At 47, I have realized much time has been spent like Carrie Bradshaw and the girls: Chasing men who don’t want me or can’t or won’t love me.
My entire twenties was spent coasting from one ill-fated and dead end relationship to another.
The one constant was my soul crushing, mind numbing loneliness and state of “please love me”.
Spending years trying to get the wrong people to give me some kind of “act right” got very old and just plain pointless.
Telling someone you date : “this is how you act like a decent human being” is never a good sign. Most of the gay men I know have a disturbing undercurrent of loneliness that runs their lives.
When loneliness undergirds each and every decision, our capacity to make great choices is severely diminished.
Loneliness often is the result of and leads to severe depression.
Many times in the male species it reveals itself through flat out promiscuity.
Since as a culture we are not taught to recognize nor accept male depression, we are often guilty of looking the other way when a dear friend begins sexually acting out.
All the chat lines and hookup sites are filled with people looking for sex and a good time.
They might be seeking human interaction.
When I’ve been offered the opportunity to screw around with someone I don’t know and decided instead to have a meaningful conversation with a trusted friend, I felt sated.
When I’ve gone for the comfortable and yet limiting sex with strangers, I’ve never felt wonderful.
Sexually satisfied occasionally.
But truly uplifted, changed, had my self esteem and feelings of self worth increased exponentially ?
I’m afraid not.
The dirty little secret is that we are lonely.
Whether we enter relationships we know are doomed at the start or stay in ones long after we should have left the fair (both of which I’ve done on more than one occasion), decisions get made based in loneliness and shear desperation.
Being a gay man in this culture is a lot of things.
This country and its culture is aggressively steeped in isolation. Many of us were isolated as children because of our “difference”.
When isolation is added to an oppressed and hated culture , there is a space created that sanctions sex for any and every reason and then adopts a philosophy that won’t allow for true feelings to emerge and be handled.
In a few weeks there is a convention of gay men that I will be attending.
Discussing the types of things that will be addressed (with a friend who will also be attending), I shared the thrills and possibilities created when several men of different life experiences, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds gather and exchange ideas.
At some point in the conversation (one minute into it), I was informed by my friend that he never sleeps alone at any convention.
This let me know that even at 54, he could still “pull a date” and get some dick despite this not being the point.
I could only wonder : Are you that lonely ?
With the only possible answer being, yes.
Why not make the decision to make this an opportunity to look for and demand more of yourself and your community ?
We annihilate loneliness not by denying or indulging it.
We destroy it by understanding that we have been engineered to accept this as our fate and yet this is complete nonsense.
We attack it by sharing with our friends that we are at the abyss of loneliness and ready to make the leap into ridiculous choice making and need help in making wiser decisions.
We need the types of friendships where allies recognize our blind spots(loneliness tendencies) and tell us to “knock it off” early and often.
We also have to hold ourselves responsible for our behavior.
It is easy to become and remain confused about what we’re doing and why when the isolation beast seductively invites us to make that call, text or hop on the line with other lonely souls who are “just bored and want to have a look about”.
Good friends who want the best for you will not leave you alone and trust that you will make great decisions.
They will give you a good swift kick in the pants until you do.
If you have these types of relationships in your life, great.
If not, start looking for and cultivating them now.