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Reged: 12/18/10
Posts: 1
Hiding behind HIV
      #253601 - 12/18/10 11:12 PM

I write this question in the hope of gaining insight from both HIV positive gay men as well negative men in "magnetic partnerships".

I only now discovered this term "magnetic", as it relates to my life! It can no longer be a twist of fate that my last 6 relationships were with HIV + men. Not a conscious choice, it simply became part of my dating routine, waiting for, and then receiving, the disclosure. I have become expert at making it as comfortable as possible for them. But perhaps not for me.

I have scouted the internet, looking for information on the impact of HIV on a sero-discordant couple, and find mostly issues relating to exposure to, and prevention of, HIV transmission.

I have more need for insight into me and partners' emotional responses to each other. All, except two, have resorted to admissions of intense shame and suicidality in the past. And have (my current boyfriend especially) brought these feelings into the present when the going gets a little tough. A pattern has emerged of intense self-pity, which allows them to retreat into their own world, in which "no one understands them". I used to have sympathy for this, even empathy. I am now simply frustrated. In my opinion, my current boyfriend (likely to become an ex), is more likely to die from shame-based behaviour (coke, alcohol and skipped meds) than his usually highly manageable virus! He has recently taken to blocking out all support, all rest and indeed, all love. I am seeing another repetition of yet another HIV+ boyfriend. When I am able to put down my ego and my anger, I love him....but right now, must preserve myself and my sanity. But I need perspective from others.

What is this syndrome I have described? (I cannot believe I am the only one to have seen it)
Has anyone been through it and come out the other side?
If so, how?
Is there something I am not understanding?
Why do these same men boast about how well they are doing, when inside, they admit to be dying (not of HIV, but shame)
Why do they feel an exclusive copyright on suffering?

I must deal with my issues too. I do not want to make them about HIV + partners. I don't believe they are. I explained to my current boyfriend that HIV as a virus is not the problem for me. It's how my partner orientates himself to life that matters. The virus, whilst I am respectful of it, does not scare me. There are many physical and mental challenges that are as, if not more, potentially debilitating.

And yet, here I am again, with a partner who is using HIV and a mega-dose of self-pity, to avoid the relationship issues that really matter.


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Reged: 12/02/10
Posts: 69
Loc: South
Re: Hiding behind HIV new
      #253634 - 12/22/10 03:57 AM

In reading your post, I can only assume that you make it very easy for guys to feel comfortable around you and in effect fall for you despite their status. Being positive has many stigmas associated with it and relationships are very hard to even comprehend or believe for some. Perhaps the guys you are attracting are already a little low on self esteem so when you add HIV in the mix they may not believe it's true or really happening. I can't explain what motivates them or scares them, all I know is that you can only be there as much as they allow you to be there and they in turn have to realize that they have a responsibility to you in the relationship as well. There are many of us who want to love and be loved by someone who can truly accept the situation, but there are some who have alot of work to do within themselves before they should even look for love regardless of their status. I wish you much happiness and luck in finding that elusive partner. Hopeless romantics like us are hard to find and even harder to keep. Love yourself and live life true man.

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Reged: 06/18/09
Posts: 305
Loc: Georgia
Re: Hiding behind HIV new
      #253636 - 12/22/10 04:58 AM

I'm going to come out and say it - the use of coke (or other "non-prescribed" meds) and alcohol are an addicts behavior. Lately, I'm seeing that nearly everyone who tests positive for HIV also seems to have an addiction of some kind. I don't know if the addiction preceeds the virus, but they're there together. So, very often the infected uses that excuse to abuse the addiction. "I drink to get through the stress of being infected." type attitude.

Unfortunately, it is far more likely that your current and any following boyfriends will much more likely die from their addiction than HIV. I've lived in and currently work at an HIV transitional housing facility. In the 8 years that I've been there I've seen 2 people die as a result of the virus. (HIV doesn't actually kill anyone. It wears the body down so other diseases can kill.) Everyone else (and there have been more than a few) has died from an addiction. More often than not drug use.

Besides using the drugs as an excuse the people using the drugs don't have a good sense of self worth. It's important for people to feel needed/wanted. It happens for many people as they grow up. Mom and dad are there to praise Johnny or Sally and tell them how special they are. They turn 18, move out into the real world, and suddenly don't have that moral support. They're expected to <GASP> get a job that doesn't pay $500,000 a year starting with benefits. They're expected to actually have to get up and be the first or last ones at their job. To pay their bills. To buy their own food. It's a little thing I like to refer to as "life".

Then they go out. Have fun one night after drinking/drugging. And, suddenly they've got HIV! It's not their fault. Nothing is their fault. They're being persecuted.

I think much of the problem is a result of societies lack of installation of personal values. Morality has nothing to do with it. Children are coddled until they're kicked out of the nest. They don't learn how to deal with life. When they have a calamity befall them (HIV) they want to run and hide. With noone's shoulder to cry on they take to self pity.

Your current and all others who behave the same way should be taken out and slapped. Hard. Repeatedly. Or, maybe beaten with the "Sense" stick until they get some sense knocked into their head.

Self pity/sadness is Stage 4 of grief. It seems that your choice of boyfriend appears to be getting stuck on that and never progressing to Stage 5 - acceptance.

I counsel newly infected. I tell them that they are going to die. It's the only guarantee in life. However, they have a great deal of control over when and how. Chances are ever more likely that it's NOT going to be the HIV that kills them. I first tested positive in 1988, and with the exception of hereditary problems (Thank you, Dad!) I'm currently healthier than any of them.

I take my meds. I see my doctors (all of them). And, I have one of the most positive outlooks on life.

If you want to keep your current (whoever that may be) perhaps you should suggest counseling. Either alone or couples. Get him to admit he has a problem and help him to realize what it is. If you want to be in a relationship with this HIV+ man be there to support him. NOT to pass judgement.

What surprises me (happily) is that the men you're dating are being forthright about being infected. Perhaps we as a world as making headway into that area.

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Reged: 01/19/10
Posts: 660
Re: Hiding behind HIV new
      #253644 - 12/22/10 07:50 PM

i think you hit the nail on the head when you said HIV is not the problem, rather, it's how you orient yourself to life.

i commend your patience and understanding. like others have said, HIV comes with a lot feelings of shame. and whenever there's shame, people tend to hide away.

i think you're already doing the right thing. all you can do is let him know you're here for him and that he doesn't have to hide or be ashamed of his status. best of luck!

Bartleby at The Body
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Reged: 12/22/10
Posts: 9
Re: Hiding behind HIV new
      #253648 - 12/22/10 08:35 PM

Thank you jam1. I couldn't agree with you more to be perfectly honest. I also believe that such behavior (drug / alcohol abouse) depends on the maturity level of one that is dealing with HIV (or any other diagnosis/problems/issues) in their life. Self medication is only a recipe for disaster and it's just a cry for attention. My spouse has been diagnosed with HIV as well. Yes, it was a hard pill to swallow without a doubt, but we have accepted it and we are both working together to gain as much information about this disease as we can. It's not something you become diagnosed with that you can ask your doctor to switch out for some other kind of disease. It is what it is, and you have to find a place to put it and deal with it. The more knowledgable you are, the better you will start to feel about HIV. It is certainly not the end of the world. We have a wonderful HIV specialist (nurse and Family Doctor as well) that we see on a regular basis for follow ups and blood work to keep a check on his numbers. We do not miss 1 appointment. I also accompany him to every visit. I know it brings him comfort and support and it helps me as well. Life is hard sometimes, yes, but being diagnosed with HIV (or any other disease) does not define who we are as individuals. I can't imagine passing judgement on someone, we will ALL need someone to help us at one time or another.

God Bless!

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Reged: 01/03/11
Posts: 1
Re: Hiding behind HIV new
      #253780 - 01/03/11 04:46 PM

I commend you for dating a HIV poz guy. It can be strenuous. I'm a poz male myself and kind of understand what you are saying but I kind of don't. I'm in a magnetic couple as well and I have told my partner on various ocassions that he just does not understand what I am going through and I enter my world of self loathing and self pity. It doesn't last long but hence there it is. For various reasons:
In short, a guy's life will never be the same after an HIV diagnosis, no matter if you have the best support system or you are the perfect patient. So there will be times where you mourn and grieve. I personally turn to the bottle. (every aspect of your life is changed forever and you always remember what was). Your personality changes as well because this life altering disease forces it to).
It's depression what your bf is dealing with. It's a loss of a life that once was. And yes there is shame involved! Shame of being poz and ruining ones life - whether or not it is one's fault. And come on really, this thing you say about boasting, and being this not the way we all acted before coming out of the closet.

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