This article By Tom Knight @TJ_Knight / Facebook.com/TKnight86 originally appeared in FS Magazine, a publication of GMFA, here.
Relationship status – As single as one person could possibly be
So another Valentine’s Day has come and gone and surprise surprise, I ended up in front of my TV. But with company, in the form of my two cats Mia and Sky *Cue sympathetic aw*.
It’s not for the want of being single, but ever since being diagnosed HIV-positive, now nearly three years ago, my dating game has changed or completely disappeared to put it more accurately.
I actually can’t remember the last time I went on a date, I can’t even remember the last time I had sexual contact with someone.
I’m not laying all blame on becoming HIV-positive. I’m actually in a very good place mentally but taking that first step into dating is very daunting for anyone, let alone if you’ve something you think gets in the way. I suffered from low confidence before being diagnosed. Having low self-confidence and living with HIV doesn’t help.
So where do I start?! I’ve used Grindr on and off for years but actually only ever met a handful of people from it despite the amount of people I’ve spoken to on there. My nerves always get the better of me. I’ve had memberships on websites such as Gaydar, Plusmen and a few others. But still it’s the same scenario where I don’t have the courage to actually see it through and meet someone.
I’ve been weighing up the idea of speed dating. But the same worry starts in my head about me and my HIV and I know that’s self-imposed but with good cause? That’s something I haven’t found out because I’ve not taken that step.
Of course there’s a huge worry about when I disclose my HIV status. How will they take it? What will their reaction be? I have had cases where I’ve disclosed it straight away, and sometimes it’s been fine, others I don’t hear from again. I can’t live in bubble wrap forever, people aren’t always going to like it but that has nothing to do with who I am.
I know many mixed status couples and I’m a strong believer that it can be ok and dealt with in an adult way. I have had people tell me stick to HIV-positive people but I can’t live like that, it might take away some worry or concern but that’s not a way to look for love, not in my opinion.
When I go out, I almost get a tunnel vision to the friends I’m with and don’t notice anyone or anything around me. Completely oblivious when someone is interested or is ‘trying it on’.
I know they say don’t constantly be looking because you’ll never find it, just sit back and enjoy life and it will happen. But I think an element of it is actually playing an active part in attracting the right kind of attention and playing a part in your own happiness.
Don’t get me wrong in what I write; if it doesn’t happen and I’m still in the same single relationship status in years to come it’s not the end of the world. I’m happy.
We ALL want love, but at what cost? I’d rather be single and happy then in a relationship just for the hell of it. You can be equally if not more unhappy with the wrong person then you can ever be on your own.
But saying all that, something has got to change, and that change has to come from me otherwise it’s just going to be me and my cats every Valentine’s Day. My dating journey starts today.