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Ask the Experts

Question:

I am 48, gay, and still single, and am depressed about ever finding a lover. I feel like my depression is getting worse but my prospects aren't getting any better. Can a psychologist or psychiatrist help me?

Answered by: Robert Kertzner

Although seeing a mental health provider can’t guarantee that you’ll find a lover or partner, it could help you in several other ways. First, it might be helpful to sort out if the depression could be due to other causes such as psychological conflicts or inhibitions that you may not be aware of, unhelpful patterns of thought or behavior, lingering difficulty with being gay, or a tendency towards depression with associated feelings of low self-esteem and hopelessness. Perhaps, medication for depression would be helpful.

Second, treatment can also help you reframe your goals: rather than hinge your well-being on finding a lover, you can work towards finding ways to be more active and engaged in your life, independent, and comfortable with the uncertainty about whether you’ll be in a relationship.

Being in a relationship is a goal for many people (young and old, straight and LGBT), but there are many routes to well-being. Conversely, being depressed is not an inevitable part of being single. For help finding a mental health professional interested in LGBT health, you can visit the referral websites of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, the American Psychological Association, or other mental health organizations.