When you're out at a bar or a party, it's not so easy to tell who's single — and available to flirt with — and who's not. So dating apps are kind of a safe haven for single people. It's pretty safe to assume that everyone you're swiping across is unattached. Or... is it? Unfortunately, there are occasionally some people who aren't upfront about their not-so-single relationship status. But if you learn to spot the red flags on dating apps, you can do your best to avoid them.
Identifying a catfish or catching an online cheater requires keen senses. Sometimes you can tell immediately from someone's profile that they're not who they claim to be. Usually, though, you have to rely on a combination of gut instinct and FBI-level detective work. It also helps if you know what to look out for. I spoke to Meredith Golden, online dating expert and founder of SpoonmeetSpoon, about dating app danger signs that could indicate the person is already in a relationship. It's pretty sad that these are even common enough to list, but it's 2018 and people are shadier than ever. So here are four patterns to look out for when it comes to online dating that might mean they're taken.
1. They Only Message You During The Day
If you've noticed that the match in question only gets online during work hours, this could mean they're sneaking around, says Golden. The person is probably with their partner after work and on the weekends. The fact that they only use the app outside of those times could indicate that they're trying not to get caught.
2. They Never Want To Meet
After exchanging a few messages online, someone usually suggests a date. If you have been talking for a while and he or she hasn't mentioned you two meeting up (or worse, brushes off your attempts at making a plan to get together, either by changing the subject or making excuses), it could mean they already have someone in their life. If the conversation continues without a discussion about taking your relationship offline, it's likely that they're using the dating app solely to boost their ego, says Golden. "They have no intention of ever meeting you or anyone else," she adds.
3. They Have Questionable Photos With Other People
When browsing profiles, look out for the not-so-subtle signs of cheating. The potential partner in question might be right in front of you. Golden warns that "a picture with a woman that clearly isn’t their sister, engaging in a pose that hints at a non-platonic relationship" could be a red herring.
4. They Admit They're Looking For Side Action
Perhaps worst of all are those who are forthcoming about their deception, and blatantly state that they are looking for someone on the side, either in their profile or at the beginning of the conversation. Yes, this does happen. No, it's not OK. "Delete them immediately please," says Golden. Agreed.
If you suspect someone is being dishonest with you by doing any or all of these things, it's not necessary to confront them. They likely won't change, so don't waste any more of your time on someone who isn't worth it. Golden says that it's better to delete the person, rather than engage. "You deserve more, end of story," she says. "Onward!"
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