Dear Coleen: It's a lonely life for a gay carer living in the countryside

Reprinted from the Daily Record – 20:30, 14 July 201

COLEEN hears from a man in his 60s who hasn’t had a sexual relationship with another man for ten years.

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 couple of relationships, 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 small. My income is quite limited but I do manage a couple of holidays 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. But 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 healthy 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 partner but you’ve done a lot more than many folk. 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 talk 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.


Editorial:  Obviously this is based in England, but it does apply to whatever region you live in in the UK, and as N Ireland is extremely rural, probably more often than we realise over here.  What advice would you give to someone who lives in a rural area, or even a town or city in N Ireland, who is a carer and is gay?

Best Advice