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#AskTyler: I'm Afraid to Leave Him Because I'm HIV-Positive

#AskTyler: I'm Afraid to Leave Him Because I'm HIV-Positive


What do you do if you're unhappy but afraid of going it alone?

Julian from New York writes, “I found out I was HIV-positive in the beginning of my relationship and he stayed with me and was really helpful. It’s been about a year and I am really unhappy, but I feel scared to leave him because I’m too afraid to get rejected.”

As much as reading this statement may make some people cringe, I would venture to guess that almost every young HIV-positive man or woman has felt this way at least once in their journey. Even though education around HIV is improving, there are still many people who are ignorant when it comes to HIV and would not only reject, but disrespect an HIV-positive person for his or her status.

But here’s the sitch, Julian. Happiness is choice, and rejection is inevitable.

It can be hard to make the necessary decisions to be happy. But by conceding to a relationship for fear of rejection, you are committing yourself to permanent state of mediocrity, mundaneness, and misery.

At the point you are at now, you need to only know one thing. It is better to be happy and by yourself than miserable and in a relationship. I know it may be hard to believe that. Whether you are HIV-positive or negative, everyone wants to be loved and accepted. But if you are asking me this question, then it is evident that you need to spend some time alone and learn to love and accept yourself, and even forgive yourself if that is what is needed.

Living with HIV can come with social anxiety and it is true that some people could reject you as a potential love interest because of it. But if not HIV, then it would be something else. And whether you were enlightened on the reality of HIV before your diagnosis or after, you are now aware that HIV is nothing to be scared of as long as you are aware. So shirk off the small group of people who are out of touch and would reject your for your status. You don’t want that kind of a person anyway, whether you realize yet or not.

When I was first diagnosed with HIV, I was dating someone who was very helpful in the initial steps of coping with my new status. He was kind, thoughtful, and patient. He also was not the man I was meant to be with. But just like you, I was afraid to venture out of the confines of my situation. Sure, he was nice enough, but staying with him would have meant giving up on my chance at a happy and fulfilling relationship.  So I dumped him, I cried a lot and I went on some really bad dates after. And it was exactly the right thing to do.

Whether it is a relationship, a career, or any other part of life that you wish for, HIV shouldn’t get in the way of going after it. It sounds cheesy as hell, but it is exactly what you need to remember when doubting your decision to leave him. You will find someone else who will make you happy. Until then enjoy the single life and get to know your new self. 

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