A loyal Queerty reader recently wrote to us about concerns he had regarding his relationship. We’ve asked our expert psychologist Jake Myers, a Los Angeles-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialization in LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy, to step in with some advice.
My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year. We’re super happy and things are starting to feel serious. Last month, he introduced me to his family, and we’ve begun talking about possibly moving in together once his lease is up.
Here’s the thing though: We met on Grindr. In the beginning, we told people we met at a bar. It seemed less embarrassing and technically it wasn’t a lie. (We connected on Grindr then met up at a bar.) But lately he’s been dropping that narrative and just telling people the truth. Whenever someone asks how we met, he says “On Grindr!” like it’s nothing. All his friends and coworkers know. Even his mom knows!
I have no qualms about Grindr. After all, without it we probably never would have met. But I’m not 100% comfortable sharing this with the whole entire world. What should I do?
-Grinded & Confused
Dear Grinded & Confused,
Congrats on your romance! We live in a digital age, where it is so much easier to connect and meet people online through apps and social media. Apps like Grindr have revolutionized gay culture, some say for the better, some say for the worse, but no one can deny that millions of connections have been made because of it.
My advice to you would be to first look at your own beliefs about Grindr. While many people (maybe even the majority) use it for an easy hook up, there are plenty of other guys on there looking to meet people for dating, or even to find friends in a new city. It doesn’t have to carry a negative stigma.
Although in your letter you said you have “no qualms about Grindr,” I wonder if that’s entirely true. Often times when we worry about judgment from others, what’s actually happening it that we’re judging ourselves first. Since, as far as I know, no one has actually said anything negative to you about meeting through the app, I wonder if the stigma is something you’re bringing to it yourself. You have the ability to release this stigma, and make the decision to not judge yourself. If others do, that’s on them. As you said, Grindr helped you get to a place where you’re in a happy relationship.
Even if one did sometimes use an app for a hook up, does that even have to be shameful? Is there something inherently wrong with anonymous (hopefully safe) sex, or is that just what heteronormative society tells us? You can use this as a chance to practice not judging yourself, and, in turn, not caring what others think. Often times if you go into something judgment free, others may see it’s no big deal and follow suit.
My other suggestion would be to have a conversation about this with your boyfriend. Even if you are working on the above suggestion to remove your own judgments about Grindr and be more at ease with it, it still might feel uncomfortable at times. Maybe you guys can come up with a happy medium on what you tell people that is still honest, without having to overshare. For example, instead of “Grindr,” maybe you can say you met “on a dating app” or “online.” Or you could simply say, “We started chatting online first and then met in a bar.” No one has to know the details. Sometimes less is more! Talking to your boyfriend about this might help you both meet in the middle.
Jake Myers is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles and Queerty’s relationship columnist. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles, with a specialization in LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy. Visit him on Facebook @jakemyerstherapy or at jakemyerstherapy.com.
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