Sunday, May 31

AK Souffle: The stigma of one

- January 29, 2018


I live alone. I choose to live alone and I enjoy living alone. Solitude is a great luxury and one that for the most part I embrace. Okay, okay, I freely admit that sometimes solitude can dip into loneliness and loneliness is not fun.

I haven’t always lived alone, I’ve lived with family, with friends, with lodgers and yes, with lovers. And yes I have enjoyed all of those states – well, for the most part. I mean surely we have all had moments when the person or persons that we have lived with have got on our nerves, driven us mad, mad to the point where we have craved a space of our own.

For years as a single gay man I wanted a partner, I fell for the belief that to be “complete” I needed to be a part of a couple, hands up who has been there? Coupledom is a dominating state that seems to frown on singledom. It can become oppressive – if you let it.

I’m talking frankly here when I say that I now have to recognise that I am getting old

In being alone I am sure that I am not alone. We are a nation with an increasingly large older population, we’re all living longer – even us gays! And as we get older we become more vulnerable, our daily needs become more demanding of our physical capabilities and for those of us who do live alone there is a missing level of support that a partner can offer.

I’m talking frankly here when I say that I now have to recognise that I am getting old. I can play the young at heart card of course but the body tells a different story. But it’s not the physical aspects of growing old that should be our concern, well not solely. Physical restrictions that come with old age are, of course, a major concern in our increasingly large older community. It is loneliness that can really damage a person’s quality of life and lead to the complications of mental health issues.

So can I live alone and remain happy? Right now I think I can – but not everyone is as bloody-minded and stubborn as me. We all need to embrace the needs of our older gay community, a phone call could be a lifeline, costs very little but could mean the world.

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