Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wrath and the Case of Vile Vincent

The Case of Vile Vincent

Vincent was tall, blond, and intelligent.  He worked in publishing – sadly, only for academic books (so he couldn’t help me get published).  But I could tell that he was genuinely attracted to my intellect as well as my body.  But the sexual chemistry between the two of us was electric – like electric! 

I was still getting over Greg, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for another young boyfriend.  But Vincent was also super keen.  He was persistent, despite my concerns, so I thought, “Let’s let things play out.”  He had to travel to Chicago for five days for work, but before he left he and I had been talking about whether to take our relationship from casual dates and shags to boyfriends. 

I made a joke that I hated traveling across the Atlantic, because it’s just too much stress making that long flight and it takes me ages to get over jet-lag.  I said that I was hoping I could one day have a boyfriend who would either run away with me to a tropical location or just let me visit with his family over Christmas.  He said, “Well, play your cards right and we’ll see.” 

Four days after he left, I got a late-night call from my mother.  My grandmother was sick with pneumonia.  The doctors gave her four days to live, I needed to fly home immediately.  My grandmother was the glue that held our family together.  She was a rock.  She was tough as nails.  She had an amazing career despite all the sexism that confronted her in the 50’s and 60’s.  She was very religious, so she and I never discussed my sexuality, although I know for a fact that she had guessed.  But she really was a larger than life figure.  I was on the flight across the Atlantic the next day. 

My father died when I was a teenager, but he and I were estranged.  I never really knew him.  My grandfather (my grandma’s husband) died a decade before, but he was such a dick-head, I never really missed him.  This was the first person in my family with whom I was close to pass away. 

Everyone in the family was beside themselves – particularly my mother, who had so many unresolved issues with her mom.  I had no one to run to or share my grief with.  Greg was obviously out of the picture.  I couldn’t run to anyone else in my family, because they were going through the same thing.  I knew I had only been dating Vince for a few weeks, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to call him.  He didn’t answer my call.  A few hours later, he texted back, “I just got back from my trip. I’m exhausted.  Can we talk later?”  But later never came. 

In not knowing what to do, I just went to the only outlet I could find: Instagram.  I shared about my grandmother and our strained relationship and the toll her dying was taking on me and my family.  I saw that Vince had watched the story, but he didn’t respond. 

I finally texted him stating I didn’t think he was being very supportive.  He then proceeded to have a go at me for sharing my grief on Instagram, because he felt that was inappropriate. 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I thought to myself.  My grandmother is dying, and you’re not there for me, and yet you’re going to lecture me on how I process my grief?  I obviously pointed out that at a time like this, I should be allowed to grieve however I want. 

He came back with “Yeah, but…”  Now, I was getting angry.  I again pointed out that lecturing me in the middle of this crisis was both tone deaf and cruel and that I needed support from people at this moment. 

You wouldn’t believe what he said to me… 

“I’m sorry for what you’re going through, but I have other commitments, and I can’t keep checking up on you.” 

Those were his exact words.  I shit you not.  Just days ago, this man was musing about introducing me to his family, and now he can’t “keep checking up on me”?  But in truth, he had not checked up on me at all that day. 

Now, I was pissed.  The texting escalated, as I told him that his behavior was appaling. 

You wouldn’t believe what he said next. 

“Well, at least I’m employed.  You’re not.” 
What. The. Fuck!  I was literally sitting next to my grandmother’s death bed, and he’s having a go about me about my career.  I was furious but in pain.  I was barely hanging on to my own sanity.  I needed someone to be there for me – anyone.  And the man who only days ago wanted to be my boyfriend was making cheap jibes.  It was disgusting, and I told him so. 

He came back with “Yeah, but…” He added, “I don’t care.”  So eventually, I just blocked him.  I was so furious and beside myself, I literally couldn’t cope.  I have never felt so trapped, in pain, helpless and alone (despite being surrounded by family).  I was freaking out.  And I had no one to turn to.  I got up, left my family at my grandmother’s home, and I went back to my mom’s house and took a Valium.  I was so upset, I literally couldn’t stand to be near anyone, even though I knew my family needed me. 

A few minutes later, I got a voice mail.  I figured it was Vince apologizing.  Maybe he had come to his senses…


He said, “I needed to leave you a voice mail before you blocked me from calling you.  But I just want you to know that I don’t care…”  I deleted the message instantly.  I was incredulous.  I was furious.  All I could do was race home and wait for the Valium to kick in. 

My grandmother died the next day. 

Don’t worry, I saw her in the morning before she passed.  But her last evening on earth, I spent upset and alone, furious at a boy, rather than being there for my family.  I feel stupid and humiliated letting him get to me.  But never in my life had someone been so vile to me when I was feeling so vulnerable.  It takes a lot to shock me after everything I’ve seen and been through.  But Vile Vincent shocked me.  I needed someone outside of my family to be there for me, and no one was.  But I spent my grandmother’s last night on earth, pondering Vincent’s viciousness.    

Never in the years that I’ve been writing about gay dating have I ever considered actually naming and shaming someone.  I get that I’m giving my side of the story, and I’m revealing some unflattering details about certain people.  We’ve all fucked up, and we don’t deserve to have our worst moments put out in the public sphere.  But boy, I was so tempted to plaster Vince’s real name and face all over my blog – and this book.  Something this vile required justice. 

And what was he going to do?  Sue me?  The Harvard lawyer…  Part of me dreamed about this.  Finally, I could put one of these narcissistice little shits on trial!  I would welcome arguing the facts and letting the truth of Vincent’s vile behavior be known.  The world needed to know just how depraved this guy is.  He has the blackest heart of anyone I had ever dated, and if he was capable of this, there is nothing else he couldn’t do to hurt others. 

But on some level, losing my grandmother made me realize a lot of people simply can’t handle the notion of death.  I don’t think this is a gay thing, but rather death is so overwhelming, painful and deep, it makes people act crazy – even if they don’t know the dying person. People often don’t know how to help or be supportive, so most people just back off, because it’s a weird situation that makes them feel uncomfortable, so people.  I’m not saying that’s ideal, but I can see how a normal human might react that way.  A few people told me “I was giving you space to grieve,” but I knew that excuse was bullshit.  If I wanted to grieve privately, I wouldn’t be blasting my pain on Instagram. 

I also noticed a few guys, who previously had been keen to date me, disappeared.  Fair enough.  If they saw me at my absolute worst and couldn’t handle it, so be it.  But in the moment I felt like I couldn’t cope.  And to say that Vince rubbed salt in an open wound is the understatement of the century.  I mean, even Sammy the Sociopath would have handled that situation better. 

On some level, I know it was better to find out that Vincent was a snake now, rather than a year or two after dating him.  But in that moment, I felt like I really needed someone to be there for me.  I needed a shoulder to cry one outside of my family.  And the man I chose to lean on kicked me while I was down. 

Now, you may not have done something as vile as Vincent, but we’ve all kicked someone who didn’t deserve it.  My advice to you is APOLOGIZE.  Yes, you they may have said something that triggered you or maybe they didn’t approach you in the right way, but if you committed the sin of wrath, get responsible for it. 

And don’t do any of those half-assed apologies like “I’m sorry you felt sad by my words.”  That’s bull shit.  Get honest with yourself and the other person.  “I behaved like a complete ass hole.  I was being vicious, and I’m not proud of it.  I’m so sorry.” 

But what if they yell at me? You might be asking yourself.  Then take it.  You’re an adult.  To my gay readers, I say: If you can take a man’s 10” dick, you can take his reaction too.  Let him or her yell at you.  It may not be pretty, but be the bigger person.  That may give that person some closure and the ability to move on.  Your taking responsibility will not only help heal their wound, it will help heal your own. 

If you know that you kill people off with your wrath, you won’t be able to change until you get really clear how your behavior impacts you and others.  If you don’t take a moment and really let the other person’s pain seep into your consciousness, you’re going to do it again.  Otherwise, you’ll be single all throughout Trump’s second term…  And honey, we’re all going to need someone to lean on during those dark days.    

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Do Romance and Finance Mix in the Age of Grindr?

They always love and money don't mix.  And the only lesson I think I've learned from Ungrateful Greg is that money and finances can mix, but if you're not mindful, it can create a mess.

Here's the problem...

(If you're not familiar with my history with my ex Greg - see here:  The Tragedy of Ungrateful Greg

I don't deny it.  When I told Greg that I was out on a date with someone else, he was hurt and angry.  I shouldn't have done it.  It was mean.  Yes, he started the argument, but I shouldn't have done that.  I regret that mistake every day for the past six months.  But I don't think that's what made Greg stop loving me.  

He would never admit this in a million years, but Greg has a lot of pride.  He's a bit stubborn.  But it was one of the reasons I loved him.  He would stand his ground, no matter what - even if I thought he was wrong.  If you can't tell, I can argue circles around most people, and I always thought I needed someone who wouldn't be a push over.  It was actually something I admired about Greg.  The problem is people with pride who are stubborn will sacrifice a great deal in order to prove themselves right. 

What killed my relationship with Greg was the money I gave him shortly before I left town to take a new job.  And here's why...  

Greg was struggling financially.  He was in debt a few hundred dollars.  I paid it off, because I loved him, and I genuinely saw the pain he was in as I was readying to leave.  I wanted to at least ease his suffering somewhat.  And I wanted him to know that I cared about him.  Maybe that wasn't the best way to do it, but I saw he needed help, and I had a bit to spare.  And... He agreed to help look after my flat while I was away, so in theory, he'd be working for some of the gift I gave him.

Did Greg Sacrifice His Integrity by Keeping the Money?

But once he decided that he was going to cut me off, the money became a weird sticking point.  Greg (and all of you readers know) it's extraordinarily slimy to take a massive gift like that under the pretense of getting back together if I were to ever return (which is what he told me at the time), and then after a minor argument decide to cut me off -- but keep the money anyway.  It's indefensible -- and that's one reason Greg didn't tell any of his friends and family about the money I gave him.  He wailed to high heaven about me sending him a mean text, but he conveniently neglected to mention that I had paid off all his bills.  It was a convenient way to make himself look like a victim, and he knew that people would question his actions if they knew I had paid off his debts.  Had he told everyone the full story, he knew that most of his friends and family would say "Hold on a minute -that man must love you a little bit. Maybe work things out."  But Greg didn't want to hear that.  So he made himself look like the victim, but I have a feeling the money probably still nagged at him.  

I fear my money humiliated and/or emasculated him.  Greg tried to tell me "You wanna' date other guys, then fuck off, I don't need you."  But financially, he wasn't in a position to give the money back.  So in a sense, me giving him that money robbed him of his final "fuck you."  Greg knew he had to do something slimy in order to be able to pay his rent and get by, putting him in a difficult position.

He had to sell out on his own integrity in order to stay debt free.  And I think that made him furious with me.  

He couldn't properly tell me to fuck off without returning the money, which he couldn't afford to do.  So he told me to fuck off, but deep down inside, he knew he did something wrong - which is why he didn't tell anyone about it.  He knew he was a hypocrite for keeping the money.  

Money Can Create Messy Situations &  Most People Are Weak Around Messy Situations

These types of situations are not all that uncommon.  It's what I call "Gay Mess."  Now, straight people can get just as messy.  But I'm writing about homosexuals.  Now...  Greg knew he was hurt and broke.  So what was he to do?  He couldn't really say "Damn it Andrew, I hate you.  And you've put me in this impossible position, because I can't afford to repay you."  If he had compromised with himself and worked things out with me (which would have been the smartest option), he would have felt like he was being bribed or he was submitting to me because I had more money than he did.  But Greg is not a powerful communicator.  He's a smart guy, but he's not into self-actualization like I am.  He probably just felt a wave of conflicting emotions, and he did what most people would do in these types of situations.  


He killed the whole situation.  Like MURDERED it.  Like blood on the dance floor, the body is still warm, murdered it.  I put him in a difficult situation that he had no capacity to handle.  So what did he do.  He cut me off and he spent two months in his head chanting the same story to himself "Andrew's a dick head.  He tried to bribe me, but fuck him." 

I don't know this for a fact, but I know how he thinks.  He probably chanted that to himself day after day, week after week, month after month.  And eventually, he convinced himself of it.  He convinced himself that I [Andrew] am an evil manipulative ex-boyfriend, who would NEVER truly love him and wasn't worth his time or attention.  

We all do this by the way.  We all come up with convenience justifications when we've done something slimy or when we don't want to tell people the full truth, or when we'd rather walk away from a messy situation than do the hard work of putting things back together.  That's what kills gay relationships by the way (and probably loads of straight relationships).  Something happens, emotions get messy, nobody's perfect, and people just find it easier to throw in the towel than sort themselves out.   

But at the same time, the guilt still gnawed at Greg.  So three months later, when he was seeing someone else, he sends me a message on Instagram saying "Hey, let's be friends, but nothing other than friends."  

What kind of bull shit is that?  It's still slimy.  But that was his way of acknowledging to me that he knew what he did was wrong.  The problem was, it did nothing to fix the hole in my heart and the fact that I was still in love with him.  So of course, I'm furious at Greg, and I can't be the normal confident guy that I am.  I still wanted to get back together with him, if only he'd be open to talking things through.  But by this point, Greg had spent months and months trying to convince himself that he was "right" or "justified" in cutting me off but he was still perfectly entitled to keep the money.  And the funny thing is, Greg's not self aware enough to realize what he's doing.  This isn't a read, it's just an observation of a man I spent fifteen months with.  

I was always obsessed with self-actualization, enlightenment, personal growth and stuff like that -- even though I'm a shady bitch at times.  I always wanted to learn my flaws, because I feared they'd stop me from finding happiness.  Greg is a smart person.  And before I left him, in terms of our personalities he was the greatest BF I had ever had.  But he had no capacity to deal with a messy situation.  He just wasn't self aware enough to see all the moving pieces of his psyche.  And I wasn't there to work this situation through.  If I had been in town, he wouldn't have been able to ignore me.  I could have been more forceful.  But I was thousands of miles away.  I was hurt that he had cut me off, and I felt like the situation was still mostly his fault.  So we drifted, both sinking into our respective holes of believing only what we wanted to believe.

It was a perfect shit storm.  It was a mess, and no one was there to clean it up.  

And now Greg and I are back living in the same city, and he's unwilling to even talk about getting together.  He doesn't realize it, but his own ego has gotten the better of him.  And in the name of proving to me that he can't be bought, he's sacrificing the only person on this planet outside of his family who loves him unconditionally.  (By the way, that relationship he was in didn't last.  But he's jumped into another one with someone else -- all the while, completely not dealing with any of these issues and completely killing off the possibility of embracing the love I had for him.)  Perhaps I should call him Stubborn Stanley rather than Ungrateful Greg.  

But the point is this, money can fuck shit up if you're not careful.  

Think about how easy it is to walk away from a messy situation... 

Think about a time where you chucked in the towel - where you gave up and walked away rather than confront the truth that you played a part (whether majority or minority) in creating a messy situation?  

Now usually with gay relationships, the messy comes from sex outside the relationship.  Again, these situations get messy.  But either way, gay men do not handle mess well.  And because there's so much unlimited choice out there, we don't have to.  We can chuck the whole thing away, open the apps and find someone else.  

But then we wonder why we can't find real love in the age of dating apps...  

Your inability to handle messy situations like an adult will KILL your ability to have a loving relationship.  Humans are flawed.  I make mistakes all the time.  Humans get confused.  They get hurt.  And in my case, when I feel hurt, I want to make the other person feel twice as bad.  And to make matters worse, I thought I was trying to help by giving my soon to be ex boyfriend a massive amount of cash.  But all I really did was wound his pride, and he's been punishing me ever since.  I played a massive role in creating this shit show.  And honestly, if I had it all to do all over again, I would have flown home and been there for Greg.  But I was pissed off and I assumed he'd come around.  But he didn't.  He let his anger fester, and I let my anger fester.  

My New Rules Around Money

Trust me, I realized now that I shouldn't have given Greg that money.  Here are a couple of rules that I've invested around money in order to avoid this situation ever happening again.

1) When dating someone, ONLY treat them to meals and/or vacations or activities that you both share together, for these activities will strengthen the bond you feel.  For an anniversary or birthday present, take your man to a nice meal, a spa day, a fun activity, or a weekend getaway.  

2) NEVER give them large amounts of cash -- and DEFINITELY don't give them cash if the relationship has a good chance of ending in the first six months.  (For the reasons I just stated above)  Now if you're married or you're living together, this rule won't apply.  But until your relationship is rock solid, don't do anything that will hurt the other person's ego or put them in a situation where they feel used or subservient to your money.  

3) If you do decide to give traditional gifts, keep this rule of thumb in mind: If this person dumps you and then subsequently gave your gift to their new boyfriend/girlfriend, would you be furious?  If the answer is yes, then don't give them that gift!  Only give them something that you are completely detached from.  That may mean giving them a smaller gift, which of course, you can supplement for a nice meal out or a spa day or something.

4) Don't Make Your Lover Feel Insecure or Subservient - In my case, I want to lavish affection on my boyfriends.  But I see how I need to be sensitive that perhaps too much of a good thing can make the other guy feel inadequate or inferior.  Greg may have felt bad, because he could never give me anything as nice as what I was able to give him.  That might have hit his self esteem.  And perhaps, I made him feel like he "owed me" for lavishing so many gifts on him.  God knows I'm not perfect.  I tried very hard not to do this, but in an argument, I know I can lose it and be an ass hole.  It's important that my boyfriend doesn't feel "less than" or that he isn't a 50-50 partner in the relationship, simply because I've got more money. 

And obviously, once the relationship ends, I often feel used.  I thought I was investing in a long term future, and they were just enjoying the ride while it lasted.  I freely admit that makes me furious and then I throw around accusations, which only makes my ex feel more defensive -- even though I'm accurate, they don't care.  Again, no one thinks of themselves as a user.  But people enjoy the gifts while they are coming, they make promises in the moment, and then when things change, these situations get messy.  And when things get messy, gay guys tend to throw in the towel, leaving me feeling like a moron.  I need to be more careful about these situations, and I also need to be sensitive of how gift giving might make the other person feel a tad guilty or that it might dampen their voice in the relationship.  So by all means, learn from my mistakes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Do You Subconsciously Push People Away

In times of pain, I often find myself reflecting.  Usually, I'm trying to create a rule or get an insight that will help me avoid repeating similarly painful events in the future.

But I've been pondering my last two relationships that have ended, and in both cases, I wondered whether I subconsciously pushed someone away.

The "Animal Killer" 

Let's jump back a few years, I was dating a veterinarian.  His name was James Tiller (not really, but I made it up).  On our first date, I asked him about what it felt like to put down animals, and he said that usually the animals were in a lot of pain, so he thought of his actions are alleviating suffering rather than taking a life.  I asked what percentage of animals did he put down, and the number was shocking.  So in typical Andrew fashion, I quipped, "James Tiller, you're an animal killer."  He looked annoyed for a second and then bust out into laughter.  From then on out, I would tease him, James Tiller the animal killer.  Hide the puppies, y'all!  He's coming for them."  Eventually, my mom -- who is a massive dog lover, made me stop using that nickname.  "You don't know what it's like to have a pet get sick and have a vet make them all better.  I don't know where I'd be if my vet wasn't there for Buster when he got sick."

(That's not him.  It's just a stock photo of a vet.  I needed to break the essay up.)

Anyway...  James Tiller was a typical scientist.  He was very emotionally distant.  He seemed more comfortable in a lab or with animals than he did with me or with people.  He was a tad awkward, and he never talked about his feelings.  Moreover, he'd often go for days without texting, which annoyed the hell out of me.  Have you seen that movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the JK Rowling Harry Potter Franchise.  Let's just say, I can't watch that movie, because it hits too close to home.  I don't think it's politically correct to throw around the "A" word, but my mom would often say "Maybe he has a touch of Asperger's."

James was cute, but not as cute as other guys I had dated.  And I couldn't get rid of that nagging feeling "I could do better."  And part of me felt like he was just too robotic to make me happy.  We had a LOT of arguments about his communication skills or lack thereof, but to his credit he made real progress on that.  Things improved, but part of me still felt like "This guy isn't the one."  And for weeks, I would think of "How am I going to break up with this guy?"

Eventually, James gave me an out.  He went to a club with a dark room.  I went apoplectic.  At first, he denied doing anything in the dark room.  But the Judge Judy in me came out and I raked him over the coals until he confessed to doing something.  He seemed genuinely remorseful.  And lord knows, this wasn't the first time a guy had cheated on me.  (I had forgiven the previous boyfriend for numerous offenses)  But I had my out.  I broke up with him.  He gave me a good solid reason for breaking up, where I looked like a saint, and he looked like an ass hole.

Now I don't excuse the cheating, but I can't help but wonder on some level whether I pushed him to do it.  I was always looking to find a way out.  People pick up on that.  Your attitude and demeanor speak volumes.  People can tell if you're not really into them.  And I know that I didn't make James feel loved and secure in our relationship.  And I wonder if on some level, James went out, got drunk and found someone who really fancied the pants off of him.  Again, I'm not saying his cheating was my fault.  But emotionally, I can be responsible for creating a space where James did not feel loved.  And for that I am truly remorseful.  I should have broken up with him, and let him find someone who could give him happiness.  But I kept him around like a safety blanket.

But now, it was over.  He begged for a second chance, which I denied.  I told him we could be friends - not really meaning it.  But something happened.

Never in my life has a man pursued me the way James did.  He would come over and cook for me.  We'd play video games -- and yes, we occasionally fool around.  And after a while I started thinking "Why is no one else treating me like a princess? Why am I letting all these other guys treat me like shit when James is knocking down my door."  And so after a few months, James' persistence paid off, and we got back together.  But this time I was paranoid, and rightly so.  I let James know that I didn't trust him, and he seemed understanding of that.  But his solid efforts were winning me over.  I could feel myself starting to fall in love with James.  We had even planned a trip to Florida together as a couple.  But part of me was still suspicious that he might be a cheater.  So one day, while he was in the shower, I went into his phone.

And guess what I found...

Oops, she did it again!  

James hadn't fucked anyone, but he made out with another guy at a club.  I was like "God, damn it."  Now, I was truly pissed, because this time, I was actually falling for him, and he ruined a good thing.  But we were trapped.  The Florida tickets and hotels had already been booked and were non-refundable.  We went there as "friends" but we fought the whole time.  It was miserable at times, even though we took some amazing photos that made it look like we were in love.  But when we left I vowed that this time it was truly over between me and James.  But he didi it again.  He banged down my door.  It wasn't that he was a psycho, but that he was just willing to be with wherever I was at.  If I just wanted to be friends, he'd be friends with me, even though I knew he wanted more.  His continual kindness wore me down for a third time, but this time my heart really wasn't in it.  We continued to fight, and the arguments got more intense.  I knew in my gut our relationship was a zombie.

Were My Prayers Answered? 

I've never told another person this (least of all James), but I would literally pray at night "Please just move away.  Go somewhere far away.  I know we're not working together, but we can't seem to quit each other.  Just go away."  You bitches would not believe what happened next.

A month later he told me he accepted a job in Australia.  Mother fucker.  My prayers were answered.  Now, do I believe I have magical powers?  No... Because I've been praying for a few of my ex's to get struck with Polio, and I've been praying that I'd win the lottery.  And I've prayed repeatedly that Republicans would lose at the ballot box.  I never got any of these things.  But again, I can't help but wonder, did I subconsciously push him away?  I don't know if James will ever read this book - probably not.  But I never told him that I was secretly praying for him to move away.  And then he got the Australia job.  On some level, he must have intuited that I didn't want him around. And he went some where far away.

So he moved to Australia.  We stayed in touch for a little while, but he suddenly cut me off.  Again, remember, he wasn't good at expressing himself.  Dollars to donuts, he met a new boyfriend and needed space away from me.  I would have respected that, but I thought it was kind of cowardly and childish not to come out and say it.  He just sent me a very weird email saying I wouldn't hear from him for a while.  And he and I have never talked since.  That was over three years ago.

So now I was liberated.  Single and ready to mingle.  But I wasn't accustomed to how seedy and vile people had become on Grindr.  And the resulting two years were absolute hell for me.  Hence, me writing Grindr Survivr: How to Find Happiness in the Age of Hookup Apps.

Now James may be an exceptional person.  But how many people have you subconsciously pushed away?  Spend some time and think about the last few people you dated for more than a month.  Did you do things to make them feel unloved or unwanted?  Did you jump down their throats for no reason?  Did you secretly push them away?  Give yourself a shady point for every person you've done that to.

Hell, let's go through your phone right now and look at recent chat messages.  Look at where someone was genuinely interested in you, and you couldn't be bothered to text back.  That could have been a boyfriend who cooked and cleaned for you, but you were too busy chasing someone hotter.  Give yourself a Shady Point for every person you didn't text back?

Now go through your apps, whether it be Grindr, Tinder, Chappy or Hornet.  Look at conversations where the other person was doing most of the talking.  They were giving you details, asking questions about you, and really trying to engage you in a meaningful conversation, and all you could mutter out was "WBU?"  Give yourself a shady point for every one you've done that to.  And for some of you bitches, that's a lot of points you just amassed.

The key is to see how we subconscious push good people away.  If the relationship isn't working, then we need to say so, man up and be single.  But we shouldn't keep people starving for emotional crumbs that we withhold in a stingy manner because they're not hot enough or they lack whatever quality we think they should have.

James fucked up royally.  But I just believe in my core that he wouldn't have cheated if I had made him feel more loved.  But I'm not going to lie, if I had one relationship to do all over again, it would be him.  Just two three days ago, I was whining and complaining that no one takes a risk on me, but James did - more than any other person I ever met.  And only now, with a lot of distance, do his actions move my heart in a way that it didn't at the time.  He took a monumental risk on me.  Did he fuck up?  Yes.  But day, after day, after day, he was there for me in a way that no other gay man ever has been.

People will inevitably disappoint you.  People will make mistakes, big ones.  You cannot find true love without getting hurt.  But if someone is willing to put in that kind of effort, it's worth a long hard look.

Think hard before pushing a good guy away.  It literally could be YEARS before you find another one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I'm Still A Gay Jedi

I Love Star Wars

So this next chapter is not going to make any sense unless you have seen Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, in particular the scene where Luke Skywalker confronts Emperor Palpatine.

If you haven't seen it, here it is:  https://youtu.be/PqaiKmm8gsY

If you haven't figured it out, I'm a bit dramatic, and I'm a massive sci-fi geek.  So in the scene, Luke Skywalker is battling his inner demons, and he's deciding whether to give in to hate and surrender to the "Dark Side of the Force" aka the Villains, or whether to remain good, even if it costs him his life.  Now that you're schooled on my geekiness, you'll get the analogy I'm going for.

While I was working away in a distant land for a psycho boss, I did not have much time to date.  But I did have three dates with three unbelievably gorgeous guys: one was a model; one was a singer; the other was a poet. All had faces that could sail a thousand ships.  None of them were massive douchebags or had obvious personality problems (well, the model was a bit crazy - no surprise there).  But I had a pleasant date with each of them.  But during each date, a still small voice inside my head kept saying to me, "I'd rather be with Greg."  And I left each date, knowing that they weren't right for me, but I wasn't going to kick them out of bed, was I?  At this point, Greg and I had only sent a few text messages, and I had no idea what was going with him: I was fearing he was in a relationship with someone else.

But I didn't care.

Now the Grindr Tip for my readers is obvious:  If you're on a date with a hotter guy, and you're wishing you were with someone else, that someone else is a keeper!  And if you can, build a relationship with him! 

But I had no idea how Ungrateful Greg would react.  In fact, I knew there was a 99% chance he'd turn me down.

I knew the road was perilous, I knew I would probably end up humiliated (and now I'm compounding that humiliation by sharing this experience with my readers).  Like a scared but determined Luke Skywalker, I approached Emperor Ungrateful in his chambers.  [Just go with the visual, right]

The Dark Side of Grindr and Dating Apps: 

The dark side of Grindr is that it makes everyone superficial.  You're never satisfied with what you have, because you're always looking to shag someone hotter.  People lie and tell themselves "I'd settle down if I met the perfect guy," but the perfect guy never comes along, or if he does, then he's not that interested in anyone else who doesn't look equally as perfect -- or he's just a fucking moron.  And so we compensate for our insecurities and loneliness by spending more time on Grindr looking for someone to temporarily fill the hole in our heart (and the other hole too, lol...).  And as Michelle Visage says, "Getting filled and being fulfilled are two entirely different things."  But in that moment, I knew I had broken Grindr's spell over me.  I didn't need to have the hottest guy on the planet to be happy.  I didn't need to keep searching for the "next best thing."  I wanted Greg, and him alone, warts and all.  I was ready to cut off everyone else and commit myself to building a life with him.  I never said all this to him, as I could tell he wasn't open to that conversation.  But I expressed it in who I was being at the time.  I was a stand for building an awesome relationship with an awesome man (or so I thought), and I went into a dire situation and said my piece.

And just as Luke Skywalker tossed his lightsaber away, refusing to commit murder, I knew that I could toss Grindr aside for good.  That cycle that had tormented me for years was broken.  I was a Jedi.  A big homosexual Jedi.  (Imagine an effeminate Obi Wan Kenobi saying "Let the force enter into you."  lol)  The dark side of Grindr had failed to kill my heart.  I was a new man.  And I confessed my feelings to Emperor Ungrateful...

After some serious prodding, he agreed to meet me to discuss what had happened.  He sat politely and listened.

But you guys already know what's about to happen...

If you haven't seen Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, check out this clip here: https://youtu.be/Q_7KaMDHoGs?t=2m50s

Emperor Ungrateful extended his hands and with his powers, gave me the worst jolt I had had in years.


The pronouncement was so final.  His attitude was so resolute - so unmoved by anything and everything I had done for him in the past.  His demeanor was so cold.  He gave me no new insights into why he had cut me off.  And he didn't seem to think it was unreasonable.  He didn't have much sympathy for what I was going through.  I could tell he really was over and had no intention of even giving me one date - despite him being single.  He'd rather walk the lonely world of dating apps alone then try to reconcile with someone who loved him passionately.  This attitude was a lightning bolt that knocked me to the floor and had me writhing in agony.  But unlike Luke, there was no other Jedi there to save me.  Each of his pronouncements was like a bolt to my heart.  It's one thing for someone to dismiss you when they're dating someone else, but to dismiss you when you're single and literally have no one better to date.  God damn!  That cold blooded - particularly when the majority of people think I did nothing wrong or that a snarky text message shouldn't be a capital offense.

Now, I freely admit I'm being hyperbolic here.  I think Ungrateful Greg's desire to be friends is mostly genuine.  He's not an evil monster, and he did give me an opportunity to talk and get closure.  And if he were a total user, he would not have done this.  But I had to set a scene up for you guys, so you could get my point.  Forgive this gay man for adding a bit of dramatic flare.

How am I supposed to be friends with a guy who tells me he'd do anything for me, and then cuts me out of his life completely three weeks later?  How can I be friends with someone who said "I need some time to cool off" but was secretly determined to kill all his feelings for me - no matter what I did to make amends?  How can I be friends with someone who only messaged me on Instagram, because he felt guilty about how he left things?  How can I be friends with someone who said I look at relationships with a transactional a lens (which there might be some truth in that), but this same person kept all of the said gifts without ever offering to return any of them - when I gave them under false pretenses that he did not live up to?  I don't see how Ungrateful Greg can get on a high horse about not being materialistic, while literally living a better life because of me.  And it's not like I'm trying to buy him off.  But haven't I demonstrated that I'm someone worth investing in?  (Particularly, when the main disagreement was me taking a job in a distant city and sending a mean text)

The sad thing is, I know in less than three years, Greg will look back and go "What the fuck did I do?"  But by then, it will be too late?  Why am I so confident in this assertion?  Because four years ago, I was in the exact same boat.  (See my blog post on pushing people away)  Why do you guys think I wrote Grindr Survivr.  I let a few good ones slip by, and then after being crapped on by ass-holes for years, I was like "Something's gotta' change."  But that's the gay circle of life.  I'm sure Greg will grow, but for now, I'm laid out on the emperor's thrown room, looking like crispy fried chicken for all the lightning bolts.

My love and light is all but extinguished.  I felt pretty devastated.  It's rare, but only when I break up with someone I truly love, does the pain becomes debilitating.  It's like I'm paralyzed, and my only outlet is writing.  And while that helps a little, it doesn't fill the hole in my heart.  But the next day, I woke up; the sun was shining.  I went to the gym -- gotta' get my pecs looking great.  I asked a very hot guy out on a date, and he said yes.  And I realized, I'm still Luke Skywalker.  Just because Greg didn't reciprocate my feelings doesn't mean I can't conquer the dark side of Grindr again.  But don't get me wrong...  For the next few weeks, I'll be swimming through the dark rivers of Grindr like I was Tom Fucking Daley.

But don't worry... As I said in the last book, Grindr is a tool.  It's a technology; it's how we use it that makes it good or bad.  And yes, I'm hurt.  Yes, I'm in A LOT OF PAIN.  I'm not ashamed of taking a major risk on love.  Physically I'm no worse off (and my bank account isn't either).  And what if things had turned out differently?  I'd be in a completely different world right now full of amazing possibilities.  And that possibility was worth the risk.  Like I said, I just have to find someone who's willing to take big risks on me.

So don't worry... This Jedi will rise again.

But my readers should be asking, if you were in a similar situation, what would you do?  How would you react?  What risks would you take for an awesome relationship?  What, if anything, can you learn from my experiences?

Feel free to let me know on Facebook or Instagram: @grindrsurvivr

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Why I'm Single - The Tragedy of Ungrateful Greg

So why am I Single Again?

So at the end of Grindr Survivr, I said that I found a really great guy – let’s call him Greg.  This was true.  His personality was the BEST I've ever met.  When Greg met my family, my sister said “You guys have your own little language.”  And it’s true.  We were so in sync about so many things – whether it was references to Drag Race, Paris is Burning, Rick & Morty or Family Guy, it’s like we’d speak the same language by constantly referring to characters, cut-aways or random phrases that aren't that funny to outsiders but would be hilarious to us.  I enjoyed Greg's company and his companionship more than anyone else I've ever dated.  

But my career was struggling.  My own writing career wasn’t exactly taking off.  I had some successes.  The Huffington Post made me a contributor, and a few gay magazines had asked me to write articles on gay dating and app culture.  Grindr Surivr got picked up by two gay book stores, and it’s done very well for a self-published book which hasn’t had any marketing efforts or the strength of a publishing company behind it.  But I can’t pay my bills with all these minor successes.  My savings were almost gone, so I had to take something soon

And out of the blue one day, I was offered a job, a very high paying job – but it was literally on another continent.  But the job was an amazing opportunity.  My family began screaming in unison “You have to take it! You have to take it!”  My mother was particularly consistent at nagging me.  “Your career has flat lined.  Your writing isn’t going anywhere.  This is a huge opportunity for you.”  Her advice wasn’t wrong, but something in my gut told me not to take this job.  I asked Greg if he would consider moving with me, and he said definitely not. 

I was a bit shocked about how quickly he rejected the idea.  But he had just gotten a new job, and he didn’t want to be far away from his family.  Again, that probably told me that he really wasn’t that committed to being with me.  But I thought his argument was reasonable – especially considering I didn't know if my new job would work out.  So that was that.  We tried to make the most of our final weeks together.  I really didn’t want to leave Greg.  I honestly could see myself marrying him one day.   

But right before I left, I did something monumentally stupid.  Greg came from humble beginnings but had put himself through school.  But he still had some outstanding debts, and even by working a full-time job, he just couldn't get his head above water financially.  In my rose tinted glasses of loving him, I wanted him to have a good life, so I paid these debts off.  Don't worry, it wasn't "that much."  But it was enough to sting, let me say that.  I figured that he had been an amazing boyfriend to me for over a year, and he deserved a gift that would help him get his head above water in life.  

Keep in mind, before this time, he had NEVER done anything to make me feel used or that he was scheming for my money.  His track record was clear and pure.  I felt guilty for what I was putting him through by leaving, and I really did love him and wanted him to have a great life.  And he had offered to take care of my flat for me in my absence, as I was going to be sub-letting it for a few months. (So in theory, he might pay me back somewhat in that respect)  

(You guys have no idea how humiliated and vulnerable I feel right now admitting that to my audience.  Me… The Grindr Survivr… The man who sees through people’s bullshit.  The great relationship expert.) 

By the way, there was part of me that was screaming “Don’t you do that for him.  This is crazy! He’s going to take that money and spend it on another man.  You’ve been used and abused before.  You’ve already lavished so many gifts on Greg, why give him more yet again, particularly since you won’t be around to reap the benefits.”  But I loved Greg, and I thought that Greg loved me.  

I’m not going to lie, I believe I had a slightly selfish motive in this.  I knew I could never use it in an argument with Greg, but I had hoped that if he saw this act, his last memory of me would be doing something to help him for the next few years.  He’d see that I was totally willing to invest in us as a couple, and that I was going to have his back no matter what.  I was hoping it would prove that I was such a sweet and thoughtful boyfriend, no one else could ever measure up.  So if I ever returned from my new career, and he wasn’t dating someone else, we might get back together one day.  

Of course, Greg acted exceedingly grateful at the time… He even said "Yeah, I'd probably break up with someone for you."  

But you know what happened next, right? 

Three weeks after I left, Greg got drunk and picked a fight with me via text.  He threw the mother of all tantrums (he had never done any of this before).  He was legitimately hurting in my absence, but he was expressing it in the wrong way.  He came at me in drunken anger, so I gave it right back to him.  At first, he kept telling me how important his career was to him, and how he wouldn't have given it up for me.  So I said "Fine, I hope your career keeps you warm at night when you're all alone."  
He then said, "I'll find someone to do that."  
I then said, "That's fine, because I'm on a date now."  

The fight continued to escalate, and Greg then decided that he was going to cut off all communication with me.  At the time, he said he needed some distance to get used to the fact that we were broken up, and that I would be dating other people.  (This should not have been a surprise, as we had perviously agreed to be officially free to see other people once I got on a plane and move thousands of miles away).  But I thought this was a total over-reaction.  I told him it was a casual drinks thing, and that it certainly would not lead to anything serious.  But he said he didn't care.  He just felt the need to cut me out.  I asked for how long, but he didn’t have any idea how long that would be.  I sent him a few follow up emails, because he had blocked me via text.  And he later admitted, our argument was a fig-leaf to push me away, so he could kill his feelings for me. 

Wow.  Here, I had taken him on expensive holidays, given him an Apple Watch, bought him an Amazon Alexa Echo, and literally paid off his debts, and the instant his feelings became inconvenient for him, he cut me off in order to kill the chance of us ever getting back together – this was the EXACT OPPOSITE REASON I DID ALL THAT NICE SHIT FOR HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE!  Every nice thing I did for him counted for nothing.  No gratitude, no graciousness.  In one fail swoop, Ungrateful Greg was out of my life.  It was quick, out of the blue, and I felt like I had just been told my best friend had died -- or rather I was dead to him. 

Funnily enough, when he told me he was cutting me off, he never offered to give me the money back.  Not once.  So does that make him a hypocrite?  You decide.  Where were his mighty principles when it came to his money?  I don't think Greg thinks of himself as a user: but who does?  People accept gifts, make promises, and when they change their minds, they come up with reasons as to why they were justified.  Greg probably viewed the money as alimony: he was in pain, and he deserved a divorce settlement.  I lost a lot of respect for him, but what he did was human nature.  We've all come up with good reasons as to why we're good people, despite doing bad things.  We've all gotten ourselves into an awkward situation and been slimy on the way out rather than dealing with it powerfully.  Greg is no saint, but I want to acknowledge his humanity and I can't paint him to be a cartoon villain that I thought he was a few months ago. 

My Psycho Boss

What’s worse, I moved to a place where I had no friends and no family, and I found my new boss was a complete neurotic psycho.  She was just like Miranda Priestly from the Devil Wears Prada.  She was selfish, petty, neurotic, paranoid and a massive micro-manager.  Now the Devil Wears Prada is fun to watch, it’s a fucking nightmare to live.  I didn’t sleep more than four hours for the first two weeks of the job, because I was so traumatized.  I had no time to make friends or date anyone seriously, because I was working 60 hours a week and most Saturdays.  So I had moved away from Greg for nothing!  I had lost a man I wanted to marry for a job that I hated from day one.   

But the good thing about having a psycho boss is that you get over your relationship issues very quickly.  I had no time to worry about a broken heart, because that psycho witch kept me busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.  But obviously, I couldn’t continue this way for forever.  After three months, I quit and returned to my home to the big city. 

Although I didn't have much time to worry about Greg, when I did, I was still fuming, because I felt like he sold me this image of a caring man and what I got was a ungrateful user (at least that's how it felt at the time).

Oddly enough, a week after I handed in my resignation notice, Greg randomly messaged me on Instagram.  I looked at that text the way a mongoose looks at a cobra.  He reiterated the fact that he needed time to get over me but that he wanted to be friends.  In fact, he kept over-emphasizing “just as friends.”  I asked my sister about this, and oddly, she defended Greg.  "A user wouldn't be trying to be your friend after the fact.  And why wouldn't you be his friend?" she said.  To date, my sister has been Greg's biggest defender.  She thinks he acted immaturely, but she felt his actions were understandable.  She didn't view his actions as ungrateful, but rather an immature outburst of someone who was in pain.  I trust my sister's advice more than anyone else, so I wanted to weigh things up carefully.  In my anger, it's easy to point fingers.  But in my blog, I at least want to attempt to be balanced.  My blog isn't just about bitching about gay guys who are ass holes.  It's about encouraging gay people to grow.  

But I was still hurt and fuming.  Greg had allowed 10 weeks of hatred to fester in my heart.  And now, all of a sudden, he wants to be "friends"?  I'm supposed to forgive and forget everything?  Seemed suspicious to me.  Did Greg know somehow that I was about to quit my job?  I wasn't sure...  Was this a plan to get me back?

So when Greg said "let's be friends", I kind of gave a noncommittal answer, like “I’m still really hurt by what you did, but we can chat.”  My gut instinct was to tell him to “fuck off!” And block him.  But again, I that was the old temperamental Andrew.  I was trying to be more “enlightened,” having written a book and all that.   Why would he want to be friends with a guy who was thousands of miles away?  Why would he want to be friends with an ex, who he might not see again?  It just didn’t make sense to me.  Was he secretly hoping we'd get back together?  

But if I’m honest, I took his texts as a sign of hope that we would get back together.  And I know that was foolish and naïve of me, but you had no idea how lonely I was in this new job.  Despite having turned in my notice, my boss was determined to squeeze every last drop out of me before I left.  In fact, she RAMPED UP the work load in the final weeks, and I was working even longer hours – often 15 and 16 hours straight.  So, in the midst of that pain,  I allowed myself to fantasize about getting back with Greg.  That glimmer of hope was a crutch I leaned on during a very difficult time in my career.  I'd imagine coming home to him and us chatting and laughing.  I'd have a real partnership with him again.  Those little fantasies got me through some nasty spots with my boss. And they did make me experience a small amount of genuine happiness.  

Cat Got My Tongue 

So when I finally came home, Greg did not call or text.  [Ouch] But he still had keys to my flat. (He, of course, never checked up on my flat.)  So I picked up the keys one afternoon.  Our conversation was awkward but blessedly brief.  It took every ounce of strength not to curse him out in public.  But he acted like nothing was wrong.  He just exchanged a few pleasantries and went back to work. 

Perhaps, I should have felt proud of not tearing him a new ass hole; I kept my cool and composure.  But I also felt cheated.  This was my one chance to at least get some stuff off of my chest, but because I didn’t want his first interaction with me to be a massive fight, so I held my tongue.  I didn't want to risk looking desperate, so I said nothing, passing up my probably only opportunity to have him give me real answers to my face - rather than glib, childish text messages that he likes to send.

So I called my sister and asked for her advice.  She said, “You have to meet him and talk to him to see what he’s up to.”  Her theory was that he was probably dating someone, but he wanted to keep me on the side “as a friend,” or a back up rather, if the current relationship didn’t work out.  But she said that I’d have to meet him in person and ask him straight up: "Greg, what are you after? " 

I was furious.  Here, I lavished affection on him, he cuts me off, and now I have to make the first move to at least talk so I can get all my feelings off of my chest.  GRRRR!  There is no justice in relationships!!! FML!!!  But my sister convinced me that was the only way to do it. 

So I bit the bullet and texted Ungrateful Greg.  I just told him I wanted to meet for a drink and talk for a few minutes one day just to clear the air.  Guess what he said. 

“Well, I’m always up for alcohol, but let me get back to you when I have some free time.” [Greg's job is 9-5, and he doesn't have that many friends] 
I asked, “Well, I’m free Tuesday and Wednesday next week.” 
“I’ll get back to you when I’m free,” he said curtly.  And that was that.  Nothing else.  
Right, so to recap, We dated for fifteen months.  I told him I'd marry him.  I introduced him to my family, and he introduced me to his. I took him on two holidays and showered him with gifts, and now, all I am to him is a "Don't call me, I'll call you."  So I can just suffer in silence in pain, until "Master Greg" decides that he's man enough to answer a few basic questions that anyone in my position would like to know. 

That's what I'm worth to him now: a "don't call me, we'll call you" type of thing.  When just months ago, he was confessing his undying love for me.  And in theory, he cut me off because he was so incredibly heart broken by my leaving... And now I'm not worth a 20-minute talk in the middle of the week?  Fuck him!  I honestly felt that our history would have at least entitled me to a 20 minute meeting to get some things off my chest, but no such luck. I deleted his number on the spot.

Right before I left five months ago, he gave me a card, and it said this on the inside.

Wow.  2018 isn't half way over yet, and yet none of these promises hold any meaning for me any more.

So with regards to meeting up with Greg to talk, I told him off!  I told him that I get that he was over me and us (and I suspected he had a new boyfriend) but after all we had been through, and all my feelings for him, I deserved an opportunity to speak to him and vent.  He relented.  But it was another dagger to my heart.  I had to bully this Ungrateful Greg to even hear me out.  He admitted he was hesitant to meet me, because he knew it was going to be an awkward and unpleasant conversation.  He said he needed a bit of time to brace for it, as it was likely to unearth some uneasy feelings for him, which he wasn't keen to bring back up.  But he agreed, eventually...

We met, but I could still tell he was holding back.  We had a frank discussion, but his demeanor was cold.  He was resolutely against getting back together with me.  I could feel his cold resolve.  He didn't have to say anything mean or cruel.  Who he was being in that moment devastated me.  Everything I had done for him prior to our argument, everything we had said and felt, none of it mattered to him now.

Would You Still Be Friends with Greg?

However, he reiterated several times that he wanted to be friends.  For what it's worth, I think this was completely sincere and genuine on his part.  But for me, what did he add to my life as a friend?  I loved his personality above all else, but now, I see him as someone who is emotionally distant, weak on communication and is someone who makes false promises and he doesn't really care that I'm in pain.  And I get I'm probably bitter, but that's how I see this situation.  How can you build a friendship on that kind of quicksand?

I left more upset than before.  I hadn't really prepared for that feeling.  I honestly just felt that if he saw me and spent some time with me, he'd feel something for me.  But I was wrong.  And I just wasn't ready to believe that he was completely over me at that time.  He just didn't love me any more - and I'm still not sure why.  Frankly, I don't think he is sure why.  I was both devastated and still uncertain.  This was the worst of all worlds.

Was Greg Merely Ungrateful or Trying to Escape the Pain?  

I still needed answers, because I just couldn't process how he could be so cold towards me, when only a few months ago we were talking about marriage.  So I messaged a mutual acquaintance of Greg and myself, who had known Greg much longer than I had.  She told me that Greg was in far more pain before my leaving than he let on.  He had been in tears on several occasions, agonizing over leaving me.  He had seriously considered moving with me, but he thought the risks were just too great.  He couldn't date anyone after I left, because he was so depressed - yes, he was free to do so, but he just felt he couldn't because he was in so much pain.  And so when I told him that I was on a date (despite the fact that he had started the fight), he suddenly felt like he had to "get over me" by any means necessary - and the only way to do that was to cut me off and try to kill his feelings.


That was heavy.  To me, Greg's pain couldn't have been that bad.  He wouldn't consider moving with me, and I was still willing to talk to him, and I was totally open to getting back together with him if my new job didn't work out.  And he never told me he was in that kind of agony.  I wish he had.  I don't know what I would have done, but I would have done something to alleviate his pain.  I think in my head, I had been trying to argue away his pain for months, and I never really acknowledged it.  Moreover, I dismissed his pain and just tried to demand that he resurrect this feelings for me.  That's not how it works.  I don't think anything can be done in the short term to make things right.

And let's be honest, when we're in immense pain, we don't give a fuck about anyone else's feelings.  We just have to survive.  And that's what Greg did.  He survived by killing off (emotionally) someone who loved him a great deal.

But I'm sorry, I think his cavalier attitude towards telling me he wanted to be my friend while resisting giving me an opportunity to reconnect with him smacks of ingratitude - not because of the gifts, but because he casually crapped all over someone who loved him and wanted to work past things.  Maybe I've harped on the gifts too much.  But it's hard to explain to people how much your heart is broken: it's easier for people to grasp that if you spent a lot of money on someone, then you must love that person.

Also, Greg never told any of his friends about the money I gave him.  That needled me as well.  I know for a fact he justified to everyone that he had to cut me off to deal with the pain he was feeling.  But why omit the key fact of me paying his bills?  I'd assert that it was because most people might call him out for being a hypocrite.   It's a lot harder to bash your ex-boyfriend if people know that you're debt-free because of him.  I'd guess most would say "Wow, I think he deserved a second chance."  But Greg didn't have the balls to do that.  He kept the money, and hid the truth from anyone who might tell him off.  Is that shady or what?

My Conclusions: Survival Won't Bring You Love

This story is a tragedy more than anything else.  I don't think Greg wasn't trying to be evil, although many would see his actions as those of an ass hole.  He was trying to survive.  The problem is trying to survive gay dating won't get you a loving relationship.  (I recognize the irony given the title of my book, Grindr Survivr How to Find Happiness in the Age of Hookup Apps - but Grindr Lover or Loving Grindr would have sounded ridiculous as a title))  Survival will get you survival. 

What Greg doesn't realize or appreciate is in that moment he wasn't just killing off his love for me, he was killing a piece of himself.  I can't read his mind and I don't know what exactly he thought, but he probably thought something like "I will NEVER get hurt like that again."  Maybe he thought "I will NEVER let anyone hurt me like that again."  That's killing a piece of yourself that's willing to take risks.  And how do you guys think Greg will go into his next relationship?  Will he go in fresh and ready to find love and happiness, or will he go in jaded, cautious and bitter (although he has no logical reason to be)?  Moreover, what does this say about Greg's character?

Can we say that Greg is someone who can weather the storms that will inevitably hit a relationship?  Is he someone that another man can rely on?  Or will he jump ship at the first sign of trouble?  If he read this, he'd probably deny this, but what do his actions demonstrate about his commitment to his boyfriend?  Where are Greg's commitments when it comes to finding happiness?  Does he take big risks for love?  Or does he run and hide and/or play it safe?

Perhaps, I harped too much on the gifts.  For months, I did feel used.  But I recognize that the pain isn't coming from the hole in my bank account.  It's coming from the hole in my heart.  I'm pissed because I took a massive fucking risk and got humiliated.  I lost something I treasured, and it's not coming back.  And I am completely powerless to do anything about it.  That's the real reason I'm pissed off.  Anything other than that, is just me trying to convince strangers that I'm right and Greg is wrong (and while that may be the case, depending on your point of view) that does not make a difference for any other gay man (including me).

In my core, I believe this situation could have been avoided if Greg had been openly communicating with me and had been open to working things out rather than killing them off.  But we've all acted rashly in the past.  We've all hurt people who've loved us.  The problem is life rarely gives us a second chance: and Greg crapped on his.  That's why he's ungrateful.  Not because he didn't kiss my feet for paying off his bills, but because he - to this day - is actively killing off the love and relationship I was trying to create with him.

But I want my readers to ask yourselves...  How often do you meet someone who will fight like hell for you when most people would say you're in the wrong?

And I don't mean that flippantly.  Ask yourself - how many men have you dated that would fight for you, in the midst of an argument where most people think you're wrong?  Think of their names.  See their faces.  How did you treat them?  How did things end?  What would they say about you if I asked them to tell me about you?  Would they call you an "Ungrateful Greg"?  Would they call you a user?

Would they call you a cheater???

(That one hits close to home for a lot of you homos)

Now ask yourself, how often does the universe send that kind of loving person your way?  Once a year?  Once every five years?  10 years?  Once or twice in a lifetime?  If the universe gives you that kind of person, and you remain closed off, what kind of person does that make you?

You tell me.  What kind of person kills off someone who loves them like that?  Think of some adjectives.

Now think of times where you have made those kinds of monumental fuck ups!  Yes, you, bitch.  You're no saint - and I'm not either. Where have you monumentally fucked up a good thing?  Where have you chosen the easy way out rather than take a risk on love?  Where are you now?  Are you happy as a clam in a loving relationship, or is your ass lonely and single reading a blog on gay dating apps?

Hmmm...  It's easy to point the finger at a stranger.  It's harder to reflect on yourself, ain't it?

Communication is Key! 

But I said this before in my book, but it's worth repeating for my readers.  Learn from the mistakes that I and the people I discuss make.  Communication is Life!  Silence is Death!  In silence, no one is heard and nothing is resolved.  His feelings for me were killed, and I was left feeling used and tossed aside.  In the long run, are either of us better people?

Another reason silence is dangerous is that people only tend to heed their own counsel or talk to people that will just agree with them all the time.  That's also the kiss of death for any relationship reconnection.   Everyone comes up with excuses, so they can sleep at night.  Everyone will tell half-truths to themselves so they can feel justified when they do terrible things.  People concoct all sorts of strange stories for themselves, in part, so they can deal with their own pain and their own embarrassment of what they've done.  This opinion my seem reasonable to them (the way Trump voters convince themselves they're not actually racist), but if it's never tested in real communication with someone who will give the person the truth, all kinds of craziness can be justified away and shrugged off.  

Relationships End: 
I also need to acknowledge the truth about relationships ending:

Nothing You Do During a Relationship Will Be Appreciated After the Relationship Has ended

And knowing this, any sort of attachment, or hope that the other person will read your mind and magically give you what you think you're owed  ain't never gonna' happen.  Sometimes, after a break up, you can communicate powerfully, and resolve things.  But some times, there's too much hurt.  But in this case, I honestly feel like if Greg had just stayed in communication with me, we could have sorted everything out and built a life together.

Take Responsibility: 

I freely admit in my whinging over lost love, I'm also forgetting Grindr Commandment #2: Blame Yo’ Self!  So I need to practice what I preach.  I didn’t force Greg to take that money.  And I knew in the back of my head that things would probably end badly once I was away.  No one forced me to move away, despite a lot of family pressure.  I chose the shitty job that both destroyed my career and my relationship.  And I certainly should have asked Greg about his intentions and feelings long before I returned home. Me trying to play it cool only spectacularly backfired.  I should have been open and authentic with Greg.  And as for right now, what I’m really mad at is the fact that I took risk after risk, and it didn’t pay off.  And if I stay cold, frozen and bitter, who am I hurting?  Not Greg.  Just myself.  So yeah, I need to vent, I need to lay in the pain for a while. But if I don't emerge, then what the hell am I writing for?  I can't afford to be one of these old bitter queens... 

Maybe one day I’ll find someone who’s willing to take a risk on me the way I’m willing to take a risk on them.  In fact, I need to stay confident of that fact.  I need to demand it of the universe and stay open to it when it comes knocking.  

But in the mean time, I’m here to find love and read gay guys for filth.  But oops, no one loves me right now, so guess what that leaves you (my readers)?  You bitches better buckle up and get ready.  New Commandments are coming, honey!  We’re gonna’ get all down deep into your shadiness.  You know why, because you’re a shady bitch!  Yes you!  And me (And DEFINITELY Ungrateful Greg, of course)  We’re all shady bitches, and this stops us from creating a strong gay community and it stops us from having relationships that give us love and happiness.  So let’s get to it.