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If you've recently been diagnosed with a serious STD, you may think your dating days are over. While dating does change for those with STDs, you should not lose hope. There are many ways to cope with your dating limitations, some of which may actually enhance your dating relationships. 

Get a diagnosis
If you think you have an STD but are not sure, you need to get in to the doctor to get a formal diagnosis. Ask for as much information as possible about your condition. Find out how it is transmitted, if it is curable and if any medications are available to reduce outbreaks, symptoms, or episodes.

Educate yourself
Go beyond the doctor's office to online discussion forums for additional support and help understanding the dating limitations related to your STD. Research alternative therapies for dealing with the symptoms of your STD.

Comfort yourself
It may help you to know that one out five men and one out of four women in America have genital herpes, an incurable STD. One in four people have genital or cervical warts, another incurable STD. Approximately 1 percent of the United States population has AIDS, which is both incurable and fatal. These facts may be depressing, but take heart in the fact that you are not alone; you are not the only person dealing with STD dating issues.

Experiment with medication
Many STDs can be cured, and those that cannot be cured can be managed. For example, suppressive therapies work well for many people with genital herpes, reducing breakouts to fewer than once a year.  Many AIDS patients have found supplemental therapies that extend their life expectancies and make everyday living much easier.

Change your expectations
You may have been sexually active with partners before discovering you contracted an STD, but you will need to approach sexual relations in a new way now. Research your condition so you know when and how you are contagious. When dating someone new, prepare yourself to have a frank discussion with your dating partner long before you are sexually intimate. While each relationship will be different, you will have to slow down physical intimacy until you feel the relationship is deep enough for your partner to make an informed decision. This can be beneficial to the relationship, since it will buy you time to make sure this person is someone you would truly love before you enter into physical intimacy. Since many people feel trapped in a relationship after being physically intimate, this will help you determine early on if this person is right for you or not.

Prepare yourself for the best and the worst
You don't know how a dating partner will respond when you reveal your STD, but you can prepare yourself to handle the acceptance or rejection with grace and respect. Praise yourself for being honest, forthright, and considerate regardless of how the other person responds.

Refuse to allow stigmas to define you
It's undeniable that our society has placed very negative stigmas on people with STDs, but you must refuse to view yourself as a leper of sorts. Your STD does not lessen your value as a human being or a life partner. Many people with incurable STDs date successfully and marry wonderful, loving, understanding people. Some of those people willingly take on the risk of contracting the STD; some of those people date and marry knowing they may not be able to participate in certain sexual experiences with a life partner.

Consider dating through an STD dating website
You can eliminate the stigma and that difficult discussion with a new partner by searching for dating partners on an STD dating website. Your privacy will be honored and you will be able to find people with the same condition you have. Many people feel this is an emotionally safer way to date.

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