Try not to jump to conclusions.
The convenience of dating apps and the massive amount of people you can meet on them have changed the dating game forever. But with all the good dating apps can do, they can also make life hella complicated. Say, for instance, you're going about your happily coupled-up life when you discover your partner is still on a dating app, even though they're in a monogamous relationship with you. ~Record scratch.~ You're probably wondering what the person you believed to be very much off the market is doing swiping left and right.
In a case like this, Eric Resnick, a professional dating profile writer and online dating coach, tells Elite Daily you shouldn't panic. According to research by student loan marketplace LendEDU, a significant portion of young people use Tinder as a distraction or confidence boost, rather than to actually meet someone. Your girlfriend or boyfriend popping up on the dating app could just be a result of their desire for external validation. Although, another study by Statista Research Department on motivation for all dating apps, not just Tinder, found that the majority of users were there to find a romantic partner. The same study also revealed that 6% of users reported using the apps to cheat on their partners. So, without assuming the worst, you do have valid reason to be concerned.
Nevertheless, get to the bottom of things and ask your partner why they're still on a dating app when they're clearly in a relationship. Here's what experts suggest to do if you find your girlfriend or boyfriend on a dating site.
Why Your Partner Might Be On A Dating App
So, you caught your partner on a dating app. Whether you found out through a friend who found them or a spontaneous swiping spree of your own, it’s important to keep an open mind and not jump to the worst conclusions. As Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships, tells Elite Daily, there may be a handful of reasons why they're popping up.
“[It could be that] they deleted their profile from their phone but didn't deactivate it,” she says. “This falls into the category of digital housekeeping. Not everyone knows exactly how to permanently delete a dating profile. I've even seen profiles of people who were happily married who had no idea their profile was still lingering on a dating app. If this is the case, your partner should download the app again, and together, change the settings to delete the dating app instead of just removing it,” she explains. Your girlfriend or boyfriend could very well be on dating apps because of an innocent oversight.
It could also be what Resnick suggested: They're just looking at profiles with no intention of engaging. But Spira says this behavior could be a bad sign when it comes to the ongoing health of your relationship. “This activity probably means they're questioning your relationship [or] wondering who else is out there,” she explains. “This is a form of emotional cheating, but it isn't the end of the world. If this is the case, it's time to communicate about what your partner likes about your relationship and address areas that could be improved.”
If your partner is "actively matching, chatting, and meeting others behind your back,” Spira says this can be considered cheating "unless you've agreed to an open relationship.” Ultimately, there's only one way to determine which of these scenarios you’re dealing with: Talk to them about it.
How To Process Your Feelings About It
What to do if you find your partner on dating apps will depend largely on the nature of your relationship. “Are you still in that getting-to-know-you phase, or have you become exclusive?" Resnick asks. "If it's the former, just let it be. You haven't committed to each other, and what they do isn't your business.” If it still bothers you, Resnick says you may want more from the relationship, and it may be time to talk to the person you're dating about where you stand. “If you decide that it's time to go exclusive, then you can ask if they are still on any dating sites," he suggests. "It is not uncommon for people in a relationship to ceremonially delete their dating accounts together.”
If you're already exclusive and find your partner's online dating profile is still active, Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, says having an honest conversation about what you found is important. “Decide what you want to do about it. If you want to keep the relationship, then a calm, cool approach is best,” she tells Elite Daily.
One tactic all the experts say to avoid is catfishing. Don’t make a fake profile just to try messaging your partner and seeing if they respond. “No one wants to be with a partner who's a stalker, and before you start accusing your steady beau of cheating, you should try to find out what's going on,” says Spira. “Know that if you create a fake profile to catch them in the act, you can kiss your relationship goodbye.”
How To Approach Your Partner
Once you've taken a deep breath and feel ready to talk to your partner, Dorell suggests considering what you want to achieve with the conversation so you can be intentional in your approach: “Decide what it is you want. Is it to feel heard? For them to admit it so you don't feel crazy? To break up?" Before making any sort of accusations, she suggests gathering evidence. Screenshots or their open dating app profile work here.
Spira says to be direct. “If you've agreed to be exclusive, and you've both taken down your profiles, I recommend you say the following: ‘My friend [insert name] was swiping right on Tinder, and somehow she got matched with you.’ Then show your partner the screenshot and button your lips because it's time to listen to the explanation," she says.
Dorell agrees it's essential to give your partner plenty of space to respond. “Pay attention to your intuition. You'll know if they are lying because your body will tell you," she explains. "Your job in this conversation is to get to the truth, and that's something you'll know within you. Then, you can decide what you want to do next.”
Ultimately, it will be up to you and your partner to determine what happens next. Maybe they'll log in, delete their profile once and for all, and you can proceed as you were. On the other hand, you might decide to go your separate ways and move on. The key is to trust your intuition and do what feels right for you.
“If you find out your partner has a second life on a dating app, know that you're not alone," says Spira. "It takes a few minutes to create or reactivate a dating profile, and if you're not their one-and-only, about 50 million plus other singles are waiting to meet you.” Hang in there, you've got this.
How often do millennials start dating due to tinder? LendEDU. (2020, April 6). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://lendedu.com/blog/tinder-match-millennials/.
Published by Statista Research Department, & 28, J. (2021, June 28). Most popular reasons for users in the United States to use online dating websites or apps as of May 2021. Statista. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/976189/reasons-why-adults-use-dating-websites-apps-usa/.
Eric Resnick, professional dating profile writer and online dating coach
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships
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