Dear Coleen: It’s so lonely being the only gay in the village

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Dear Coleen

I am a gay man in my early 60s and I live in a rural part of the country. During my life I’ve had a of , which never got as far as the living together stage, and I got hurt each time. The last one was 10 years ago.

I have spent the past few years living with and caring for my elderly and ill parents (I am still looking after my dad) and it has proved almost impossible to meet anyone because of this.

I have gradually had to give up many interests, and my social circle is now incredibly . My income is quite limited, but I do manage a couple of with a friend each year. I would just love to have some company to go out for a meal or a coffee sometimes. I do still have a couple of good straight friends and some family members nearby. However, it does feel like “this is it” for my future, with there being no likelihood of ever having someone special in my life.

Unfortunately, gay social life where I live is virtually nonexistent (particularly when you reach a certain age and become invisible!). I have tried online dating and generally the only contacts have been weirdos and people simply looking for casual sex.

My main passion during my life has been theatre, and through membership of amateur dramatics groups I have made good friends. I have also been involved in volunteering activities for most of my life, as well as being employed full-time until a couple of years ago.

I still feel young and , but I seem to have hit a brick wall. Do I just have to accept that when I am no longer a carer, my future will be a lonely one?

Coleen says

I don’t think you have to accept anything – especially while you still feel young and healthy.

No, you haven’t met a life , but you’ve done a lot more than many people. And there’s never any guarantees you’re going to meet “the one”.

But I think that what can help is breaking out of old routines – and I get the impression your life is run by routine, partly because of the situation with your parents.

Keep going on holiday, but instead of going with your mate every time, try a gay singles holiday.

If you’re always with someone you know very well, you won’t feel inclined to to anyone else, plus other people might assume you’re a couple.

I understand it must be limiting to live in a rural community, but why not look into respite care for your dad or ask other family members to help out, so you can get out of that environment now and again?

Visit friends, take a trip to the city – break out of your comfort zone.

Your attitude to life is what will keep you young and open to opportunities.

Good luck.

More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and problems

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