02/06/2013 at 7:58 am #813
I have decided to introduce myself in a separate post because I have a specific situation and would love everyone’s input. First I’ll start off with what brought me to Ken’s Teleclass. My last serious relationship that lasted more than 4 months (it lasted 2 years and we talked about marriage) was 8 years ago. The guy was great in a lot of ways but he was also cold, possessive, a hothead, and talked down to me a lot. He had trouble staying in realtionships (he had 5 2 year relationships and it haunted him that they ended at the 2 year mark) He is now married with 2 children and couldn’t be happier. It makes life seem so unfair because I felt like I was the more tolerant and compassionate person that would have easily gotten married after our relationship ended.
After he and I ended, I moved to a different city and thought I would have fun being single. I dated a lot for many years, which also involved just hooking up with people, but eventually I decided I wanted a real relationship that would lead to marriage.
I developed this chronic problem — A man would show interest in me, sometime really try to pull out all of the stops. Then in a matter of a few weeks or months he would abruptly lose interest, withdraw, and I wouldn’t always know why. Sometimes it would be a situation where I would either bring up the status of the relationship either directly or through unconscious actions but sometimes even when I didn’t want or push for anything more the man would still reject me.
I was being repeatedly rejected. I made a list and it included of every interaction I have had since my last boyfriend and this has happened 16 times. I always chalked it up to these things : 1) becoming physically intimate with the man too soon although I have been rejected even without physical intimacy. 2) my wanting reassurance that the guy wants a relationship and feels the same way about me as I do about him.
I had 2 private sessions with Ken before starting the teleclass and he made me realize that I was recreating the dynamic I had with my father. My father cheated on my mom, and was an alcoholic. He has never been able to remain faithful to one woman. He lies a lot. He had a girlfriend who my sister and I lived with along with dad who was abusive, antagonistic, and envious of my father’s past relationship with my mom. She openly put down my mom. One Christmas she was on drugs (though my father claims she was drunk) and was erratic, hostile, and openly made racist remarks about my brother in-law. My father left Christmas dinner to drive her home. My father minimizes how hurtful this is to me and my family. He even lies about the incidents that happened. I did not talk to my father for 4 years. Once reconnected with him, she called and left me angry voicemails. She tries to isolate him from all of my extended family. They were on again off again until one Christmas my father goes to Switzerland where she lives without telling us why. He calls Christmas day to tell me I have a new baby sister. We later find out it is not his child. My father doesn’t care that it is not his child. My father goes to Switzerland to take care of the baby when she got taken away from Suzy because she was in drug rehab. They eventually marry and I find out through a background search that I did on my father. The more recent problems with Suzy (beginning with my father not telling me about the baby) happened while in my last 2 year relationship.
Ken and I realized that I seek out men that are unavailable. The dynamic is recreated because I am being consistently let down by these men.
Now I am about to turn 36 and find myself becoming sad and even jealous of friends who become engaged and get pregnant.
What makes all of this even more difficult was an incident that happened to me this past October. I was dating this guy that seemed really great that I met on Match.com. I was worried that he would be too nice and I might not feel attraction but that was not the case at all. He seemed intelligent, nice and level-headed. We had 2 dates and lots of fun together. At the end of the second date I went to his apartment but said that I did not want to have sex. We did fool around a bit and then I see him unwrapping a condom. I again said that I did not want to have sex. Later in he penetrates me without a condom and then when I noticed what happened I told him to stop. I find out weeks later that he gave me genital herpes (presumably unknowingly but he will not return my calls). I also later find out that he had an on-again off again ex still in the picture even through he said in his profile that he wants a serious relationship.
It is difficult enough to find a relationship and my fear of rejection is exacerbated because of my past, herpes status and age.
Would love any feedback. Does anyone know of friends who have had situations similar to mine? Any friends who were able to find a relationship despite herpes?
Thank you for reading this long post!02/07/2013 at 1:52 pm #816
Thank you so much for posting this! So honest, so difficult to face, but so empowering. You are becoming so clear on the kind of man you absolutely dont want to keep replaying this with. That is a huge step.
Ken02/09/2013 at 1:17 pm #818
Your post brings up a lot of emotions in me, as parts of it could easily be applied to my life. Recognize that you are soooooo not alone in your experience of multiple “rejections” and the feelings of insecurity and uncertainty that creates. I have never had an STD, but have certainly put myself into situations where exactly what happened to you could have happened to me. After the fact, I have often felt shame about choices that I’ve made (allowing unprotected sex because it felt right in the moment… trusting others despite not having an explicit discussion about sexual history and safe sex practices, etc.) Anyhow….
I’ve had the oral herpes virus since childhood. I presume I got it from my Mom from kissing her. About 2-3x/year I’ll get an outbreak, usually when I am sick or under a lot of stress. In fact, this past week that actually happened. I had a huge cold sore on my lip, and one inside my mouth. Painful and disgusting-looking. I didn’t even want to go into work (I’m a teacher, so I can’t hide in a cubicle). I felt like a leper all week (a colleague told me I had “something on my lip,” etc.) I’ve heard that by age 40 or so, the % of Americans who have the oral herpes virus is as high as 80%…. it shouldn’t really be a stigma, but I SO feel one.
I know that feeling must be even more so with genital herpes. Since they both can be transmitted when the virus a shedding but without a visible outbreak, in the past I have tried to discuss it with men I’ve dated. Technically, they could get it from me from just kissing. My understanding is that both the oral and genital forms can be transmitted during oral sex. Thus, you would THINK it would be something a partner of mine would want to know. (My experience of heterosexual, safe sex norms in my age group is that a latex barrier for oral is rarely assumed.) Anyhow, when I have mentioned it, I have been met by fear and shitloads of lack of knowledge, to the extent that I haven’t wanted to ever bring it up proactively again.
That being said, I feel like this is a wonderful opportunity for you. (Yes, I said opportunity.) Both to increase your communication skills with new or potential partners, and as a general “screening device.” Because you will need to disclose your status before intimacy, it may help you in regard to the feeling of often having sex “too soon.” It will ensure that a partner is “on board” with you before having sex, and you will be entering into intimacy with a greater feeling of being “safe” because of that.
Despite this being something new to deal with, my understanding is that the % of Americans with genital herpes is pretty high, i.e., don’t think of this as limiting your prospects. You may find someone who is also positive and who is RELIEVED to have found a partner with the same status and who can relate, or you may find someone who doesn’t have the virus but it happy to be with you regardless as long as you guys take precautions. I am sure you’re already thinking about those possibilities.
I hope I haven’t overstepped with my feedback. As stated, I imagine you must feeling an intense range of emotions from fear, to anger, to shame, to frustration, to uncertainty… but I really can see how this might be a positive and an opportunity for growth and change.
~Tara02/09/2013 at 1:26 pm #819
One last thought….
The last time I went in for an HIV test, I asked them to also do a full STD screen (this was at Planned Parenthood). I mentioned herpes and was told that BY POLICY Planned Parenthood of NY doesn’t test for herpes unless there is a visible outbreak, or the patient had experienced a visible outbreak, or the patient had unprotected sex with someone that they knew to be positive… the reason they gave was because the false positive result for the test is so high.
With that in mind (and trying to give your date the benefit of the doubt), you may be right that he didn’t know he had the virus. Since he won’t take a call, could you email or text him and just state it outright in the message (as opposed to “we need to talk.”) Also, I think that some clinics (like PP) can make calls for you. I know they have services to do that for HIV, but perhaps they offer it for other STDs? Something to look into.02/09/2013 at 3:28 pm #823
I thought I would share a story to hopefully make you feel like you are not alone. I got a call from someone I had been seeing, to say that he found out he had herpes. I was a little freaked out – I think more so because i thought he was thinking I had given it to him (I don’t believe my husband was faithful so it could have been possible he had given it to me). I went and got tested right away and what the doctor told me was this. About 90% of people have herpes – a lot of them don’t know it and don’t have visible signs of it. He said that if a person has genital herpes there is a medicine you can take daily to avoid outbreaks. Also, he said if it turned out that I had herpes than this particular guy and I would not have to worry (meaning if you both have it you can’t give it to each other) and if I didn’t have it, than the person who has it could take the medicine to prevent (up to 90 some percent) giving it to me. As it turned out, I did not have it. The doctor also told this man that he had NOT gotten herpes recently (nowhere near the time we were dating) and that he probably had this since back in college. The man never had visible outbreaks….he happened to go to the doctor for something else and ended up finding out he had herpes.
I just wanted you to know that your dating life is not over because of this information. It seems that a lot of other people have one form of herpes or the other and have happy relationships despite that fact.
There is a book out called “The Tao of Dating” which I think I will get myself, after hearing some good things about it, and maybe you might get something out of it too. Ken, have you heard of it?
Good luck with wherever your path is leading you!
~Marla02/10/2013 at 8:43 pm #825
I just wanted to respond to your post as well. I am grateful to you for sharing your story, and I think it’s brave of you to do so–NOT because there’s anything wrong with sharing–in fact, I think it’s a wonderful thing–but because I know that feelings of fear, shame, embarrassment, etc. can be so hard and disheartening.
And yet, as I read your post, I have several thoughts:
1. I’m grateful for this writer’s sharing, even if it wasn’t easy to do so.
2. “This writer has had some difficult family challenges, but she seems to have a clear sense of what happened, and how some dynamics may have been repeated in her adult experience.
3. This writer sounds like a really intelligent, insightful, and good person. She sounds like the kind of individual who would bring so much goodness into a relationship, and she sounds like someone who’s on a path that won’t just follow her family-of-origin’s path.
4. If were very interested in (or, of course, falling in love with) someone who happened to have herpes,n. In fact, I don’t know if it would have any impact. But, if it did, it might have the opposite effect–I might think, “Wow, this indiv it would have absolutely no negative effect on my interest in that persoidual is so special and good, and I know she’s hurting about this issue. I just want to wrap her up in my arms, show her/prove to her that she’s in no way diminished by this (very common) virus, try to make her feel safe, and try to take away her hurt.”
5. As someone who has some psoriasis, I’ve often been worried that I’d be seen as not attractive. (Fortunately, I don’t have such a severe case of it, but I do have it.) Truth be told, though… despite my worries about this condition, it never was an issue in my relationship that lasted 5 and 1/2 years. There were other issues, for sure, but the medical-related one was inconsequential!
6. After my partner (in the above-mentioned relationship) cheated on me, I thought I had contracted an STD. (Turns out, I was having an allergic reaction to some laundry detergents.) But, the testing was extensive and actually did a bit of damage to my skin. The details are less important than the theme: I truly know the feeling of being damaged, and yet I also know that points 4 and 5, above, are very real.
Hope this is helpful, and thanks again for sharing!02/10/2013 at 9:24 pm #828
Thank you Tara, Maria, and Skrauseny for supporting me with your posts of kind words.
Tara – I agree with you that this could be a good opportunity to take things slow and really screen out people who are not right for me. I can remain conscious of not falling in love with anyone or become physically intimate too fast. When I eventually have “the talk” by then I should know if this person truly appreciates me for my core gifts and can accept me for me – HSV status and all.
I was able to talk to the guy and tell him about the HSV positive result. He had an ex that also called him a year after they broke up with the same news and his result was negative so he didn’t seem too worried when I called. When I texted and left a voicemail to see if he had gotten tested there was no response. He may think that he got it from me because I was saying that I didn’t want to have sex. It is absolutely impossible for me to have had it before because I felt symptoms days after he penetrated me against my wishes, and have had 2 outbreaks since. I have since taken a variety of very effective medicationa and remedies and have not had any problems.
Maria- If there is a dating book out there, I have read it. I have read the Tao of Dating and it wasn’t too helpful for me, but I may have been going through a skeptical period of my life so it’s not a bad idea to revisit it. It definitely does not encourage game playing. The rates of HSV-2 (genital herpes) in New York City are higher than the national average — 19% of men, 39% of women. I have only lived here since April and he was the only New Yorker I was intimate with. The national average is 20%, with women being more susceptible.
skrauseny — Your kind words are very uplifting so thank you. I do want to bring a lot of good to the next relationship that I am in and really want to be aware of choosing a guy who will be supportive of the condition.
All of this really helps so thank you all again. I did find out recently that I have a benign fibroid tumor on my uterus which could affect my fertility depending on where it is located. A regular ultrasound can’t identify the location but an MRI or Hysteroscopy will. 5 women on my mothers side have had fibroids and all successfully conceived. Mine is rather large so I am making drastic dietary and lifestyle changes to shrink it. At first it felt like one more thing that would make me less desirable to some because of the possible fertility effect but through my research the process of trying to shrink the fibroid would actually make me more fertile.02/11/2013 at 12:55 pm #829
I was so moved by your post and I can relate so much to a lot of what you have experienced. I also had a very difficult relationship with my father and the woman is his life for many years. My father put more emphasis on himself and his relationship than me and my feelings as a child. I felt that I wasn’t very important to him, and that despite knowing that this woman resented me, he still chose to make excuses for her and her behavior. She did a lot of the same things to me that you described. My father is also very manipulative and inappropriate. He said a lot of hurtful and disturbing things about my mother that led me to believe that a lot of her problems could be attributed to her relationship with him. I lost respect for him completely. After a lot of soul searching and with the support of my therapist, I decided I did not want a relationship with my father and asked him to stop contacting me. He is surprised and incredulous. He is also incredibly oblivious and doesn’t understand what he did wrong. Well, I could took the time to tell him how I felt and why I felt he wasn’t good enough to be in my life. I see that my relationship with him and my mother has led me to constantly search and compromise myself to find validation. Something about closing the chapter with both of them has shifted things enormously.
You are not alone in having sought relationships that were hurtful and even physically dangerous to feel validated. I know I have done this as well. I am more upset that this guy bullied you into sex despite your saying you didn’t want to do it. I have also been in that position as well. I was so intimidated that I didn’t know how to stop things either. Well, after that encounter I was so disgusted by this guy that I can’t stand to even talk to him and he is always trying to reach out to me and is shocked that I don’t like him. and I think he thought he would have the upper hand from that point forward. I found him repulsive afterward.
Please forgive me for this spiritual reference if you are not, but maybe God had this happen to get your attention. I often find that these seeming terrible things can jolt us in incredible ways. I was so shell shocked by what happened with the guy I described that I knew that I went into an incredibly dark depression. It was the best thing for me, though. I realized I never want to be treated that way again and that I needed to face why I had been treating myself so badly. It’s also what gave me the courage to walk away from my family who treated me badly or who refused to acknowledge and apologize (like your dad) for how they treated me. I feel stronger and slowly I feel more confident.
You are not damaged goods. You are just getting your bearings and God is going to use this situation to show you that are undeniable no matter what happens. I believe that as we start to give ourselves the very attention and love we’ve been looking for in others, it will lead to better love. You deserve the best and you will get it. I think you will have to change your mind about yourself and see that your feelings and needs are as important as everyone elses. That’s the thing I have to chant to myself every day.
I’m praying for you and I hope you do not mind this.
Kandice02/12/2013 at 10:08 am #834
Kandice – thank you for your supportive post. I too felt that my father’s dismissiveness about his wife’s antagonistic was unhealthy for my life that I cut all ties with him. There was a part of me that felt my father needed a negative repercussion to his actions and that hopefully he would realize that this woman was isolating him and negatively affecting his family relationships. I had hoped that he would choose real family over her. He never did. I thought to myself, having a positive relationship with my dad where I simply accept his choice would be better for me in the long run as far as having good relationships with men. However is a romantic relationship I would know where to draw the line on what is tolerable behavior.
I found out a few days ago that my father had a stroke and wasn’t even told until a week after it happened. I would have hoped that Suzy would put the past aside and contact me but it could have been more of my father not wanting to worry us as it was a minor stroke. I was concerned and hurt at the beginning but I am coming to understand know. My father did listen and understand that I was upset and we worked it out.
I can see that the HSV-2 diagnosis may have happened for a reason but the timing is so stressful. Yes it could force me to take things very slow and really screen people out before becoming physically and emotionally intimate with them. It’s just tough having that extra reason for someone to reject me when it has been a chronic problem without the HSV. But if someone truly loves you it shouldn’t matter.
Thank you for your kind words and keeping me in your prayers.02/14/2013 at 10:14 am #835
You were on my mind and I hope things are feeling better. I have been praying for you and our whole group. I am hoping that we can look at rejection differently as we move forward. I, too, have always worried about someone rejecting me if they found out how sensitive I really am, how much connection I really prefer, and how lonely I can feel when I am feeling sad or hurt. So, I hope I didn’t minimize your feelings about this matter because I really do understand on some level about the stigma of that. My prayer for all of us is that we will find people who love us for who we are and who are compassionate and understanding.02/17/2013 at 10:00 am #838
I’m so moved–deeply moved–by your shares and support for each other. Wow. Thank you all for sharing, and please know that even when this course is over, this forum will remain alive, as will, I hope, your connections. I’m inspired by your vulnerability, insights and care.
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