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31, closeted and miserable

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Orr, May 10, 2019.

  1. Orr

    Orr
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    I had always thought I could be self-sufficient and be contented without ever needing anyone in my personal sphere. Lately, that thought has crumbled under the weight of loneliness.

    I have never had any intimate relationship with anyone. I have never kissed or touched or even held the hands of another person. I am a guy, a reasonably successful professional, a good-looking one (some may say). I am also miserable. I guess this misery has become more acute recently following my year-long crush on someone at workplace. I finally acted on my infatuation last month, walking up to him and trying to establish some sort of friendship. It didn't go far. Our interaction has been limited to hi-and-bye. I don't know his sexual orientation, but already I sense a lack of interest from him. I have spent so much time agonizing over him, and now I am simply trying to let the whole issue go. It is tough going so far. I could wake up in the middle of the night and think about him. If he so much as to ignore me when we walk past each other, my day would be slightly ruined.

    Unrequited feeling is painful. Online search for partners has proved futile. Gay bars and events are not my tea. I could only distract myself with work, exercise and my family (who of course has been wanting me to get a girlfriend). The world since college has been darker than I could handle by myself. I have stumbled upon some good philosophies on how to establish good intimate relationship with another person. I feel I am so ready to be someone's partner, lover, perhaps even co-parent. I just simply don't know where to go from here.

    Thank you for reading the exasperation to my current state of affairs. I would be happy to hear any thoughts you may have.
     
  2. Nickw

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    You don't have a lot of options. You just have to put yourself out there and try and meet other guys. I would suggest that you join a gay hiking group or some other sort of activity as opposed to an "event" or a scene. Another option would be to volunteer at an LGBT center. I know that it can seem like it is impossible to meet someone. But, the process is iterative. A little bit at a time to build up a network of other LGBT friends.
     
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  3. GayTurtle

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    Hi there, welcome to EC! I think many people on the LGBT+ community, especially closeted folks like ourselves, struggle with these types of things - you're among friends here. You say you're lonely. How is your social life outside of dating? I found myself in a somewhat similar situation about a year ago. Just out of undergrad a couple years ago, and I was feeling really lonely and miserable about it. I felt for a while that the solution was clearly dating. I realized eventually that it wasn't necessarily dating that I was missing (although that would still be welcome), but that I was just too socially isolated. I didn't have many friends or people that I knew or interacted with, and that was contributing mountains to my feelings. Even if I magically found the perfect partner the next day, I'd still need to deal with these other issues. Could the same be true for you?

    Unfortunately, finding love is hard, & extra hard for LGBT+ folks. It can't be forced, but IMO the best things you can do to encourage it are to be active socially and to just continue to meet new people.
     
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  4. jnr183

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    Hi Orr,

    I visited this site on a whim this evening after having been gone for a long time. I had a very long running thread of my first forays out of the closet when I was 31, five years ago. It seems like you are in a very similar situation to where I was back then... unrequited crushes, loneliness, longing for companionship, and feeling little in common with the LGBT community. I just happened to post an update a few minutes before reading this thread, so take a read of mine if you think any of it might resonate with you. You need to sift through the musings of me obsessing over unrequited love.

    For me, the first big step was admitting to someone I know that I was gay. It look a while for me to get there, and I spent a lot of time on this site as well as some time talking to a counselor. Both of these experiences got me to the first big step. It was very slow going thereafter, but it was fine, and it worked for me.

    It's great that you're visiting here. Coming out in your 30s can actually be kind of great, but wait until you're ready. I could go on and on and on. If you have questions I would love to try and answer them.
     
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  5. Biblia05

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    Hey Orr,

    Totally understand where you are coming from. I'm marry with three kids, and until about a year ago I was "happy" now I feel completely alone even they are all around me. Welcome to the community. For what I've learned during my recent search. This is going to be a process which can be very fulfilling but slow going. All I can say is take it a day at the time and allow yourself to see you aren't the only one.
     
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  6. arken1

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    I know how you feel regarding loneliness and futile crushes. I just started a new job and have a crush on a guy there, whom I don't even know is gay or not. But I sure hope he is, and single, and eventually dates me (haha). Part of being gay is the challenge of not knowing if your crushes are also gay. Even then, lots of barriers to dating in the gay world, it seems. I came out just a few years before where you are now (29) and honestly I'm not much better off dating-wise than you as I'm still single. (I will agree with the other comments that finding friends (LGBTQ or not) who can help introduce you to more and more people, and potentially dates, sounds like the optimal strategy). But, where I am better off than you is I've at least shed a lot of the anxiety I held onto by being in the closet, by trying to keep up the facade of a straight person. I'm not out to my entire family, but the ones I'm closest to I am. And a few friends as well.

    I have already held hands, kissed, and other sexual things with guys I met on apps. I felt I needed to experience things in order to "catch up" on the years I've missed out on. My advice: don't bother. It's not special to hold some random person's hand or have sexual contact with them. I don't feel more confident or more "caught up". It feels nice, but it has no meaning, and that's the critical piece. We will crush on a lot of guys, no doubt, but we need to find someone to walk through life with.

    I am also ready to be a partner, and feel my impatience with that. I guess all there is to say is that it's hard, and requires mindfulness to realize you can't rush it, but hopefully sometime in our lifetime we get to meet a person that's our true match. When we are "miserable", we are not our best selves. That misery shows through when you meet a guy, and likely will scare him away. Would you want to date someone who seemed miserable?
    We need to be OK being alone today, so that we can properly interact with guys and find the one who will be worth our partnership.
     
    #6 arken1, May 12, 2019
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  7. Orr

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    Thank you so much everyone. It is moving to know that, in the darkness that I am in, there are echoes of support to be heard.

    Nickw, I think your point about joining groups of some sort of activity like hiking is a feasible one. I will work on that. On top of everything else, I am a shy introvert and I warm up with new acquaintances very slowly. Social settings often give me anxiety, though occasionally I do find myself enjoying them. I am hesitant to put myself directly in LGBT+ activities, as I am not out yet and, as some of you may appreciate, there is this (unwarranted) fear of being associated with the community.

    awkTurtle, I do have friends that I sometimes hang out with in this city that I have moved into a couple of years ago. However, the sense of belongingness that I had while at graduate school has long gone. Around me, people are getting married and having babies. I guess it is that feeling of being stuck in limbo. I have been striving all my life for my career, never really tending to my own emotional need inside. Now that I am in the “real” world, I suddenly realize that my life has been defined purely by my successes in work and nothing else, and that must be terribly unhealthy.

    jnr183, I read your entire thread and it brought a tear to my eye. I am glad your story has come to a good ending to its beginning. As you may appreciate, the unrequited “love” that I am now having is hurtful and humiliating. In a selfish way, I feel that I deserve something in return from him now that I have shown a tiny bit of my vulnerability before him. I had crushes before, and I had always managed to silence them. I know this one, too, will blow over; I just think that, given my loneliness and drift, it will take a longer time than before to dilute this insane passion that I have for him. Incidentally, I befriended a neighbour, who is a gay widower, not long after I moved into this city. He is in his seventies and we occasionally hung out. We don’t talk much about his past, and he never probed me about my love life (or lack thereof). I know he had his struggles, coming out in his thirties to be happily married to someone who became the love of his life. Sometimes I feel as though he might be well be the first person I could come out to.

    arken1, your advice on sexual encounters is well taken. For a long time, I have this Victorian idea that I would rather be chaste forever than be physically intimate with someone with whom I have little emotional connection . That was why in the past I had always turned down girls who had tried to woo me, as I knew at some level I would never be able connect with them. I have been single all my life, and I had been truly okay with that fact. Now that I am in my thirties, I am beginning to hear that faint ticking of time. I am not desperate, but I know desperation will soon come. My fear is that I would wake up one day, alone in my bed, and regret about lost time.
     
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  8. silverhalo

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    Hey feeling alone and not knowing where to start is a really tough one. Add into that a bit of anxiety and social awkwardness and it feels as though you are staring Mount Everest in the face and at least for me I feel woefully inequiped. I guess my question to you would be, would you like to come out of the closet?
     
  9. MsAnchor

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    Dear Orr, i ve been exactly where you are at your age.
    Just accepted that i was gay and unreciprocated feelings from a frirnd who flirted with me in the begining of our friendship but became more sisterly when i didnt flirt back (i was scared shitless of coming out and still legally married to a shithead).
    It took me years to come out of that hellhole but all it took was a decision i made in August 28/2016 to snap out of it, I understand how being an introvert who believes in traditional old fashioned relationships can find it impossible to meet someone you can connect to. I think thats why crushes are hard to get over, because its hard for them to formulate. I took on therapy and signed up for hiking expeditions to build my confidence and strength to go through the divorce from my enstranged ex husband and come to terms to who I am and a year later I met the love of my life. It was not an easy journey but i dont regret any of it, it brought me to who i am by breaking all the chains i unknowingly built around myself.
    You ll meet him and you ll know he s the person for you, I appreciate Arken1 s advice about not bothering with 'catching up', it s true.. if it doesnt feel righ just dont bother. When you re happy with who you are you d rather be alone than with just anyone
     
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  10. Smidze

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    Totally understand your situation. I’ve ticked past 40 now and still in the “alone” position. I am talking with a guy on a long term basis but just can’t cross the barrier of meeting him despite his kindness and reassurance.
     
    #10 Smidze, May 15, 2019
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  11. Orr

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    It has been a year since I last wrote my first post here. A few things have happened. For one, through much effort, I have established a closer friendship with my crush that goes beyond hi-and-bye. However, he turns out to be a single gay who engages in hook-ups. This piece of knowledge is somehow very painful to me. His sexual life is obviously none of my business. I guess over the years I have built up this perfect picture about him, and have become rather possessive of him. I don't like this feeling at all.

    I still yearn to get closer to him. I know he wants a long-term relationship as well; I just don't know if he is ready for it now.

    I am feeling very bereft these few days after learning about his sexual proclivities. I know I sound like a prude who has no rights in judging another person who is not even my partner. I am just trying to work out whether I should abandon this pursuit altogether, or I should tell him my thoughts and feelings and see how that goes.
     
  12. Ram90

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    @Orr I think you need to be selfish and think about yourself first :slight_smile:. I mean that in the nicest way possible. You could perhaps consider opening up to your crush and telling him the sort of relationship you're looking for. That way they can also let you know honestly if they can adhere to that kind of relationship, if that's how it will work? Of course if it doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to, you have to probably let him go. I'm sure as painful as it would be, it's probably for the best. :slight_smile:.
     
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  13. bingostring

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    I was in your position at your age. Longer actually.
    With hindsight, I should have widened my social circles in a much more methodical way. And much sooner.
    Instead I chose a path of isolation and loneliness .. I guess because it was “safer”. How wrong I was ... sleep walking through life.
    And how about really finding out what has been holding you back - a therapist would be great for getting to the roots of the problem and working with you to improve your outlook.
    As for your crush... you can open up more to him but if he is in the workplace you need to be careful in case it doesn’t go to plan.
     
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  14. justaguyinsf

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    Great advice above! I would only add that it sounds like you should not feed your unrequited feelings for your co-worker; regardless of whether you want the same thing or not, trying to make it work out with a co-worker is going to be more complicated. Since feelings follow thoughts, try to shut down the thoughts that keep you feeling this unrequited intense attraction. I would also not focus so much on a partner right now, but instead on having a larger social circle and dating other men.
     
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  15. dirtyshirt84

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    I would agree with the other posters about widening your social circle generally.

    I wonder why it’s fairly common for LGBT people to have these types of unrequited crush?
     
  16. MsAnchor

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    Unrequited love seems to have passed everyone whether it is in the lgbt community or otherwise, It's pretty painful but you learn and heal from it and move on. Coming clear with your feelings takes courage and prolonging it only prolongs the pain in harboring those feelings, so go ahead and speak up if he s interested thats absolutely wonderful and if not then you move on eventually.
    I thought i d never be happy till i met my SO who is the first relationship i had at the age of 33, but here we are almost 4 years together
     
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  17. dirtyshirt84

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    That’s true, I guess it is a common experience whether LGBT or not. I was in this situation a few years ago and I wished I had told the person as it would have saved me a lot of pain, although having said that the situation was quite complicated.
     
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  18. OnTheHighway

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    My theory is underlying low self esteem, self respect and self worth have a significant part in these types of crushes. When working with someone on a regular basis it becomes easy to project our own desires for emotional reciprocity on someone whom might have made a nice gesture where such gestures are misinterpreted for genuine feelings. Then thinking such gestures have more meaning than they actually do a person self perpetuates a fantasy leading to a growing crush. Once we build our own personal confidence we might begin to see these gestures for what they are, normal human interactions. Thereafter instead of creating a fantasy that leads to a crush we instead put the gesture in the proper perspective. But building confidence requires a lot of hard work and includes making ourselves vulnerable, taking risks and exposing our true selves to other people. Not many people are up to that task.
     
  19. dirtyshirt84

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    Hi on the highway

    Thats interesting and a lot of that could be true. I also wonder if it tends to happen to LGBT people when they are either not out yet or not quite ready for a relationship with someone of the same sex so it’s a safe way to explore those feelings. But as you say in order to build confidence and to have that sort of intimate relationship you need to be vulnerable and crushes like this tend to avoid that, however painful they might be sometimes.
     
  20. OnTheHighway

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    Where a person whom is in the closet is dealing with significant shame issues, which lead to low self esteem, self worth, self respect, I think it would be a logical conclusion to assume it impacts many LGBT people as your suggesting (although not sure if any research supports my layman's conclusion). But I would disagree its a safe way to explore those feelings. I can see how it may be perceived as an easy way to explore those feelings, but I think it actually comes with quite a bit of risk: office relationships are typically considered taboo, the damage to someones job if they act on their feelings and such actions are perceived incorrectly can come back and bite them, and the false sense of reciprocation can lead to continued confusion for such person who has the crush. As you said, best to work on building confidence in the first instance which can help in finding a better suited relationship when the time is right.