By Laura R., a loveisrespect Advocate
In today’s world, it’s no secret that sites like OkCupid and apps like Tinder make it super easy and convenient to find potential dating partners. All it takes is a simple swipe right, and you could be matched instantly! But what if you find out that someone you’re already dating has a profile on one of these apps? That can certainly be overwhelming and difficult to process, and it’s definitely normal to feel a bit unsure of how to handle such a discovery!
To start, it’s important to acknowledge how you discovered your partner was on a dating app. Were you yourself swiping for new matches when you came across their profile? If you think it’s okay for you to look for someone new but aren’t okay with your partner doing so, that isn’t really fair. Holding yourself to a different set of rules than you’re holding your partner to can also be a red flag for abuse. Did you go through your partner’s phone or their computer to see what they were doing?
Going through a partner’s personal technology without their permission, even in a committed relationship (even if you’re suspicious), is unhealthy, since everyone deserves to have digital privacy. Did you set up a fake profile to catfish your partner as a way to catch them in the act? Setting traps or tests for your partner really isn’t a healthy way to deal with conflict either, since it uses dishonesty to further break down trust rather than using open, honest communication to build it up and address the real issues. If you used unhealthy methods such as these to catch your partner on these apps, be prepared to own up to and address your own behavior when confronting your partner.
Regardless of how you found out, learning that your partner is potentially looking for someone else can really sting! If you make this discovery, it can help to have a chat with your partner about what the boundaries of the relationship are or should be. If you haven’t already defined the terms of your relationship, this might be a sign that it’s time to have that conversation. Do you two want to casually date and still be able to meet other people? Or do you want a more committed and monogamous relationship? If you have both already agreed to be in an exclusive relationship, you may see looking for a new partner as a clear violation of those boundaries. It is definitely okay to respectfully bring up your discovery, address your concerns with your partner and revisit what you both want your relationship to look like moving forward. These kinds of conversations can be difficult and even daunting sometimes, but they can really help both partners understand what the other is wanting from the relationship. Conflict doesn’t always have to be bad, either! In fact, handling disagreements in a healthy way might actually bring you and your partner closer.
It can also be helpful to ask yourself how you see your relationship moving forward from this discovery. If your partner admits to being on these apps, it is okay to share your concerns around that and ask them to delete their profile(s). However, it would be unhealthy and controlling to demand that a partner delete dating profiles/apps or make them show you their phone regularly to “prove” they are being faithful. Even if you discover that your partner used these apps to cheat on you, it’s not okay to control or monitor them in any way. You can’t control your partner’s actions; you can only control your own. Deciding to trust someone is a choice only you can make. When we decide to trust our partner, we choose to have faith that they are honoring the boundaries of our relationship—even if they have broken them in the past. Trust is essential for any relationship to be healthy, so if you can’t trust your partner, it might not be the right time for the two of you to be in a relationship.
You always have a right to your thoughts and feelings, and if you feel like your partner being on dating apps is something you’re just not comfortable with, you might want to ask yourself if this relationship is right for you. And of course, our loveisrespect advocates are here to talk the situation through with you 24/7 by calling 1-866-331-9474, chatting at www.loveisrespect.org, or texting LOVEIS to 22522.