Dear Amy: I'm an attractive 29-year-old gay man. I couldn't afford my own place, due to overwhelming student loan debt and other financial issues. I moved back in with my parents, and have been living with them for over a year.
My dating life has taken the hardest hit. I have a good job and I take care of myself. However, I'm always embarrassed to bring up the fact that I live with my parents. I feel as if they will judge me. Oftentimes, I lie and say I live in my own place in the city (which is no way to start off any relationship).
I don't want this to stop me from dating. However, it doesn't help that I compare myself to other gay men who have nice apartments and are more financially stable.
Obviously, moving out is a goal, but I'd like to start dating
— how should I address it with potential suitors? I feel like this has been holding me back so much.
Amy says: The student debt crisis has forced many adults into uncomfortable situations; I suggest that you own this, with humor.
You say, "That's right — I'm an attractive, well-employed 29-year-old man living the dream of cohabiting with my folks! The upside is I'm paying down college debt and due to move out soon. Plus, sometimes my mom lets me have Lucky Charms for breakfast."
No cure for loneliness
Dear Amy: What's your advice on how to survive extreme loneliness?
I am alone in the world. I have no parents, siblings or extended family.
I have teenage children who visit a couple of hours each week, but I am more like a grandmother to them than a mother. They are part of their father's family, not mine.
And although I am a fairly attractive woman, I have not been able to find a boyfriend, despite meeting almost 100 men through online dating sites throughout the years.
I have a few friends, and go to meetups and even organize them. I do enjoy myself at times, but at the end of the day I am alone and have nobody to wish me good night or good morning or to ask how my day was.
It is taking a toll on me. I am alone 95 percent of the time, and don't see how I can survive the rest of my life like this (I am only in my 50s).
And although I am not suicidal now, I feel like if this loneliness goes on for another 10 years or so, I will be.
Amy says: You present a few clues to your predicament, but don't provide details. Your children, for instance — you don't live with them and don't seem to have much of a relationship with them. And the 100 men you've met through online matching sites — presumably there were opportunities there, which you seem to have missed. Your loneliness may stem from your own problems relating to people.
The most obvious solution for you would be to get a housemate. Many people your age (and older) don't want to live alone, and, just as the internet has helped to match you with potential romances, you can use this resource to find potential housemates. Several sites specialize in roommate matching specifically.
Another option is to adopt a house pet. Animals can make amazing companions; if a cat, dog or bird bonds with you, it will provide an ever-flowing source of amusement and affection.
While you are testing your options, I hope you will also seek counseling to discuss your issues. A therapist will help you to recognize patterns in your own life, with a goal of changing them for the better.
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