Opportunities of aging
I’ve been openly gay for decades but have failed to create a fulfilling personal life for myself. As I age, the opportunities to continue trying have faded away. A life of interacting with shallow acquaintances, attending inane social gatherings, having casual/anonymous sex, and tending my garden quietly doesn’t appeal to me. Why should I continue to exist if I can see no purpose and take no pleasure in it? I’ve thought about joining a religious community. I’ve failed to realize my potential as a gay man and cannot face the hard work of learning how to live without kindness, affection, trust, and intimacy. Is suicide a reasonable choice for me?
One of the most critical issues for each of us, as we approach our later years, is for us to have a sense of meaning, a feeling that our lives have mattered. Many older people think they have failed in one of life’s critical dimensions if they have not found a life partner or do not have a family. For others, though, a sense of meaning can be obtained through belonging to a community that they can commit their time and money to and feel that they are adding value to. Continue reading
Can you give me advice? I’m in my mid-60s, married for over thirty years. I always had a good sex life with my wife but also enjoyed sex with men on the down low. She busted me a couple of years ago when she found my Craig’s List searches on my computer. She said I could continue to have sex with men, but never without her knowing, and she even suggested having a 3-way. She’s alcoholic, and her drunken stupors, being overweight, and poor self-esteem pushed me into my carnal desires! She said today she’ll quit drinking if I give up having sex with men. Our three kids are raised and know the situation. But I’m so confused! I don’t want to turn into an old gay man, but am I already?
This is a complicated situation, and life is full of predicaments where there don’t appear to be any good choices. It can feel very hopeless at times. As I mentioned in my book, Finally Out, I also had a good sex life with my wife, although I know now (as does she) that it wasn’t as good as we thought back then. Continue reading
After I wrote “Why Older Gay Men Are Attempting Suicide at a Higher Rate,” I received a couple of poignant responses. One was from a sixty-six-year-old man who was struggling with the question of whether to come out to his parents and friends, the loss of his business, and several health challenges, including serious side effects from his medications. He said that he had “not ruled out” suicide but that he didn’t want to hurt his family or close friends. Another was from a sixty-one-year-old gay man from Australia who wrote about feeling invisible—even among close gay friends who were younger—and suggested that depression in mature gay men could be linked to rejection and ageism in the gay community. He is struggling with physical changes, including erectile dysfunction. Here is how I responded to them.
Neither of you is unique in what you have experienced. When I turned sixty years old, I also went through a difficult time for some of the same reasons you’ve mentioned. I had lost my mother, my stepfather, and a brother within six months, and some friends had died. I needed a knee and a shoulder replacement. My career had plateaued, and I thought it was on the decline. I had some difficulty with erectile dysfunction. All I could see for the future was a series of continued losses. Continue reading