In my “Love Essentially” column published today in the Sun-Times Media local publications, I respond to a reader’s e-mail regarding a guy she met on one of the dating websites, who she really likes. There’s one red flag: his profile is still active on the site! Here’s my advice to her.
“I dated a guy a few times. Nothing physical yet, just drinks. Now he invited me for dinner at his house and I accepted. But, I can see that he is constantly on match.com. I’m thinking about canceling the date. At what point should you expect the person you are seeing to stop “trolling” on dating websites?”
What I first want to say is that I’m happy you’ve met someone you seem to like. That’s not easy to do! But, you bring up a very interesting topic. When should two people who are dating be expected to stop using dating websites?
The minute two people decide to cancel their eHarmony subscriptions, aren’t they saying they are exclusive? When should that happen? After a certain number of dates? After the two people sleep together? After they say I love you? There are no rules. Each couple has to decide what is right for them.
Here’s how I feel about your guy. First, my gut feeling is he likes you and wants to know you better. Asking someone over for dinner translates into that. What bothers me a little bit is that if you can actually see him looking around on Match.com than he obviously isn’t ready to stop dating other women. If his profile was still up, but he was not showing activity, that might make me feel a little bit more confident that he’s ready to stop dating other women.
Another thing that is bothersome is that this guy knows you are going to see that he has activity on Match. Doesn’t he care about your feelings? However, in his defense, maybe he is insecure about how you feel, and unsure if you are interested in him enough. In other words, maybe he needs to know that you are “in,” before he takes himself “out” of the dating game.
I would not cancel the date. I would instead bring up your concerns that night in a nice, non-confrontational way. Maybe just say, “I’m not judging you or telling you what you should do or what I’m expecting you to do, but I noticed you are still looking at women’s profiles on Match. May I ask why?”
This will undoubtedly lead to a conversation that could go wonderfully well or head south quickly. Where the two of you are headed, what you both want, and if you are going to be exclusive moving forward will definitely be addressed, so be prepared. I am always a huge fan in honesty and candor in relationships, so having that discussion is a good thing, not matter how it ends up.
He might be so happy you brought it up, and he might say, “I think we should both take off our profiles.” Alternatively, he might tell you that he wants to remain on Match, and that he’s not ready to date only you. If that happens, you might be hurt and upset, but wouldn’t you be glad you know that upfront, before you jump in physically and emotionally? Having that information, as painful as it might be, leaves you with two choices: keep dating him or end it.
I’ve heard from many people who are married that a big milestone in their relationship was the point they both agreed to take off their profiles from the dating site on which they met. I find that very endearing, and I hope that happens with you if that’s what you want.
Dating isn’t easy, and although I’ve never personally experienced dating websites, I know enough to say that while those sites are statistically shown to be the number one way people meet their spouses, they can also cause pain by deceitful men and women who might be on the site to cheat on their current spouse or just to have casual sex.
Additionally, belonging to a dating site can be frustrating and disappointing, as it can sometimes be a numbers game. I compare it to shopping at Marshall’s or Nordstrom Rack. You have to sift through a lot of crap before you find a gem. In your case, it sounds like you found someone you like. I hope he turns out to be the beautiful designer dress that fits perfectly. Good luck!
You haven’t even slept together. You have no right to expect him to stop dating others. Good grief.