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Herpes in a long term 'monogamous' relationship

(87 Posts)
sadandhumiliated Fri 12-Jan-18 23:38:48

I have nc for this, I’m a regular, and post on here under a different name.

Have been diagnosed with herpes this week. 30 years old, DP 33, together 5 years. Neither of us ever had any outbreaks in that time that we can think of before.

Had sex new year’s day and the day after DP mentioned a lesion on his penis that he thought was a result of a toothy BJ (tmi sorry sad). With hindsight and research it appears this was a papercut lesion and 4-5 days later I had what has now been diagnosed as a herpes outbreak.

I’m utterly devastated and feel so low. I know herpes can stay dormant for a long time but DP claims he can’t remember an outbreak ever and the GUM nurse says it’s quite uncommon to stay dormant so long (I mean we’d be talking 5 years without an outbreak!) I’d have been quite lucky to have not caught it for all this time. Of course something that is staring me in the face is the possibility he’s cheated.

I feel so tainted, miserable and low. I know it’s ‘just a cold sore but on rude bits’ but I’m not stupid. People do not view it like that and there is huge stigma attached to it. Just need a hand hold really as have no one irl to talk to and feel my life is over right now. Don’t feel I can trust DP but feel trapped as Who would want me with this?!sad

dementedpixie Fri 12-Jan-18 23:40:39

Have either of you had cold sores as they can spread to the genitals via oral sex?

Greensleeves Fri 12-Jan-18 23:42:02

I don't know anything about herpes I'm afraid, or whether it could mean he's cheated, but I'm sure other posters will advise.

Just a hug from me and a hope that you get it sorted and feel better soon - I know outbreaks are more treatable than they used to be. You're certainly not tainted flowers

Whensmyturn Fri 12-Jan-18 23:45:13

I'm sorry you're feeling so bad. You are not tainted. Give yourself time. Be kind to yourself. There may be another explanation If he has cheated then you need to give him a chance to explain. People make mistakes. MN posters aren't very forgiving of men cheating but life isn't as black and white as some posters believe.

sadandhumiliated Fri 12-Jan-18 23:47:30

Neither of us ever had a cold sore unfortunately we have already discussed this possibility but thank you sad

Yes they gave me aciclovir (antiviral) and a cream to help with the itchiness and pain. I’m coming up with new lesions every day though and the only thing that’s giving me any relief is being in the bath at the moment. Luckily I had annual leave this week but am due back Monday and genuinely don’t know how I’ll get through the day as taking 2-3 baths a day right now and can only manage wearing a nighty right now. I never knew it was this bad sad

Cricrichan Fri 12-Jan-18 23:49:53

I've just googled and it can pass from mouth to sexual organs. Do either of you get cold sores?

I don't think many people view STDs as dirty just as unlucky. Anyone who's sexually active is at risk. I just took some ovex because I have threadworms. I won't announce it on Facebook but neither am I ashamed. I caught it off one of my kids. Luck of the draw.

Greensleeves Fri 12-Jan-18 23:51:19

Oh you poor thing, that must be so miserable sad fingers crossed it clears up soon x

Lillygolightly Fri 12-Jan-18 23:52:02

Can’t give advice as to whether you’d dp cheated but I can tell you that my bf has herpes. In the time I’ve known here she’s had various relationships and it’s never been a problem. No bloke has ever walked away from her because of it. She says the worst bit is having the discussion about but says it’s always been well received and just an awkward conversation to have to have. She got married recently too.

Your shocked and upset right now which is totally understandable, but your life is not over and you will be just fine x

sadandhumiliated Sat 13-Jan-18 00:02:14

It’s utter misery. I don’t really know what I thought of when I thought of herpes but honestly never imagined it to be this bad sad I’m waking in the night itching as well, and the cream can only be used 4x a day so have to try and time it correctly.

It’s nice to hear positive stories & that people don’t all react horribly. I was on a herpes forum the other day and everyone was being quite positive, then someone came on - I guess a troll, saying ‘you say it’s a skin condition - no, it’s a disease, a disgusting disease and it’s no wonder people don’t want to be involved’ . In all honesty before this week I think if someone told me they had it I’d have recoiled too! sad I feel I’m an expert on herpes already I’ve done nothing all week but read about herpes. After HIV it has the most stigma attached of all STDs apparently - why?

sadsadsad I cant believe it

Greensleeves Sat 13-Jan-18 00:04:29

The troll was unbelievably cruel, I'm sorry you had to read that sad but it was a troll, a sad tosser with nothing better to do. You're not tainted or disgusting, just ill through no fault of your own. I know it hurts now but it will get better flowers

TinDogTavern Sat 13-Jan-18 00:04:45

Didn't want to read and run. flowers for you. It's not a nice diagnosis to hear. But you have nothing to feel tainted or humiliated about.
Your DP has questions to answer I think, as he has infected you and he needs to take responsibility for that. It doesn't necessarily mean he has cheated but I don't think he's being 100% straight with you. Did you get the impression that the diagnosis was less of a shock for him than it was for you? Is it possible, for example, that he might have been diagnosed long before he met you, has not had an outbreak for a long time and thought, however wrongly, he didn't need to tell you, and now he's caught out in the lie by omission.
I was diagnosed over 25 years ago in my mid 20s and had all the horrible feelings you are having now, but these feelings will pass. It is a condition that can be managed and I haven't had an outbreak in well over a decade.

Take one step at a time, and try not to fixate on "who will have me now?" If you do decide to move on from this relationship, then yes it's a complication to bring to a new relationship but it isn't necessarily a deal breaker for many decent men.

(N.b As with many conditions with stigma attached, there's an awful lot of misinformation and misunderstanding, including on MN, so get as much info and support as you can from the clinicians who diagnosed you).

TinDogTavern Sat 13-Jan-18 00:08:10

Oh, and the first outbreak is usually the worst by miles, so even if you do have more, they're unlikely to be this bad again. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Tansilie Sat 13-Jan-18 00:19:45

You could have caught herpes years before you even met your DH (or him perhaps) without having any symptoms, and you are only now having your first outbreak years later.
Your initial outbreak does not necessarily align with the time that you contracted it. Herpes can lie dormant for years and it's incredibly difficult for this reason to pinpoint who gave you it.

I have herpes btw. blush

Tryingtogetitright Sat 13-Jan-18 00:20:14

I caught it when I was 30. In a v casual relationship that ended soon after.

Felt awful, like I'd never meet anyone who would want me and thought would spend my life alone, dirty, sad, miserable. And felt like I couldn't talk to friends because I was ashamed.

Met my now DH when I was 31. Told him on date three before things got physical. We stuck to "above the belt" til we were serious (a few months) as didn't want to pass it on if we weren't staying together. Didn't put him off and we're happily married now with two gorgeous little ones. (no problems with pregnancy - disclosed to midwife at first appointment so they're aware but still able to have vaginal births in case you're worried about that)

My first episode was horrendous and so painful but I haven't had many flare ups since and DH hasn't caught it (as far as we can tell)

Not sure about the cheating aspect but while a bit unpleasant and embarrassing, hopefully you won't suffer physically with the herpes as much as you are now.

All the best and a big hug. I remember how I felt and it was horrid but now I never even think about it xx

Tansilie Sat 13-Jan-18 00:21:46

Oh, and I've only ever had one outbreak - the initial one, so I cannot comment on whether the subsequent ones are any better but I've heard they are.

I had a baby vaginally 2 years ago with no outbreak or complications.

In a LT relationship. DP knows I have it and we have unprotected sex. For all we know he could have it, but he's not had an outbreak yet...

NewYearSameOldMe Sat 13-Jan-18 00:25:37

Have u had a period recently? PAds, especially 'always', on OFFER, can bring u out in rashes that mimic herpes!!!

Heratnumber7 Sat 13-Jan-18 00:31:12

Herpes is very contagious. You could have touched someone with a cold sore who hadn't washed their hands, and then touched your genitals when you wiped yourself after the toilet.

When I have a breakout on my face I use a separate towel from the rest of the family.

sadandhumiliated Sat 13-Jan-18 00:31:55

I know it can lie dormant for many years but the GUM nurse seemed to suggest this is quite uncommon and cited way too often about herpes. Given that neither of us had any inkling of an outbreak for such a long time? I mean she couldn’t say for certain but I asked for an opinion and that was hers!

As to whether he was shocked he’s been reassuring and tried to downplay it / minimise it ‘it’s a skin condition like eczema’ was one of his lines.... which made me wonder if he felt guilty. Today he said he has been thinking about it and thought perhaps he has had some soreness over the years but nothing ‘other than the norm’. When I questioned that he said similar to the ‘cut’ he had the other week. I pointed out that in all likelihood was a herpes lesion having looked at pictures online... so is he telling me he’s had it a long time? And he just says he doesn’t know! sad I don’t want to make this into an argument about him giving this to me; I know it’s not intentional. I know there is also a chance it’s been dormant in me a long time. It’s just frustrating. I wish I knew where it had come from sad

Thanks for the positive stories and it’s really good to hear that you’re going so long without outbreaks. I can’t bear the thought of going through anything like this hell again. sad

StopCallingMeShirley Sat 13-Jan-18 00:32:35

Most people never get another outbreak after the first. I am not so fortunate and get them regularly so I have acyclovir tablets always available on repeat.

I don't know when I first had it, as I have never had the awful outbreaks that most people describe for a first one. The first occasion I know of was shortly after getting married. We had been together 3 years by then. I now get sores every 6-8 weeks, so that probably was the first time.

DH has had only one incident, about 10 years into our marriage. Again, no severe signs. So maybe he had it before, we don't know.

Net result, we don't know who had it first. But, neither of us have ever had reason to doubt the other. Please don't assume your DP has been unfaithful.

Izzy24 Sat 13-Jan-18 00:41:26

It won’t be as bad as this first outbreak.

It’s not ‘dirty’.

It can be dormant for years.

You will probably feel a lot better by Monday.

UnFuckingAcceptable Sat 13-Jan-18 00:47:47

I think it's possible your partner has had it without realising.

I was diagnosed by my midwife.

For years I thought it was thrush as I tended to suffer when run down (and always got thrush when super stressed or run down). Swabs were taken as midwife wasn't certain it was a herpes outbreak because I wasn't bouncing off the bed when she prodded the sore, I guess I'd gotten used to the feeling.

I'm trying to say, maybe not very well, that everyone experiences pain differently and while most sufferers and medical professionals consider herpes sores to be excruciatingly painful maybe your partner doesn't and is only now considering that perhaps he has carried herpes unknowingly for a long time?

ThisLittleKitty Sat 13-Jan-18 00:48:05

Sorry but I do agree there is a huge stigma around herpes. My friend has it and she's come to me so many times upset as men are always ending things with her when she tells them (in fear of catching it)

ThisLittleKitty Sat 13-Jan-18 00:49:15

After HIV it has the most stigma attached of all STDs apparently - why?

That's quite easy to answer. It's because there is no cure for them so Ofcourse they will have the most stigma.

Greensleeves Sat 13-Jan-18 00:50:37

We should all be trying to break down this sort of stigma though. Herpes is incredibly common. Nobody should have to feel dirty or tainted because of an illness they can't help. And it can be managed, you can still have a sexual relationship.

Tansilie Sat 13-Jan-18 00:58:34


There's really no need to use separate objects etc

The virus is caught from the skin, not from objects. It is a delicate virus and dies quickly when away from the skin where the sore is.

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