Does coming out as a proud gay man expose you to a lonely life? Are there times when remaining in the closet is better for your mental health than coming out? Coming out is one of the most significant stages of a gay man’s life. From gaining the freedom to meet like-minded people, openly experiencing romantic connections, and living an authentic life to being part of something greater, coming out as a member of the queer community has a truckload of benefits.
While coming out as gay is one of the most freeing mental experiences, the aftermath can lead to isolation, making you experience extreme levels of loneliness. Gay men have considerably higher risks of experiencing loneliness, sadness, depression, and anxiety, which are dangerous because they can trigger suicidal thoughts. In this article, we will discuss tips to help you deal with loneliness after coming out.
How to deal with loneliness after coming out as a gay man?
While being gay can be fun, freeing, exciting, and everything you ever dreamed of, it can also be isolating and lonely. Most gay activists, magazines, and podcasts will concentrate on all the positive aspects of coming out, but rarely will they honestly address the negative ramifications of coming out. Coming out as a gay man might mean you no longer have a family, friends, social life, job, or community. The moment you come out, your life can have a drastic turn leading to one of your life’s loneliest and most isolating phases. So, does that mean that you shouldn’t come out? Certainly not! Fortunately, there are tips you can use to avoid becoming a hermit as a gay man, including:
· Accept you are lonely
How can you tell that you are lonely? It isn’t like there is a thermometer you can get after coming out that can tell you how lonely you are. The trickiest about having a mental concern is that it can sneak up on you until it feels like it’s too late to get help. So, how can you tell that you are lonely and need help?
The first sign of loneliness is you are always alone. Whether you are isolating yourself out of fear or people are steering clear from you because of your sexual orientation, being alone can have devastating effects on your mental well-being. Being alone after coming out opens room for self-doubts, criticism, low self-esteem, stress, and depression, dangerous combinations for someone that has gone through such a momentous step.
Another sign of loneliness is spending too much time indoors on social media or electronic gadgets. If your interaction with inanimate objects seems more meaningful than human connections, this might signify loneliness. Keep in mind that loneliness can manifest in different people in various ways. You are the perfect person to self-evaluate because you know how your mind operates more than anyone.
· Feed your mind
Abusing drugs won’t help you escape your reality. Loneliness is a mental condition, and no amount of drugs can help you cure it. Drugs might numb your pain for a moment but mess up your life for good. Your mind is your strongest weapon so sharpen it every chance you get. You are not the first person to come out and experience isolation, loneliness, and depression, and you certainly won’t be the last.
There are numerous blogs, articles, research papers, books, and podcasts with extensive information about what you are going through. Whether you choose to read or listen to books, face the loneliness head-on with knowledge. Feed your mind with the knowledge that helps you work out the mental hang-ups that come after coming out. Follow the advice of queer men and women that came before you and come out on top. You never know; baby gays of the future might rely on your work to blend into society after coming out.
· Start working out
Is there a better way to exorcise the demons that want to take over your mind than beating unmoving obstacles? Probably, but exercising is the best way to chase loneliness because it also keeps your body in shape. Joining an exercise program is beneficial to your mind and body because it helps you achieve mental and physical agility. Coming out can be a draining experience, especially if you come from a conservative community. Most gay men go through life full of confusion, anxiety, and fear because their sexual identity contravenes society’s expectations. The fear and anxiety you have felt all your life won’t disappear the moment you come out to your loved ones. Working out is the best way to get rid of negative emotions because it protects you from overthinking and getting lost in your mind.
You can join an LGBTQ+-friendly gym in your neighborhood and start working out with people who share your social orientation. The interactions at the gym can keep you motivated to return to the gym, ensuring you won’t give in to your loneliness and regress to your home. Getting in shape gives you the confidence to meet new people, which can positively affect your social life. Whether you are experiencing sadness, anxiety, stress, or depression, a committed workout program can significantly enhance your mental well-being.
· Join an LGBTQ+ community
The best place to create queer connections is in LGBTQ+-related communities. Depending on where you come from, a queer community can be in places like a community center, safe houses, or underground. If you are into sports, find a gay sports team and join. You can build friendships with your teammates or ask them to introduce you to other gay men in your area. Consider attending LGBTQ+-related causes such as charities, meet-ups, or events. Depending on the rate of homophobia in your area, joining an LGBTQ+ community can be challenging.
If its’ not safe for you to meet with other gay men publicly, you join an online queer community. The great thing about online queer communities is that they don’t have a cultural, geographical, racial, or religious boundary. You can meet queer men from all corners of the planet from the comfort of your home. You can look for queer communities on Reddit or social media sites such as Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. The goal is to interact with gay men who have experienced loneliness after coming out or are currently going through it.
· Find a hobby
Boredom significantly contributes to loneliness after coming out. You counter loneliness by finding a hobby that lets you meet new people, allowing you to have human interactions. A healthy hobby lets you spend time doing something meaningful while creating social connections. If you love nature, join a hiking club or a sport that takes place outdoors. You can also volunteer for queer-related causes, clubs, or groups, where you are more likely to meet with other gay men. Finding a hobby gives you a purpose, and a purpose makes you excited to face life.
· Open yourself to new people and opportunities
The fact that you are gay doesn’t mean everyone is gunning out for you to make your life miserable. With close to 8 billion people on the planet, the odds are that you will meet people who deserve your love, loyalty, and friendship. The world is full of generous, kind, loving, and open-minded people waiting for you to show up and be a part of something amazing. Don’t let loneliness and isolation consume your life, making you miss out on the beauty of the unknown.
While opening yourself to new people is risky, the risk is often worth the reward. Opening yourself to new people doesn’t mean connecting only with gay people. People are more than their sexual orientation, so open your heart equally to gay and straight people.
· Get a therapist
Being lonely is not a crime nor something to be ashamed of. Don’t underestimate loneliness after coming out because it can lead to more serious mental concerns, including anxiety, stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Consider getting a therapist to help you navigate the murky waters after coming. Being gay is not easy, so getting a therapist can help you cope with things you might not even know you need to handle. Keep in mind that a therapist isn’t necessarily someone sitting in a white room with a pen and paper waiting to unearth your darkest secret. A therapist can be someone you meet in a clinic, at the park, or virtually so you can choose whichever approach works for you.
Get a therapist whether your loved ones embraced your coming out or not. Coming out is such a pivotal moment with so much emotional buildup that can leave you feeling destabilized. A therapist can help you allay your fears, accept your situation, and plan for the future.
No matter how well you plan and strategize about your coming out, things can and usually go wrong. Whether your loved ones accept your sexual identity or ostracize you from the community, coming out can result in isolation and loneliness. Fortunately, there are various strategies you can use to fight loneliness after coming out, including getting a therapist, finding a hobby, or joining LGBTQ+ communities.