Now that I’ve been out of the closet for 4 years I feel like I’ve been through the hardest parts of announcing that I’m gay. Getting through losing all my friends, my family’s off and on alienation, and the adjustment of my kids was tough, and it all definitely took a toll on me.
One of the hardest things about all of it was/is the lack of a social life . Before moving overseas in 2002, I was part of church groups, and mom groups, and kid groups. I made several friends in each place. And those friends were added to the couple of friends from high school, a handful of friends from college, and some friends my wasband and I made in our young married church Sunday school class right after we got married. I had lots of friends!
When we moved overseas, we became friends with those who worked along side us as well as with people who went to our church. Those friends became closer than family as we spent holidays together as well as encouraged and supported each other through all our life events. We also added a new group of friends from church when we were back in the states for a 7 month stay in 2006. We had friends everywhere, and I loved that.
My kids used to ask me who was coming over or who we were going to visit just about every day. They were used to constantly having people over for dinner, eating at friends’ houses, going to lunch with people, grilling out at the park, going on vacations with friends, etc. Our lives were full of activities and people to share them with.
When I left my church, came out, and got a divorce, every single friend that I had basically vanished. I understand why. Being gay goes against everything I was taught growing up. All of my friends were either from church or had similar convictions as I did. It took me a long time to be able to reconcile my faith with being gay, and I was living it. My friends couldn’t do that. They hadn’t experienced it. I know most of them still love me, and I’m sure they pray for me on a regular basis. I know some of them even miss me. Anytime I see a friend from my past, they always give me a hug and are very warm and open. Without fail. But we don’t call each other or make plans like before. And honestly, I think I would be just as uncomfortable as they would be.
So my only options are to make new friends. Sweet Tea and I have been working on that some. We joined a church that we have not been attending very regularly, and we met some really great people there. We’ve gone to a gay campground several times and enjoyed the company of the people we met there. These are both great places to meet people. The problem is that the church isn’t close to our house, and most people seem to live either close to the church or on the other side of the city from us. The people at the campground are from all over so other than meeting them there to camp we don’t have many other options. We did meet a couple of women the first time we camped there, and they even lived fairly close to us. We did a few things outside of camping, but for some reason, things fizzled out between us after about a year.
The other contributor to not having much of a social life is a little thing I like to call a job. I was a stay at home mom for all those years of friend making. I had time to commit to lunch dates and such. Now that my free time has been drastically reduced, I have to do a little more juggling to work in friends, but I’ve still got time to squeeze in some fun. I am just surprised that making friends seems to be so much more of a process than it used to be. It doesn’t seem to come so easily anymore. I guess what I’m saying is that since my gold friends aren’t available to me anymore, I’m in the market for some silver friends. Any takers??
I know what you mean because I sometimes think to myself that I have no friends but I do, I just don’t see them very often. I am lucky if I see them twice a year. There are times in your life when you are surrounded by friends (in college, the few years after college when everyone is still single and wanting to go out, and when raising young kids). Now it seems like everyone is so busy with their day to day lives. I guess we just have to continue to make an effort (but it is hard).
Your post is a reminder that other people feel this way, so thanks.
This struck a nerve with me. My father was a minister so my whole life, at one point, revolved around the church… the majority of my friends were “church people” but I lost almost all of them when I left. My lack of friends now has a little something to do with the kinds of people I’ve met down here. My remaining church friends are too rigid and these people seem to lack… well, morals of any kind. I need to find people in between but I just haven’t figured out how, honestly.
I understand what you’re going through so well. When I quit my job and we moved out of state, I really thought we’d keep in touch with friends more. We only live 90 miles from where we used to yet it might as well be across the country. These were people I was really close to at the time. I still hear from a few, just not often. Everyone is so busy and I don’t know if most people value friendship anymore. I would be honored to call you and Sweet Tea my friends! I guess a lot of the new way of friendship is online so if that’s all I can get, I’ll be glad to take it. I always enjoy conversing with you on Twitter and your blog. 🙂
Hi, I’m visiting from Tyfanny’s blog. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling isolated. It’s not easy making friends as an adult and I often wish I had more friends or saw the ones I do have more. It takes work keeping connected, even without cultural barriers.