Daddy Issues

6 tips for thriving as single older gay dude in an coupled gay world

All of us older single guys know the plus factors: No compromising, no dating limits, no fighting.

But as you age there are other downers to being alone that you might not have experienced as a younger guy. Yes, the single kids have their difficulties with the single life too, and if any of this applies to you, please read on.

Fortunately, none of this needs to actually get you down. Here are six tips to ageing gracefully while single.

1. Dinner party for one?

Remember those fabulous dinner parties that you went to once a month? Now they might just light the corners of you mind because a lot of couples only invite other couples for food and fest. Or, almost worse, they invite one single man—you—and you feel like you belong at the kiddie table. It’s wrong to blame your coupled friends for wanting to be with their “kin,” but wouldn’t it be nice if they invited another single man to the party?

Tip Talk: The best way to combat this is to hold your own parties, dinner or cocktail. When you realize how much work goes into keeping company happy at soirees, you’ll also discover that the host is never really alone.

2. “I” before “e,” unless it’s a “we”

Everyone’s experienced this: You and a best friend used to go to the movies together, talk politics, and hang out on weekends. Then, in a trick worthy of David Copperfield, your friend suddenly becomes a “we”: As in “We” didn’t like the film, “we” love Rachel Maddow, “we” are heading out for a day of antiquing. It’s even more annoying when you’ve never met the mysterious other. This phenomenon tends to happen to older men who’ve not had a serious relationship in, like, forever, and cling to the couple idea like it’s going out of style.

Tip Talk: It’s not that you want to separate the emotional Siamese twins, it’s that you want your friend to once again think for himself. If you’ve not met the newbie, insist on it–he’s hiding something if he won’t let the two of you meet. Then try and get some alone time when he’s forced to talk as one. If that doesn’t work, I’d suggest “we” stay away until he smartens up.

3. So many men, so many marriages

Older, sexy guys are everywhere in this day and age, and they’re horny AF. But wouldn’t it be nice if a few of those “taps” were from men who could host? Date? Who didn’t use an Uber as foreplay? Married and partnered men who are in open/DADT relationships are the gay man’s catnip: They love to play and they’ve got pent-up energy, but when all is said and you’ve both been done, it’s time to go back to the scratching post for thrills.

Tip Talk: If it’s gotten to the point where it’s more depressing than fun, get off your apps–at least the hook-up sites. Use Tinder (I know…ugh) and do something daring and brave and old-fashioned, like hitting bars and social clubs and anywhere single guys are known to flock. In the smartphone era it’s easy to get lazy when it comes to sex, so it’s important to remember that plenty of guys are in the same boat. And everyone loves a lifesaver.

4. Who’s that guy?

He’s finally got a new beau, he’s happy as anything, and he’s considerate enough to invite you along just like the old days. One problem: You can’t stand the guy. In this case, you’d almost rather be left off his text list. It’s a tough scenario when a great friend partners with someone who makes your skin crawl because you’re the bad guy if you do the ghosting. And it can be difficult to keep conveniently planning time together when the new boyfriend is working or otherwise engaged—it also usually doesn’t work.

Tip Talk: If you’re comfortable enough being honest, tell the truth and say you’d prefer spending more time alone with your friend. That might open the door to hearing that the boyfriend doesn’t care for you, either, and to settle your differences. If not, your friend might compromise and set aside some “friend time.” You can also make sure you always bring along another friend when you go out together so you have a person to fall back on when the going gets tough. Of course, there’s always the risk that your friend might blow up and end the relationship. Weigh the risks, and realize that sometimes it’s best to just suck it up like a bad porno.

5. Are you there, couple, it’s me, single?

They’re just the most adorable couple on earth, and they love you. Problem is, when they’re together, they coo and woo and mostly forget you exist. Go to the movies and they make out, go to dinner and they giggle and share their inside jokes, go to the bathroom and come back to find they’ve been talking about you–WTF! The only time they do acknowledge your presence is when they’re clearly concerned about your well-being. I mean, there must be someone who will have you, so you too can be in a state of constant Stepford Boyfriend bliss. Just don’t be so picky/aloof/sarcastic/funny/opinionated/serious/five pounds overweight. In other words, just don’t be you. After the lecture, they go back to color-coordinating their outfits. For you, it’s black and white and vomit all over.

Tip Talk: Tell them the truth. Remind them that it’s rude to talk about you in such a fashion. Sometimes people just need a gentle kick in the proverbial butt to realize they’ve fallen into bad habits. If they persist in their behavior, it’s time to reassess the relationship and severely limit your time with the two of them.

6. Casper the unfriendly ghosting

No article about being single among couple-dom would be complete without a word or two about ghosting. We’ve all known those guys who go “pouf” into the night once they hook up with a new fling. Either they’re so madly in love they can’t spend time with anyone else or they decide life is only meant to be spent with other couples (of course, you have to guess which course they’ve taken because your friend no longer contacts you). It’s hurtful and, should it persist, probably a sign that their relationship is not as secure as it should be, often because your friend has waited so long for “Mr. Right” he’ll adjust to his rules to keep the guy. It’s also a sign that your relationship with your friend should be re-evaluated, especially when he magically reappears six months later, after the traumatic break-up.

Tip Talk: I have no patience with ghosting. It’s cruel and hurtful and insensitive and immature. Stay away and let the memory of your friendship haunt them so much they either wake up or vanish forever.

Follow David Toussaint on Twitter and Facebook.

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