Dating & Discordant HIV Statuses

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    Nov 19, 2012 10:03 PM GMT
    So this isn't a request for opinions on safer sex or calls for diatribes of morality.
    I'm 40 years old, have lived a very sexually active life in the "Gay Mecca" for 17 years and because I'm very well versed in Safer Sex, am HIV negative.

    I went on a few dates in February with an Italian Universal Babe. Regardless of your "type" he is smokin' hot by any standard face, body smile... everything! He's also incredibly sweet, sensitive, a successful business owner and entrepreneur but had some trust issues from the past that kept us from pursuing anything further at the time, he's totally healthy except that he is HIV+.

    We ran into each other at the gym and have been talking again. Yesterday, he apologized for how he handled things earlier this year, told me that I still take his breath away and asked if I would give him a second chance to let him show me how special I am.

    I am utterly humbled by his humility and emotional accountability. I've casually dated HIV+ guys in the past but this feels like it might have legs for something more than casual.

    Does anyone have experience being in a relationship with someone who has a discordant HIV status? I've done some online research about relationship issues for "Magnetic" couples because I want to be realistic about the potential long term issues that we might be faced with if things get serious.

    I think I have a good grasp on scenarios that could play out so I don't need a laundry list of things that "could" happen. I'd like to know how others have navigated these dicey waters.
  • MikeW

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    Nov 19, 2012 10:13 PM GMT
    I was in a 5 year relationship with a + man. I'm negative. It was a definite consideration and I was always aware there was some risk involved, even with protection. Still, I was willing to take that risk. Might not be what everyone would feel comfortable doing though.
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    Nov 19, 2012 10:23 PM GMT
    Was it problematic for your relationship?
    Were there issues in your relationship that were more difficult to talk about than others?
    How did the relationship end?
    Given your experience would you enter into another relationship with someone who is HIV+?
  • MikeW

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    Nov 19, 2012 10:37 PM GMT
    EasilyDistracted saidWas it problematic for your relationship?

    Not really. He was asymptomatic when we met. However, as time went on, he began to have symptoms of various sorts (physical and emotional) and this led to some problems.
    Were there issues in your relationship that were more difficult to talk about than others?

    Be more specific. Not sure what you mean or what you're getting at.
    How did the relationship end?

    Well, as well as having physical symptoms, he went insane. I was committed to him, however, and saw him through some VERY rough times. Eventually we ended the relationship because we saw it was unhealthy (emotionally) for both of us. By this time, though, I'd helped him get stabilized, on disability, and living in a facility specifically for people who were HIV+. We remained friends throughout. He died about 2 years ago of a heart attack (he was 53) which may or may not have been directly HIV related. I don't know.
    Given your experience would you enter into another relationship with someone who is HIV+?

    IF I felt strongly for the man it wouldn't matter. What matters is whether or not we are right for one another, not his status.

    Good luck by the way! Happy for you. icon_smile.gif
  • MikeW

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    Nov 19, 2012 10:48 PM GMT
    I feel the need to add something here that was part of why I found myself in a relationship with an HIV+ man. My *previous* partner had died of a brain tumor (not HIV related, we were both - ). What this taught me was that life is short and when something good comes along, you need to go for it. None of us know how much time we have, regardless of our HIV status.

    Had I not had this previous experience, I'm not sure I would have entered into a "discordant" relationship so easily. However, I did feel very strongly for my second partner and although things went badly, I have never regretted the relationship. It was real, intense, passionate, loving -- as well as maddening at times. If you love someone, I believe, it is in sickness and in health. You don't just toss someone aside when they get sick. You stick with them and are THERE for them as much as you can be.
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    Nov 19, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    First, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me, sincerely, "thank you".

    What I meant when I asked if there were issues in your relationship that were more difficult to talk about than others, is:
    How did the difference in your HIV statuses affect your relationship most adversely: sexually, were there social issues that were unexpected, family disclosure, health scares, health care...

    Do you think his "insanity" was HIV related?

    It sounds like his HIV might have been the lesser of some other larger issues which could really befall anyone in any relationship.
    I'm not sure that anything will come of seeing this guy again, he might just be bat shit crazy and I'm being blinded by his adoration and exceptional looks. Just trying to go into things with my eyes open so I can make good decisions.
    Thank you so much... xoxo
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    Nov 19, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    It was a month and a half period of dating a pos guy. He told me his status from the beginning and it played virtually no major part in anything since I always play safe and we are both responsible and respecting. He was really into me from the start and we had some things important to both of us in common. He was fun, loving, and a very happy person. It was great until the last couple weeks when I ceased to be a priority for him and he showed that he was too much of a flake. Things just ended after the last time we were together without any incident or discussion about it. We're still on good terms when we run into each other.

  • MikeW

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    Nov 19, 2012 11:06 PM GMT
    EasilyDistracted saidWhat I meant when I asked if there were issues in your relationship that were more difficult to talk about than others, is:
    How did the difference in your HIV statuses affect your relationship most adversely: sexually, were there social issues that were unexpected, family disclosure, health scares, health care...

    It is painful seeing someone you love get sick. What can I say? He was very good about taking care of his health needs but sometimes things went badly. One time he had an adverse reaction to some meds he'd been given. He became paralyzed and was about to go unconscious. No time for an ambulance. I had to physically drag him to the car and rush him to the ER! As for his family, he was one of four boys, three of whom were gay and they were all HIV+, so that wasn't an issue.
    Do you think his "insanity" was HIV related?

    Hard to say what part HIV played in it. We're complex creatures. For sure he had major issues, most of which I knew nothing about prior to his beginning to act out.
    It sounds like his HIV might have been the lesser of some other larger issues which could really befall anyone in any relationship.

    Yes.
    I'm not sure that anything will come of seeing this guy again, he might just be bat shit crazy and I'm being blinded by his adoration and exceptional looks. Just trying to go into things with my eyes open so I can make good decisions.
    Thank you so much... xoxo

    LoL at "he might just be bat shit crazy". Possible but not likely. You're worthy of adoration icon_smile.gif Just remember all men are human. We all have our faults. A real relationship works to get beyond whatever those are with a commitment to work through them as needed.

    You're welcome!
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    Nov 19, 2012 11:15 PM GMT
    BuddyinNYC saidIt was a month and a half period of dating a pos guy. He told me his status from the beginning and it played virtually no major part in anything since I always play safe and we are both responsible and respecting. He was really into me from the start and we had some things important to both of us in common. He was fun, loving, and a very happy person. It was great until the last couple weeks when I ceased to be a priority for him and he showed that he was too much of a flake. Things just ended after the last time we were together without any incident or discussion about it. We're still on good terms when we run into each other.
    I'm sorry things went the way they did... it's hard to be on good terms with some exes. Thank you for sharing your story.
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    Nov 20, 2012 8:20 AM GMT
    I was in a relationship with a positive guy. I didn't mind it at all bc of how powerful my attraction towards him was.
    Conversely, he punished himself for it. He let it get to him, always worried about it, and that ultimately led to the demise of the relationship.
    I'm sorry I don't have a happy ending story to share with you but this was my experience.
    Regardless though, I had some of the most magical and romantic times with him. Do what your heart wants. It may be beautiful.
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    Nov 20, 2012 8:47 AM GMT
    At this point, this may seem shallow, but I've dated, hooked up with and have been fuckbuddies with numerous HIV+ men. The men I've been with have always been respectful of my negative status and we've always practiced safe(r) sex. There's no reason that you can't have a serious, full-on relationship with a HIV+ man. Basically, all it involves is a little latex in terms of protection and willingness on the part of the HIV+ partner not to infect the HIV- partner. And I can tell you from experience, the sex was HOT!
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    Nov 20, 2012 8:52 AM GMT
    Its so beautiful that there are people who love someone even knowing of what the other person is !

    Its so humane
    blessings for all of you

    Never dated an hiv positive guy ,infact never seen anyone here but i would like to be friends with such people
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    Nov 20, 2012 9:16 AM GMT
    I dated a + guy for a few months and thanks to this I learned a lot about HIV, but apart from that I dare say it wasn't "worth the risk", so to speak. Though I have a few positive friends and I have no issues with them being positive, I don't think I would consider dating a + guy again. But yet again, you never know what hits you, do you
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    Nov 20, 2012 9:25 AM GMT
    shahzada saidI was in a relationship with a positive guy. I didn't mind it at all bc of how powerful my attraction towards him was.
    Conversely, he punished himself for it. He let it get to him, always worried about it, and that ultimately led to the demise of the relationship.
    I'm sorry I don't have a happy ending story to share with you but this was my experience.
    Regardless though, I had some of the most magical and romantic times with him. Do what your heart wants. It may be beautiful.
    Just wanted to chime in and share how this post was really touching to me. It points out that the physical is where the mind naturally wanders when considering these types of relationships. However, the emotional aspect is often the bigger issue.

    There's a real layer of emotional "stuff" that people with HIV go through. At least that's been my personal experience six years in.

    I'm glad you were able to separate that out for yourself Shahzada and emerged on good terms with your ex.

    To the OP: best of luck to you in your decision-making process. This guy sounds pretty solid, and I hope things work out. icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 20, 2012 12:58 PM GMT
    Thanks so much for your experiences and thoughts guys, I read all your posts. It sincerely means a lot, thank you thank you.

    When I saw him at the gym my heart did that weird flutter thing that feels like it could be clinically bad if it weren't accompanied by butterflies. He had such a look of panic and fearful reciprocity on his handsome face that made me feel better about feeling like I was going to hurl.

    We have that unexplainable but utterly palpable chemistry that turns us both into dorks around each other. It's been a quite a few years since I've felt that way about anyone.

    I went out to dinner and a movie with him last night. Over dinner he apologized for letting his insecurities run away with him and he thanked me for seeing him... his humility and self awareness were so refreshing and humbling. He said he had some stuff to learn about himself in the last few months and thanked me for how I handled it.

    Sometimes when I look at him he looks like this smoking hot hunk, but other times he has the common place familiarity of a face I've been staring at all my life, like there is something in my heart that has known him all along.

    He looks at me with unabashed adoration and affection... it's like we loved each other in another life and finally found each other in this one. He's an utter stranger but there is something unrelentingly comfortable and familiar in being close to him.

    I've casually dated HIV+ guys before and had great sex with them in those experiences. But the truth is I was in my 20's and didn't take anyone seriously until I met my partner of 6 years, who I separated and divorced 5 years ago but who he and his new husband I still talk to several times a week.

    I'm 40 now and the reality is that I know how rare it is to meet someone whose kiss and touch feel like home. I don't love and commit the way I did in my 20's and this feels substantial in a way that my heart demands I explore with honesty regardless of where it goes.

    All your posts have mirrored what I have felt and know, but I needed to have confirmation that my head was screwed on right.

    Truth be told I'm more afraid of losing him and seeing him suffer than getting infected. I know that me losing him to HIV is not a given and I know infection is not a certainty if dealt with appropriately. There is a potential loss in any relationship and that has never stopped me from loving shamelessly before...
    I certainly won't let it determine my emotional availability this time around either.

    *Thank you all... this has been so very helpful*
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    Nov 20, 2012 1:03 PM GMT
    ^^ Wow, I hope that in the future I will encounter someone like you. This thread made my morning.

    Best of luck! icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 20, 2012 1:23 PM GMT
    i will be honest, i wouldn't date +HIV , i don't hate HIV+ but i think HIV+ should date +HIV , if i have a chance to live without HIV i should respect it ....thats my opinion.
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    Nov 20, 2012 2:11 PM GMT
    barbieee saidi will be honest, i wouldn't date +HIV , i don't hate HIV+ but i think HIV+ should date +HIV , if i have a chance to live without HIV i should respect it ....thats my opinion.
    You are entitled to live your life however you feel is best for you.
    Being with someone who is HIV+ doesn't mean you will be infected, that much I know to be true and while it is of concern, it isn't the primary one for me because I know it is manageable. My concerns are more directly addressing the life issues that come up around the disparity of statuses when one person is negative and one positive and even more directly potentially watching someone suffer from HIV related illnesses. I've watched the deterioration of health in friends and it breaks my heart to witness. Witnessing it with the person I love most is something I don't know if I could bear.
    But loss and heartache never stopped me before, a glass has to be empty before it can be filled.
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    Nov 20, 2012 2:14 PM GMT
    Tenebrism said^^ Wow, I hope that in the future I will encounter someone like you. This thread made my morning.

    Best of luck! icon_smile.gif
    icon_redface.gif *thank you* icon_redface.gificon_smile.gif
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Nov 20, 2012 5:39 PM GMT
    You definitely have your head, and heart, screwed on right, Easily. As for losing someone, it happens. Family, friends, lovers. You never know. Going through it, however it shows up, is part of being human and part of maturing. A broken heart can take a long time to heal (I've found) but heal it does.

    Best of everything to you, you obviously deserve it icon_biggrin.gif
  • Medjai

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    Nov 20, 2012 5:57 PM GMT
    I agree with barbieee. I mean, good for you for being able to look past that, but I really couldn't...
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    Nov 20, 2012 9:48 PM GMT
    EasilyDistracted said
    BuddyinNYC said[...] Things just ended after the last time we were together without any incident or discussion about it. We're still on good terms when we run into each other.
    I'm sorry things went the way they did... it's hard to be on good terms with some exes. Thank you for sharing your story.


    I'm very glad I dated that guy, the best dating I ever experienced. Just as well that it ended though within a reasonable amount of time. That guy and another one I met showed me that when there are truly meaningful connections one's pos status isn't more than another something to be mutually careful of but nothing more.