Old, Lonely And Gay?

As with the numerous divorced couples in the straight scene, there are many lonely, older gay men.

By Jerome Kerr

ver there by the bar, sort of huddled in the corner, sits a gay man in his early forties. He's well-dressed, he's good-looking, but he's sipping his scotch alone as he surveys the happy faces around him. Every now and again he will glance around at the men. One or two intrigue him, but he does not approach them.

Why is he not happy? Because he's lonely. As with the numerous divorced couples in the straight scene, there are many lonely, older gay men. There are
Why is he not happy? Because he's lonely.
several reasons for this, but the top five seem to be:

1) lack of social skills
2) fear of rejection
3) inability to let people in
4) cynicism and pessimism about human nature
5) an external locus of control

Many of these may seem like common sense, but they can be crippling beliefs and cause many people to go through their lives without somebody to be close to. The fear of rejection can be so daunting for many men that they cannot even think about talking to another guy when they are at a bar.

These are not just the only issues that contribute to a lonely mindset in the gay community. There is also the general perception that you need to be young, hard-bodied and beautiful; the fact that many gay men sleep around right through their early twenties and mid-thirties before hitting the realization that they want something more to life than casual sex; a lack of dating experience due to sleeping around and jaded views of romance in the community due to the amount of relationships that don't last.

But you don't have to stop your life and the possibility of finding love because of the above concerns.
Don't look at social interactions that do not go well as failures.
Below are five strategies for coping with loneliness:

1. Take control
Become assertive. Establish an internal locus of control; believe that you are capable of controlling your life and achieving your goals. (In this case, talking to the guy at the other end of the bar.)

2. Keep trying
Don't look at social interactions that do not go well as failures; remember that you can't appeal to everybody, no matter how hard you may try. If you don't seem to get along with this guy, cut your losses and talk to somebody else.

3. Meet new people
Anybody! Talk to people, wander around the bar, and socialize. At the very least, you may make new friends, and at the best, you may find somebody you really like.

4. Give people the opportunity to know you
Some people give up too quickly when they are meeting somebody for the first time. Give them time to get to know you. And don't assume that you are saying the wrong things or that they are not interested.

5. Be positive
Logical, of course, but it's possibly the single most important. When you are positive, even knock-backs hurt less. Remember that rejection means you weren't right for them or they weren't right for you, not that you are not right for anybody.

Jerome Kerr is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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