Need Wood? My dry spell has become a lifestyle

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Loneliness is now officially a habit. I’ve got baggage, and I’m addressing it, but I haven’t had a boyfriend in what seems like 100 years. Do you have any good tips for breaking out of my rut?

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Hey Mike!
imageI suspect I have been delusional for a long time, thinking that Mr. Right was just around the corner and that I would live some fairy tale like in the movie “An Affair to Remember,” except I would actually make it to the Eiffel Tower.

I’m lonely and haven’t dated in a long time. I turned 42 this year, and I’ve internalized from our goddamned community that I’m too old. I have been HIV-positive for what feels like 100 years, and it’s really scary for me to come forward and face the inevitable rejection and abandonment that dating brings.

I also struggle with addiction and have been in recovery for a while now. I have a history of depression, and I have been in countless hours of psychotherapy. In other words, I have at least attempted at reducing a bit of my baggage.

I have been in the gym for 20 years and have a great body. On the outside, you would assume everything was wonderful. I’m a professional, close to getting a PhD, and I own a house and a great car. Some say I am a catch, and some days I believe it.

I know that I’m not the only HIV-positive, 40-something gay man out there that’s lonely, tired of the online bullshit, the bathhouse and the adult bookstores. I want a little love, that’s all. Do you think it’s too late?
–Lonely and Depressed

Dear Lonely:
imageFirst, let me state the obvious: You have more issues than Time magazine. It’d take this whole website to address them individually, so let me just stick to the big one: Loneliness.

The world is filled with your twins—smart, successful people who haven’t had a boyfriend in so long they think it’s a mirage. They’re often immobilized by their loneliness, made all the worse because on the outside, they seem to have everything—money, looks and smarts. And hopefully, the entire collection of Bel Ami videos.

Here’s the thing: There comes a time when you have to look loneliness in the eye and ask yourself, “Am I going to give in to this or get out of it?”

I know, I know, you’ve tried everything and nothing works. Bullshit. Have you ever noticed how many really nice guys you’ve rejected? Some of those guys could have been the love of your life, but they didn’t meet criteria Number 432 on your 500 Must-Have Traits or It Ain’t Going To Work list.

Here are the top four things you can do to snag a shag worth keeping:

Put a lid on it. When it comes to loneliness, there’s a difference between confiding in trusted friends and announcing it to the public. One alleviates loneliness; the other perpetuates it. One makes you human; the other makes you unbearable. So, set limits on the time you spend expressing your sadness.

Have fun. Physical fun. The gym doesn’t count. Dancing does. Renting comedies doesn’t count. Jumping out of airplanes does. It’s easier to behave your way into new thinking than to think your way into new behavior.

Change the emphasis. Subordinate the Search For The Perfect Boyfriend to other goals. Passion has other letters in it besides “a-s-s.” Throw yourself into projects and hobbies that bring meaning and purpose to you.

Get out. To the right places, I mean. You want a relationship, yet you try bathhouses and adult bookstores. That’s like fishing in the desert—you’re not going home with anything but a rash. Shop for new bars, online sites, events and organizations. Love will fall into your lap, but you’ve got to take your lap places.

imageContributing blogger Mike Alvear is an Atlanta-based columnist, author and TV personality. Dating life in the dirt? Download his ebooks, “Attract Hotter Guys with the Secrets & Science of Sexual Body Language,” and “Attract Hotter Guys Online: The Secrets To Making Yourself Irresistible on Gay Dating Sites.” Have a question for Need Wood? Just {encode=”[email protected]” title=”send it in”}.

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