6 ways gay suffering manifests — and what you can do about it to live your best gay life

Spenser Warren
11 min readJul 15, 2023
Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

A while back, I wrote about embracing your “Gay Yay.”

This was my silly little way of reflecting upon why I’m happy to be gay, and served as a gratitude exercise to wrap up Pride Month. But despite the vibrant colors that adorn our Pride flags‌, being gay can be very hard‌. I love joining with our community to celebrate our triumphs, but our pitfalls and daily suffering can teach us just as much as our success.

Being out of the closet for only two years, I’ve still yet to experience some joys of gay life.

I’ve never been in love, never been part of the “popular” gay group, never danced the night away at circuit parties, or marched proudly to preserve our rights.

My lack of some of these things, particularly around my lack of love, has caused me immense suffering. I’m sure many gays experience this suffering, as love and belonging are natural needs. But at an even deeper level, we are more likely to not have had those needs met during childhood because of the minority stress we experienced.

I’ve searched for validation and emotional intimacy in guys I’ve dated, only to have these men continuously reject me.

I’ve finally had to learn to truly love and accept myself, with therapy being an essential part of my journey.

But sharing and acknowledging ways in which we suffer as gay people can help us direct our energy to overcoming these struggles. It’s important not to wallow in suffering. Yet understanding how suffering occurs in our community can allow us to break free from it and find better paths to increase happiness.

1. Gay dating can be toxic

I’ve only actively dated men for less than 3 years.

During this time, I’ve dated all types of men. I’ve dated fellow anxious men and plenty of avoidant men. This includes men who were incredibly comfortable with their emotions and men who wanted to shrink away from them. I’ve ended budding relationships almost as much as I’ve been rejected.

Gay dating can be absolutely exhilarating while also being incredibly exhausting.

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Spenser Warren

Career Coach | Helping ambitious professionals do their life’s work and build empowerment through career reinvention | 10 year HR Pro | Career Changer | Writer