This entry was a difficult one for me to wrap my creative head around as the situation is quite delicate. It was as if I had a spurt of writer’s block on this particular HIV subject. Or maybe I’m just using that as an excuse to avoid personal uncharted territory of relationships and HIV. I know the question of love and happiness is on every positive person’s mind, including mine, and I was in denial of facing the foreseeable truth that one day I’d meet a very special, talented and considerate guy - who happens to be HIV-negative.
I see many in the community blog and discuss positive-negative relationships and the toll it can take on both people. I ignored most of this chatter because in my mind I didn’t want to relate. I convinced myself that the only healthy guy for me would also be HIV-positive. My reasons pointed towards the fact that I already paid my dues by getting infected and could only see myself with someone who knew what I was going through. Not only am I creating a double standard with that attitude (when HIV-negative people deny positive people, simply by status), but I would be cutting my chances significantly of finding true love. I need to give those around me the benefit of the doubt that they are educated on HIV and already know how to avoid getting infected. Also, I personally know firsthand of many successful positive-negative relationships; in fact, two of the couples are happily married.
Don’t get me wrong, relationships are not easy. They take a lot of hard work and dedication. With that said, I open a dormant part of my heart to the HIV-negative community - so long as they are willing to do the same for me.
Many will not agree with me and only see themselves with someone sharing the same HIV status as them. And that’s okay for them because relationships only work if there’s that connection, right? And I can’t be angry for being rejected by an HIV-negative person. Back in 2005 when I was still negative I started dating a guy who was positive. At the time I thought I was okay with everything. But, a few years later, after sero-conversion, I reconnected with my fling and asked him to assure me that I was cool with his status. He said to me with a flat out, “No, you weren’t. That’s the reason why we didn’t last.” Well, I was an immature twink at the time.
But now it's 2012 and more and more literature is out there regarding HIV, with the most powerful literature being word of mouth and discussion. Word on the street is that "HIV is manageable” is spreading like wildfire in the gay community. Less and less negative guys are scared of positive guys. (There will always be exceptions). Besides, I want to be with someone who wants to be with me and accepts me for any flaws I may have, not one that writes me off just like I did others seven years ago.
Where am I going with this ramble?
Simple. I met a guy. Hold the phone. Anyone that knows me personally and is reading this is probably saying to themselves, “What? Mr. Happily Single? I’m not looking for anything right now.” It’s true. Up until recently, I was happy being on my own and just getting my life in order. I wasn’t hiding from love; I just wasn’t actively seeking it. But, when one gets that butterfly in the stomach feeling, it’s hard to pretend the feelings are not there. He’s adorable, makes me laugh, shares similar interests (we both like whiskey), amongst other things. I know, this is mushy talk and I’d be calling it a day with this blog too.
He’s HIV-negative. There have been bumps, but we talk all the time about it. He’s actually more educated than I thought. My small-minded self always assumed that only doctors and positive men and women could explain the physiology of HIV. We NEVER put each other in harm’s way. And yet, I know even with all that it still kind of bothers him.
However, that’s okay because we are having some kind of relationship and, like I said, it takes work. We will work through it. We are just dating, so there’s no talk of picking out chinaware yet! Even if this doesn’t work out for the long run I’m having a great time with his company and it’s great to know there’s hope out there for the joining of the HIV negative and positive world in regards to relationships.
I just hope he knows that he is a very special and great person for whom I wish all the success and happiness in his upcoming endeavors. And that I’m a lot more than a healthy HIV-positive person (I know he does).
I took a chance writing this entry in the hopes for the two of us and everyone else out there to keep talking about the elephant in the room and changing him from a hole in the wall to a fabulous centerpiece. Keep trying at a relationship that you question, because one may never know what you’d be missing out on if you just walked away.
Let me end by saying that I usually write offering advice for people in the HIV community. This time I don’t have much to offer and I’d love to hear people’s insight on this topic. Feel free to leave a comment below this entry. All the best!