My husband gave me herpes. Should I be ashamed that I’m staying with him anyway?
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My husband gave me herpes. Should I be ashamed that I’m staying with him anyway?

My husband gave me herpes. I’m confused about what to do. One part of me thinks the only self-respecting thing to do is leave him, but the other part of me is trying to talk me into staying and trying to get past the hurt, the anger and the embarrassment. How do I decide the right thing to do?

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Editor's Response

How did your husband catch herpes? Did he always have it and not tell you? Did he always have it but he didn’t know he had it? Did he cheat while married to you and kept you in the dark until he gave you an STD? Look at the circumstances surrounding your husband’s catching herpes then passing it to you. If he cheated on you and didn’t have the decency to protect himself so he wouldn’t put you at risk that’s something you need to give serious thought. If he could do it once he can do it again, and there are more deadly diseases that he can pass to you, so you want to think about your life and your safety. It’s well and good to stay and try to get past the hurt, anger and embarrassment, but if by staying you are risking your life then the right thing to do doesn’t seem so hard to figure out.

Can you trust your husband not to go out and sleep with someone else and pick up another STD to bring home to you? If not, and if you decide to stay, then at least take steps to protect yourself because your husband clearly isn’t going to take those steps for you, assuming he got herpes as a result of cheating on you.

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Disclaimer: Editor's Response answers should not be taken for expert advice. The person behind the Editor's Response is not a relationship expert but just a regular member of the general public and all Editor's Response answers should be considered in the same light as an opinion given by a random individual on the street. Some Marriage questions are manufactured by Marriage Scene writers based on Internet research.
0 21 9176 27 July, 2010 Marriage Answers July 27, 2010

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  1. Dee

    Many people automatically assume infidelity must have happened when herpes simplex shows up in a relationship. But that is not the case. The herpes simplex has a latency factor, so it can be dormant for long periods of time, even years, without showing symptoms. It is possible that EITHER partner could have brought HSV into the relationship without knowing it.

    Many of those who have herpes do not have severe symptoms. Often herpes symptoms are so mild and vague that they are mistaken for other conditions such as a yeast infection, jock itch, bug bites or ingrown hairs. About 70% of those who have herpes do not even know it due to a lack of recognizable symptoms.

    Also, many folks do not realize that “cold sores” or “fever blisters” on the mouth or face are caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is possible for someone who contracted oral herpes as a child (through casual, non-sexual contact, as most folks do) to pass it to their partner’s genital area by way of oral sex.

    In the absence of other reasons to suspect infidelity, we should not suspect our partner has cheated based only on a “new” case of herpes.

    1. Hopeful

      I too have the same problem as you have only shorter marriage years but all the same, I have been cheated on by my husband. What was really sad is that I had to find out about it after I am infected. I wonder how you are coping up, like you I want to leave him too but I have children. Can we talk.

      1. EverybodyIsGarbage

        I have no idea why people use their children as excuse justify their unhappiness when it comes to infidelity. Look, if you husband cheat and gave you a disease and you decide to stay because you ha e children together that is bs. Stop making excuses and leave his ass.

  2. shengen

    I just found this post and had to contribute. I was diagnosed with herpes yesterday after a visit to the Dr. for painful bumps on the back of my thigh. I have been married for over 28 years and thought I was in a monogamous relationship. I never cheated on him, soooo…that lying bastard cheated on me and brought this virus home with him. I completely and totally understand where the original poster is coming from. Do I walk out on a 28 year marriage? Do I try and forgive and accept the situation? Right now I am so angry that I can’t even look at him. I’m trying to be adult and give myself sometime to think things through before I make a decision. I honestly want to pack my bags and walk…but we have kids. I just don’t know. Anyone else have any input? Please…

    1. EverybodyIsGarbage

      There you go again…like the other one million people with kids. Having children isnt an excuse to put up with disrespect. You know what as a matter of fact if you don’t want to start all over then go ahead and stay. Smh just don’t make the excuse “we have children” when you’re 50 yrs old and your husband is still cheating 20 yrs later.

  3. Lady B

    I also was just diagnosed yesterday with Herpes. I have been with my husband for 12 years and I am having a hard time with my decision of what to do. We have 5 kids that range from 3 year old twins to an 11 year old. I am so angry that my body has been put in this comprimising state. I am so embarrassed because I am educated and feel like I should have done better. I am upset because I have to be on guard against an outbreak when I didn’t cheat and sleep with someone else, my husband did, admittedly so. Others that are going through it, I would appreciate your thoughtful input.

  4. Marcus

    Just to give another angle:
    I’m married to my wife for 10 yrs but cheated in a moment of weakness. We have a 6 yr old daughter.
    I wore a condom but contracted herpes anyway. I always wear a condom with my wife also but she’s had a few sores show up on her arms and legs lately so I sure she has it also now. When she finds out she is sure to kick me out or leave me and rightly so. True I should be put to sleep with all the other unwanted dogs but i tried to protect myself. I’m sure that means nothing but just wanted to throw it out there. You can and most likely will contract herpes even if you use a condom.

  5. rojay25

    Hey everyone. I just found out last week that I had been exposed to HSV2. I cried I screamed….why me ??I am married and I have always been faithfull to my husband 8 years we have been together for 12 years. He admitted he was cheated before our marriage but recently I found a piece of a condom wrapper in his pocket went to the doctors to be check..oh by the way he said the wrapper belonged to his 15 year old son and he out it in his pocket. Tested positive for HSV and he admitted he let some chick suck his dick. I feel like my life is over. I still love him but I hate him for what he has done to us and our family. I don’t think I will ever be able to trust him again. But I still love him..and who else is going to want me with this nasty mess.

    1. EverybodyIsGarbage

      Don’t say that “who else is going to want me with this nastyness” because if that’s the reason why you won’t leave its not a fare one. I’m sure you can find someone who you can be honest with about your new status. I am sorry that happened to you but just be safe. Remember that humans are imperfect so just don’t be surprised and expect the worse so you won’t be heartbroken and disappointed in “love”.

  6. Ginalynn88

    I was diagnosed a month ago. My husband told me he may have contracted hsv2 before we were together. I’m not quite sure that’s true. Anyway I feel like my life is over I’m so angry and embarrassed that I’m on the verge of leaving. I also recently had an outbreak after he found out. I just don’t know how I will ever forgive him. I went almost 30 years without any dieseses now I have to live with one for the rest of my life. How will I ever find someone accepting of this disease.

  7. MacyBear

    I know exactly how you guys feel. My husband cheated on me with a woman who had herpes and continued to sleep with me without telling me. I just found out 2 weeks ago, won’t know if I have herpes until I can get a blood test in about 2 1/2 months (Unless I get an outbreak that can be swabbed). I am embarrassed and angry. I am filing for divorce this week. Nobody should put your health and wellbeing in danger, especially not someone who is supposed to care about you. You have been made a complete victim in all this. I too thought about working it out, but what is the point. Someone who is able to do what they did, obviously doesn’t care. Its scary getting back out there and coming to terms with it, but it can be done. I couldn’t forgive my husband without feeling ashamed of my decision. It took a lot for me to do what I knew was right. I desearve better and so do you.

  8. miranda rico

    I was recently diagnosed with herpes and found out my husband of 10 years recently cheated on me. He is the only person that I have ever slept with and I to feel like my life is over. Not only do I have to deal with the lies but also this horrible deases.

  9. cindy

    I am a 45 year old woman. Last week I received all of my test results for my pap smear and std testing. Negative in all ways, until today. Three nights ago my husband came back from his job where he was out of town for the week. We’ve been together 13 years and I don’t look at his face all the time. Big mistake as he had a cold sore on his mouth I didn’t see. He claims to me that he didn’t know that cold sores are contagious. That is a huge lie. My daughter has cold sores and I was anal about hand washing and not sharing cups or towels. He was very rough because he got drunk when he got home and then performed oral sex on me. I went to the doctor today and I now have herpes simplex type one on my vaginal area. It hurts me so bad, it burns like fire and there are blisters, I also have a fever and headache. The doctor gave me acyclovir and lidocaine. I have a compromised immune system and I’m praying that I don’t develop anymore complications. He says to me, don’t worry I’ll always take care of you. Yea, sure just the way you gave me an incurable disease when I never had any. I hate him and I want to die.

  10. Confused

    I just found out yesterday my husband of 1 year gave me herpes. We’ve been together for 7 years and I always suspected something wasn’t right with him because he would sometimes refuse to have sex with me. I brushed it off but in the back of my mind I felt he was hiding something. I partially blamed myself because the last time we had sex I felt these little blisters and asked him what it was. He said it just occurs sometimes from the heat. I had a bad feeling but we still had unprotected sex. Yesterday while getting my shower I felt something odd down there took a mirror and knew instantly what it was. I called him to look at it and he was like you would be alright just put some Vaseline on it. I don’t know what to say to him I’m frustrated and hurt. At one point I thought I love him so much that we are one and I will endure whatever he endures but I had no idea this was this painful and could last for weeks. We never really argue and I don’t think arguing will help the situation but I feel so lost right now. This isn’t something you go to your friends for comfort and I’m to embarrassed to go to my doctor cause she knows we just got married.

  11. daphne

    Hello Confused,

    I am in a similar situation. I’m engaged and my fiance’ broke down and confessed that he has had herpes for the past 20
    years. He said he was trying to tell me but he didn’t know how. He said he was afraid to lose me. I was bitten by a spider and it became infected. That’s when he decided to tell me. I went to the doctor and tested positive. One part of me feels betrayed and I just want to leave. The other side just wants to forgive him and move on. What should we do? Can we talk?

  12. pamela

    well…I have the biggie story….try being married 43 years and a large family. This is my second STD….I was diagnosed with Herpes about 3 months ago….he lies still about cheating and giving it to me. I had found online dating sites on his hotmail….he lies and says a virus came into his space…the herpes he lies about also and gives many excuses and takes no accountability….when we had been married about 5 years I had contacted trichonomosis…..he lies about that to. I am married to a liar…but I have been working really hard at trying to put it behind me…my family is so important to me…and I do love him…so I started thinking of all the people I know that have had spouses that cheated on them….everyone…except one out of 20 that I know. Do u leave based on something that is so common? I have a husband that appears to love me very much…but just not enough to keep his dick in his pants…..but if anyone has a comment please let me know….thanks

  13. Fall Guy

    I can relate to everyone here in that HSV2 was transmitted to me unwittingly. My girlfriend and I weren’t sexually active for the first year we were together, simply wanted to wait & be sure about each other. Once we became intimate the first time she began to cry. At first it seemed she was crying as an emotional reaction to us becoming closer but then something didn’t seem right. Long story short, after several years we parted ways and I found out I had HSV2 for over 10 years and she knew she had it but never alerted me to that fact. I’ve never had an outbreak so I really feel for those that found out through an outbreak. I met a lady who is not HSV + but cares enough to deal with it responsibly. That said, my point is that those of you thinking there’s no life due to HSV it just isn’t true. It was difficult sharing my status but I cannot in good conscience keep this information from a lady just to have a sexual encounter. There are ways to deal with it and life can and does go on. I wish all of you the best and hope you reach peace & harmony with your situation.

  14. Kathy

    I’ve had HSV2 since the age of 18, I’m in my 30’s now. I’ve been with my husband 6 years and I disclosed my condition prior to having sexual relations. It was so difficult to discuss, but a huge relief when I did. He accepted me and married me anyways, we have 2 beautiful children together. I was able to have natural births. I have come to terms with the condition and Valtrex has made it maneagable. Without the drug, I broke out every month and it was awful.

    Fast forward to the present. My husband has a sore on his genitals. It breaks my heart and I am ridden with guilt. My husband has not mentionted it and treats me no different but I can’t shake the thought that I gave him this virus. Yes, he knew the risk but to hurt someone you love is the worst feeling in the world.

    I just want to cry. I struggle to deal with this every day.

    The only advise I can offer is to try the anti viral drugs. They aren’t a cure but make the condition much more pleasant if you are prone to frequent outbreaks.My last 2 doctors have been professional and have had no problem prescribing Valtrex. In this day and age why can’t there be a cure ? Prayers to all those dealing with this right now. You are not alone.


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