Information is everywhere, and it's completely natural to want to know more about someone. Let's say you went on a great date with a person from a dating app. Maybe a few great dates. I've been in that position many times (I am a great date, FYI), and I often want to know more about the person I'm seeing. Specifically, I want to know if they're still using the dating app, or if they're not seeking out future dates. In situations like this, I often find myself asking: Is stalking people on dating apps healthy? I know I'm not the only one wondering this, so to find out the answer, I spoke to a number of relationship experts.
Stalking people on dating apps is different from stalking someone in real life (which, BTW, you should not do) or even on other social media apps. What constitutes creeping on a dating app? "Checking to see if they’re online or the last times they logged in, examining their profiles, noticing if they changed their pictures or added new descriptions," Relationship Coach Nina Rubin tells Elite Daily. Other experts echo her sentiment. "If you are messaging them daily, looking for changes in their profile on a daily basis or multiple times a day, then you are probably stalking," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Clinical Psychologist and Host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. Returning to the dating app profile of a person you've met off Tinder might be considered creeping, but don't worry — there are many situations in which it's perfectly OK.
Under some circumstances, it's totally OK to check someone's dating profile after you've met them IRL. For example, maybe someone seems different than you expected, and you want to figure out where the discrepancy lies. "If they seem different from how they described themselves, it would be reasonable to look at their profile to try to make sense of the differences," Rubin says. Maybe you need to check back in on these photos if they seemed different in real life, and that's very normal.
Additionally, you might want to reference a dating app to check someone's interests or any piece of information you forgot about them, and that can be healthy too. "If a person needs to recall their personal interests (doing homework in preparation for another encounter), that's OK," Relationship Expert Greg Jenkins tells Elite Daily. To know if it's healthy, Dr. Klapow has some advice. "Try to think about it as if there were no technology." Before dating apps, you might have asked someone's friends what their interests were, so it's OK to use technology to find answers to the same questions.
There are times, however, in which stalking someone on a dating app might be unhealthy. It could cause you to get hurt because you don't like thinking of them dating other people, even if you haven't discussed monogamy. "Checking their profile simply reminds you that they are not 100% committed to you after the first date," Dr. Klapow says. "While you may be OK with that at an intellectual level, emotionally you may feel envy, anxiety, and jealousy." Matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking Susan Trombetti echoes his sentiment. "It could cause you to sabotage the relationship because you lose confidence in what you have or are starting to build together." Not everyone would get jealous knowing that someone is dating other people, but if you think you're likely to, then it's always good to be careful. There's no reason to put yourself through unnecessary emotional turmoil, so if you think you might get upset looking at someone's online dating profile, it's probably healthier not to.
One danger of stalking someone on a dating app is that you're getting information from their online profile instead of face-to-face interactions. "Apps provide an introduction, they are not meant to tell a complete story," Jenkins says. "That has to be done face-to-face." If you're seeing someone, it's useful to make sure you're getting to know them in person rather than online. "Experiencing the person via their online profile after you've met them is not really experiencing the person," Dr. Klapow says. It might even be unfair to the other person to form an opinion of them based on their profile and not their personality IRL. While there is truth to what we see on dating profiles or social media, there's still no replacement for getting to know another human in person.
"Stalking" is a loaded term that can run the gamut in terms of seriousness. Not all stalking is unhealthy or creepy — just because you look up someone's Tinder after a date doesn't mean you're Penn Badgley in You. If you've ever creeped on someone on a dating app by going back and looking at their profile after meeting them, you're not alone, and you haven't necessarily done anything wrong. However, in some circumstances, stalking someone on dating app might not be the healthiest choice for you and the people you're dating. So, be sure to consider how to make your online dating experience a joyful one. Happy swiping!