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Newly Out Man Is Unsure How to Navigate Gay Community

DEAR ABBY: Last year I came out as a gay man. I'm 35, and it was a very difficult decision.

I haven't been in a relationship with a man before and have dated only women up until now. I have been on a few dates, and I feel like I fall too fast and easy for a guy. I'm struggling to fit into the gay community and understand what is acceptable and what is not.

I recently met someone I really like, but I'm not sure if he feels the same way. I have never felt this way about anyone before, and I am scared I'll mess it up. I don't want to be alone and I'm afraid that's what is going to happen to me.

I am not sure how to interact with other gay guys. It took me so long to come out, I don't want it to take forever to find someone. How do I get over this fear of being alone and be comfortable around guys? -- FEELING LOST IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR FEELING LOST: Make a conscious decision to relax and just be yourself because it isn't necessary to be anyone but who you are. In time, you will realize there are as many kinds of relationships in the gay community as there are in the straight community. Some men are looking for casual hookups while others want the same kind of solid, lasting relationship you do.

Because you are confused about "how to fit into the gay community," you might find guidance if you contact the nearest gay and lesbian center and join one of their talk groups. One that's comprised of individuals who are "newly out" would be perfect for you.

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