Bob Feinstein, Chris Isherton, Dan Molloie, Keith
Hogan, Jeff K., Charles Miller, Mike Shumate, Stephen,
Greg T., and Blaine Waterman talk about loneliness,
dating, and getting together for keeps.
is the online discussion
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presents an edited version of an exchange we think will interest
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Tod, your post and
those from men who replied really hit me. They are all thoughts
I have had myself, but this is the first time I've seen them in
writing. If I was in the middle of one of my depressions, this would
have made me feel even worse, but I can only tell you how I deal
when I'm feeling OK.
Like you I have a
ton of good friends and I spend a lot (most) of my energy on them.
Do I miss a romantic relationship? Sure I do, but I never shut the
door on it completely, always leave it open a crack, you never know.
It is sad that so
many of us have had basically the same experiences in different
packages. You can call me the "One Hit Wonder." I chat with men
online and find lots of things in common. They even accept my disabilityonline.
Once we meet they can't see themselves in a serious relationship
with someone that's not picture perfect. One guy I met for a drink
excused himself to go to the bathroom and when he came back he said
he had to leave to mow the lawn while it was still nice out(!),
this after I'd told him online that I am not one to go to a bar
by myself. I drank my 3/4 full drink and left ASAP.
I, like many others
on the list, try to surround myself with friends and family. I still
long for a committed, loving relationship. Someday maybe things
will change. As for those of you who are in a committed relationship
or partnered how did you meet?
Sounds to me like
what everyone wants most is intimacy, but what about just sex? Which
leads me to my next question: Has anyone ever hired an escort?
About two years ago
I drove to Florida for a vacation and hired an escort. I enjoyed
my time with him, but felt let down later, wishing I did not have
to hire someone for companionship.
I've had the same
experience, more or less. In fact, I have done it several times
when the need for sexual relief was too strong to ignore. I always
end up feeling sad that I have to pay to have someone touch me in
a sexual way.
Tod, your email touched
me and struck a chord with me. I, too, hoped I'd find a special
guy and it hasn't happened. I was totally isolated from gay people
until I got my computer. Even making friends has been slow. Many
people have read my writing
in BENT but very few contact me. A few tell me how they admire me,
but being admired isn't very rewarding.
On Disgaytalk, I
have made some wonderful contacts, but, compared to the size of
the membership, very very few. On regular lists, when I say I am
blind, it's the same way. Like you, I've had a couple of women interested
in me, one who wanted to marry me. Someone up there has a good sense
Disgayers, are most
of you attached? Those who aren't, how do you deal with being alone?
Does it ever scare you, if something were to happen?
I'm one of those
guys that is partnered. I have been in a relationship since 1989.
We were introduced by a mutual sex buddy. It started out as casual
and super-hot sex. We got together more and more and it wasn't too
long before I gave him my house keys. In the first few years we
did little more than stay in bed. I didn't even know his last name.
My having CP did not fit into the equation one way or the other
as far as I know. As the years rolled by sex went by the wayside.
I had a lot of turmoil about that and it took me years to accept
it. I wanted to break off but I couldn't live without him. Our pets
were a big part of our partnership; they wouldn't want to live without
Along the way I had
to deal with my alcoholism. I joined AA almost four years ago and
started accepting responsibility for my actions and emotions. In
gay AA I have heard many ablebodied men talk about the difficulty
in finding someone. I am blessed to have this relationship but it
has been a lot of work. And it is something that happened, not something
I was looking for or especially wanted.
Today I think I want
some casual sex on the side but for all my efforts that isn't happening
and I am OK with it. Maybe tomorrow. Don't know if this helps anyone
but thanks for listening. Best wishes for everyone to have what
they want and need.
Guys, it has taken
several precious years for me to come to grips with the loneliness,
but I turned it around. I struggled for two decades trying to find
myself and act on what I truly wanted. I have discovered that I
am a single gay man and I like the idea. I don't want to share my
home with anybodynot anymore. When I was a truck driver, I
chose a life of solitude and apparently that hasn't changed. I'm
not afraid of dying alone. My affairs are squared away and my executer
will liquidate my property and donate the proceeds to various charities.
I like coming home
from work and being myself. Fortunately I was able to locate a group
of men who feel the same as I do. I'm the only crip among the guys,
but I've been accepted and it is incredible. Through the group,
I made some friends who come by regularly for dinner, TV and, of
pervades my life and sometimes it is severe. Paternalism, ignorance,
and apathy about disability drive me up a wall. I still see the
discrimination behind people's eyes. As a gay and physically dependent
man I struggle to belong in a society intended for the beautiful
and the ambulatory. So, Yeah, loneliness is a kick in the ass, but
I've yet to swallow a bottle of pills.
I think a lot of
the obstacles to a relationship are firmly rooted in the complexities
of my life as a transman. There was the housemate who tried to blackmail
me over his rent arrears, for example; there's the fear of youth
gangs in the working-class area where I eventually bought a house
yes, I was mugged once already (the guys tried to get me by grabbing
my dick and balls, except that both of these items are made of silicone,
so I didn't react as expected. That really puzzled them so much
that they even gave me back my house keys, but boy was I terrified
they would pull my trousers down and this whole run-of-the-mill
robbery would turn into a "Boys Don't Cry" scenario!).
Then there's trying
to explain away my many doctor appointments at work, and trying
to explain to the lads why I cannot drink. Putting up with their
homophobia because they know I am gay, thinking ALL the time: How
on earth would they treat you if they knew you were trans?
After the mugging,
which happened last autumn, I am only now at a point where groups
of teenagers do not trigger automatic anxiety attacks, and I am
still too intimidated to use certain kinds of public transport at
certain times of the day or night. All of these are major stresses
that wear me out and deprive me of the energy I would need to address
other issues connected to having relationships.
Another issue is
that I am still not comfortable in my body. Weight gain from screwed-up
hormone treatments seems impossible to get rid of. I also might
need one additional surgery on my chest, which I do not have the
money for at the moment. This has nothing to do with not
having a penislet's just say there are very sexy transmen
out there, but I do not see myself as one of them right now.
My lack of comfort
with my physical self, owing to factors I "should" be
able to control (like weight gain), and my continuing lack of energy,
never mind sexual energy, are the biggest obstacles to looking for
sex and/or a mate. I need to build up more stamina, something I
hope will decrease stress and increase my energy level. Sounds like
a long way off to attracting someone into my life, but prosaically
enough it's really the first thing I know I need to do to improve
I met my spouse at
work. We were colleagues, became friends, and the relationship evolved
from there. However, I do concur with the sentiments that have been
posted thus far. When I used a wheelchair, interested guys were
few and far between. I even lost "friends" because our social lives
were no longer compatible. When I no longer needed the wheelchair,
I definitely noticed increased interest, but that often waned when
the scope of my disability became more apparent. Some men admitted
that my disability was an issue while others wouldn't, but it was
For a while, I swore
off men and just threw myself into getting my doctorate and restarting
my career. I started to find that many of the guys I met through
school and work had fewer issues with my disability than those I
had met through other methods (bars, online, etc.). I do think that
meeting people in an alternative social setting made a difference.
Shared interests and camaraderie sometimes help people to move beyond
immediate differences and focus more on the person. That is not
to say that I think there is some sort of relationship utopia out
there. I just feel that for the most part the more typical gay social
scene is more about exclusion than inclusion, especially for disabled
guys. I came to believe that in that setting I would be endlessly
and needlessly beating my head against the wall. Sounds harsh, but
just my opinion.
I am just getting
to these posts after recovering from another surgery on my back.
I am not attached and have found that after becoming disabled it
has become even harder to meet men. People don't even notice that
I have a hearing disability because I can depend on both lip-reading
and what hearing I do have to catch conversation. But having problems
with my back that required the use of crutches has totally changed
things for me. People see the crutches and right away they see you
in a different light. One day a few weeks ago I had some guy actually
call me a crip for the first time. I was so hurt, because I'd never
seen myself in that light. I actually felt vindictive, as in, "He'll
get his some day. What goes around comes around."
Yes, it does scare
me about the future and I sure do wish that I could find someone.
I would have no problem dating a guy in a wheelchair as I have always
been sensitive to people with disabilities. It is so hard even to
find friends to hang with. Sometime I think of just picking myself
up and starting my life in another town in the hope something might
work out better for me in the future.
I am glad that this
topic was started. Reading what everyone has to say reminds me that
that I am not the only guy in this boat. And it is great to see
the responses that have come through.
I want to return
to a point that Greg made: we can tell potential friends or lovers
that we are disabled, but somehow it doesn't always click. For that
reason, I tend to stress that I am blind, I can't see, I have never
had sight, and no, I don't see light or dark: I just don't
see. Sounds like overkill, but I have found that if I just say I'm
blind, people tend to think I can see a little, or that I live in
a world of darkness. I remember one incident: I was talking to a
guy who said he'd like to meet me for lunch. I explained that I
might need help cutting things or buttering bread, depending on
what I ordered. He said I thought you were blind, not crippled!
Can't you even use your hands? Well, I told him that he was not
the kind of person I wanted for a friend, and I abruptly ended the
conversation. Believe it or not, he called a few times and asked
me to meet him. I told him that his initial reaction did not bode
well, and I refused.
it possible for people with different disabilities to meet online
and maybe even meet in person. When Bob Guter and I had breakfast
together during my San
Francisco visit I asked him to help me with my omelet and he
was totally cool about it, even though he has only one "standard
issue" hand. Michael Perreault told me how he helped a blind fellow
who needed assistance crossing two busy streets in San Francisco.
Michael helped me while I was visiting California. So did Ray Aguilera
and his partner, who took me on a tour of Alcatraz. It was amazing
to think about how much my Disgaytalk friends were willing to help
me, even when it wasn't all that easy for them.
I hope that this
forum on difficulty in meeting people will serve as a springboard
for some of us to make better and more meaningful and contacts on
this remarkable list. I'd love to have the opportunity to examine
all of you by touch! And, I have no doubt, you'd all feel beautiful
I met my current
partner of six years at a baby shower for a mutual friend. I've
been partnered for eleven years of my adult life and single for
fourteen, so I've been on both sides of this conundrum. When I was
single I was lucky to get a date, let alone get laid. (see my essay
in the anthology "Queer
Crips" on my life as a john).
The only advice I
have is trite but (for me, anyway) true: stay busy with friends
or activities you're interested in and don't let looking for love
become the focus of your life. Before I met Greg (not the Greg in
this Forum) I had squandered four years of my life running personals
ads, answering them, going on innumerable blind dates, etc. I tried
to use the strategies that brought me success in school and work
to land me a man, but failed totally. The more time and effort I
expended "working" on hooking up, the lower my self esteem fell
and the more desperation I projected.
When I met Greg I
had totally given up on the dating game out of exhaustion and disappointment.
I think the fact I had let go of the manhunt was part of my luck
in not scaring him off. Having a mutual friend also made both of
us less wary than if we'd met randomly online. A book that helped
me cope with my loneliness and depression at my lowest was Pema
Chodron's When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult
Times. It is written from a Buddhist point of view but can help
people of any religion or no religion.
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