It's hard to let go of the fear of infecting your partner. I had it for quite a long time; it interfered with our emotional and sexual relationship quite a bit in the beginning. He was my first serious relationship since I contracted herpes, and I wanted to do everything I could to protect him. In his eyes, it just wasn't a big deal and to him not worth rejecting me over.
Look, I got it when I was in my mid-40s. The person I contracted it from had it since his 20s, and he was in his late 50s when we hooked up. My personal feeling is that not many people make it into their 40s and upwards into the 50s and beyond without some problem, and for many folks, it's a physical problem. I'm 47 now, and I feel damn fortunate that herpes is my only physical problem. (If you could even call it a "problem.") I've lost friends to cancer, I have friends who have survived cancer, who are living with heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, hepatitis, blah, blah, blah. Everybody's got something.
Rajah, your wife rocks! If I am reading you correctly, she was in her 50s? when you two met! That is awesome. I love hearing about older folks hooking up. I think relationships that bring people together when they are older can be enormously satisfying, given everybody's life experiences, good and bad, and their perspective. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I personally think herpes has been around long enough that they would have determined if it compromises one's health as one ages. I personally don't believe it does. 80% of us are walking around with herpes type 1, and that would mean an enormous number of people, as they age, would be compromised by their infection. I don't buy it. Same for type II. Maybe more research will be done on it, but more and better meds and treatments will also be coming out, so there's no need to panic or worry about something that hasn't happened to you yet.
Your partner, by having sex with you, is consenting and knowledgable about your virus. It is ultimately their responsibility. And, frankly, many herpes-negative people are just not that concerned about contracting it. My current partner appears to be one of those people. We've both been around the block enough to know that love is just too fucking difficult to find, so herpes is not a dealbreaker for him.