically you had waited (but not before having sex of course), would he have felt differently?

Offline Brooke P.

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2010, 07:45:30 PM »
He's says that for him it would not of really mattered to him.  Yes, he was very scared for months in the beginning but then he became more knowledgeable of it.  He had plenty of questions and I answered them the best that I could. 

One think I did tell him was that I would not do anything that would put him at risk and still to this day that is an issue for me.  We are very safe but I still trouble with the possibility of him ever contracting HIV from me!   

Hope that helps!


Any more questions please feel free to ask.
Feb. 2003 -tested positive
Started Kaletra and Combivir
2/26/03  CD4=1080   VL=218,333
3/3/03    CD4=1072   VL=546,010
4/10/03  CD4=1886   VL=1901
12/23/03 CD4=1711   VL=<50
STOPPED MEDS IN JUNE 2004
STARTED BACK WHEN I GOT PREGNANT
9/2009  CD4=274    VL=199,420
WENT 4 YEARS WITHOUT MEDS NOW I'M BACK ON MEDS, ATRIPLA
11/2009 CD4=574    VL=350
2/24/2010 CD4=851 VL=48

Offline megasept

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  • Steven here...
Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 07:46:18 PM »
MBK:

Overall, I'd say MTD's reply is closest to my viewpoint. Don't wait further to disclose. Face to face is great, when you don't live thousands of miles away. I lived thru a very similar scenario. Early disclosure was so smooth, his interest in me so genuine, I hardly remember the actual discussion (phone). I'd tell him now because the physical separation is AN ASSET. It allows him time to think how he really feels, to run away easily, if he really wants to flee. You need a tough loving man, not a boy. He might need you to be strong too.

Afraid of his reaction now? How afraid will you be if you wait until he's face-to-face on a planned trip just to see you?

If after disclosing, your would-be partner wants to know how to express himself sexually with you (safer sex logistics), that's a good sign. If he were worried about sharing a bath or a glass of water, he's not going to be there with you. Marriage vows include "in sickness and in health". Notice the order. lol. If he's really afraid of you he won't come out to visit, and you'd be better off if he didn't.

I did live through this, including months of phone calls before meeting. Believe it or not I don't remember when I told my sight-unseen (HIV negative) love-to-be, but it couldn't have been in the first phone call (my pet had just died that day, so enough big stuff for one conversation). He treated me the same before and since, exactly why the disclosure is a blur in my memory. I am grateful. I was rejected many times before. The right guy won't reject me for my status (mantra. lol).

I would never wait to disclose today. A good partner would appreciate being on my team or on your team. A good partnership is a two-way street.

Be brave enough to be happy together! That takes a little courage. I wish you the best!

-Steven (aka  8)  megasept)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 11:30:23 PM by megasept »

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2010, 08:20:19 PM »
I wouldn't wait to disclose either, but I'm a lot more open about my status than you are (everyone who knows me knows).

If you don't already have Skype, I suggest you get it. You can talk over the computer and have video too - and it's free. (It is also a very low-cost way to ring phones over your computer.) It is the next best thing to telling him face-to-face. I am also of the opinion that considering the travel involved, you should tell him before he makes the trip. If he's going to be an asshole about your hiv, you need to know that before he turns up on your doorstep.

Good luck.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Rev. Moon

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  • Smart ass faggot
Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2010, 08:53:16 PM »
A few months ago, I started talking to someone who happens to live abroad. We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance and from the very first second, we hit it off. The first conversation lasted well over 10 hours (yes, I know, it sounds absolutely silly) but we essentially spent the entire day on the phone. There was not a single silent moment. It was like meeting a soul mate. Hard to explain but essentially, the chemistry was perfect and continues to be: we speak/video chat several times a day every single day regardless of how busy we are.

MBK, I would be with MtD and Steven on this one.  You have met someone who has moved you intellectually and emotionally.  It is evident that you have high hopes when it comes to this one.  Dealing with this aspect of your life in a way that's honest and direct (without being blunt or tragic) early in the game will be good for both of you --and prevent you from having to face heartbreak if for any reason he chooses to not continue.

My personal experience... I had been seeing my "soulmate" (the second one in my life; I lost my first thanks to HIV back in the mid-90's) for a while and we had a temporary break-up due to reasons that are not important at this point.  During that interim I contracted HIV from a dumb mistake.  Two weeks later I fell sick, went through the seroconversion process, etc. etc...

A short time after diagnosis this person waltzed back into my existence asking to start over.  This time there was talk about staying together forever and all that gooey stuff (don't think me cynical; I just don't believe that love is meant to be for me).  I figured that this person would run away once I told him what had happened.  He did the exact opposite and said that this did not change what we had; that if we had overcome many things we would make it through this also; that we were each other's love of a lifetime; etc. etc... I was touched by his love, forgiveness, and support.

A couple of weeks later I ended the romantic aspect of this relationship as I did not feel ready to deal with it.  I wanted to focus on my life, my health, my mental and spiritual balance.  We remain the best of friends; spend several hours daily in each other's company; have fights, laughs, tears, and many beers; and still share life's highs and lows.  Whether we will get back to being more than this is debatable.  I just don't want it to.

The bottom line to this long --and perhaps unrelated-- response is that disclosure is a good thing when someone is this important to you.  He has gotten to know what you are about and he wants to learn more.  HIV is only a microscopic factor that should never define you.  You mentioned that you have video-chatted with him, this may be a somewhat personal way of sharing this information (and seeing his reaction).   If it is meant to be it will be.

Best of luck (and glad that you joined us).

M.

[edited spelling]
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 09:07:36 PM by livebythemoon »
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2010, 09:14:46 PM »
Whenever you tell him, it's important, as livebythemoon mentions, not to be tragic about it. He will pick up whatever vibe you are giving off so if you turn it into this big horrible tragic thing that's the message he'll get.

Have you not Skyped yet? Not to be superficial about it but I would imagine you both would want to know what the other looks like before even thinking about "happily ever after."

Offline MBK

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2010, 11:28:05 AM »
RE: SKYPE. We use google talk to video conference and I use google voice to call him (the rates are 1/4th what I would pay with skype (37cents with skype, only 10cents with google - calls to landline in europe are less than 1 penny... it really is a lifesaver). Thank you guys for the tech tip.

RE: VIBE. I have to work on that, I still get teary and emotional when I even think about it. But, it seems like a concensus - remain calm cool and collected.

@livebythemoon: Thank you for sharing your story with me and the forum at large. I know how agonizingly hard it was for me to even post anything.

@Ann: again, thank you for Skype suggestion. If you call international from the US, take the time to consider google voice. The service is absolutely amazing!

@megasept: I never thought of the implications of how he might feel trapped if I told him when he was here. Thank you for opening my mind that possibility.

@brooke: Thank you for asking him. As far as your worry about seroconverting. Looking at your viral load, I believe that the risk of transmission is at best small. If you get fully supressed on Atripla and your viral load dips below 50 (practically undetecable) the likelihood of transmissions is virtually negligible. The swiss cohort study gives us extremely robust and reassuring data about that. This is even more encouraging if you are practicing safe (safer I should say as condoms are not 100%). If I was your primary care physician, I'd say that should be at the bottom of the totem pole of things to worry about. Just my 2c as an MD. He is blessed to have someone that cares so much about him.

@EVERYONE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME WITH THIS. Your comments are a bright spot in my struggle with this. Keep the amazing comments going, this is very very helpful.

Offline MBK

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2010, 09:18:28 PM »
Hey guys!

Sorry for the extended silence... Just wanted to update you on what happened... About 10 days ago, in the middle of a fairly intense (in a good way) conversation, I broke down and shared with him...

In a perfect world, I could not have hoped for a better response. Not only was/is he supportive but he was so kind and warm and understanding. I am not sure what I have done to deserve that but maybe it is just the luck of the draw. Either way, I just feel.... relieved and happy.

Thank you again for your support and suggestions!

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2010, 06:54:09 AM »
Great news, M! Thanks for letting us know. I take it this means the visit is still on?

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline MBK

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2010, 12:52:58 PM »
Yes!!! More than ever lol. I honestly never thought that something like that would happen.  ;D

Offline Brooke P.

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  • The Best men in the world, my Dad and my Son!
Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2010, 12:54:40 PM »
So glad to hear the great news.  I was wondering this past weekend what had happened. Thank you for sharing.  There are people out there that can be understnding.  Good Luck!
Feb. 2003 -tested positive
Started Kaletra and Combivir
2/26/03  CD4=1080   VL=218,333
3/3/03    CD4=1072   VL=546,010
4/10/03  CD4=1886   VL=1901
12/23/03 CD4=1711   VL=<50
STOPPED MEDS IN JUNE 2004
STARTED BACK WHEN I GOT PREGNANT
9/2009  CD4=274    VL=199,420
WENT 4 YEARS WITHOUT MEDS NOW I'M BACK ON MEDS, ATRIPLA
11/2009 CD4=574    VL=350
2/24/2010 CD4=851 VL=48

Offline megasept

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  • Posts: 478
  • Steven here...
Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2010, 01:10:46 PM »
I am not sure what I have done to deserve that but maybe it is just the luck of the draw.

MBK: nahhhh...anything but "the luck of the draw". your (and his) thoughtful approach to life demolished this potential "deal-breaker". wishing you two men continued success in this young romance!

this short discussion has been helpful for lots of us here, including "lurking".   ;)

-steven (aka  8) megasept)

« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 01:12:33 PM by megasept »

Offline MBK

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Re: HIV, Dating, & Disclosure
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2010, 05:35:24 PM »
Thank you so much for the kind words, although I have to say that most of the credit goes to him... I am glad that it helped others. I have to say, having someone to speak to (not anonymously) makes it feel like I am not shouldering the burden alone...

 


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