Great insights and advice on dating with chronic HBV from a member of the Hepatitis B Information and Support List.
Dating is a recurring topic on the Hepatitis B Information and Support List, and for good reason. Many think having a chronic (infectious) illness like hepatitis B makes them less than worthy of love and a normal life with a romantic partner. Unfortunately we forget we are more than our illness and focus on the things we cannot change rather than the wonderful things we have to offer a partner.
I have been on several dating sites since my divorce a few years ago, so I have some experience with this. My personal philosophy and method is to be selective about the people I choose to date. To me, it is important if the potential date has common sense and good character. Once I feel this person is worthy of my time and attention, I have the talk about my hepatitis B, and that HBV is vaccine preventable. If they are interested in continuing a romantic relationship with me, they need to be vaccinated to protect against HBV. Some may have already been vaccinated, and if so, HBV is no longer an issue.
You need to approach dating, not as who will ‘accept’ you, but rather who ‘deserves’ you. Perspective is everything. If you see a health issue like HBV as a unique barrier to intimacy others will not understand and might reject you for, you will create self-defeating thoughts that not only limit your happiness, but are inaccurate. Everyone has issues. Whether it is health, mental, social or financial, we all feel alone at times and want a connection with another soul.
Dating with HBV can be compared to interviewing for a job. In a job interview you would present your best traits to a potential employer. While you want to be honest about your shortcomings, you don’t tell them why they would NOT want to hire you. That would be stupid. Right? Yet it is often how we approach dating, thinking no one will accept us, forgetting to see the big picture of how special and deserving we are, and how much we have to offer and give in a relationship. We forget that someone would be very lucky to have us!
And like a job interview, sometimes you will be overlooked or rejected. That just means you were not a good fit for that employer, it is not a reflection of your value as a person. And so you keep interviewing, until you find the perfect fit. That job may last years, a lifetime or a few months. And then the interviews start again…
FYI, I have been rejected for having chronic hepatitis B, and I have been in long-term relationships with men who had no issue with my HBV. The reason the relationships ended had nothing to do with my hepatitis B infection. Dating is like any other life experience; there are ups and downs.
Having HBV is only a small facet of who you are, and not a reason to give up on a loving relationship. A partner who accepts you as you are and wants the best for you is someone who will not see HBV as a barrier to getting to know you.
Bottom line is you want to date someone who considers your health to be of importance, as a friend would care about your wellness. A relationship requires compatibility and a sense of ‘I got your back’ as well as chemistry and attraction. To me, someone I date must be a friend, and not just a sexual partner. Whatever your goals for a relationship are, remember you are a great catch!
HBV does not define you – unless you let it.
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