Dearly Beloved, I’m 40 and Have Never Had A Relationship. Is It Too Late?

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In this week’s Dearly Beloved, the advice column from author Michael Arceneaux, our dear reader says despite coming out some 20 years ago, he has yet to experience a long-term relationship and fears that he may never find one.  

If you want Michael’s advice, just email him at with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start your letter with Dearly Beloved!

It’s a thing.

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Dearly Beloved,

I am 40 and have never had a long-term relationship before even though I have been out since I have been 20 years old.

I’ve hooked up on Grindr on numerous occasions, but have never really found the right person for me. Whenever I have managed to grow close to someone they have either backed away or I have ended it.

Nearly all my friends are in long-term relationships and I am the last one. I am in awe of how people do it as I have never been able to.

I worry that I will never ever find someone, and now that I am 40 I am over the hill and will never have the relationship I have longed for.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Dear 40 and Baeless,

You sound like my biggest fear. I say that with no sense of joy or any intent to mock or belittle. But yes, this letter is my biggest fear, and frankly, it is probably one of the greatest fears for many of the people reading our exchange in this very moment.  It’s one thing to be comfortable being alone, another to feel lonely. It’s even more painful to feel as though you will stay lonely. It’s a certain kind of hope that you should never really let go of.

Mere hours before writing a response to you, a dear friend of mine, a straight woman, mentioned not feeling her best. When I asked why, she said it was because she was dying alone.  I failed her a bit in that moment, but I don’t want to fail you now.

As gay men, the reality is we are the first among us to truly have the opportunity to even form the sort of relationships you’re longing for. I could go on and on about the perils of living up to heteronormativity, but you don’t want to hear that right now and I don’t blame you because I don’t want to be alone forever either, bitch.

Still, it must be said: give yourself a break.

You are one of the first of your kind to live out loud and it’s not as if you were given an instruction guide on how to find love and keep it. You are becoming the instructional guide. As am I. It sucks, but what can we do but live in the world as it is not how we wished it to be.

You may have made some mistakes in the past, but forgive yourself of that and move on. I know that sounds easier said than done, but you’re carrying baggage with you and that load isn’t going to get you to where you want to be any sooner. 

I’m sorry that you are the sole member of your friend group without a long term relationship. You don’t have to stay that way, though. How proactive are you being about it? Where do you go to meet men? Are you asking for help? Are you broadening the pool of men you are open to dating?

Are you dating younger? Older? Have you tried online dating outside of Grindr? The answer to all of these questions can be yes, but my answer would be the same: keep trying anyway. I know how exhausting and overwhelming it can all feel, but we have to keep trying. And if you tell yourself that you will not die alone, you will not. Because you will keep trying. Because it is all you can do. I’m going to go back and tell my friend the same thing.

You are not over the hill. You are not doomed to a lonely life. It’s just been harder for you than it has been for others, but later is not the same as never. Hold on to that.



Tags: Advice
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