Friends, Lovers and Soul Mates: In Our Own 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
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
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 Tim’s
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
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 I’m 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 I’m marvellous and the rest of his family
seems to think I’m 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.
We’re both on cloud nine and he is making plans to move to my city
(which is much closer to his kids as well) and we’re now making
noises about a future together. Nothing is set in stone, but I
don’t think either one of us can imagine this not working out.
Sometimes I look into Tim’s 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.
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
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 other’s 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 I’m 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
guys—she 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!!!