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Grindr Dating Help from Attachment Research

By Tom Bruett, MFT

Tom is a psychotherapist and couples counselor at the Gay Therapy Center San Francisco.

Grindr dating can be a challenging task. Learning more about your attachment style can help you navigate the turbulent landscape of the gay dating world.

What is Attachment?

Attachment theory is the study of how intimate partners deal with relationship distress. For example, if your partner says something hurtful, how do they try and repair that?


Attachment research began as the study of child/caregiver relationships. John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth observed and classified different types of attachment styles between children and their primary caregivers.
Contemporary researchers and relationship gurus, like Sue Johnson, have taken childhood attachment research and translated it into attachment styles of adult romantic relationships. By learning more about your own attachment style, you can better understand how you relate to your intimate partners.


Much of the gay dating scene has moved online in recent years. In case you’re not aware, Grindr is a dating app that gay men can use to find love and sex, but mostly sex, using proximity through GPS.


I’ll be the first to admit that this post is written in a very light-hearted way and I have NOT done any independent research on Grindr dating in relation to attachment styles. That being said, hopefully this can serve as a humorous introduction into the world of attachment research and how it can help you in your intimate relationships.

Adult attachment styles are broken into two main groups, secure and insecure. Securely attached adults see their main romantic relationship as “safe” and feel free to go out and explore the world knowing that they always have a safe base to return to. Insecurely attached people fit into one of three subcategories: anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant. These styles are not locked in stone and can change over time.

Below you’ll find descriptions of the 4 main “flavors” of adult attachment styles in language you may encounter on Grindr.

Grindr Dating in Attachment Terms


“I’m comfortable being close with other people. Let’s meet for a drink or coffee before we go back to my place or yours. See, I’m flexible and probably versatile. Check out my Instagram or SnapChat. They’re both linked to my Grindr profile, as I have nothing to hide. My family is super supportive, I’ve got a great group of friends and more likely than not a cute and well-trained dog.“


“I want to be close, but it makes me really stressed out. Before I actually meet, I’m going to reschedule at least 5 times. When we finally pick a time, you won’t be sure I’ll actually show up. I’ll message you a lot and then go silent for a few days. You’ll have no clue what to make of me.”


“I like my independence. I come online to have my needs met. I’ve got a headless torso picture and little to no information in my profile. You host. Don’t talk and I’ll leave right after I get off. Blindfolded on the bed preferred.”


“I want to meet someone, but in the end I’ll probably ghost you. You’ll never hear from me again. Until I’m horny and re-download the app. You’ll never get anywhere close to knowing the real me. You’ll never get my last name or my cell number. Don’t even bother asking.“

Do you hear yourself in any of these descriptions?

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