March 3, 2012

March 3, 2012

Disclosure and Dating

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you had a safe and great week. It was another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

After you find out your are HIV positive, you have to learn about HIV and how you are going to deal with being positive. One of those concerns is about what are you going to do about dating and disclosure.

This is the second in my own personal thoughts of disclosure. I say that because we all have our own disclosure which is unique to only us. Just like fingerprints, we all have them but they all differ. In this post I want to review my intersection with disclosure and dating. So as a disclaimer others may do things differently but for me when it came to dating, this is how I dealt with it.

His name was Brad, at least for this post it was, and we had just met. I was in my early twenties and had known of my status for a while and he was slightly older, mature and experienced. It was a good connection and not one built on sex as I was afraid of this thing inside of me. We were on the same script as he was not looking for a one night stand either.

So what was the problem? The problem was that in all the sharing over dinners and movie dates, I never brought up my status. Looking back he did not either as we never had a conversation that should have been had. But by not telling I was not trying to be devious. First, we had just met and I did not know him that well to share something so personal. Second, I was in a stage of fear of others finding out and if I shared it and he got upset, what would he do with the information. Thank God it was not today with the invention of Facebook and other social media sites where your business could be out there in a hot minute.

At the time I felt I was in a 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' situation. Small traces of anger formed on why even bother being honest. Maybe I was marked. Or if I dated was it to only be based on the same status rather than the organic connection/attraction. And why should I reveal? As long as I practice safe sex, then there is no need for disclosure. On top of that I convinced myself relationships are overrated, who needs them anyway.

So for a while I denied myself the ability of someone getting to close to me. I did not want to let someone hurt me again by rejecting me. I guess I wanted to do it to you before you did it to me. When Brad told me he was positive, I was so relieved because at least we were both dealing with the same issues of mortality and trying to keep ourselves alive. After he passed in 1989, I closed myself off.

Now older, I realize my life was lonely and the wall I built around myself kept people out, but I was also stuck alone behind the same walls. Going home to a silent house. Alone.

That is the wonderful thing about maturity. You get to a phase in your life where you tell yourself, if you do not want all of me, then it is your loss, not mine. I had to get to that place because by hiding behind that wall they still had the power. I had to regain my own strength. I had to take the leap into the unknown waters. If it is meant to be then so be it, if not then so be it as well.

I did not want to put myself off the right 'timing game' any longer. The game of do I tell after the first date, the second or the third or when is it too late? I just did not want to do it any more. This is who I am.

But for those who do not or have not disclosed, I know where you 're coming from. I was there. It is just that for me it was a place I no longer wanted to be.

There is no official rule book on when. I think when it comes to relationships we have to just trust that gut and do what we feel is right. I feel for me by living my life in the truth although I lost some people in my life, I gained more than I lost.

But you do have to remember legally it is a felony in more than half the country not to disclose your HIV status. So do not forget about that.

Hope you have a great and safe Saturday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab