May 20, 2013
It seems there are dating web sites for every segment of the population. One website in particular provides more than just a place to find that special someone.
Jay Hightman has been back on the dating scene for ten years after a divorce.
"Whether you enjoy each others company, whether you have complimentary personalities, whether you share the same goals in life, are all essential," Hightman says, listing off the things he looks for in a woman.
Hightman is on several different dating websites like Match.com and Chemistry.com but for him, there's one site that allows full disclosure: PositiveSingles.com
"After my marriage was over, kind of unfortunately, the first woman I dated we had gone out for a little bit of time and she let me know, in something called 'the talk', that she had herpes," Hightman said.
Herpes. The sexually transmitted disease caused by the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus. And it's more common than you think - one out of six people in the United States has it.
"People are very ashamed. This is something that you don't go out and tell everybody in the world about," said Hightman.
And this is the idea behind PositiveSingles.com. People with any sexually transmitted disease can long on and meet people without having, 'the talk' which Hightman says is the worst part about dating now.
"You're building this emotional bond and then all of a sudden you dump on them this thing that a lot of the time people are not very accepting of."
And that talk forever affects the way Jay and others with herpes go about meeting a special someone.
"you just kind of cross your fingers and pray that someone comes along that it works out with or I've known people who have just thrown up their arms and given up."
Marguerite David is a big believer in never giving up/ She's had herpes for about 30 years and as a local counselor, helps people get through the emotional roller coaster.
"it's very much that feeling of 'oh my god, I can't believe this is happening to me."
She helps her clients understand the virus doesn't change who they are and certainly shouldn't change what they want in life.
"Hopefully you would not be lowering your standards in what you're looking for in a partner just because they are willing to say 'yeah I have that too don't worry about it,' said David.
David thinks the STD dating sites are a positive thing overall because they give a sense of community.
"You have love and support from those folks that is usually hard to find elsewhere even with close friends," Hightman said.
"You're looking to remove the stigma because the stigma doesn't help anything," David said. "In each decade that I've experienced this, it has gotten better but people are still not coming right out there with it."
Both hope one day the stigma can be broken.
"There is someone out there for us it's just would be a lot easier if folks would just recognize that this isn't something to be ashamed of," said Hightman.
On and off of these sites, not letting the virus limit yourself is what David says will let a person grow and have more self-love than ever.
"If you're on this roller coaster that's kinda your seat belt, kinda keeps you safe, keeps you together."