What It Was Like To Navigate The Gay Dating Scene Without Grinder

by Matthew David Hays

At the beginning of the year, I committed to an eight0week workout program. I was going to detox my body and get in wicked good shape. As I decided to do this, I decided maybe it was time to detox some other areas of my life.

For the last five years, I had been addicted to Grindr. Not in the way that it was on my phone and I would check it, but in that I spent hours on it every day. I couldn’t function without it.

I would lose sleep over hoping the cute guy would message me back. I would hold out on going out with friends. I would never fully be present; my mind was always sucked up in the Grindr world.

It really had become an unhealthy situation. It’s not like all those hours on the app really led to anything, as I never started dating anyone. Most guys say they want to hook up, but flake at the last second. I wasn’t only wasting time, but also mental, physical and emotional health.

When I first deleted the app, I was unsure. What about the conversations I was in the middle of? What were the people going to think? How was I going to have a connection to the gay hook-up world? My identity was in Grindr and the messages I got. How would I ever survive eight weeks without it?

At first, it was kind of hard. The first two weeks were a little rough. There was no wasting time on the app, no checking it constantly. There were no unwanted d*ck pics, no questions asking if I was hung, top or bottom, if someone could blow me or if I could blow someone.

Seriously, how was I going to live without this in my life?

The eight weeks ended up being some of the best of my life. I wasn’t always checking my phone. I was present, in the conversation, in what was happening and in the moment. I wasn’t wasting sleeping hours waiting to hear back from a guy. Grindr wasn’t the first thing I checked in the morning. The number of messages or lack there of didn’t matter.

I was no longer sucked into or worried about what people were thinking of me, why a guy wasn’t messaging me back and why someone randomly blocked me. I didn’t have to deal with all the crazy messages that got sent on an hourly basis.

Grindr was no longer my identity. I was me, and I was happy. I was more productive with my day, my friendships, my time, and my investments.

I had survived 26 years without a guy by my side, so I could easily survive the eight weeks without an app. Random hookups don’t go anywhere anyway, and they leave you feeling less than before. It was very much like having a breath of fresh air.

I focused on what was in front of me, not what could be happening or having my head in a virtual reality world.

Did I download it again once the eight weeks was up? You bet your ass I did. But, I came back with a new perspective.

It’s just an app, and I’m not really in it to hook up. I want to make friends.

If I meet a guy for drinks, great. If someone doesn’t message me, it’s all good. I’m not going to respond to people who start off with a dick pic, ask me if I’m hung or anything else that is clearly just going to be a hookup. I have other ways to take care of those desires. I want what I had in those eight weeks: friendships, connections and not focusing on something else all the time.

In reality, it is basically just a game. Keeping with that perspective, it makes it so much easier. I don’t get my panties in a bunch over a stupid app. I take it with a massive grain of salt. If something happens, awesome. If not, oh well.

I limit the amount of times I check it and how long I am on. Those eight weeks taught me something: I have too many other things to do to be worried about if I guy wants to message me back or not.