Written by 8:56 pm Education & Self Improvement Views: [tptn_views]

Finally Fearless: On Overcoming My HIV+ Dating Mistakes

I’m not afraid to be exactly who I used to be born to be.

It was the summer before I used to be moving to Germany and conveniently I meet an amazing guy. Classic. We were each falling for one another when he told me, “If our situation were different, I might definitely ask you to be my girlfriend”. No way! I used to be so giddy but at the identical time I used to be secretly dying on the within. I didn’t tell him yet that I used to be born with HIV… although we’ve already been quite intimate. 

I used to be digging myself right into a very deep grave of guilt. There never appeared to be the “right” moment.

He flew over to Germany and I finally mustered up the courage, “I should’ve told you this earlier but I’m HIV positive”. I briefly explained the entire “undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U)” which ensures I can’t sexually transmit it to my partners. Nowadays, when someone is on effective treatment, the medication lowers the extent of HIV (the viral load) within the blood to some extent where it may not be spread. 

I waited for his response. He just kept eating his müsli and easily responded with “Thanks for letting me know, I trust you”. That’s it!?

You’re telling me, I used to be trapped in a box full of hysteria the entire time attempting to figure share this bomb of a secret and that’s all he needed to say!? He wasn’t offended that I selected not to inform him earlier nor did he get scared off by the HIV itself. Instead he was still completely happy to be with me. I used to be lucky that I discovered such an understanding guy because *spoiler* this hasn’t all the time been the case!

In fact, dating with HIV has been… colourful, to say the very least. No two disclosures are ever the identical. However, over time I spotted the anxiety that consumed me when it got here to disclosing my status and now recognize the mistakes I’ve overcome in terms of dating while HIV+.

Dating Mistake #1: Feeling Inadequate Because Of My Status

Because I used to be born with HIV, I don’t know a life without it. That’s what I identified with.

For the longest time, the stigma got to me and I allowed HIV to define me. Why would someone select me over the girl without HIV? How could anyone ever possibly fall in love with me? Let alone, why would anyone even consider sleeping with someone with HIV? I used to be always bringing myself down a spiral of negative thoughts and convincing myself nobody would want me. Ironically, I knew how much I had going for myself, however the moment I used to be reminded of my HIV status, all of that looked as if it would just suddenly disappear.

*I used to be letting HIV overshadow the wonderful person I actually was.*

Dating Mistake #2: Avoiding Disclosures Due To Fear Of Rejection

I used to be more hard on myself and scared to be rejected that I avoided the disclosure when possible. This meant either not telling the partner or running away from a potentially good thing, surely hurting them in the method. The “what in the event that they reject me” closed me off to being open and vulnerable. I might slightly avoid the rejection by rejecting them first. It was a lot easier. 

It was so fixed in my head that 90% of my partners would reject me and only 10% could be OK with it. Little did I do know, it actually turned out to be completely the other. After putting myself on the market and just seeing what would occur, things were actually understanding – much to my surprise.

My reality was clearly not matching my perception. Was I creating the stigma in my head? Was I then the one which was actually making it a giant deal? What did my partners see in me that I couldn’t? I spotted this was a me problem.

*It took me a great 10+ years to totally accept my HIV status.*

Overcoming My Fears & Growing Past My Mistakes

I’m without end grateful for the role my partners played in my life in terms of HIV. Interestingly enough, none of them knew a lot about HIV (never even heard of U=U) nor asked me to prove I’m actually undetectable. There was a lot trust involved. Their reactions and the way they handled the news gave me reassurance and the confirmation that it didn’t matter. Funny enough, it was often seen as a positive thing.

*HIV wasn’t a giant deal to my partners.*

So I needed to stop making HIV a giant deal, because apparently it really wasn’t. Stop putting more attention on the thing that didn’t need any more attention. Instead, put the give attention to what makes you you.

I finally understood that my HIV status didn’t play any role in determining whether I’d be a great partner or not. I used to be indeed ok. My partners fell for me because I used to be real, kind, intelligent, and will offer a sense of home (their words, not mine). HIV was just something on the side. And slowly, I used to be beginning to fall in love with the person my partners were all the time seeing.

I finally was in a position to reach the purpose of, “I’m Diana and I just occur to be HIV positive”. HIV not defined me, I used to be defining what it means to be HIV positive. This was essentially the most powerful shift in accepting my status and myself. I don’t even consider it anymore as a reason people would reject me.

“HIV not defined me, I used to be defining what it means to be HIV positive.”

                      —Diana Koss

And wow, what a ride it has been! I never thought I’d have the experiences I actually have. A combination of fun nights, summer flings, serious commitments, and even finding someone who I believed was “the One”. I get to live life and have stories for the books – and within the meantime, the proven fact that I’m HIV positive plays such an insignificant role.

It was a struggle, but I’m glad I ultimately made it to the opposite side.

Food For Thought

For anyone who’s battling the “what in the event that they reject me?”, I dare you to ask yourself, “what in case you never put yourself on the market and get to experience love?”

Now, which one do you think that is more scary?

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