How should you tell your partner that you have herpes?

How should you tell your partner that you have herpes?

It may surprise you to learn that there are millions of people today who are living with herpes. Unfortunately, even though there are so many people around the world who live with herpes and other STDs, there is still quite the stigma surrounding this particular STD, and it makes it difficult for those who have it to navigate the dating and relationship scene.

Whether you are looking for a no strings attached-style hookup or have your heart set on settling down in a relationship for the long term, you must disclose your herpes status to your partner before you have sex or any other sort of sexual contact for the first time, so that those involved can make the healthiest decision. That task can seem understandably daunting and even frightening to accomplish. So what’s the best way to go about telling your partner you have herpes?

One of the most difficult parts about telling your partner you have herpes could lie in figuring out how to even approach the topic. The words and phrases that you end up using will depend on the type of relationship you have, but it is important not to make a big deal out of it. If you tell them not to “freak out” or preface it by saying “I have some bad news I need to tell you,” you are already setting up the conversation to get a negative response. Instead, begin by mentioning cold sores and then perhaps move into the topic of genital herpes. It is important to be transparent and honest, so saying that you think it is important to be honest in your relationship is a positive way to lead into it.

If you are taking anything to mitigate the symptoms and flare-ups that come with genital herpes, that is important to mention, because it may help alleviate some of your partner’s concerns about transmission. Many of these medications make it a bit more difficult for you to spread your STD. It will help to soften the blow of the unexpected information. Further ease their minds by letting them know about the different safe sex options that you know about that can help protect them from the virus. By coming prepared with plenty of information to offer during the conversation, you will look mature and sexually aware, and it will make it so your partner does not feel like they have just been given information to sort through on their own that they know nothing about.

Telling your partner you have herpes can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. It all comes down to how you approach the topic, not prefacing it with a doom and gloom statement and then choosing your words carefully to explain as gently as possible. Then, be prepared to give them information on how you are managing it and safe sex options, while also preparing to answer questions they may have and ease their mind. You never know—your partner may end up disclosing they have genital herpes as well.

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