It was 2012 and I was still new to New York and its endless sexual variety, and I received an Ok Cupid message from a 30-year-old man named Matt.He seemed funny and kind, attractive and well-employed.When I inquired with Jack, a single, gay 26-year-old, he confirmed that those exact competing interests are often points of contention in gay dating.“On Grindr, it doesn’t bother me, but on Bumble or whatever, it gets annoying.
And if that’s what you’re looking for, then it’s perfect.“I’ve never gone on a date with one of those people. You see a cute profile and read the bio, and then BAM.‘I am so in love with my girlfriend.’ Fuck you, dude,” Elena, 29, told me. They’re already in relationships there to drain our already small well.” Although many of the women I spoke with were open to non-monogamy in theory, the value proposition of dating a coupled man without an existing primary partner of their own felt uncompelling.“I’ve specifically seen an increase in ‘if you are in an open relationship, swipe left’–type messaging,” says Jeremy, 38.
“My general sense from the women I talk to is, ‘Great, now I don’t just have to deal with single dudes being awful at me, I also have to deal with partnered dudes being awful at me, treating me like a human sex toy to spice up their marriage, or feeling entitled to my time because they have permission to date outside their relationship.’” Dealing with male entitlement isn’t unique to women considering a nonmonogamous partner, but finding a new frontier of it is undoubtedly frustrating. “There’s a specific stigma around being a single person who is dating someone who has another, more primary relationship, and that’s deeply rooted in misogyny (‘side piece,’ ‘mistress,’ etc.).” When there have always been starkly negative social consequences for a woman dating a partnered man in the past, giving it a shot, even in an ethical and open way, can feel understably risky.
I figured I could either keep seeing him and keep Tindering, or just keep Tindering.