How to deal with homosexual attraction and identity can be a big question for you if you are a man in your forties, fifties or older and you are questioning your sexuality or the way you live your life. And making decisions about family, wives, children and friends is one of the main reasons gay and bisexual men seek help when coming out.
I’m at a crossroads. I don’t know which way to turn…
…It feels like I’m in midlife crisis with my sexuality.
If you are an older man coming to new terms with your homosexuality, it doesn’t matter whether you are living in Birmingham or Melbourne, Philadelphia, Singapore or anywhere else in between, you can discuss your concerns over the Internet with an experienced online counsellor and therapist who specialises in these issues.
Gay Life: Exploring New Worlds
In counselling appointments, when I meet with older gay or bisexual men who are coming out, they sometimes describe their experiences of gay life as ‘being in another world’. But it strikes me that instead of one single gay culture, there are probably lots of different gay ‘worlds’ to explore. Like any new and unfamiliar experience, you might be uncomfortable or even shocked by the way some gay men live their lives. Others might be rouse your interest or curiosity. Part of the coming out experience for men who have been married to women or are dealing with sexuality as mature adults is the process of discovery.
Narrative therapy often uses metaphors in counselling to find ways forward. Perhaps it is okay to travel through these worlds before finding a place to settle? It can take some time to develop a sense of how you might like your life to be. On this journey, you might even end up deciding to create a world around you which leaves you feeling more comfortable.
Feeling Good about Being Gay or Bisexual
It’s not unusual for Coming Out to be accompanied by experiences of Depression and Anxiety. Some men find themselves drinking or using drugs as a way of coping with the changes they are going through. Finding some other coping strategies can help you avoid relying on alcohol or other substances.
In a recent survey, ‘feeling good about who you are’ ranked as the most important thing to remember for men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who were Coming Out.
Married men (i.e. men married to women) and others who are at the age where they have a lot of established relationships can find coming to new terms with their homosexuality a difficult transition. They often have a lot of questions:
Who should I tell that I am gay or bisexual?
How do I tell them?
What will I say to my wife? And what about my children? And my parents!
Do I even need to tell people I’m gay / bisexual?
For LGBT folk generally, it is often suggested that it is important to know as much as possible yourself about homosexuality and gay identity prior to Coming Out. At some point, friends and family will have questions for you and it might be helpful for you to have some answers prepared.
But I also question whether you are the one who needs to be answering all these questions. Certainly many gay seniors will wonder why they should justify themselves to younger people. Perhaps part of this transition is about others adjusting in their own time to the ways you have decided to live your life or the life you are exploring.
Do I Need to See a Therapist Because I am Gay and Coming Out at a Mature Age?
The short answer to this is no. Plenty of men of all ages make the transition to feeling more comfortable about who they are without any professional help.
At the same time, speaking to a gay counsellor or therapist certainly can have some advantages. Part 2 of this article describes some of the reasons that homosexuality counselling services can benefit older gay and bi men including those who are ‘married and gay’ or living in a relationship with a woman.
Contact me to make an appointment now