I met my ex in the winter of 2015 on Grindr, one horny, cold night.
What started as an evening hookup one evening slowly escalated into sleepovers, and before I knew it, I was sucked into the vacuum of monogamy. I never was one for monogamous relationships because they felt constrictive and to be frank very straight, which is something I avoid at any cost.
We continued to be a homonormative couple until the summertime--to be specific, the day they legalized same-sex marriage. While I do not prescribe to homonormative standards, I was happy that those who wanted to be married now could, so we decided to go to Chicago's Boystown and celebrate.
The night ran on and I was ready to head home when I got a call from my ex saying he was kicked out of the bar we were just in. Like any couple, we were not without problems--I wasn't the best communicator; he wasn't the best with handling his feelings, or people, or well a lot. He began to yell at me on the train platform. About what you might ask? I couldn't tell you--I don't remember and I was drunk.
We stood in silence for 11 minutes waiting for the train and when it arrived, he walked off the platform. That is the last I saw of him for a year--no contact at all. But thanks to Grindr, he was never too far away.
One Year Later...
I receive a message on Grindr one evening, "You look really good here."
"Thanks, who is this?" I say expecting some hot daddy to invite me over, but instead it was a picture of my ex. I immediately saw red and decided I was going to block him--but instead I invited him over to fuck me.
Was it worth it? Eh. And why did I do it if on some level I wasn't into it?
I don't know--maybe because on some level I knew what I was getting. I knew that it was going to feel good because it was comforting to be held by someone who cared/s for me. And I knew that falling back into the old habits (while not healthy) can still feel good even just momentarily.
In her book All About Love, bell hooks says, "If we succeed without confronting and changing shaky foundations of low self-esteem rooted in contempt and hatred, we will falter along the way."
It was also a point in my life when everything had been changing for me: I started school and was being promoted at work. So things were going really well for me--naturally, as Hooks suggests, before the other shoe dropped I decided to jump back into the sack with a former lover and make it drop.
And regardless of how you were treated in the past, seeing that familiar face (or dick) again can be a comfort.
5 Months Later...
He is telling me how monogamy is not for him and that he doesn't want to be in a relationship after weeks of seeing each other when I sat him down to discuss what we are doing.
I happily agreed to this even though I found this the most ironic. We continued to date while I was fucking a few someone's and trying to keep the two worlds from colliding.
And this was successful until the evening of my housewarming where 12 to 15 of my guests had not only been inside my new apartment--but also inside me (including my new roommate). I wasn't really concerned, since we weren't monogamous so why worry, I thought?
While I sat at my party trying to casually juggle 12 current and former lovers (and being quite successful at doing so, I may add), I definitely felt him become more aware as the night progressed. Was it jealousy or just new for him?
I will never know because, yet again, one drunken evening shortly after the party we began to bicker and next thing I know I am alone in bed with no contact. So then I downloaded Grindr, again.
8 Months Later...
"Hey, your profile is really great just wanted to reach out and say hi," my ex wrote to me one post-hangover April Sunday, to which I only could respond,"Let's fuck."
As I found myself douching my way to the next mistake, I found myself thinking about why haven't I learned to say "no?" Why do we keep coming back to here? And why do I have Scream playing in the background?
While I don't really know the answer to all of these, I do know my exes are terrible and that I make really poor decisions, and maybe I should be more careful in these hungover moments where I found myself to be more vulnerable.
But no matter, I do find myself comforted in these moments knowing that, thanks to Grindr and other hook-up apps, people I've known and who know me pretty well are never more than 4,000 feet away.
And that I should really go to therapy.
This week, OUT will be looking back at Grindr's 8-year legacy since the gay hook-up app first launched on March 25, 2009. Through a series of stories and images, we'll investigate where we came from to know where we're going.