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Dealing with Rejection (REJECTION AND DISCLOSURE, 2010)
Aug 4, 2010

I recently dated my first negative partner. At the beginning, he said he was fine with it, but when we broke up, he threw my serostatus back in my face. In many ways, it sucked more than just being flatly rejected at the beginning of a relationship like usual.

I don't want to limit myself to just dating Poz guys, but I don't think I can keep submitting myself to rejection over and over again. In fact, I've started pulling back entirely from any kind of romance or intimacy - a lot of guys have been showing interest in me, but I've been brushing them off - kind of anticipating their response post-disclosure. Even if the rare person says he's fine with it; I'm still suspicious and really guarded.

I'm becoming a monk sexually and an icicle emotionally: this is not good. Can you talk to me about striking a balance between allowing myself to date and yet somehow mitigate the repeated rejection I've been experiencing?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The discussion you request could be very lengthy indeed. I would suggest, as a start, you review the information in the archives related to disclosure. I'll post below a small sample of what can be found there. I would also encourage you not to limit your future Mr. Right only to those of us who are positively charged. I've been the positive half of a magnetic couple for the past 17 years and counting. You can read about that in the archives as well. As for rejection, see the quote from Buddha in the post below. Your Mr. Happily-Ever-After is out there waiting for you -- all of you, including your virus. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself (never an attractive look) and go there and find him!

Good luck. (Invite me to the wedding, OK?)

Dr. Bob Feeling a bit flat (DISCLOSURE) (REJECTION) Apr 21, 2008

Dear Dr Bob

It's been a while since I have written to you. Things have been going well - drugs still work and I feel fine. However recently I met a man with whom I wanted to get to know better... I told him my status and I now feel a bit crap. He was so shocked and lacking in information that I felt as though I'd just let an elephant in to the room! I'm not sure I am disappointed that he didn't want to take things further, or the fact that even after all these years (16 of diagnosis) that I can't deal with the feeling of rejection and pain of the stigma attached to HIV. I know I did the right thing and I should be proud that I was strong enough to tell him before we got too intimate. I think I am also in shock because he didn't know how he could contract HIV!! I reassured him that kissing was ok (where has he been hiding for the last 20 odd years!). He thought I was leading him on - I explained it wasn't something you share needlessly and I needed to be sure I wanted to be with him. But I feel so low, depressed and ashamed of my status. Dr Bob - please give me some words of inspiration and help me through these dark days.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I'm willing to bet that ultimately it will be the other guy, not you, who will be singing "The One that Got Away Blues!" If he's so clueless that he knows next to nothing about HIV, it should be a major red flag that either: 1) he's an alien who has just landed here on earth from the former planet Pluto or 2) he's another victim of Dubya's abstinence-only-until marriage sex education curriculum or 3) he's such a mental dunce that he probably voted for Dubya in 2000 and 2004! Consequently, maybe he was doing you the favor of breaking things off before they even got started. Clearly he was not your Mr. Right. (He's certainly not Mr. Bright either!) The important thing to remember is that if someone dumps you because of your HIV status, he's rejecting the virus, not you!

Buddha was once asked how to brave his critic's insults and anger. Buddha replied, "If someone offers you a gift and you decline it, to whom does the gift belong?" I think this is very wise advice. Put in a less contemplative way, if someone blows a load of rejection your way because of your HIV status, I say, "Spit, don't swallow!"

Your happily-ever-after is out there waiting for you just as you are, "virally enhanced" or not! Don't settle for anything less than true happiness, OK?

Dr. Bob



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