an illustration of HIV advocate Steven holding a ladder as he approaches a brick wall, a sign points to love on the other side

Finding the Confidence to Date Again

Over six and a half years ago, my partner of over two and a half years gave me HIV. I would be lying to all of you if I said that I did not consider staying with him.

There were several thoughts that went through my mind like "How could I disclose my status to a new potential partner?" and "How could someone love me now that I am HIV-positive?"

Holding my head up high when I disclose

These things, amongst others, were going through my mind then and they still do at times now. I can’t tell you that I have been the most confident person in the world when it comes to disclosing my status, but what I can tell you is that I hold my head up high every time I do disclose. I never saw myself dating anyone again until I knew I was healthy, undetectable, and accepting of myself.

How I approach dating and disclosure

Dating is already hard on a regular basis. But, adding in the fact that you want to disclose that you are HIV-positive to this potential person can make things even more difficult at times.

Hit the reset button

With every potential new date or someone I am talking to, I always remind myself that there is a reset button. I make sure to tell myself that if the last person I went on a date with was not okay with my status that the next one may or may not feel the same way. As I said, I make sure I hit the reset button for each person and not hold the new person accountable for what the last person said or did. It helps me from going into the date with my walls already up.

Disclose my HIV status before the date

I have had relationships with HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals as well as people who are on PrEP. Regardless of their status or preventative measures that they are taking, dating, in general, can be scary. I can only speak from experience when I say this, but I have never given someone the opportunity to belittle me in any way because of my status. I have walked into every potential date with the other person already knowing my HIV status.

In my opinion, I want the other person to be given the choice of whether or not my status is an issue for them. By doing this, I walk into the date more confident in not only myself but in the other person who I chose to go out with.

There's no need to rush dating

I will say this to you one more time. I am not the most confident person in the world, but what I constantly do is hold my head up high every day. If you are someone who is starting to date or even someone considering to date, then make sure you are confident enough in yourself to know your worth.

There is no need to rush into dating if you are not ready. From this point on, no one can depreciate your value. It starts with acceptance not only within yourself but acceptance of your own status.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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