Say you meet someone online, and you start seeing each other, and things are going really well. My highest congratulations are with you — but the real question is, if you meet on a dating app, how long should you wait to delete your dating profile? You know it's on your mind, and you know it has probably crossed your new boo's mind, but it certainly hasn't come up yet. So — what to do?
I asked nine dating and relationship experts what they would suggest in this particular situation. Interestingly, some had exact parameters as to how long you should wait, while others were more laid-back about it, but pretty much all of them agreed that you should wait at least as long as it takes to become mutually exclusive. In other words, don't hightail it home after a few good dates with someone and delete your Tinder or OkCupid profiles forever, because you just might wish you'd waited a bit longer. That said, you certainly don't wait to wait too long — if you and your partner are ready to get serious together, it won't feel good if one (or both!) of you still has an online dating presence, even if it's not being put to use. Read on to find out how long you should wait to delete that dating profile after you've met a suitable suitor online.
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1. At Least Three Months
"You should wait at least three months before taking down your dating profile," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "This number is based on the theory that you’re both playing the field and you want a serious, committed relationship." Once three months have passed, you'll be able to figure out whether you really want to get serious about someone or not.
"You need three months of dating this person to even decide if you want to continue dating them," she adds. "If you both want to continue dating each other after three months, then you should use the next three months to decide if you want to be monogamous." Go slow. There's no reason to press fast-forward, especially if you're really into this person.
"If it seems like a long time, it’s because this is what people who are serious about finding 'the one' do: They take the relationships seriously and don’t jump into something that starts fast, and ends on a crash and burn note." Slow and steady wins the race here.
2. When You Have A Ritual Together
"Make it a ceremony when you agree on a commitment," Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, tells Bustle. "When you mutually decide to be exclusive with each other, sit down together and delete both your profiles at the same time." You'll take the step together — and you'll know absolutely that your partner has deleted their profile, and they will know the same. Plus, it'll feel more momentous if you do it together.
3. Once You Have A Talk About Exclusivity
"Only after there’s been a conversation about exclusivity," relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle. "It still surprises me how many people delete their profiles because they don’t want to date anyone else, but their partner is still dating others because there hasn’t been a clear 'define-the-relationship' talk." So don't just delete yours and assume that your partner has done the same.
"People have their own timelines when it comes to being exclusive, and just because you’re ready to stop seeing others doesn’t mean the other person is ready." Of course, they might be — and once you're committed to one another, feel free to bring up your online dating presence (and theirs) and talk about it.
4. When You're Ready To Stop Hedging Your Bets
"Having coached the customer service staff of a popular online dating site for many years, I have found that many people want to hedge their bets when testing out a new relationship that began via an online dating site — that is, they do not want to completely give up the incredibly effective and efficient means of meeting new people until they are almost walking down the aisle," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "Unfortunately in most cases, only one person in the relationship feels this way and the other is unsure about the strength of the relationship."
It makes sense, especially if you or your partner has been single for a while. "It sometimes takes a while for a person to give up their profile on a dating site, as they also are removing all their messages, contacts and potential for one person," Van Hochman says. "Perhaps hiding a profile is a bit devious — but if it seems that if you know the relationship is a solid one, you’d not think twice about removing it." In other words, no one should be tiptoeing around the situation. If it's time to stop hedging your bets, sit down and have a chat about it.
5. When You're Not Seeing Anyone Else
"When you decide to be committed, after a reasonable time where you are not seeing others, and it should be an independent decision, with no expectations," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "If you are committed, you will trust that they will delete when it feels right to them." But if you don't want to wait for them to bring it up, do it yourself — just don't rush or force things. "A relationship built on natural progression and independent decisions is always more sustainable," Paiva says. Be calm.
6. The Second You Decide You're Committed To Someone
"The second you decide you'd like to be committed to someone — or at least want the chance to be — delete the app," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "It's not like you erase your profile information or have to pay to sign up again." If you are in a relationship with someone, let go of the online presence.
These apps can be deleted and downloaded again and again whenever you'd like," she says. "Go ahead and delete the app to show maturity, commitment, and to focus on the possibility of a new beginning. If it doesn't work out, download it again and keep moving forward." Sage advice.
7. Once You Know It's Real
"Once you have each agreed to not see other people, the relationship has been given a real chance," psychologist Nicole Martinez, who is the author of eight books, including The Reality of Relationships , tells Bustle. "[When] you truly believe it can be going somewhere, this is a fair time for each of you to ask the other to deactivate or delete their profile."
But don't jump the gun. "Until such a time that things are monogamous and serious, it would not be fair for either of you to make that request," she says. "If you both believe that you are not giving the relationship a chance by not deleting them, then that seems like a fair and mutual decision." When you get to the point where it is no longer cool that you're getting 2 a.m. "hey" messages from randos on the internet, delete your profile — and ask your new partner to do the same.
8. When You Agree To Commit
"If things are just fun and games between the two of you, and you know that there's no lasting connection, then there is really no need to remove your profile," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships , tells Bustle. "Once you decide to be in an exclusive relationship, then pushing the delete button is paramount, if you really want the relationship to last." Don't play games and keep your profile up for longer than necessary — if it's time to hit the delete button, do it without hesitation.
9. When You're In A Mutually Exclusive Relationship
"You should keep your profile up until you are in a mutually exclusive relationship," Dawn Maslar, a.k.a. “the Love Biologist,” tells Bustle. "This is important." Until then, you can't be sure that your partner is ready to take the next step — and, like many experts, Maslar says it's best to wait until you're positive that you're continuing down the path together. Of course, the relationship may not last forever — but if you're going to give it an honest shot, set it up for success by deleting your profile and being sure that your partner has deleted theirs.
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