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Is it better to be lonely in a relationship or a lonely and alone?

Unread postPosted: 24 September 2021, 04:00
by Mikeyk954
My partner and I got together in 1980 and we had quite a few ups and downs relationship wise. But probably most important was I became HIV positive. And a few years later he developed testicular cancer and went through a horrible treatment but survived. We lived in Louisville and had lots of friends and had lots of dinner parties and we were very social.But I just never felt very happy with the relationship but I stayed largely out of guilt and fear. Eventually we move to Florida and my disease got worse and worse. I eventually retired well actually when I’m disability. But he was jealous that I didn’t have to go to work anymore so you decided to retire. When he retired he stayed at home did nothing but watch TV all day. He didn’t want me to do anything or go anywhere or have any friends. The only things I could do were things that included him. And then the reckless spending began and booking cruises that we cannot afford and finally I had had enough. But I also should say mixed in there was my attraction to the leather community which he disliked immensely. He would eternally put down me my friends the leather community and make accusations that were not true.
We had actually gotten married in 2014. He insisted on a destination wedding that we couldn’t afford. I didn’t really want to get married but I didn’t want to tell him I didn’t want to get married. Then in late 2017 with the help of a therapist I finally decided I had to leave. I planned and it took me months to be able to leave quickly and easily. I had tried many times to get him to talk about problems talk about a relationship but he didn’t want to.
One night while he was out with friends I loaded my car up with everything I could get into it and I left. I drove away from 38 years with this person. At that point the hardest thing was leaving my three dogs.
I guess I should add that we hadn’t had sex since we were probably three years into our relationship so if you add that up it’s 35 years of a sexless relationship.
When I left I had more sex than I had had in all the years before my relationship probably. I was finally happy. Could do what I want and go where I wanted. I didn’t have to have permission for anything.
Then unfortunately I fell in love with someone who said he love me but he ended up being a meth using liar who had sex with anybody who would put it in him.
Horrible break up.
Since then I’ve been alone. I have no friends. I recently lost a third of my disability income. I’ve had to move into disabled subsidized housing. My health keeps declining because of the arthritis mostly.
He went back to work and has a good paying job. He has a new car. He has friends. He just took a cruise and also took a vacation with friends.
So now I’m feeling jealous and resentful and regretful and wish I could make the last 3 1/2 years disappear
So right now I feel the decision to leave was a big mistake I have been regretting my decisions and wonder is it impossible to go back. Is it even something I would want to do if I could go back. Who’s to say he would even want me to come back. I know I’ve hurt him in many many ways and I’m sorry for that but I was dying in that relationship the way it was.

Just very sad and very lonely

Re: Is it better to be lonely in a relationship or a lonely and alone?

Unread postPosted: 24 September 2021, 20:33
by pozzie
Hey there. My first piece of advice - after a few days - when you're not feeling so down and lonely - reread your post from the beginning and see how you feel about the questions you ask.

I have been single now for over half my life. I haven't always been happy with that but in the last decade or so I came to terms with it and have grown to really prefer it, so much so that when I have dated, I've been pretty clear about wanting to preserve my own space be that by maintaining my own home (apartment) or a separate bedroom or whatever. Not everyone gets it, but some guys do.

Feeling lonely isn't healthy. One can be alone and not lonely. It doesn't sound like you are there though. Addressing that issue is probably most important though it sounds like there might be some underlying depression given your circumstances.

I too am living with HIV, don't have the luxury of disability but have to deal with chronic pain and fatigue which really impacts my daily activities. That's lead me to prioritize. Just as a frame of reference, after my health tanked, I gained lots of weight and was even in a wheelchair for about a year, on pain meds (yeah, caught up in the opiods crisis after the turn of the century) etc. I decided to make a change and clawed my way back, bit by bit, over a decade. I'm not running marathons, but am close to my high school weight. I really struggle on some days but still find enjoyment, especially when my dog behaves while we're out for a brisk walk. I have always tended a small garden, for example, and take great joy in flowers.

I don't know what the right solution is for you - you will have to find that for yourself, but I suggest first addressing your own needs and well-being and then address the possibility of a partner.

I'm also glad to encounter another with HIV on here since the local HIV social group disappeared about 2 summers before this pandemic got rolling. I don't believe I've had any contact in real life with someone living with HIV for almost two years. Same goes for in person contact with other gay men. So yeah, I'm pretty isolated. I am friendly with some neighbors, but not close and with the pandemic it's just increased the sense of isolation.

Re: Is it better to be lonely in a relationship or a lonely and alone?

Unread postPosted: 25 September 2021, 00:30
by Mikeyk954
Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I think my feelings of loneliness and isolation currently are being exacerbated by the fact that I had surgery on September 10 to have a penile implant revised. I’ve developed complications with extreme, extreme swelling in the scrotum and penis. It has gotten to the point where I had to go to the doctor today and be seen even though I did not I have an appointment. She looked at it and immediately had a catheter put in and sent me to the emergency room.
So that was a little background on the last two weeks but my feelings of isolation are due to the fact that I had absolutely no one, no friends, no acquaintances, who offered to be of any help to me. I had to find caregivers and pay them to help me for the first few days after surgery.
When I left my husband I was excited to be free and to resume my sexual life even though I was in my early 60s. But after my devastating break up with the other guy my therapist basically told me with my number of comorbidities, my age and my proclivities for the leather community my chances of finding a spouse or partner or boyfriend are next to zero. Then Covid hit and that only increased the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Now Guys are starting to get out and go to the bars and go to restaurants and some of the clubs are meeting again, but I am at this point still fearful of covid infection despite the fact that I have had the three injections.
Besides the AIDS I have diabetes rheumatoid arthritis osteoarthritis Congestive heart failure aortic valve stenosis sleep apnea chronic pain syndrome. I had my left ankle replaced in December of last year because I could barely walk from the excruciating pain. When i was able to walk well and with no more pain in my ankle, walking became difficult because of pain in my back because of the arthritis. I can’t seem to catch a break.
So no wonder my therapist thinks it’s impossible for me to find a partner. Who would want to hitch their wagon to this physical mess?
However when I am feeling good and the Penile implant was working prior to the need for the revision I was able to hookup with lots of guys Of all ages who wanted sex. But when they got off, they left. Sometimes they came back for an encore, but mostly not.
I just cannot figure out why I can’t seem to make and keep close friends. I am a nice guy. I’m easy-going. I’m excepting of practically everybody and everything. I would give a person a shirt off my back. I’m still considered somewhat attractive considering my age. I offer to help “friends“ when they have health issues, surgery or other problems even when I don’t feel well, but they never take me up on it. And then they never even offer to help me when I need a help.
I don’t mean to go into the whoa is me monologue or pity party.
I just don’t know what guys are looking for anymore especially those of us who passed the gay acceptable age limit or body type and have become invisible.
I’ve been playing with the idea of starting a meet up group just for this type of gay man. There has to be tons of us out there Living in the same predicament.

Re: Is it better to be lonely in a relationship or a lonely and alone?

Unread postPosted: 25 September 2021, 06:33
by pozzie
I'm really sorry to hear about the complications with the recent medical procedure. It also sounds like you are addressing that and just need to give nature and medicine time to work. Healing up is almost always the most important thing to do. But I'm guessing you're finding more time to think about things? For better and maybe not so much?

Okay, on the no one around when you needed help: did you ask anyone - hey, I'm not really feeling well, nothing to do with Covid, would you be willing to help me with a ride a to the doctor? Now the one thing, I get things are weird right now thanks to our new viral visitor, but we still have to ask when we need help. If you did ask and no one was available, I'm truly sorry to hear that. Maybe others are scared - especially of all things medical. Hard to say from where I'm sitting.

For the future, you might want to check your medical plan for transportation benefits. I've no idea what Medicare might have to offer and from what you've indicated, I'm guessing you're probably on it. If your current plan doesn't offer it, it might be worth looking into during the next open enrollment. Are you on the local flavor of ADAP? Alas, I'm not sure Florida is one of the good states when it comes to helping us out, but I won't speculate further. I'm just glad I traded a red state for true blue. Especially when I got sick.

"I can’t seem to catch a break." Well, actually, you did. You were born in the US, not Haiti or Afghanistan or ... the list could go on and on. And yeah, it might be better in Canada or Denmark or 20-some other countries, but here we are. Right? I've known of people who've lost body parts to diabetes - granted, they didn't take care of themselves properly, but there is still that thought as well. The neighbor I was closest to lay dead in her home for days a couple doors down thanks to diabetes and her anger at the disease. Again, perspective.

Two years ago my dog became too frail so I had to have her euthanized. I grieved for a few days. Then I got busy cleaning: she hadn't even known she was having 'accidents' in the house by that point. But I was ready to start the next chapter. I was searching all the websites for leads on a new dog - I wasn't picky, I just knew my chances for finding new housing would be much higher, should I need to do that, if I had a smaller dog. However, I'm not really into toy breeds and had German shepherd crosses and mixes my entire adult life. Anyway every local dog was either a pittie mix, Chihuahua mix, too big, or turned out to be in another state.

It was maddening and the days turned to weeks. But most days I got up and went through all the websites until one day my dream dog - seriously, my absolute dream dog - popped up. Called friends, we hit the road and drove for over an hour to the shelter, but arrived about 15 minutes too late. Some other family had put a hold on him. Crushed? You bet. Absolutely devastated. I walked around the shelter but there was nothing for it.

Kept at it for a couple more weeks and I noticed another dog at that same shelter that I'd looked over but just didn't seem right hadn't found a home. They had set his price as high as they go and I asked why they kept it there when he clearly hadn't found a home after five weeks. They dropped it a third and I went back and spent time in whatever they call their room to meet a potential adoptee. I decided to give it a go.

He's pretty high maintenance: everything is prey. On either our first or second walk together, we were 'greeted' by a pit bull and a rottie roaming the streets freely. I forget now which my then 19 pounder went for it all happened so fast. So walking him can really be a chore in a neighborhood crowded with people, kids, cats, and other dogs. Everyone wants to say hi cause he's so cute/handsome, but I have to be very careful since he can be unpredictable.

But at home he's the greatest pal. He's extremely affectionate and unlike any dog I've known in at least 35 years. Did fortune screw me over, snatching my dream dog away from me? Or did I get the dog I deserved and maybe the dog who needed me? He came to live with me about a month before I started reading about a viral outbreak in Wuhan. It's not been easy on either of us, but I'm so damn glad he's been here with me through this thing.

I've decided to try and create as much joy in my life as I can. Yeah, I kind of depend on some help from my four-legged monster, I mean friend, but I also know he helps provide a reason to get up in the morning and get out for some exercise later in the day.

Maybe you can think about what might help you find a reason to work towards the best possible self you can be. I can't promise that will help you find true love, but my suspicion is you'll feel a bit better and happier than you do today. The key is you have to really want it and be willing to work towards that end. I can promise only one thing: it's never as easy as we wish but it's better than the alternatives, no?

Re: Is it better to be lonely in a relationship or a lonely and alone?

Unread postPosted: 25 September 2021, 13:20
by Mikeyk954
Good morning. Thank you for your insightful response. It gives me a lot to think about.

Yes actually I did ask several “friends” if they could help. No one was available. That’s why I ended up hiring caregivers. When I couldn’t get anyone to take me home from the hospital after the surgery which was outpatient procedure I did ask a friend has his plateful with his sick partner and he was graciously kind and did bring me home after the procedure.

I do use Medicare transportation to travel to doctors appointments especially if they’re quite a distance from my home. But Medicare transportation would not take me home after a surgical procedure. The hospital wants to make sure you’re not gonna supposedly be alone after surgery.

It’s interesting that you mentioned your dog. I Think I said in a previous response that leaving my three dogs was actually the hardest part of leaving my husband. Since then our oldest Mikey died at age 18. Our little girl Nikki died in her sleep suddenly and unexpectedly. And that leaves what used to be my little loving lapdog Cammie. Since my ex and I have healed our relationship quite a bit my ex asked me if I would mind babysitting Cammie while he went on a trip with some friends. I gladly said yes. It was going to be five nights and I thought, hey no problem. However living in a high-rise apartment building I’m trying to take care of an elderly dog while dealing with my own severe arthritis and difficulties walking I realize that I can’t adopt a dog of my own. The sweet little dog didn’t even know she was peeing as I was walking her down the hall to go outside. Perhaps I waited too long but she never gave any indications that she had to P. I while I was babysitting I had an exacerbation of the arthritis which made it even more difficult to walk.

Since then I’ve babysat her a few more times but for much shorter length of time while he was preparing to move from the apartment. The last time I kept her two or three nights. My arthritis was so bad that I could not walk. So she just had to P in the floor and I would clean it up. Being a tiny little puppy our PP spots were very small anyway so I wasn’t concerned.

But I did open my eyes to the amount of work it takes to I own a dog. Friends suggested cats or other type of pets but being a dog person I don’t want to settle for something that I really don’t want.

I am really glad you found a buddy that needs you and that meets many of your needs as well.

Oh and yes I am signed up with all the programs like ADAP & Ryan White. I am not sure how I would make ends meet without getting food assistance, co-pay coverage for my HIV medication’s, and additional food voucher monthly, Dental coverage and case manager services Ryan White programs oh wonderful program and I’m so happy the government authorized that so many years ago.

I guess all I can do is hang in and eventually hope things return to normal and Covid goes away. After that perhaps I can get out and meet people and make some new friends.

Re: Is it better to be lonely in a relationship or a lonely and alone?

Unread postPosted: 25 September 2021, 21:44
by pozzie
Thanks for telling me more about the dogs. I didn't really want to suggest that was the right answer for you, I was trying to share how I deal with my own challenges and at this stage, I'd say your challenges are pretty damn taxing. Certainly no need to add to them!

On asking for help - just wanted to be sure. I've known people who expect help to be offered and never asked for. shrug. Also glad you're getting support through ADAP and the like.

What have you doctors suggested going forward to manage the arthritis? It sounds incredibly, well, disabling. That's an absolute challenge.

And as you wait for the pandemic to ease, I hope you will continue to look for ways like this to connect and make friends. While I realize it's nothing like the same as being able to hang out with someone, I hope you will consider me an online friend.

Have you looked through many of the other threads on here?