Worry and fret

I’ve been having an internal turmoil this evening ever since Ash said he was feeling feverish, that he was coming down with a cold and had a headache. My inner angst is this: did I infect him with HIV?

Yes, the NIH and others say that you can’t transmit the virus if you’re undetectable. But, I wonder, even though the blood tests show the virus is undetectable, is it the same for the sperm? I penetrated Ash once and came inside him. I know in my case, back in 2004, once was all it took for me to be HIV+.

I wonder if my worry and fret isn’t a deeply felt guilt/shame about being gay, about being so head over heels in love. The reading tonight about emotional sobriety mentioned how we have emotional urges that are appropriate for a 17 year old, but should be under control for someone in his adult years.

I mused that I’m probably not much older than a 17 year old emotionally having gone into the seminary at an early adolescent age and was hampered in my sexual emotional growth. It was only in 1982, when I accepted myself as a gay man, that the therapist advised me to have the sexual adolescence that I’d been denied when I was in my late teens.

So, I gave myself permission to sample the wares, so to speak, of gay sexuality. However, there must be a point at which I need to own up to my adult self and say, lesson learned, let’s move on.

But I’m limited in my experience at falling in love. I was catapulted into the throes of love and intimacy when, in 1973, I met Anne. But that passion ended on several levels. One, she returned to Ed and I opted to continue with priestly studies. Two, I often used naked men images when I needed to get sexually aroused when with Anne. Three, my choice for celibacy was based on that growing sense of indifference to Anne physically although here we are some 43 years later and she is a good and dear friend.

But this, this plunge into intimacy with Ash is intense. I feel connected emotionally, our physical and personal connection feels so natural and right. Even as he struggles with expressing himself in English, his intensely repeated admissions of love and devotion, his constant reference to “a good boy” I overlook these “deficiencies” to bathe myself in his love, affection and devotion.

Do other adults have this same experience in their relationships with spouses?

The web sites I visited cautioned me to realize that common symptoms of a cold/flu are similar to early symptoms of HIV infection. Ash has been working hard on this upcoming seminar, he trains hard every morning, he’s holding the secret of his gay identity and his plan on coming to the USA. Even though he claims to be impervious to fear and anger, I suspect that his preoccupation with the petition and coming out to his family can be a tremendous source of stress that can certainly be manifested in his cold and flu symptoms.

That seems more probable, his stress and anxiety, as a cause of his illness rather than HIV infection. But the “what if?” still bothers me. My predilection that I don’t deserve such happiness and I need to be punished for enjoying such a wonder as a relationship with a loving man still gnaws at me despite the gains I’ve made in spiritual insight. I think I’m so evolved emotionally, spiritually, psychologically but that base kernel of shame, guilt, homophobia lurks undetected in my soul and comes roaring out to torment me when I’m at the peak of feeling great.

How sick is that?


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