Monday, August 19, 2013

The challenge: making friends in mid-life

One of the biggest factors in my post-Blogger-Palooza blues is that all of my blogger friends live over 1,000 miles away.  It is much easier to maintain a friendship when you can pop over for a cup of tea or to help with some household project on a minutes' notice.

I never had a huge stable of friends and the majority left our economically- depressed town after university for work.  In that pre-Facebook and e-mail age, I lost contact with most of them.  It didn't help that I moved constantly and lived in five different provinces in my 20s.  (but it was a wonderful adventure!)

Throughout my marriage, life was a social whirl but mainly centred around the lives of our three kids, their friends and their friends' parents.  In our 14-house cul-de-sac, there were some twenty kids around the same age.  We parents were deeply involved in each others' social lives and we shared countless fun times together great and small, but everything was child-centred.  I was too busy to seek friends outside of that convenient circle.

But all the kids are adults now and mainly moved on.  Many former neighbours have downsized and moved, some to different parts of the country.  I still see my former neighbourhood friends a few times a year but now it takes a 45 minute drive to pop over for a coffee .... it's not as easy as chatting over the back fence!  

I now realize that I was actually friends with the wives rather than with their hottie husbands.  I was just 'one of the girls.'  This was another sign of my latent gayness and it now makes friendships a bit more challenging.

Is it possible for a gay man to be casual friends with a straight, married woman while secretly lusting over her straight husband with whom he is not friend?  Tricky!

But now, my kids have become quite independent (two of them own their own cars) and my divorce drama is winding down.  So for the first time in decades, I have the time to develop some friendships and this week, there have been numerous developments in this department:

1.   A close teacher colleague who is my age and her hottie Australian husband moved into their new home this week just a few kilometers down the beach.  She invited me over for a visit and I plan to reciprocate.  I'm fairly sure that we will continue to socialize to some degree although not as "A-list" friends.

2.   Yesterday, I went for a 2-hour wilderness hike with a guy I hooked up with last February.  At that time, he wanted to pursue an LTR but I declined.  We are quite incompatible sexually and he is a bit too negative for me.... a real stick-in-the-mud!   But we had a fantastic time on our hike, sharing food and countless stories about the local gay guys.

3.   I have fairly regular coffee dates with several gay friends who I will never hook up with but whose company I enjoy, including the Dave, Ethan (my trans man friend) and Jamie, my former student who used to jerk off while thinking of me.  But it's time-consuming meeting them all separately so I'm thinking of seeing them all at once, maybe over dinner.

4.  There will be an initial meeting in September to start a local Gay Man's Choir.   I can't sing worth beans but I hope to join anyway.

5.  I haven't seen my closest childhood friend for two years as we were both busy with our respective divorces. We've been friends since the week of our birth in 1962 and lived in adjacent houses throughout our childhood and teen years. 

Todd phoned to say that he was recuperating from a motorcycle accident (which I hadn't heard about) which resulted in a cracked pelvis and a the installation of an artificial hip to replace one shattered in the accident.  Horrible!  But he needs a friend to visit and I'm going over there today.

So, I do think I am making progress in my goal of making friends.  Having friends will help a little bit in easing my sense of isolation which I've been feeling lately.  But what I really need, I think, is a special man in my life.


12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. LOL! I'd roll around in the mud with you any day, Sean.

      Actually, I realized after-the-fact that those were the most random set of pictures I ever posted. But if there was a wrestling event in my town (mud or the regular kind with singlets), I most certainly would attend with my significant other, assuming I had one.

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  2. "all of my blogger friends live many miles away" - yep this is also my burden. none live close to me. :(

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's been tough for me to make new friends, too. Even with some of them close by, it's tough with all our disparate schedules to get together. I need to make more of an effort, too. Believe me, I know all about isolation, and have felt it, and still feel it to some degree, though it is getting better with effort on my part! You can do it, too. When you go through a traumatic event (and I suspect your coming out and divorce was traumatic in many ways), it tends to set you apart from people that were friends, in some cases, for many years. There are people who swore they'd keep in touch, whom I haven't heard from in 6+ years, so who cares at this point. Keep trying, and have a big dinner party and invite ALL your friends! Then they'll ALL know you're still kicking!

    Peace <3
    Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thanks for the suggestions. I will keep working at it. As you said, the problem is many of us think that we do not have the time to devote to friendships. But we must find the time, for our own mental health; to reduce our social isolation.

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  4. It sounds like you are ready to 'settle down'?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'd say that is correct. What I'm ready for now (craving it, in fact) is to have intimacy with one person on a sustained basis. I don't just mean sex, but in all aspects of life such as cooking together, going on errands to town, cuddling or walking the dogs....

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  6. So, you need to find out if there are any social (as opposed to sexual) gay meeting groups, web sites, or activities in your area. Boston/Cambridge, MA, my home for several decades, was chock-a-block with them: gay contradancing, gay book discussion groups, gay hiking and kayaking, gay fathers' groups, travel groups, etc., etc. I don't know the size of your town or the % of gays in the population, so I don't know if what I suggest is possible for you -- but if you're ready now to look for something long term, your focus is going to have to shift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thank you! I will start seeking out those opportunities. I certainly do know that I won't be meeting my future Mr. Right on squirt.org!!

      One problem is that my town is about 50 times SMALLER than the metro Boston population, so gay social clubs, sports leagues and the like are nearly non-existent.

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