5 Tips to Overcome Your Loneliness as a Gay Man

Updated August 31, 2022

by Clinton Power, psychotherapist and Gay Therapy Center guest blogger

Unfortunately, feelings of loneliness and isolation are really common in the gay community despite the focus on love and relationships. Sometimes you might struggle with making connections at all, and other times you may feel “alone in a crowded room” because it’s so hard to forge true connections.

Let’s explore how you can constructively deal with these feelings and share a life you’re excited to live!

Why do gay men get lonely?

Loneliness is, in some ways, part of the gay experience. Since everyone is assumed to be heterosexual, we all start out in the closet. The stress of not being out is emotional more than rational, but it takes its toll. Even before you came out to yourself, on some level you might have known you couldn’t fulfill expectations of a heterosexual life. You may have grown up feeling different and separated from the majority.

After you’re out of the closet, things don’t necessarily improve right away. No matter who you are, as a gay man you’ve experienced homophobia (whether active or passive) from family, friends, and/or the culture at large. This is called “minority stress” and can be more harmful than many people give it credit for.

Some of the problem comes from the culture of gay men themselves. Gay men can often buy into the negative aspects of masculinity. Trying to be emotionally detached—and succeeding, too—can cause psychological harm.

Many gay men belong to other groups that are discriminated against even within the gay community, magnifying your minority stress and contributing to negative body image. LGBTQ+ spaces like clubs (and more recently, hookup apps like Grindr) are not designed for the creation of close relationships, leading to many encounters where you might have to be focused on the physical instead of the emotional.

Altogether, these factors mean that gay men—despite the chosen-family attitude of the LGBTQ+ community—often feel lonely and isolated. How do you learn to deal with these unhappy feelings?

How to Overcome Feelings of Loneliness as a Gay Man

Feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide, so it’s very important to make genuine connections as a gay man.

Substance abuse is, in particular, a common issue because many people feel that alcohol and/or “uppers” like cocaine or Crystal Meth give you the edge in social situations that allow you to interact more freely and with less inhibition. Using substances for reasons like these can create a dependence that leaks over into other parts of your day-to-day life.

Now that you know you’re not alone in your loneliness, here are things you can do to overcome these feelings.

Five Practical Tips You Can Use to Alleviate Loneliness

  1. Admit to yourself and others how lonely you’re feeling. Being open and honest about your emotions frees you from some of their weight, and reaching out to others can help you form more intimate relationships. Knowing and seeing that people care about you can make all the difference!
  2. Volunteer, join clubs or sporting groups that meet regularly. It’s much easier to make friends with people who you see on a regular basis than to make friends with people you see once at a club. Research shows that people who start volunteering become happier over time.
  3. Get closer with your acquaintances. Many people don’t reach out to possible friends that they already know. This takes little effort and you can deepen your connection in less time because you have a pre-existing relationship.
  4. Get help for substance use. Using might make you feel more confident in the short term, but in the long run it will just make you feel lonelier and more isolated. If you’re abusing alcohol or drugs, seek out support groups like AA or NA, which often have LGBTQ meetings in most major cities.
  5. Seek out a gay-affirmative therapist. While there can be some stigma about seeing a therapist, including in the gay community, therapists exist to help you find creative solutions that work. You will learn to deal with your existing feelings of loneliness, as well as increase your confidence and self-esteem. Group therapy is also a good option where you can connect with other gay men and learn more about yourself and how you relate to other people.

    Take a small step today and enroll in The Gay Therapy Center’s free online course 30 Days to Feeling Good About You! It can help you build a better relationship with yourself and others.

Believe it or not, there are always going to be people out there who would love to create a true friendship with you. Use some of these practical tips to find new friends and reduce your loneliness and isolation once and for all.

Are you an LGBTQ+ person struggling with loneliness?

Don’t let feelings of loneliness consume you. If you’re ready to take the next step to getting help, schedule a free 15 minute call to discuss your therapy needs and be matched with an LGBTQ+ therapist.


About the Author:

Clinton Power is a psychotherapist who specializes in working with LGBTIQ people in Sydney, Australia. In 2003, Clinton founded Sydney Gay Counselling to support the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ singles and couples.

Clinton’s book 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship has been downloaded over 5,000 times and is available for Kindle on Amazon. Visit his blog to sign up for his free report, 10 Tips for Moving Out of Relationship Pain, or follow Clinton on Facebook.


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Santi Sarsgosa
Santi Sarsgosa
02/03/2021 6:41 PM

I am 57 years old and gay man,
I have never found or met another gay man and had s relationships, is this happening to many other gay men?

Aaron J Smith
Aaron J Smith
Reply to  Santi Sarsgosa
05/05/2021 7:19 PM

Yea. Im in the same boat. Im 59 came out in my early 40s. Had one 8 month relationship with the love of my life. Lost him to a hot 23 year old with nothing else to offer but his hot body. Idk where to even look. Grindr is a joke. No good guys there.

Rick
Rick
Reply to  Aaron J Smith
30/06/2021 10:55 AM

Hi Aaron. I am also 59 and came out only three years ago! Was married to a very nice woman, but…
email me if you want to chat.

Winthrop
Winthrop
Reply to  Aaron J Smith
14/11/2022 1:50 PM

Seen this post while battling with loneliness. Trying to connect with people with same situation. What I am thinking now is to connect with them to build good friendship as we continue our journey. At least, it may make us happy once in a while.

Selim
Selim
Reply to  Santi Sarsgosa
24/10/2021 3:08 PM

I feel same

Groves
Groves
Reply to  Santi Sarsgosa
03/02/2022 7:31 PM

I’m 32 and I’m feeling the same way. I just haven’t found that group of ppl that I feel where I can authentically be myself and belong.

Bobby
Bobby
03/07/2021 7:19 PM

Same here as well, I am 57, came out at 32, thought I had a relationship but looking back it’s was a joke, I was fooling myself. I’m thinking a lot is hopless, especially at 57.

Jeff
Jeff
06/07/2021 5:16 PM

Im 58 and feel totally lost. I was one of the "pretty boys" back in the 80s and 90s. I never had a problem picking up someone. Now, my sex life has flatlined. Im depressed. it hit me like a ton of bricks. Youre enjoying life and all the attention, then all of a sudden you are an "old queen ". It happens so fast. I guess its something we all have to go through. As hard as I try to focus on other things, the lack of “feeling attractive” takes it`s toll.

Spencer
Spencer
Reply to  Jeff
16/07/2022 11:05 PM

Yes, yes, I feel your pain. I wasn’t promiscuous at all, but I really miss all the men that oogle over me and try to pick me up. At times, back then, I would hate it, but now. Oh, now I would give anything for that. again. Started gay sex at 15, and held a really good body through my mid 50’s. But now, well……..

Arnold
Arnold
Reply to  Jeff
25/11/2022 2:55 AM

61 here, and same experience in the 70s and 80s, so even before safe sex… I learned not to do too dramatic, it is simply inherent to all human life, it is suffering and everything is impermanent. I cherish that I had the honor of being part of this and have all these experiences. I feel good about it and can even laugh about the fact that nowadays I can enter a gay bathhouse as if I am the invisible man while in the late 70-s I everyone was chasing me 🙂 Be happy that you were attractive in the first place, many people are not or do not have the liberty of enjoying it.

Ian
Ian
12/11/2021 9:15 AM

50 something, been taken by Colombian immegration fraudster. We gay old folk are so unprepared for sexless stage in life.

Huw Wilson
Huw Wilson
28/02/2022 4:35 PM

I’m 36 and I feel so lonely and isolated. I was fortunate to have married when I was 28 but divorced by 33. I have always felt socially detatched from everyone else and this isn’t helped by the fact that I have no family that really care about me anymore. I wish I could overcome this and live a happy life but it’s making me so unhappy. This article was interesting but it gave me no real hope because I don’t live in a big town with big groups and financially it’s not viable for me to move. I’m addicted at this point to alcohol. I feel hopeless.

Adam Blum
Adam Blum
Admin
Reply to  Huw Wilson
18/03/2022 9:38 AM

This sounds really painful and I am sorry you are going through this difficult time. I do hope you’ll reach out for local treatment for addiction. That’s a really good place to start and you will meet many other people dealing with isolation. They may not be gay people in your small community but you will see yourself reflected in their stories and that will be an important step in your healing process.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Reply to  Huw Wilson
11/06/2022 5:14 PM

Hello, Sorry to hear you’re feeling this way. It’s been 6 months since I ended a 14 year relationship and feel very lonely right now.

L.Mateo
L.Mateo
03/06/2022 6:53 PM

I’m 58 . I don’t know what’s like to love and be loved. I have never been lonelier in my life. I’m closeted but I don’t pretend I’m someone I’m not . I simply exist. I don’t like gay clubs, so I never meet anyone. It came to a point where I don’t believe in love, it seems like an utopia people spend their lives in search for.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13/06/2022 5:10 PM

This seems to imply that we all have substance abuse issues to get over before we can be worthy of not being alone.

Terry S English
Terry S English
26/06/2022 10:39 PM

I came out at 49. I knew I was gay my entire life, but grew up in a very religious environment as a Jehovahś Witness. I was constantly told homosexuality was an abomination. I denied who I was for years until I came to the point where I either had to live my true life or end my life. Luckily, my mother was very supportive as well as my sister. I am not out to most of my family as I know I would not be accepted. I am extremely lonely and just want to meet someone who wants a relationship and not just a quick hook up. I want love and companionship, which does not seem to be the norm in the gay community. I have lots of friends, but at the end of the day, I am alone. I want someone to share my life with and someone to love.

Nick P
Nick P
Reply to  Terry S English
14/11/2022 8:44 AM

Hi I’m so sorry for all of us going through all of this

James
James
04/08/2022 7:51 AM

I came out at 18, and am now 52. I have never had a relationship at all. Of course I have been extremely lonely.However, I would say that over the last few years I have been able to make peace with the fact I will always be single. I am an Introvert, and perhaps becoming more so as I age.The thought of dating appalls me tbh, and although I do still feel lonely at times, it’s at a level I can cope with.

Robert
Robert
08/08/2022 1:36 PM

Are there any groups for men in sexless relationships?

Justin
Justin
11/08/2022 8:30 PM

I have never had any trouble finding sex, in fact it is frustrating how much easier it is to find sex then to find someone who wants to make a genuine human connection. These days, so many gay men are in good, long relationships and even getting married. How they do it, I have no idea. My entire life, I have had difficulty even getting a date where someone wants anything other than sex. I am 40 now. I don’t know any other gay men. I see only emptiness in my future.

Jack H
Jack H
Reply to  Justin
24/10/2022 7:29 PM

I am at this exact point in my life. It’s hit me very hard actually since I just turned 40. It’s like my world is turned upside down and just lonely and don’t know where to go from here. Although i guess we aren’t as alone as we think because of this site.

Please feel free to email if anyone would like to chat more in depth.

Philip
Philip
Reply to  Jack H
29/10/2022 7:32 PM

Totally agree. 50 hit me like a brick wall.

Philip
Philip
Reply to  Justin
29/10/2022 7:30 PM

I totally agree, I’ll be 51 in a few days and have no close friends. Moved from Alabama back to Oklahoma, leaving my church and good friends. Then Covid hit. I’m also amazed how easy it is to find sex but can’t find anyone to chat with, watch a movie and be normal.

Anonymous
Anonymous
01/10/2022 8:53 AM

Just browsing- I can echo what ive read except for alcohol/substance abuse. It feels good simply to write.

George
George
03/10/2022 8:29 AM

Very helpful, i guess were not alone

Richard
Richard
07/11/2022 4:53 AM

I came out at the age of 23 and was very popular then. I found my long term partner about 4 years later and we were together for 28 years until he died of prostate cancer at 70. In all the time we were together he never stopped telling me that he loved me. I have been on my own for close on 18 years and although I have a number of friends I feel very lonely and unloved. The worst is trying to contact them by phone and being faced with the “kiss of death” ansafone. I have to constantly make the effort to contact people. It’s like pushing a wheel that stops when I stop pushing it or get too exhausted to continue. I recently made close friends with a 30 year old guy who is very caring and physical in a way I haven’t known for years but he lives a fair way from me and is not well off at all, with all the burdens of a dysfunctional family. He is single and has no job at present despite being well qualified; and he has a room in a house. I go up to see him quite often. Incidentally, I am 72.

Jon
Jon
19/11/2022 7:52 PM

Well my life has been a complete disaster, came out toy family and was told i am going to hell. The found out I was adopted by a father, always knew there was a difference shown, just didn’t know why until then. Shot in the head for being gay, still have bullet in my brain. You name it and it has happened to me. I have very low self esteem, depression, loneliness… Don’t know what else to do…I am in a relationship but not happy. I am at my lowest. Just praying that something can give me a positive response as to what to do. To reverse my feelings. Raised in the bible belt. North Carolina. I hate my life….

Nick
Nick
23/11/2022 10:32 AM

I’m still in the closet and about to turn 22. You all seem much older than me and I’m going through hell. I’m still a virgin and feel like I’m never going to find someone… because I’m not even trying. I don’t want to be gay. Any advice for coping?

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