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Clementine
Newbie

Reged: 02/16/13
Posts: 4
so confused - grieving in many ways
      #270631 - 02/16/13 12:57 PM

I have been seeing a guy for two months and becoming more and more interested. We had an instant connection on so many levels. Last week, When we finally made out and talked deeply about our feelings for each other, I was so ecstatic! Two days later, he told me he is hiv positive and doesn't think it is wise for him to pursue me romantically.

I felt like I'd been slammed into a brick wall. My whole heart and all my hormones were going full-speed-ahead for this man, and suddenly he wanted to stop it. That kind of thing is painful enough, even without the hiv aspect of the situation! Plus, I was heartbroken for him and the life-changing things he has to deal with, being positive.

I know so much about hiv/aids and was not at all freaked out when he told me. When he talked about antiretrovirals and viral loads and his very low levels of symptoms, I understood exactly what he was talking about.

But I'm still going through a grieving process, both for him and for the end of a romance that had just started. He wants to stay friends, and it's obvious that he's still interested in me romantically despite his decision not to pursue a relationship. Plus, we have many friends in common! It is all so confusing! The mixed signals are really overwhelming to me, in addition to my grieving. And I know that it must be really confusing and painful to him, too.

We have continued to spend time together, text, and email. Here's one of the hardest things for me, he gets angry when I'm sad or when I cry. He says its too much of a burden for him, and that I don't have a right to be sad because its his issue, not mine. I explained that everyone has a right to their emotions and I can't help feeling sad. I told him I would try to work through it on my own so it wasn't a burden to him. A couple days later, I asked him if I could talk to any of his friends or family who knew, to help me cope with my feelings. Then he got really angry and said he didn't want me to talk to anybody, join any groups, or even talk to my own therapist about my feelings, even if his identity was totally secret from them. I can totally understand his fears, and I know that anger and fear are just two sides of the same coin. So I've been trying really hard not to take his anger personally. But I can't keep all these feelings bottled up, so I found this website and joined this group. I did talk to my therapist about it. I told him I absolutely had to talk to her, and he begrudgingly accepted it. It helped me a lot to talk to her, but I still really need to get support from people who are in a similar situation. I know he'd be so angry if he knew I was on here, but ultimately it seems like its actually easier for me to protect his privacy here than at a real-life group. I just had to find some support from people who would understand what I'm going through. Most of the time I feel fine, like I'm handling everything ok, but there are times when I feel like I'm losing my mind.

I'd really really appreciate some kind words, and any advice anyone has to offer.

Love to you all,

C

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kicker
Moderator

Reged: 10/25/10
Posts: 1131
Loc: GA, USA
Re: so confused - grieving in many ways new
      #270638 - 02/16/13 06:02 PM

So to start with I'm not the sugar coating, hand holding, compassionate type. If you continue reading please don't imply anything outside of I'm giving you a perspective of what might be going on from an outside view that isn't filled with heartfelt gestures or references. If you get upset your own fault cause their is my disclaimer. I have absolutely no emotional involvement with this. Like a therapist would.

Everyone I know including myself tries to put HIV in its place. As a cold. No body wants to have it shown under a microscope, cause its hard enough to forget the fact to begin with and view it as a cold.

You may very well be the first person he has told in such an intimate setting. People tend not to tell others things that are major till they think they are ready for the emotional impact it will have to them. The problem is he probably didn't have a handle on it himself and was just in a sort of denial. (If I don't talk about it and no one knows then it isn't there.)

That said when he told you it was put back on the front burner so to speak and getting attention. When you insisted that you needed to talk to someone you took it from the front burner and jammed it under a microscope. Rather than taking the information and asking questions like, does he want to talk about it, what does it mean to him as far as the relationship is concerned, how does he view it, etc.

That said you have turned a mountain out of a mole hill in his perspective. Concerned about you and your feelings about it rather than how he feels. Thus making it even more difficult for him to deal with the fact he isn't comfortable about being HIV+ into an omg I now have someone else that is overreacting to contend with as well.

He is probably still talking to you just to have some sense of control. Figure if he can keep you appeased as long as possible there is less chance you will blurt it out to someone he doesn't want to know yet. I mean you took HIS problem to your therapist after he asked you not to. How is he suppose to feel?

If you actually want things to work out then I would realize that it's not about you, it's about him. You wouldn't go and tell your therapist if he had a peptic ulcer or eczema would you? Both can be debilitating and major problems as well.

Look at how you reacted. It's a big deal to you. So to say it isn't a problem for you I certainly beg to differ. Telling him its not a big deal and then asking him if you can talk to others about it puts his feelings, worries, and fears in the trash. It would be like you telling him you have a huge hairy mole or some other deformity that you are able to hide and are self conscious about and him asking you till you cave if its ok to tell others about it. (Guys can be such pigs, right?)

Here's your best bet. Stop. Think. Put the shoe on the other foot and react how you would want someone to react to you. If you have some emotional issue where you can't get it out of your head then it's never going to work between you two. Cause you will see the HIV and not the man and he will see you looking at the HIV and not him.

Sometimes we want to be the open minded people we want to be, but lets face it if you need to talk to someone about something that hasn't had a direct affect on you yet well then it's time to admit you're not as open minded as you thought.

Again just my personal opinion from the information you gave. Another example would be would you react the same way if a child you knew had cancer that was life threatening? Would you ask the child to give you permission to talk to your therapist about it and how it affects you? Why not? Would you bring it up as often as you could to the child that they are sick? Why not? (Btw if you would then I would suggest working on your interpersonal skills and boundaries with your therapist, cause that is just awful for the kid).

I am in no way saying that you shouldn't feel something. I'm saying that you need to dig deep and find out why you have such a strong reaction to it and why you felt the need to ignore what he feels.



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kicker
Moderator

Reged: 10/25/10
Posts: 1131
Loc: GA, USA
Re: so confused - grieving in many ways new
      #270639 - 02/16/13 06:20 PM

Another great example would be this:

I went to my therapist to talk to him/her about how my bf/gf has a weight problem that they are trying to get fixed. I am now looking for any support I can find to help me with this issue. It doesn't affect anything for me except maybe I have to eat healthy around him too when I really love having fast food. Now let me hop online and tell everyone I can about how I need support for my bf/gf weight problem and how upsetting it is that he/she isn't being supportive of me with their issue.

What would you say to me if that was the case? What would you think of me? How is it different?

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Clementine
Newbie

Reged: 02/16/13
Posts: 4
Re: so confused - grieving in many ways new
      #270642 - 02/17/13 12:25 AM

You are right. I hadn't realized how selfish I was being. It hadn't occurred to me to put myself in his shoes, or to consider how he might feel about my actions and overreacting. I am not as open-minded as I thought I was. I really need to work on my interpersonal skills and boundaries. It hadn't occurred to me that he is maybe only trying to keep me as a friend because he wants to keep me from telling anyone else.
Thanks so much for turning my perspectives around.

Best wishes and love to you,

Clem

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Clementine
Newbie

Reged: 02/16/13
Posts: 4
Re: so confused - grieving in many ways new
      #270643 - 02/17/13 12:32 AM

I'd love to hear anyone else's perspectives on my mistakes and insensitivities. I'm so glad to be part of this welcoming group of non-confrontational, supportive communicators.

-Clem

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