I'm a gay man and have been out of the closet my whole life and would love to
have a relationship or at least go out on dates, but every time I get up the
nerve to try with someone, I'm rejected. I was a very fat kid and I think, even
though I'm now slim and, according to my women friends, very attractive, I still
feel unattractive. I still feel like the kid everybody picked on and made fun of.
Knowing that's the source of my problems (I learned that in therapy) doesn't
help fix them, not at all. Please help.
I'm going to suggest two possibilities that some people have found useful. One is that you
do some group therapy. A well-run group gives people a safe place to get ongoing
feedback about how they interact with others and what to they might do differently. A
second possibility would be to find a therapist who will help you change your behavior
and/or what you say to yourself in order to improve the quality of your interactions with
others. The psychotherapists most likely to take this approach are those who are skilled in
behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, or a combination of the two. Obviously you also need
someone who is comfortable with and skilled in working with gay and lesbian individuals.
Don't give up: you've worked hard and there are ways to make the changes you want.
Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein,
Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks
and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional
audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT
HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.