I am now 18 months post my dual diagnosis of HIV and hepatitis C, and nine months post successful hepatitis C treatment. I thought it was time to meet someone; no, not just for sex, but for something more. You see since my dual diagnosis I have felt completely asexual, and I'll admit, feeling a bit "tainted" too. Even HIV+ guys are hesitant to meet me when I tell them I also "had" hepatitis C.
So, wonderful, where does that put me in the dating scene? Someone would really have to be desperate to meet me! Recently I met someone by the name of "Dustin." He smoked, and I said I would NEVER date a smoker, but I have been desperate to make a connection with another positive individual. I thought I could ignore the smoke. He was handsome, professional, similar in age, and a sweet talker, among, um, other things ...
I hear the knock on the door, I'm a bit nervous, I look through the blinds (pictures match), and open the door to meet him. He reeked of smoke. We had some drinks, but all I could smell was the smoke emanating from him. Almost immediately I had withdrawn all interest, and my body language turned very cold. He got the hint, and excused himself.
I've met one other person since that night, and a non-smoker! While the physical connection was there, I couldn't allow myself to open up. Again, my body language turned cold, and he too left. Why am I having such difficulty meeting people, why can't I open up, why does my body language turn so cold, why can't I let anyone in? Before HIV I always had fear of rejection, having HIV compounds this fear. I feel like damaged goods.
I am also stuck in the mindset that I would never date anyone who is HIV negative, and think how could I ever be in a serodiscordant relationship? I would not want to give to someone else what I have, no matter how small the chance. I wouldn't wish HIV on anyone. I know that limits the pool of potentials as well. Since day one of my diagnosis I made a commitment to myself to always disclose my HIV status when it comes to dating, maybe this is my dilemma?
I've allowed my emotions over my status dictate my single life. I had withdrawn and isolated myself from the world. I am trying to slowly build the confidence again to meet someone, and crawl out from under the shadows of my illness. As alone as I feel with my diagnosis; I hold out hope. I have been in three relationships prior to my HIV diagnosis, and one for over two years. I've traveled the world, been on many adventures, have a creative and intellectual mindset, am caring, kind, honest and have a super loveable personality.
I keep the hope of meeting someone, because I know that really loving someone means loving them for who they are and accepting the whole package. I guess you would call that a soulmate and I believe that person is out there somewhere. So, today I make a commitment to myself to never settle for less than my heart's desire. And to anyone reading this with HIV/AIDS or any other chronic illness; YOU deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and YOU shouldn't settle for less.
Usually I am the one to offer tips and advice, but when it comes to dating and HIV I feel hopeless. I hope whoever is reading this will chime in. Are you in a relationship? How long have you been together? How did you meet? How long after your diagnosis did you feel comfortable seriously dating someone? Until next time ...
Sexless in Seattle,
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