Being Gay and Lonely
by JD Greene (Google+)
Loneliness (Photo credit: Alex Abian (Also on flickr.com/alexabian))
Loneliness is defined as the state of being that comes from feeling lonely, which Dictionary.com says is “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone” and “destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship.” Of these two definitions, the second one is much more to the point. True loneliness comes not necessarily when you’re alone, but when you feel as if you don’t have someone who really knows you, supports you and you can count on.
LGBT and Loss
If you’ve lost a partner or perhaps been through a divorce you’ve have probably felt loneliness. Some people deal with loneliness better than others. If you are having difficulty with feelings of loneliness this article may be just what you’re looking for. I’ve been in a relationship- and who hasn’t- you probably didn’t expect to be single again. However, things happen and here you are. It happens to the best of us and is a fact of life. It is rare to find one person who you spend the rest of your life with, and it is more likely to have to test the waters a few times before you find the right person. Normally, in a relationship, you will most likely be busy building a career, a family or raising children. If you are in a gay or lesbian relationship, you most likely are doing the same exact things as a traditional couple. All the things that kept you from feeling lonely.
LGBT Support Groups
Unfortunately, there is much less of a support system for gays and lesbians and all too often, things don’t exactly work out and you find yourself alone. It doesn’t matter whose choice it was to end the relationship, both sides equally sting. When you are focused on building a career and earning enough money to make ends meet you don’t have much time to think about how alone you are. Having children around helps cushion the depth of any loneliness, as do grand children or an extended family. Family can be great company! With work and family in your life, it should seem seemed complete. Lonely is not something you should often feel.
Things have changed for me recently though- after a relationship ended- and I’m more aware of the fact that I’m alone and those feelings of loneliness creep in at times. My career is not blooming, we can say, I have no children and my family lives over 5 hours away. I get to, for the first time in a long time, deal with me, myself and I. When you go through a break up or divorce and lose the company and support of a spouse or partner, and finally settle down alone after years of focusing on career or children or that special partner, you may feel the loss sharply.
Coping Strategies to Fight Loneliness
What can you do deal with the loss and loneliness you feel as a result? Below are a few tips that have helped me:
- Distract yourself! Keeping your mind occupied and off the fact that you are now alone is good medicine. It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had but, tackling housework if at home is better than sitting around ruminating over how alone you are. Try it, the house will appreciate the cleaning and when you get your mind off your loneliness it frees your mind to open itself to other possibilities.
- Take up a new hobby. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint, join a watercolor or oil painting class and give it a go. If you want to stay fit and cure your loneliness think about getting a gym membership, taking frequent walks in your local park or perhaps even taking tennis lessons or joining a karate class.
- Get a pet, a dog or cat, even a hamster. I have had many pets over the years and have found that the unconditional love they offer helps lessen the loneliness I’ve felt at times. I’m never alone if I have a furry friend around. If you love animals as much as I do, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. For 4 hours a week you are among other people, building new relationships, helping pets (who could really relate to being lonely) and doing something that gets you outside your current problems and yourself.
- Check out MeetUp.com. This is a great online resource if you are looking for others in your area with similar interests. You can find a local social group, cooking group, spiritual group, scrap booking group, or maybe even a gay, lesbian, or divorce support group.
- Take a look: you will be surprised how many people out there are looking for the company of others. Consider volunteering at a local community center.
- If you aren’t an animal person think about volunteering at a local hospital, nursing home or homeless shelter. Doing so will not only help relieve your loneliness it will also help the community.
- If you don’t feel able to cope with your feelings of loneliness, make an appointment with a mental health professional, there’s nothing wrong with talking things out with someone trained to help you.
The idea is to fill your day with activities that will keep your mind occupied and your life full. You will probably begin to feel better about yourself, meet new people and share new experiences and it is quite likely you will forget how lonely you once were. If you don’t feel less lonely or find that you aren’t able to cope with your feelings of lonliness, make an appointment with a mental health professional, there’s nothing wrong with talking things out with someone to support you, or at the very least someone trained to help you.