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Friends, Lovers and Soul Mates: In Our Own Words

Lorraine's Words

On Halloween Day 2003, my sister convinces me that I should meet her boyfriend's best friend.  My sister's boyfriend had tried to talk me into this meeting a few times, but my big fear was that this guy would be exactly like my sister's fellow (who is an excellent person, but definitely not my type), so I not so artfully avoided this set-up for a couple of months.  Well finally I get a call from my sister where she says "Okay, I've met Tim and spent some time with him and I think you'll like him and we're having a kids party on the 31st where there will be lots of people so you won't have to feel pressured if you two don't get along".

I hum and I haw and I can't come up with a decent excuse and agree to come along for the fun.  I spend a couple of bucks on a set of antenna and grab a bag of treats to spread around to the kids and meet my sister at her place after finishing university for the day.  We get to the party and we have a wonderful time.  Tim turns out to be completely different from my sister's fellow (thank you god!) and the next thing I know we plan another group excursion the next day to take his kids, his sister's kids, and my nephew out to a movie.  We sit together during the movie and make a few quiet jokes and it's just a very nice time.

Next thing I know I get a call from my sister's boyfriend saying I think the boy likes you and wanting to know if it's okay to give Tim my number.

After that Tim and I had some very pleasant dates and he tolerated very well that our dates were often scheduled around or pre-empted by my university schedule. Since he knows so many people that my sister is involved with and also because he lives out of town, I decided to make a point to take things very slowly and really gauge his personality.  A couple of months rolled by and I still hadn't told him about my herpes.  (I would like to insert here that my sister knows all about me having herpes, my precaution was mainly that I really was going to make sure things were going in a good direction before opening any doors to intimacy since my sister is very close to people in Tims family).  However, as I watched him in action I realized there was a lot to respect. I learned during those few months that Tim is a laid back, easygoing fellow who is not only a responsible adult but also a wonderful father.  I enjoyed his open mind and accepting nature and realized I was ready to tell him about my having herpes.

We go on a ski date in January where we talk about just about everything up on those slopes.  He's a complete gentleman and he's been absolutely respectful of my apparent caution about getting very close very fast.  On the drive back from the slope I tell him about the fact that I have herpes.  I was able to remain calm through the whole thing and, after a brief pause, the first thing he says is "Oh yeah, I read an article about that not so long ago and its not that big of a deal".  I know for a fact that my sister's guy knows nothing about me having herpes and my sister could be tortured for hours and wouldn't say a thing, she's just that type.  So what Im hearing from Tim really is his first reaction to learning about my diagnosis.  I tell him a bit (okay a lot I tend to babble) about my experience and that if we go down the intimacy road full tilt we'll need to decide what sort of precautions we're both comfortable with.  Well, after several minutes of me talking on about things he takes my hand and says, "This won't change how I feel about you one bit".

At that moment you could have knocked me over with a feather!  He didn't even seem to do a double take over my telling him about my disclosing my herpes to him.  I might as well have been telling him that I had a problem with ingrown toenails for how unconcerned he was about things.  He wanted some more information, and the next day I gave him an envelope with some information in it including the herpes handbook.  He took the time to read it and asked me some questions over the next few weeks, but I could tell by how he was taking in the information that this was not a deal breaker for him.

Well things carried onward from there.  I find myself the frequent recipient of poetry and flowers.  His kids have decided that Im marvellous and the rest of his family seems to think Im okay too.  The fires of passion are finally lit and now we are one of those annoying couples you find hiding in a corner together whispering sweet nothings to one another.  Were both on cloud nine and he is making plans to move to my city (which is much closer to his kids as well) and were now making noises about a future together.  Nothing is set in stone, but I dont think either one of us can imagine this not working out.

Sometimes I look into Tims eyes and I can hardly believe the love and passion I see reflected back at me.  What did I do to deserve this?  I never expected to find a friend, lover, and soul mate like Tim.  Now I wonder how I made it this far without someone as loving and wonderful in my life.

Tim's Words

Life is full of choices.  I have chosen to become involved with a wonderful woman who has genital herpes.  In fact, I have fallen in love with Lorraine, who has enriched my life in the short time I have known her.  It is my belief that trust and respect are the two most important ingredients to any lasting relationship, whether that relationship is as friends or as lovers.  If we are lucky, our lover and best friend will be the same person.

Lorraine and I first met on Halloween 2003.  I was two years into a painful divorce and child custody case.  I was unsure about getting involved with someone at that time, and certainly did not expect to develop the feelings that I now have for Lorraine.  At our first meeting I found Lorraine to be a warm, funny, and caring lady.  I decided I wanted to get to know her better, and over the next several months we began dating.  We took things slowly (mainly because I live over five hours away).  We met when we could for coffees, lunch, an evening playing pool, and talking on the phone.

On January 9, 2004, we planned a day of skiing together.  The day was wonderful, and Lorraine and I seemed very comfortable with each others company.  On the drive home, my thoughts were on the fact that, contrary to all my reservations that I would ever meet someone as special as Lorraine, I had.  My feelings towards her had been growing stronger every day, and I had the feeling that she felt the same way.  It was then that Lorraine explained to me that she had genital herpes.  I am ashamed to admit that my very first thought was a selfish one.  That thought was, Why me?  Why have I met a wonderful woman and she has to have herpes?  This thought was based on ignorance on my part.  Ignorance of exactly what herpes was and because of the stigma that had been placed on it by society.

I put this thought out of my head and concentrated on listening to Lorraine sharing her story with me.  I could tell that it was not easy for her to do this.  I could see that it was painful for her to have to tell me this.  I tried to say the right things at the right time, but Im not sure if I was convincing.  As I listened, I realized that Lorraine did have the same feelings for me as I did for her.  She was telling me because she cared about me.  She respected me enough to tell me she had herpes before we took our relationship any further.  She trusted me to keep what she was telling me between the two of us.  She was proving that she was someone that I could respect and trust.  She became even more special in my eyes.

Lorraine gave me a large packet of information on herpes and asked that I read through it before making a decision on our future together.  I told her I would, but I knew then that I wanted to continue seeing her and taking our relationship further.

After reading through all the information on herpes that Lorraine had given me (very small printing for old guysshe was trying to save paper) I realized how uninformed I really was on the subject.  I also knew that based on all the information I had read, I would be a fool to give up on such a wonderful person simply because she had herpes.  I knew that she was so much more as a person, and had so much to offer in a relationship.  I have not regretted my choice for a single instance since then.  We have taken our relationship further.  When I look at Lorraine I do not see her as someone who has herpes, but as the wonderful woman that she is.  I see her as someone I can respect, trust, love, and who can be my best friend.

Does the fact that someone has herpes diminish who he or she is as a person?  Does it take away from all the good characteristics that make that individual who they are?  Does it decrease in any way the valuable contributions that person makes to society? No, no, and no!  I see Lorraine as someone living life to its fullest, who has chosen to try and help other people by sharing her experiences, her wisdom, and her heart.  I see her as a complete person.  I love her!!!

 

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