I've always been a fan of dating apps. Being on Grindr, Scruff or whatever the latest installment is called, gives gay men a sense of belonging. It's nice to see that there are so many others out there. It's hot to hook up for great sex, and meet interesting people from around the globe.
There is, however, a dark side to the technology. Seeing that so many are out there may also make you reflect on your own relationship: What if someone better suited or just hotter is waiting around the corner? Now that he is only a click away, why not give it a try? In one word: temptation.
I think dating apps are fantastic. I also think they ruin relationships. That is, they can ruin them, if both partners keep their online activities a secret from each other. My friend Billy put it that way: "ever since these apps came along, my boyfriend and I basically stopped having sex with each other. But we are still together. The question is: Why?"
That's exactly the question you should ask yourself. It doesn't matter if you've been an item for one year, or for twenty. You should always know why you are staying with the man you chose. Only if you know that will you be safe from the allure of technology which puts hot men at your fingertips 24-7.
My partner and I have gone through phases: the "picking up a guy together" phase, the "do what you want" phase, the "I don't want to know" phase, and the "I show you my dates, you show me your dates" phase. Now we are in the offline phase. I got too weird and distracted us too much from who we are as a couple.
People need privacy. We need our own little secrets, our hot steamy affairs, our dirty chats with perfect strangers. It helps keep life in balance. But a relationship needs trust and openness. Keeping secrets on your cellphone is too easy. Typing away in the chat app while your partner sits next to you isn't just disrespectful: it lays the seeds of mistrust. My rule is this: At any given moment, I am prepared to hand over the phone to my partner and show him what I've written. That way I never overstep the line.
And believe me, I learned this the hard way, by really endangering our 15-year relationship. How did I do that? By keeping my online activities a secret. He said he wasn't interested in the guy, I kept chatting with him anyway. And met him. And got into trouble.
You may one day find yourself in this situation. You start questioning whether the man lying next to you is right for you. Again and again you reach for the phone and chat with your potential future mate.
In fact, because technology gives us such easy access to other men, it is more than likely that one day meet a guy who promises a new start, a better life, more excitement, and hotter sex.
At that point it's important to remember that no matter what, the new is always more exciting. If you have been in a long-term relationship, it's easy to feel more head-over-heels with a hot stranger. When your partnership has long ago turned into companionship, maybe you miss the feeling of being in love.
At the end of the day however that is no reason to break up with your partner. Because remember this: He came first. Breaking up because the guy on Scruff promises a different life is not fair. Your partner came first. It's as simple as that.