So are you finally ready to dust off the cobwebs, get that old sexy outfit on, and get back out into the dating scene after dealing with the reality of living with HIV? Well I am here to offer some suggestions and advice based off my own experiences.
When I met with my therapist and was discussing my fear of getting back into dating she pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and to be vulnerable. She recommended that I watch this TED.com video about Vulnerability. After watching this interesting video I understood that I needed to know that I was worthy of being loved by others, which can be very hard because I felt at that point that I was not. I had to be brave enough to put myself up there and be prepared for rejection or for things not working out because of my HIV status.
So, where do you the reader come into play and what can you expect?
- Rejection is something that hurts and is painful but expect it to happen. I am not saying to walk around paranoid, but always be prepared and/or ready for it to happen. It may be the perfect guy or gal but once they hear those there letters (HIV) they may immediately run for the hills.
- Understanding and having Forgiveness that someone can possibly be unknowledgeable about HIV and its stigma and rather not even attempt to learn about it. Lack of education on HIV and how it is transmitted is a reality. The location where I am now doing HIV testing is packed full of people who cannot even tell me what H.I.V. stands for, let alone tell me what the four major fluids that transmit HIV are. People who run and fear HIV are afraid of what they do not understand and we must recognize that. In my experience after having some conversation about what transmits HIV, what being on treatment looks likes and/or means, and how often I see the doctor actually reassures the person that I am taking the steps to take care of my potential partner.
- Broaden your horizons and stop being so picky! Give people who you may have never gone for the opportunity. Going on a date is just an event of going out with someone to get to know them better, and not opening your door and allowing them to move in. Remember, when you constantly typecast, you tend to run into the same habitual issues or face your well running dry. Be advised that there is no endless supply of gay, tall, dark-skinned, total-top, smooth, popular/well-known, ripped six-pack men out there that happen to know how to do the wobble.
- Be prepared to answer many questions. This is not necessarily a bad thing but ensure that you are up to date on your HIV 101. Don't be in a situation where you can't answer questions about something you are living with. It could definitely scare a potential suitor away.
- Have the confidence within and know that you do not have to just settle for less. Just because you are living with HIV does not mean under any circumstances that you should lower your expectations. I say shoot for the stars and if you fall you still hit the moon.
- Being open to dating someone who is also living with HIV. This should be a gimmie but if not greatly consider. I was not totally on board with that in the beginning; however, through my experiences it is refreshing to date someone who understands the ups and downs that come with living with the virus. Also they are for the most part educated and also in care, which is always a plus.
- If someone has a problem with your status let him or her go! Don't cry over spilt hopes and dreams. If someone is not willing to look behind HIV (something you are taking the necessary steps to care for) then don't attempt to look beyond his or her foolish behavior. Remember, like I say in many of my other blog posts, surround yourself with people who will love and adore you for the individual that you are and not the virus that so rudely accommodates your body.
- Work on you! I can honestly say that I can tend to get obsessed with finding love, dating, and wanting to never be alone. I have seriously spent countless hours working on me. The construction on me has been physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. So, take some time to really work on discovering who you are, where you see yourself, and who that potential person in your life might look like. Just know that the sky is the limit!
- Affirmations Affirmations Affirmations! Remember to keep your spirits high and when you feel like things are going down then do whatever it takes to turn it around. Say things like "I look amazing!" or "I am going to really impress on this date." Confidence is everything!!
I am also open to your ideas, thoughts, and own experiences when it comes to being HIV positive and dating. Shoot me an email or leave a comment below so I can be sure to include it in my YouTube video.