As anyone who has read much of my blog knows, I like weirdness and appreciate eccentricity in others. By mere definition it could probably be said that all gay men are eccentric if by that we mean nonconventional. Even by the most liberal statistics only 10% of the population are homosexual. Therefore, homosexuality is odd by its relatively scarce occurance. I’m OK with that. I even appreciate that.
What I am discovering, however, is an entirely different sort of eccentricity that manifests itself in many gay men my age. It doesn’t stem from homosexuality as I see it, but I believe the source to be sustained solitude… a lot of it.
There seem to be three types of guys that I’ve met…
- Those who are in long-term relationships and will likely stay that way. By “long-term” let’s say 2+ years qualifies. Even if these couples break up they easily find another quite soon.
- Guys who have never been in a long-term relationship and likely never will. It becomes less likely as time moves on.
- Me – someone who was in a long-term relationship but is now single. We would like to find a relationship better than the one before, but at least we know the difficult dance of living with another person and combining two lives.
When I was married, I yearned for more alone time. I was the one who struggled with having a clingy partner. I LOVED the times that my ex-wife would take trips alone or with the kids to visit family. I was all for a girls’ nights out. Still, all things considered we got along on a daily basis and we both made adjustments to life together.
But now that I am alone most of the time, I find myself searching for friends and companions to do things with. It’s nice to join someone for dinner, a movie, a hike, etc…I prefer doing those things with someone. I even like sleeping in the same bed with someone.
Men in both groups 1 and 2 are difficult to infiltrate however. Those who are partnered obviously have their lives and friends set up. I get that.
The second group of men also tend to have their own lives structured in a particular way but that involves a lot of time alone. And I can’t tell if they are happy and satisfied with that or if it’s just that they don’t know anything else. I like them and I enjoy their company. And don’t get me wrong; they have lots of friends and active social lives. They are a lot of fun to be around. But starting a relationship with one is as easy as nailing Jello to a wall.
Because they are alone so much they tend to become more eccentric as they age. When you live alone and spend vast amounts of time alone … you become odd, less flexible. You develop unusual eating and living habits. Your sense of time and availability becomes distorted. You change plans on a whim when something better comes along. Relationships and friendships are self-serving rather than a means of mutual growth and enrichment. You become less interested in disruption
. It’s all a bit narcissistic from an outsider’s eyes.
I also fear that I’m becoming one of them.
As a gay, divorced, ex-Mormon father I definitely stick out from the crowd in my own way. I took the detour of life and tried the straight path for 20 years. Most of the gay men I’ve become friends with didn’t, and I admire them for that. Someone who at 19 in the early 80’s had the self-awareness to come out as gay and follow that life path with integrity has my admiration and respect. I think that’s why I like these friends.
Now, 25+ years into the future, however, I’m not sure I want what they’ve achieved if it’s a life of eccentric solitude.
Will the longer I am on my own make it more difficult to share life with someone else? How do I prevent myself from becoming like that?
Where does one go to find men like myself who know what it takes to be in a relationship and are willing to make the adjustments? ‘Cause I’m not finding them here.