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And What About The Dating?

| 11 Comments

A couple of  weeks ago my mentor asked me about my love life. I wasn't expecting the question but I gave an honest answer. It went something like this

"How's your love life?"

"I don't have a love life."

"Do you want one?"

"Or are you done?"

"Well, I want a dating life but on my terms. I seem to find men who just want causal sex and I want someone to value me. I mean, sex for sex sake just ain't cutting it anymore for me, not at 51 years of age."

"I totally understand,"

"I mean, I am going around the country talking to young women about living whole. I'm just trying to practice what I preach."

"Do you want to get married again?"

"Well, now I think I may be done with marriage," and we both laughed and continued to clean up the aftermath of Thanksgiving dinner. I've thought about that conversation a lot since Thanksgiving.


The fact of the matter I am still alive and would love some companionship. Call me idealistic but it would be great to listen to Mozart and read a book curled up under a man. I'm just not in the market for quick sex. For sure dating with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is complicated but not impossible. Over the years, my dating life has taken so many different turns for sure. I remember those early days of HIV when I was living in secret and afraid of rejection. It was the hardest thing on the planet it seemed at the time. To disclose both of my STD's I thought was a hard bill of sale. To tell that I had herpes and HIV was harddddd and clothed with shame. You might be able to explain one mistake, but how do you explain two?


It was scary!! The thought of rejection was scary, but I knew that I couldn't live in isolation for the rest of my life. I also believed that I had a moral obligation to disclose. I just didn't see it as fair to take away a persons choice. At first I was so afraid to date and didn't for months after I was diagnosed with herpes. Then I met a guy that was all that and a bag of chips, so I finally disclosed and low and behold he had herpes also. Go figure! It was hard at first. Our sex life for sure had some road blocks. There were a couple of times when I was having an outbreak and he wasn't and vise-versa. Yet overtime it all seemed to workout. The only problem was, he was working it out with more than me and I don't share.


After him I learned to be more comfortable in my skin with the fact that I had herpes. Then came along HIV.  I had never been rejected even after herpes, "But who the heck would want me now?" I thought. You have to remember this was early in the AIDS Pandemic. HIV had only been around 6 years when I was diagnosed and the HIV antibody test was also new. The HIV antibody test was developed in 1985. I donated blood the winter of 1986 and learned that I was HIV positive the spring of 1987. Back then HIV was the STD of STD's. Who was going to date me? I was afraid beyond anything logical.


Then over time, I had to sink or swim. I couldn't live in isolation for the rest of my life. I was a wonderful young woman who had a lot to offer. So I bit the bullet. After I became really comfortable with a man and was sure that I wanted to take it to the next level. I would disclose. I thought it important to disclose in a setting that was conducive to an honest discussion, like at the kitchen table with all my clothes on. I learned in those early days that people just wanted you to be honest with them.


I've come a long way since those early days. Married, divorced and dating yet again. My problem today dating with STD's isn't fear of rejection. It's finding a man who don't want to just "hit it and quit it," as the young people say, but someone who wants to share a meal and listen to Mozart with me. Someone to cheer me on as I do this work around HIV/AIDS. Someone who isn't ashamed to be dating "the woman with AIDS."


I've learned over the years that it was so much easier for my dating life when my HIV status was a well kept secret. Then a man could date me without fear of judgment. People thought for sure that my ex-husband had HIV, which of course he didn't. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with two people with a STD dating, in fact it may even be an easier conversation. Thier is even an online dating matching service called Positive Singles.


My problem is, I tend to attract men who are not infected, who want to be with me, but are afraid of the "public" me, so they cling to the private me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I declared those days over years ago. If you cant walk with me in the daylight, we can't hug in the dark. I'm just saying!!


So here I am again, thinking about dating and wondering what my future holds. I'm so comfortable in my skin. Thank God that all my therapy has made me a better woman for me. Now if a man comes along and sees my value and respects my worth, it's a date.




Rae on:

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Comments on Rae Lewis-Thornton's blog entry "And What About The Dating?"

My wife, then girlfriend, had the same over the kitchen table conversation. Fully clothed, we had both been dreading this conversation. For she had herpes and I was HIV poz. Our relationship was ready for the next level and we both hated the thought of bringing up our STD's. Of course neither of us knew about the other, but when we shared, it was a huge load off both our shoulders. Today, we enjoy a very active life, both sexually and socially.

Thank you Rae Lewis Thornton for bringing it up. The isolation and the loneliness that comes with the virus. I have either been dumped after disclosing or the Poz guy wants to have sex and I agree at 52 I do not just have sex but I want intimacy of reading a book cuddled in the arms of someone who believes in me and not it.

hello i would love to date you. i liked you for many years

Ms. Lewis-Thornton, first I'd like to applaud you for your efforts and shedding some light on this world so many of us are secretly living. I was diagnosed in 2005 and been living undetectably ever since. I have not been in a serious relationship since because of the fear of rejection. I've met several POZ women but were not attracted to them. There seems to be a shortage of professional,attractive POZ women that are in my area. At least I haven't met any. Not to discriminate but all the women I've met were unattractive, unemployed, looking for someone to take care of them and all of the things that I'm not looking for. I've even put out a search for successful, educated, attractive women but to no avail. When I saw your picture and read your ad, I said wow, a pretty, educated and very attractive woman that's living a life that I personally have something in common with. I would love to get into a network of professional women that are looking for a successful SBM. If you know of any circles like this please enlighten.
Once again, it was so refreshing reading your ad.

Take care,
Tee

what a joy to read your wonderful write up, we have so many things in common, and feel the exact same way, I have another aspect and that is being transgendered on top of hiv and herpes. So finding mr. wonderful that is proud to be with me in the light and not in the dark, (funny I even use the same phrase!) The complexities of living with hiv and the resulting growth has changed my soul that honors God above all else and these men today are a sad example of maleness. It is mind blowing how easy it would be for me to have sex, but if I start talking about the deep things of my soul, they don't want any part of the concepts of faith and love of God, ultimately, because they don't live it from within. I see you girl and thanks for being that fierce unapologetic girl of light. I believe one day in God's new kingdom we will be relieved of the burden of the crosses we carry. In the meantime. keep loving that beautiful girl in the mirror.

I really needed this I am starting to live in hibernation due to me feelings and Lonnie's thank god that my kids give me peace and mind but as I and they get older it is getting harder.

OMG Your topic is right on I am 55 and been there done all them things. So for the past 5yrs I've been celibate after the demise of my marriage,and by choice because I could have done it so different and had all the sex if that was what I wanted, but like you Rae, I would never want to take a person choices away like someone did me I tell I am living with HIV because I am and because I chose to. I am so loving me for the Woman that I have become for these up to 20yrs and following you as me comrade and Shero. Most say my expectations are to high I say get a taller ladder its all good. At times most many I don't know what I want when it comes to relationships, but I do know that it is mandatory that it and Peaceful and that is my responsibility to keep.
I have purposed in my life to focus on me and walk in what I believe is my purpose, plan and relationship with the lord. I have been living and counting on his direction He does superb, I had to learn to listen. leaving 2013 I have had new developments for possibilities but nothing that I am going to try to control Wow that alone is change for me. So I am going,growing and under constant construction but I stand on a solid rock and trust the builder who has my very best at heart. Thank you My Lord. Thank you for your openness and putting forth the subject I will pose it to sisters in my + community and keep you posted. most Love & Respect Anjie Keyes Positivley Rare in Kansas City Mo.

I'll admit It's very hard finding someone to be with being infected with the hiv virus but what I read interest me on a interracial relationship style but let me know if interested I'd love to spend time with you and learn something new no doubt thanks for letting me share that much with you and God bless you beautiful and good luck finding that person but listen a change of venue is what I welcome bye.

I'll admit It's very hard finding someone to be with being infected with the hiv virus but what I read interest me on a interracial relationship style but let me know if interested I'd love to spend time with you and learn something new no doubt thanks for letting me share that much with you and God bless you beautiful and good luck finding that person but listen a change of venue is what I welcome bye.

I know the feeling all too well. I'm a young woman, that some may find attractive. I usually disclose as soon as possible, but I've learned that may be too much for some people. I've never really been rejected and learning to dealing with rejection has been quite the mountain to climb. For awhile I decided to date only poz men, but then I began to feel like I was socially quarantining myself from others. Although there is nothing wrong with dating poz men, I don't want that to be the only thing we have in common. Sex is a wonderful thing, but I want more than that. Lol what's a girl to do?! I love sex, but I don't like meaningless, pointless, dead end sex.

This story was very inspirational. I am currently in a similar situation. I recently went to get STD tested, and got a call back from the clinic. My primary doctor told me I had Dermatitis, so I had no expectation of having an STD. When I found this out, my boyfriend called. I thought of keeping the possibility from him until I knew what I had, but I asked myself, "Would I like to know if I were in any danger?" I told him, and, unlike what I expected, he loved me anyway and comforted me. I was expecting to have Herpes, but instead, I had something curable, Gonnorhea. I got treated, then he got treated and went in for tests. We are now waiting for his results, and since his treatment, he found out one of his exes was HIV positive. He is now in my position, and I totally stand by him, no matter what the results are. The one thing to remember in having any type of intimacy. It is the ailment that is being combatted, the body that is being treated, and the love you share for one another that gets you through whatever obstacles may come. You are an amazing person, and I thank you for what you do for our community.

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This page contains a single entry by Rae Lewis-Thornton published on December 9, 2013 10:36 PM.

Taking Back Control! was the previous entry in this blog.

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