TO FIND MY WAY BACK TO HIM

TO FIND MY WAY BACK TO HIM

I met Bernard in 2018. According to his photos, he was a total babe: cool, dark, tall and sexy – just the way I like my men. As we got to know each other, he seemed very into me, very constant in his communication and very endearing with his words. I was initially scared by this, because we were distant from each other, even though we were both in Abuja, and I didn’t want to fall for someone who might end up breaking me.

So, I kept trying to maintain some distance between us, but he wouldn’t let go. He stayed steadfast with his affections for me.

Two months later, I lost my mother. It was hell. I was devastated. The day after I learned of my mother’s passing, while I was still caught up in my grief, Bernard called, wanting us to finally meet. Due to the pain and emotional rage I was going through, I turned on him, shouting at him on the phone. But this didn’t put him off. Instead, he stayed calm and apologetic, especially after I told him I’d just lost my mother.

A few months later, we finally met. And Christ, he was everything I wished to find in a man I’d ever love. He was not only just as good looking as his photos implied, he was also as well-mannered as he always seemed from our interactions online. When he made love to me, it felt like I got transported to heaven. Our lovemaking lasted about two hours, and time simply flew while I was in his company.

This meeting changed the way I felt about him and strengthened the way he felt about me. We were clearly both smitten with each other. He would call me and we would talk for hours. I wasn’t used to being so doted on, and it was very exhilarating. He’d be on the phone asking for us to see again. He wanted to come see me this time. And I wanted that very much.

But I had a secret.

I am HIV Positive.

I didn’t tell him the first time we met because I’ve been on drugs and had been undetectable for some time now. Plus, we had sex with protection that first time.

However, this second time that he came to see me, there was a madness to the passion of our lovemaking that overtook me, and I told him I wanted to feel him raw inside me. At first, he seemed hesitant about taking off the condom, but we were in the heat of sex, and so, he didn’t need much convincing to take it off and proceed with making love to me.

However, the guilt immediately hit me and stayed with me as he thrust inside me. The sensation I expected to enjoy was suddenly tainted by the realization that I had deceived him. So, I told him to stop. He stopped and asked me what the problem was. My heart was beating with mounting panic as I found myself being confronted with the fact that I must now have to tell him that I was HIV Positive.

But I couldn’t.

I opened my mouth to say it, and the words couldn’t come out. I was petrified by what he would say, how betrayed he would feel. I knew that not even telling him that I was undetectable would assuage the situation that I had worsened by telling him to take off the condom.

So, I chose the coward’s way out. I faked being angry and asked him to leave.

However nonplussed he was by this, he didn’t try to insist on continuing with what we started. He left. And for a month, we continued to stay in touch, continued to be a thing.

Then I went to see him, and this time, I summoned the courage to tell him that I am HIV Positive. It went about as well as you’d imagine. I stood there and watched this man who loves me break down right in front of me. First, the shock was stark on his face, in his eyes that began overflowing with tears. As I watched him cry, I felt stricken with guilt and helplessness. I couldn’t hold him. I tried to reassure him that I was fine, but that only served to turn his devastation to fury. The rage replaced the shock on his face and lit his eyes up with the kind of look I never thought he’d direct my way.

He ordered me to leave his house. I knew if I did, it would be the end of us. I tried to beg, but it was futile. He kept shouting at me to leave.

So, I left.

Even then, I kept calling him, but he ignored my calls. Then I sent him texts, swearing on the grave of my dead mother that I didn’t mean to hurt him, and that I was sure he couldn’t be positive, pressing him to go take a test to confirm.

That night, after I exhausted everything to try to get through to him, I sat on my bed and cried, because I knew the hurt he was going through. I knew because I’d gone through it. Except in my own case, nobody had betrayed me with this life-changing situation.

The next day, he told me he’d gone to the clinic for the test, but had been so afraid of finding out whatever the result may be that he turned around and left before he could take the test. The following day, he went again, and this time, he stayed and did the test. Before this, so sure that his life was doomed, he told me he had called his sisters and mother to tell them that he might be HIV Positive, and that everybody in his family was praying for him.

He didn’t have the nerve to check the result; he came straight to my house with it. I opened it and checked: he was negative. By god, I was so relieved. He was relieved. I was crying. He was crying. I kept asking for his forgiveness over and over, and he hugged me and continued to cry.

After some minutes, when the emotions calmed, we talked. He had lunch at my place. Then he left. As I watched him leave, I felt confident that we were in a good place again.

However, that was not to be. The communication between us began to dry us. He stopped calling as much, and didn’t express any further interest in us seeing. In February 2019, we had a fight, because I expressed my discontentment with the fact that I seemed to be the only one making any effort to keep our interactions alive. He got so angry that he said we should stop communicating altogether. He reminded me of the horror I put him and his family through, saying he didn’t need this. And before I knew it, he had blocked me on all the socials and I was left with a broken heart.

After three months of grieving our breakup, I decided to move on. It was around this time, at school in Enugu, that I met Jonathan (a devil disguised as an angel, but this is a story for another day).

Jonathan and I soon began dating. I had wanted to tell him about my status, but I quickly got to learn that he had a deep aversion for people living with HIV. He didn’t have very nice things to say about poz guys. When I talked to my close friends about telling him, they advised that I wait until he is ready – unless I was willing to lose him. I wasn’t, so I didn’t tell him, all the while ensuring that we stayed protected during sex.

Jonathan and I had been dating for a few months when Bernard unblocked me and reached out to me, wanting us to stay friends. I was so relieved and ecstatic that he even wanted to still have anything to do with me. So, we stayed friends. We talked also. He said that he doesn’t hate me, but that we could never go back to the way we were. I felt crushed by this, but I accepted it.

He was such a good friend, and he helped me out sometimes. One time, in November 2019, I needed to travel to Abuja from school to get a refill of my drugs, and I was broke. I couldn’t ask Jonathan to help me out because that would involve too many prevarications that I wasn’t ready to tell. So, I asked Bernard and he sent me the money I used to travel for my drugs. He was just that kind.

Eventually, Jonathan and I broke up. He wanted to open our relationship and I wanted to stay in a committed one. So, we went our separate ways – and I found myself alone once more.

And now, after nine months of being on my own, I want to give dating another try. But so far, it hasn’t been working out. The guys I’ve been meeting are just not it.

And yet, there is this very lovely man who has been in my life for so long, who knows me so well, and who once loved me so well –

And I have never stopped loving him. I never stopped loving Bernard, and I just wonder if we could ever find our way back to being together.

I miss him. I miss how he used to make me feel – not the sex, but how well we talked and vibed and related. I still love him and I am becoming increasingly dissatisfied with being just friends with him.

What do I do?

Written by Raigan

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  1. Queen of Queens
    January 03, 08:02 Reply

    Dear Raigan, you should be upfront about your HIV status before screwing anyone. Fear of rejection should not be the reason you have sex without revealing your HIV status. For some, it may be a deal breaker, for others it won’t. At least, it helps you narrow your choices to those who could genuinely care about you. Do not have sex before revealing your HIV status.

  2. Jojo
    January 03, 08:32 Reply

    Dear Raigan, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry you had to go through so much with love and rejection.

    First of, there is no need to reprimand you further because I believe you learnt your lesson. You know what they say – Crying…spoilt milk…

    However, I’d start by letting you know that I totally understand how you feel presently. Yes, you probably love him, still, but you miss how you were and how you felt when you were together than what trying again will mean for the both of you. It happens all the time, trust me. But I need you to move on from this, from him. Bernard will never stop bringing that event up at the slightest chance he gets. And it won’t be his fault really -just the way humans work and what would happen is that you’d begin to realize how far you have strayed from what you had. You would fight still, and there’s a chance you’d fail before you even have a real shot. So here’s what to do.

    Have a conversation with him. Not a `is-there-any-chance-we-could-get-back?’ one. This should be one for closure. Go over what happened with him. You could start by asking him to tell you his story -what ways things changed for him. Find his perspective devoid of your own feelings. This is the only way you’d let go of your guilt and move on.

    Also, when you’re ready to find love again, please do not expect the next person to be a Bernard. Let them be them with their own small flaws.

    In all things, choose yourself. Find happiness.

    Goodluck.

    • Mandy
      January 04, 10:35 Reply

      “But I need you to move on from this, from him. Bernard will never stop bringing that event up at the slightest chance he gets. And it won’t be his fault really -just the way humans work…”

      I was going to say this! If you do manage to get back together with Bernard, he will never stop bringing up the fact that you betrayed him and almost infected him any time you two fight. As he should.
      And eventually, you will grow to resent him for it. As you should.

      But is that any way to be in a relationship with someone? To never be fully forgiven?

  3. Delle
    January 03, 09:05 Reply

    I think for me, your gravest mistake was in ‘demanding’ raw sex. You were already having protected sex and you wanted something more selfish…that’s just sad and aggravating. So yeah, I get his ire.

    However, I think revealing your status should only come up when you’re about becoming an item with the other. For randoms, I don’t think you owe them that (just ensure condoms are used).

    Bernard must have moved on. That ship seems to have left the harbour, you may have to get used to it. You’ll find someone, I’m sure. Not someone like Jonathan. Not someone with such strong, misguided aversion for Poz people.

    And when you do find him, be honest. Come clean.

  4. Mitch
    January 03, 09:07 Reply

    Dear Raigan,

    I’m really sorry about what you went through. And I’m even more sorry that I’m about to rip you apart even further.

    The first thing you should do, as a poz man, before you hook up with someone, is tell them your status. I don’t give a shit whether it’s going to be protected or not. Before y’all hook up, tell them!!

    And, for fuck’s sake, before you start thinking about getting serious with anyone, tell them your status. You don’t build trust by hiding fundamental parts of your history that could inform their decisions. I was stupid enough to do that once and I paid dearly for it.

    Next, your friends. FGS, any friend who tells you to go ahead in a charade of a relationship with a person, whose stance on pertinent issues that pertain to your life is either unknown or hostile, is not someone you shoild call a friend. Friends should help you become better, not lead you into making erroneous judgement calls like this.

    About Bernard: This is going to be hard.
    But, you need to. Let. Him. Go!

    He’s been more than decent towards you. What you made him experience is the sort of trauma that mars people for life. It was a betrayal of epic proportions. It’d have been better if you’d told him immediately after you asked him to stop and pull out of you. But you waited a month. A full entire fucking month! That he still wants to be friends with you should tell you how much of a decent person he is. But even decent people get hurt. And when you hurt them, though their decency may keep them around you, things will never be the same.

    If you manage to, somehow, wrangle Bernard into a relationship, it is not going to be as good as it originally was. What you’d have is a pale, cold shadow of what existed before. Better to take the friendship and know you still have him, to some extent, in your corner.

    I’m really sorry I was this harsh, but these are truths you need to be told. I hope you make the best of them.

  5. Big Bad Judy
    January 03, 09:57 Reply

    Hi Raigan! Thank you for sharing your story with us, but we’ve got to admit some truths about you, especially if you’re looking for what to do about this situation.
    From your story, it doesn’t seem like you love Bernard for who he is, but for who he is to you/what he does for you/makes you feel. Your love for him is heavily centered on you and that’s a bit of an issue. I understand this stems from having to be subjected to stigma as an HIV positive person, so the moment you find a decent person, it’s like finding a unicorn. However, I’d say you should step out of putting yourself first. Ask yourself what you love about Bernard, that doesn’t have to do with you, eg the sound of his laughter, where his smile starts from, how he handles stress. Basically, humanize him. Identify these things, and if you easily can then it becomes clear to you. But don’t forget, he was all of these things to you, ignorant of your status.

    You do not have to reveal your status to any person you’re hooking up with. It’s a bad idea. It’s violent even, to do that. Being aware of your positive status, heightens your senses (at least that’s what I think). You’re more careful and cannot afford to make some ‘decisions’ a person who’s negative can. Unfortunately, being positive may not allow you to be spontaneous. There’s nothing wrong with being put together or planned. We don’t all have to be spontaneous, it’s bullshit to think we have to. Plan, prepare and stick to it, as long your you sexual gratification will be guaranteed. This may have to change if you’re going into a long term relationship btw.

    You’re in a position where you should be able to very strongly resist the urge to have unprotected sex, so you don’t hurt yourself and the person you’re being sexual with, but you failed to do that and it’s cost you Bernard. You’re paying for that mistake by losing him. Honestly, you’re never getting back together. I mean, you saw how things changed after he found out about your status. What’s to say he would’ve been decent to you if he knew before you both got sexual? Would you have had him in your life? Maybe, maybe not. Love is VERY conditional, and he treated you the way he treated you, on the condition that you met whatever standards he had set up himself and the moment you fell short in one regard, things changed. Yes, you didn’t tell him and still went ahead to have unprotected sex with him even though you’re at an undetectable level. He was scared, he was hurt, rightfully so I’d say. We’re all just surviving the cruelty of stigma and many are ‘harmfully surviving’.

    Be faithful with taking your drugs. Allow Bernard decide how he wants this relationship to go. Never renege on protected sex (I recommend Durex FeatherLite or Skyn- fantastic condoms that make sex feel more pleasureable).

  6. Eric
    January 03, 11:29 Reply

    This is vile, evil and pure wickedness. How could you want sex (raw sex) without letting him know your status. You could have ruined someone’s life. You deserve hell tbh.

  7. Pezaro
    January 03, 12:37 Reply

    Okay, so you didn’t do well by asking for raw sex. It’s quite understandable though – people can do anything in the middle of an exhilarating sex, especially with someone they have feelings for. Know this! You can NO LONGER be an item with Bernard, not anymore. For all the sensitisation about stigmatizing poz men, it just doesn’t seem to cut it. Almost everyone freaks out at the thought of getting infected by their poz partner, trust me it remains very much a deal breaker. I’d suggest you move on with your life, more importantly is the fact that you owe no random hookup the knowledge of your HIV status, what with all the psychos, betrayers, kitos that abound in our gaybourhood. What you owe them though is protected sex and a sustained undetectable status.

    I understand your desire to love and be loved in return but you must concede to reality – as a gay poz man, finding a stable romantic relationship takes on a whole new level of difficulty. But it’s possible, I’d suggest you look out for fellow poz guys from WhatsApp groups, or any support group you might belong to, you never know.

    And lastly, keep steady on your meds, that should be your one true relationship right now, Na person wey dey healthy dey find date o. Goodluck.

  8. Black Dynasty
    January 03, 16:32 Reply

    I suppose the earlier comments have adequately addressed the reprimanding part. Bernard should be a life lesson, it’s unlikely ever going to happen @ getting back, that level of betrayal for someone who freely and willingly loved you/trusted you goes super deep and will destroy love.

    However, it doesn’t seem you’ve learnt the lesson unfortunately. You are obligated to disclose your status to folks you’d have sex with or enter into something romantic with even undetectable = untransmittable. Being afraid of losing them is not enough reason to take away choice and consent. The ones who won’t accept you as you are = not worth the effort regardless of how you feel about them.

    Incase you haven’t learnt the lesson from Bernard (who you need to let go of btw), this is what I understood. Secrets break trust, secrets cause pain in the long run. Chances are someone like him would have accepted you as poz and undetectable if you’d just been honest from the get go.

    I hope you get another chance at a man who would love you, but please learn the lesson life has tried to teach you.

  9. McDuke
    January 03, 17:29 Reply

    There’s no point beating yourself up. We all make mistakes, learn from it and use it to better yourself. I know you miss Benard but trust me, you guys are better off as friends…keep it that way, at least after all said and now, you know you have one friend you can count on. As for the first comment that said you should always reveal your status before any hook up, I beg to differ, it’s up to you and the stage of the relationship/friendship. The only thing you owe your sex partner is safe sex (this can’t be overemphasized). I hope you find love, wish you all the best. Cheer up and focus on other things, love will find you.

    • Queen of Queens
      January 03, 18:26 Reply

      Raigan, the advice is that going forward, it might be better to reveal your HIV status before sex. To some it may matter, to others it may not. It is the responsible thing to do though. Not all protection is 100% foolproof. Be responsible. Responsible HIV poz men and women are dating, in relationships or married. It is not the end of your life. However, you should be upfront about it, give your prospective partners their choice to consent.

  10. DrCharles
    January 04, 08:35 Reply

    As a doctor, with years of experience on HIV and the LGBT Community..my advice is always to disclose your status to your significant others…the timing and manner is left to you. For some people, it may take decades before they can summon the courage to do so, for others not…both are fine and permissible.

    However, what is not permissible is having unprotected sex when you have either an unknown viral load or unsuppressed viral load. In this case, you are undetectable! So means, your chances of HIV transmission is ZERO, i repeat ZERO.

    In your own case, like I previously said..yes! you owe your significant other the right to know your status…however, take your time…don’t let people force you into situations that may end up fatal (i know people who got shot ‘cos they revealed they were poz!)

  11. Mandy
    January 04, 10:29 Reply

    The consensus here is that you really should move on from the idea of ever getting back together with Bernard. Unless he is the one who makes the move to get back together with you. you have hurt him in ways he doesn’t deserve and even then, he is still nice to you. Be content with his kindness and friendship and leave him emotionally alone.

    As for the other things regarding being upfront about your status with potential lovers, I absolutely understand the fear of telling. I don’t know who said it here, but consider only telling those who you know you’re going to be serious with. And for random hookups? Well, if it were me, the only thing I’d owe them is safe sex. They don’t need to know.

  12. Tristan
    January 04, 11:12 Reply

    I’m poz. In my own case, my random hookup stealthily removed the condom I gave him to wear. Only for him to ask me of my status, which I unabashedly declared to him. It was at that point that he told me that he had removed the condom I gave him and that he came inside me. I was more than disappointed and furious. I was not just tryna protect this guy from getting infected, I was protecting myself from other infections such as HSV, HPV, HBV and HCV etc.

    What happened next? Story for another day.

    You don’t owe any random hookup an awareness of your status until things start getting a little bit clingy. Unless you want to be more stigmatised and let the grapevine gossip your case.

    If you are not sure of your status, learn to use protection and let it stay intact during sex. Don’t always come and be blaming the poz guy.

    • Mitch
      January 04, 13:07 Reply

      Please tell us this story.
      In full😑

      • Mufasa
        January 05, 01:46 Reply

        Undetectable = Untransmissible

        You did absolutely nothing wrong in demanding for unprotected sex granted you’re undetectable. You requested and he acquiesced to having unprotected sex.

        Considering the stigma that still surrounds living with HIV, I’d advise to be upfront going forward, just to save yourself the future headache.

        IMHO, his rants were unacceptable. You deserve much better!!!

  13. Tristan
    January 04, 11:16 Reply

    And btw, I took him to the clinic where I enrolled to get PEP. He was Negative after a month of being on the drugs. Lucky for him.

  14. ChristianGayBoy
    January 05, 02:58 Reply

    You are human and your demand for raw sex proves that. I wish things worked between you and Bernard and I think things can still work between you two but in the main time I would suggest you hold that thought of approaching him with a proposal, I mean not just yet sire.

    You ended the story with you not being okay with being just friends with your ex and again sire, you are human and you are allowed to feel the way you do. One thing I tell people a lot is that the human body is like a container that can only take in so much. There are moments we are fed up and the more we absorb, hide or ignore the things we actually feel the greater the chances of distorting or well being.

    So, I say if you get to that point where this friendship thingy is choky and unhealthy for your happy state then do talk to Bernard, let him know how you feel. Humans are expressive beings and your expressiveness matter Raigan. Do not pretend to be okay when you are not okay and don’t be cool when the pressure is in fact too high. If Bernard can be sweet enough to be just friends then in a relationship there is that tiny possibility that he wouldn’t rub the dirt of that one moment of your vulnerability on your face. Of course it’s a tiny possibility but it’s better than none at all.

    As regards your current boyfriend, I think you deserve better and should do better for yourself. You should not be with someone who speaks ill of a reality very personal to you whether it be intentional or not. He may not be a bad person but his opinion on the subject matter being HIV is rather not healthy for you.

    Lastly, love yourself enough to see that you deserve true love. This means having that courage (please you need this, please…) to tell any man you love and want to be with of your status. They may not stay long or at all after this confession but this is why that self love matters. It’s self importance that makes you get rejected over a proposal and doesn’t send your world crashing because you know you are too good not be end up with just that perfect spec. It may not look like it but you just know he is going to come around and you all will be just right. So do love and respect yourself.

    Again, if you can’t stand the heat, reach out to Bernard to see if you two can really bring some ice to the room. However while you do this, no matter how he reacts remember that it is okay for you to love who you want to love and make your advances but also remember that rejection is also an answer, respect it.

    I am sending hugs your way. Please be fine Raigan.

  15. Queen of Queens
    January 05, 13:42 Reply

    Raigan darling, it’s responsible to reveal your status before intimacy. Kehinde Bademosi is openly poz, yet very desirable and now married. Magic Johnson, who is straight, has been openly poz for many many years and he has lived a full life. The Oliver character on How To Get Away With Murder always revealed his status to the men he was about to have sex with. He still hooked up with cute men and got married. You do not have to tell the world your status if you do not want to, but it is the responsible thing to let those who you are going to get intimate with know your status. At the end of the day, whoever is attracted to you would still be attracted to you, poz or negative. There is freedom in owning everything about yourself.

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