Dating and being HIV +

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 02, 2011 1:03 AM GMT
    I have a very close friend who was diagnosed with HIV at the very end of 2007. Since then he has seemed to flounder in many ways, including in his dating life. He suffers from pretty serious social anxiety and seems to be most comfortable dating men who are dysfunctional in various ways... he finally was able to admit that dating such guys makes him feel more secure, like he has the upper hand.

    We've talked at length about the stigma associated with HIV, how its very difficult to find people in the 'dating pool' who are accepting and open to the idea of being with someone who is not negative. I can see how either party would have difficulty with this - one for being constantly rejected once he discloses his status, and the other person for fearing infection, even if they know that using protection will likely prevent any infection, especially given that my friend is on medications and he's undetectable in terms of viral load.

    Given his difficulty with rejection and with disclosing (he discloses when he has to... which makes it more difficult when he starts to have feelings....), I have asked him why he doesn't try to date other men who are positive, to simplify things and eliminate the issue of possibly infecting someone who is negative. Here's where it gets interesting/strange:

    He says that dating men who are HIV + is next to impossible because the pickings are so slim, and because they are all "messed up." He says that most of the guys he meets on for instance are into drugs or seem to have severe emotional problems. So he is very discouraged by this.

    I reminded him that he tends to meet these guys on sex related websites that tend to draw guys who are into mixing sex and drugs and so on. I also was pretty blunt and said that sometimes he acts without valuing himself... he'll sleep with guys just because it helps him feel good about himself.... and in doing so he brings a lot of...interesting... people into his life... including a two men who are in a relationship, who appear to be "bug catchers," who at first he did not have bareback sex with but now they appear to have no problem with it.

    I try to encourage him to treat himself with more respect, but he has such low self esteem, it seems that he can't help himself but to take almost anyone who will have him. He feels he has no options.

    So my question is this... to those who have dated other positive guys / who are themselves positive... is this a trend you have noticed too? I mean NO disrespect to guys who are positive - and I still feel that most HIV + can't be that different from guys who are negative - but my friend says I am living in a fantasy world and that I can't possibly understand. What have your experiences been? Do you feel things are even more dysfunctional in the HIV positive world? Are drugs and emotional issues that much more prevalent? I'm asking for anecdotal/personal experiences here...

    Also, is there a good meeting place online, for gay HIV+ singles?

    Lastly, I know that my friend acts in some ways hypocritically, engaging in risky behaviors with others and yet wanting a guy who doesnt do the same thing... but I think those behaviors would change if he felt there was some "hope" for him.

    Thanks everyone!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 02, 2011 3:00 AM GMT
    He looking in the wrong place for the wrong reasons..
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Dec 02, 2011 3:06 AM GMT
    i agree with the other poster. i think he should focus on himself. i think he should find social groups to join. he do this without looking for others to date. tell him to stop looking. i do agree that it seems guys who have hiv seem to take more risk with lives. i have known many positive guys and they just seem to not care about having unprotected sex
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    Dec 02, 2011 3:11 AM GMT
    tuffguyndc said i do agree that it seems guys who have hiv seem to take more risk with lives. i have known many positive guys and they just seem to not care about having unprotected sex
    You're looking in the wrong places for the wrong reasons too. icon_wink.gif
    There's a whole other world and it doesnt include your ' known many positive guys'.

    Food for thought.
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    Dec 02, 2011 3:26 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidYour friend who says that other gay HIV+ men are messed up is a bit of a hypocritical statement after reading your evaluation of him.

    I have to confess that many men who have HIV+ are, unfortunately, into drugs like crystal meth and poppers and group sex. I'm HIV+ myself but I never got into that myself. I do admit to having gone to several sex groups in the past. It was fun here and there but most of the time I didn't enjoy myself nor did I stay long. I never did drugs while at a group party. I'm far from perfect, I have my own set of problems but crystal meth or drug addiction is not one of them.

    I don't know where to go to meet HIV+ men who are not into drugs. I tried to go to therapy sessions for HIV+ men in the past (in Chicago) but I did not like the group at all. Plus it was prohibited that we date one another anyway.

    Some cities sponsor events for HIV+ men in social health(ier) settings that are not related to the drug or group sex scene. Perhaps do a Google search to find them in your area.

    I don't think the issue is so much group scenes or sex parties... plenty of neg guys go to them also, but maybe they are doing meth too, IDK.

    But from what you are saying, MMTM, it sounds like your experience is sort of similar to my friend's. It must be disheartening to feel like so many people are into drugs and shit like that. To me it points to some unresolved issues within the community..... (not that its isolated to positive guys either)...

    I agree that my friend has made some pretty hypocritical actions, in a way. I dont think he sees himself as "above" that. Although *I* see him as above it, but lacking the ego strength to say no to people who offer him attention, even if they are into drugs or other crazy shit.

    I will look for some social groups in DC and see what I can suggest....
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Dec 02, 2011 8:21 AM GMT
    I took a hiatus on dating for about 4 years after my confidence was shaken...and trying to find the words to express/disclose my HIV status seemed impossible...

    During those years, I worked on my friendships and volunteered in the gay and eventually HIV communities...with time I began to reconnect with my authentic self...and remember that HIV isn't who I am...but it is a part of me...that 'ease' and comfort with who I was reflected in my interactions with those around me...

    I met my current boyfriend (3 years) at the gym...asked him out right in the middle of my work out...he's negative...and it works out just fine...but it took some time and personal reflection and work to get there...

    - David icon_wink.gif