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ONE OF THE AMAZING THINGS about having an honest and open relationship is that my partner and I can use gay social networking apps, like Scruff or Grindr, and trust each other’s intentions (sexual or not). Last year, I caved and finally joined Scruff for the simple fact that I suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out). I actually enjoyed it though and the only thing that seemed to go wrong was autocorrect occasionally causing me to tell guys they had nice clocks.

A few months into my app-loads of fun, I received a message from a local guy named “denrunner.” Like most new messages, I read his profile before his message. He used words like “nice” and “selfless” to describe himself. But when I opened the chat, I saw something very different.

“So happy your looking for sex kindof sad in my book that your behaving like a hs teenager,” he wrote.

His slam caught me so off guard that I couldn’t really understand what he was even talking about. “Wow! What did I do to deserve such a snarky, mean comment?”

“You say your in love and yet looking for sex with others You stated your view so I stated mine back Could have been a lot more mean like most gay men,” denrunner responded.

He clearly had a bellyache with open relationships. I decided to take the high road and remain diplomatic. Besides … his bitter disposition, lack of punctuation, and terrible grammar made me feel kind of bad for him.

“I did state my view but I didn’t force it on others if they simply disagreed with me. If you feel self righteous about your preference for monogamy, then that is fine too. But it doesn’t justify acting like a jerk.”

“It just means your supper sensitive And just wait because someone will call you all sorts of stuff for being poz lol,” he wrote back.

It felt ironic to be lectured on poz life. Clearly this guy didn’t know who I was or that I had become a local poster boy for HIV. I explained that when guys used insensitive language regarding my poz status, I often empathized with them for being uneducated.

“Wait you empathize with them but not with me,” denrunner said without a proper question mark.

“I would say I empathize with you the same way I would empathize with Ann Coulter or something. My heart does go out to people who are narrow minded and feel the need to act like bullies,” I responded. Even though it was kind of a stab, I meant it. I often do wonder what damages someone so badly that they cruelly lash out at things that have nothing to do with them.

Apparently denrunner did not like being compared to Ann Coulter, though, and the gloves came off. He called me a fanatic, which according to him, was worse than a bully. He also called me a prostitute and asked if my parents knew how many guys I let f*ck me. I immediately succumbed to the immature bickering and attacked back… saying that his bitterness was an obvious result in his inability to get laid.

Denrunner got a few more hateful comments off his chest before he blocked me. I immediately contacted the Scruff app customer service in order to get a transcript of the entire thing. I was impressed with their responsiveness. When I brought it all home to my partner, he was shocked. Apparently he and denrunner had also chatted. But in their conversation, denrunner didn’t mind his open relationship and actually extended an invitation to come double penetrate him.

In my quest for diplomacy, I had forgotten a cardinal rule: You can’t have a rational conversation with an irrational person. My gay app entertainment had gone awry and I ended up acting like quite the asshole myself. When I reviewed our transcript, I felt embarrassed about how nasty I got. I realized that when someone has a clear objective to hurt you, it’s not easy to maintain finesse. And perhaps it’s better to simply not even engage with them at all.