This guy Steven I came to know has HIV. He tried meeting other guys, to be straight with them and his HIV. He said he always was, always told the guy he was positive. One day Steven decided to date only men who were positive. He didn't want to face rejection, he couldn’t take another “oh, sorry, see you later,” response. And He also didn't want to fall for someone and risk infecting the guy he loved. This guy I just met had been living with HIV for eight years. Eight years of being rejected.
Like oil and water, he thought negative and positive would not mix. When I saw him, I did not see a positive guy, I saw his smile, a charming handsome guy, who said hi. So how did he end up with an HIV-negative lover? His heart couldn't tell a negative guy from a positive one, and he fell in love with someone who was negative.
Some guys are just too worried about the possibility of infection to get involved with someone who is HIV+. And guys wanting to take cum inside them are generally going to need to stick with someone of the same HIV status. For others like me, HIV isn't a make-or-break issue when it comes to dating and relating.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared when Steven told me he was positive. I went home that night and told my mother, tried talking it out. I was in love with this guy. We did the traditional thing, dated, went to movies, picnics at the beach of Okanagan Lake, coffee at the Bean Scene. He was falling for me too, yet he was trapped, he was thinking what if he gets HIV from me?
After that sleepless night, I awoke with a new life. I was in love and my guy had HIV. Did not matter somehow. What was all the fuss about?
I will relate the rest of our story soon. Now more about negative and positive relationships.
HIV to many gay men was a death sentence ten years ago. Today many are living longer, healthier lives able to enjoy a relatively normal life. That means more opportunities to engage in relationships. Unlike years past, nowadays the distinction between positive and negative doesn't seem so great to many gay men.
Our community has few role models of healthy relationships. We have not done a great job of teaching and mentoring ourselves. Mixed HIV status couples have even fewer role models.
Living with HIV is different for each couple, but I have found some advantages for me.
HIV was a positive thing in our relationship. It made Steven and I concentrate on what was most important in our life. It pushed me to live in the present moment - not because there is no future, but because the future may be uncertain. Other than his love for me, this was one of the greater gifts I received from Steven.
Being a mixed couple we had to be creative when it came to sex. We were. Condoms became a regular feature, but have say we did mess up a few times. That’s human. HIV rather than being a limiting factor allowed us to experiment, to become more creative. I am here to tell you the sex can be safer and still be HOT!
It is was important for couples like Steven and I to not let HIV become a barrier to everyday life, you can’t change it, so no point in letting it run everything in your lives. The positive guy may need to let go of anxieties or guilt about being a burden or victim and the negative guy needs to stay away from thoughts of being a savior. As a couple you need to be sure you find ways to express hopes and fears with each other in a way that lowers barriers and builds intimacy. Talking about things helps.
Do I have more to say on this, you bet I do, you will find out more about life with Steven and how Oil and Water DID mix!