Ask Mr. Manners

HIV-positive and dating

So I have had a crush on a guy for about three months. He is funny, smart, cute and has an ass that is so hot! I have been chasing him since i met him. Well I finally got the nerve to ask him out, and he said yes! On the first date he told me he is HIV-positive. I know it shouldn’t matter to me. But it does. I can’t help but be bothered by that. He wants to see me again. What do I do?! Help me Mr. Manners!

—Billy Bob Thorton

Dear Mr. Thorton,

I’ll begin by addressing the concept of a second date. Your main concern is the fact that this wonderful man has HIV, however, where does it say anywhere that the second date requires you to sleep with him? I’m not sure which manual you are using, but the edition I have tends to keep that sort of intimacy saved for a relationship where both partners are committed to each other. Now for most gay men I have met, that concept is foreign, but as for those who prescribe to this method, they tend to have fairy-tale relationships, and we all know those end, “happily ever after.”

Perhaps he had to muster his courage in asking you out for a second date, and in his defense, it’s extremely brave of him to tell you up front that he is HIV-positive. He obviously trusts you, shouldn’t you return the courtesy? Take time on this second date to share your concerns with him. Looking back upon my own experiences, I would say that the lesson I learned the hardest is not allowing expectations to ruin the moment. Too many times in my own life I went into dates thinking, “This could be my Mr. Right,” and all too often the guy felt pressured and ran away. Although I have regrets, in time I learned to be patient and just enjoy it all as happened and evolved with time. You need to relax and just enjoy it.

Thinking ahead, if things go well, then by all means consult with your healthcare provider as to best practices for safe sex and options open to couples with a partner having HIV— think of this as putting your insurance premiums to good use! However, if you are worried about what others will think about you dating a man with HIV, then I am afraid you may have doomed it all before it even began.

To quote Marilyn Monroe, “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” It is not up to me to determine which is this man’s best and which is his worst, but you better believe that regardless of which it is — you better learn to love it all.

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