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Secret online profiles? Not that simple.

February 15, 2011

And so it begins…

This is the first post from me for the Insomnia Club. So exciting!

... I just think this is funny...

First topic: You’ve just discovered you partner still has an online dating profile.

Now what?

Initial reaction? Simple. Being the honest-sometimes-to-a-fault person that I am, the easy answer is ask them about it. Done. What else is there to say?

However. Upon further reflection, I decided this is a bit more complicated.

See, this topic came from a post by Simone Grant. After reading what she had to say, I realized there is more than just the confront-them-now-reaction.

Instead. Step away from the computer. Sit the fuck down. Take a deep breath.

And. Look at yourself.

So much of what we do in life is react to other people, and one thing we don’t do enough of is reflect on our own behavior.

This isn’t to negate a discussion about the whole wow-you-still-have-a-profile-wtf thing. That’s still a problem (although it completely depends on how active he is on it. A lot of those things require several month commitment to reduce cost of joining. In addition, boys and girls, we’re all capable of being lazy and forgetting to delete the damn thing during those extra months).

Anyways. Before you get to the bottom of that (by having a rational discussion and avoiding pitching a fit), you need to ask yourself this question:

How did you happen upon his/her online dating profile?

Before you hey-this-is-about-him/her-not-me *scoff*, I argue this question is really damn important, and something you need to consider first.

Sure, maybe you innocently came across it (e.g. you opened up a mutual computer or one they have given you permission to use and the page was already open.) Yeah. Ok. Maaaaybe. But in all likelihood? I bet you’re not so innocent. I bet you were *gasp* snooping. Either looking for a profile specifically, or just for general evidence of shady behavior.

Why, pray tell, would you be doing that? Well, that’s easy, too. You don’t trust your partner.

Now, I see two reasons for that:

  1. Your partner has given you reason to be suspicious of them, specifically (i.e. you don’t have trust issues in general, it’s specific to this relationship)
  2. You are suspicious of other people you’re in relationships, generally (i.e. you have trust issues in general, not specific to this relationship)

Let’s tackle Reason One – You Don’t Trust Your Partner first. This was the issue for Simone in her original post:  there were issues in the relationship already, yet when she asked her partner about it, he said all was fine. She didn’t believe him, and went looking for evidence to confirm her suspicions (hence the title of her post), and she found it.

If this is the case for you, you already know something’s wrong. Discovering he has an active online profile is not the issue – only evidence of bigger problems. My advice moving forward:

  • Don’t get hung-up on the profile thing. It’s really effing easy to allow specifics (like the profile) to distract you. Instead of addressing what’s really wrong, we argue and fight and pitch fits about these specifics, which are only evidence of the real shit, instead of looking at the big picture. We nitpick or throw tantrums over trees, and in so doing ignore the friggin forest. Do we do it on purpose? Maybe. Maybe the forest means it’s time to get the fuck outta dodge, but we don’t want to. SO we ignore it instead. We focus on the little shit, hoping “fixing” or explaining that will mean the big shit doesn’t matter. Umm… not so much.

  • Take a long, hard look at that forest: Basically, how scary is that forest? What are the underlying issues here? Can things be solved? And, more importantly, should they? Or is it time to move on? Look, more than likely, the issues are why the profile exists: e.g. fear of commitment, boredom, douchebagery… whatever. Deal with those – because, like I said, the profile is only a manifestation of them, anyway.

  • Be honest with yourself: If shit is bad, decide to get the fuck out. Don’t let  your long look at this relationship deteriorate into you making excuses for your partner. No rationalizing the reasons why you went looking in the first place, or what you found.

  • Have a conversation about the bad shit. Yes, use the profile as evidence for underlying problems and get an answer on why he/she has it. But, again, don’t let that de-rail the conversation (e.g. waste time having them rationalize or excuse the profile, instead of talking about the real issues). You should either be telling him/her it’s over, or discussing how to fix the big things. The real issues. So he doesn’t have a profile and so you don’t feel the need to go looking for it.

The flip side is Issue Two – You Have Trust Problems. Maybe your partner hasn’t done a thing wrong that you’re aware of, but you just know they have. Maybe you just need to check their phone. And their e-mail. And their FB. Maybe you told them “openness” is the key to a trusting relationship and you require passwords/permission into their personal space (*ahem* I disagree strongly – but that’s for another time). Maybe you don’t need to that all the time, but just this once. The main thing is that you have no evidence, aside from your own inability to trust, that something is wrong.

Maybe your issues come from past relationships when you were cheated on. Maybe you are insecure and no one has ever done anything to make you that way. You know what? I don’t really care. The reasons for why you have trust issues aren’t fucking importantthey’re an excuse. No matter how awful your ex was or how little self esteem you have? They don’t excuse your inability to trust someone or your ability to go into someone else’s personal space. You NEED trust in relationships – so stop using your past as an excuse why you can’t, and start working on getting over that shit.

SO. Instead of using this newly discovered online profile as an a-ha! See??? I have a reason not to trust! So there, Nikki! moment, use the fact that you went looking as a reason to check yourself and start addressing your own fucking problems.

That being said, you are correct that your issues don’t excuse an active dating profile while in a committed relationship. I’m simply saying that you need to look at yourself separately from your partner’s behavior – and not focus solely on their indiscretions. When you’ve got your own shit you need to deal with, too. Look at both.

From there, my advice to Issue One still stands, with this (gigantic) addition: YOU need to decide if it is at all possible for YOU to learn to get over your trust issues while in a relationship where you will have to build trust anew. Can you do both? To me, that sounds fucking difficult. But that’s where you’re at. And you had better be honest about it, to both your partner and yourself, because that shit is never gonna go away on its own.

The bottom line? I think having an active dating profile is rarely the big issue – it’s just evidence of something deeper. Something that is far more important that needs to be the focus. Not to say it isn’t a pretty significant problem, but don’t run around yelling at trees. Take a step back, and assess the forest.

See? Not so simple, is it?

Well. That’s my two cents – but what are other people saying? Check out their thoughts!

“Confirming My Suspicion” by Simone Grant

“Awaiting Vesuvius” by F*cking in Brooklyn

“Cheating in Cyberspace” by MetAnotherFrog

“Does it Matter if Your Lover has an Online Dating Profile?” by The Urban Dater

“Active in the Last 24 Hours” by Miss Taylor Cast

“So Your Boyfriend (or Girlfriend) Still Has A Profile On An Online Dating Site…” by Jess Downey aka All The Single Ladies

“Online Dating Losers Who Keep You and Their Profiles” by Feisty Woman

What Would An Insomniac Do? by How Very Lucky

The Jungle of Online Dating by Thank You For Your Sex

Ms. Scorned Woman by Man-Shopping in Paris

38 Comments leave one →
  1. Movedup permalink
    February 15, 2011 11:32 am

    Not so sure on all points Nikki – I would say No. 1 FOR SURE but part did come from past relationships. Yes there were other issues and that set off my spidey senses (this feels familar). I would have felt better if all I found was an online dating profile – but there was SO much more to the point of vomit! The only reason he is breathing is because he didn’t use my name. Especially when stated clearly and definite – what happens behind close doors stays behind closed doors – which was agreed too. I was totally PISSED beyond belief to read about our sex life online in chat rooms of what he got his gf to do for him. DO FOR HIM! EXCUSE ME! What makes him think I did any of that FOR HIM! UGH!


    I would agree with NO. 1 and NO 2. The experience opened my eyes thats for sure and I did work on my “issues” as to why I attracted such a scumbag and things to watch for in the future. I had always thought a deal is a deal. A promise is a promise. BUT only to one who means to keep it. Watch for those dealbreakers – find one don’t question it – get the fu*k out.

    • February 15, 2011 6:47 pm

      YIKES woman! Sounds like you had some SHIT!

      I wish there was a magic way to tell if people are shiite or not. There isn’t. But. That doesn’t mean we can use the past to punish the right-now. As you said, much better to address issues, learn from our past, and be more aware of red flags in the future. The only person you can control is yourself. Period.

      • Movedup permalink
        February 15, 2011 7:09 pm

        Very true – we cannot use the past to punish the right-now. But we can use the lessons learned to (hopefully) have a better right-now. There are many reasons to suffer but a good reason to suffer you will never find. Nothing worse than to have suffered and learned nothing from it.

  2. February 15, 2011 1:59 pm

    Trust is the key to all relationships, intimate or not. I would never go through my partners phone or emails and I would get mad if he did that to me. We all need our private space but most of all, if I cannot trust that he has integrity and respect for me meaning that he does not abuse our relationship in his private space then WTF am I doing there?

    I do understand that it is easy to blow a casket if you would find for example an active online profile . I know I would be hard pushed not to go ballistic but then as you so aptly point out… it probably is not the first sign of a rocking ship.

    • February 15, 2011 6:51 pm

      Abso-freakin-lutely. I do NOT agree with the whole I-need-an-all-access-pass-to-your-life thing for exactly this point: You should be able to trust instead. Period.

      And yeah, who wouldn’t flip shit over an active profile? But I think we really need a moment to think through it, instead of focusing on that alone. And if there isn’t anything else? No other problems or issues or evidence? Than just ASK them about it! It might very well be nothing!

  3. February 15, 2011 2:20 pm

    You usually find what you’re looking for, but if you feel compelled to go looking in the first place, there’s already a problem…

    Good points on a complex issue.

    • Movedup permalink
      February 15, 2011 3:03 pm

      Its when you find more than what you thought…. and yes… there was already a problem. Confirmation of my worst suspicions is what I found and then some… I had never thought to look before – never seemed to be a question before certain familar behaviors started occuring. It does make you look at oneself thou… how did I not see this coming… then the red flags became claringly obvious. I’d say look for red flags and assess the risk – internal or external – then act if warranted. Am I sorry – no. Sorry I didn’t pay attention to the red flags and wanted to ignore what became clear once the rose tinted glasses were off. Lesson learned. Privacy is one thing – deliberate deceit is another

    • February 15, 2011 6:52 pm

      Thank you, Jacks! I enjoyed your story as well…

  4. February 15, 2011 6:04 pm

    I think so much depends if you are talking about a man or woman because of the differences in who writes who with online dating. A woman could easily be checking her profile just out of curiosity and actually innocent.
    A guy though is doing so much of the initial contact work that there is nothing fun about checking your profile, unless……
    I’m not sure I’ve met someone that is type 2 and in a relationship.
    Most people seem to block out obvious signs that things are falling apart that I think by the time you are trying to find a profile or whatever you should be making one for yourself for after the breakup.

    • February 15, 2011 6:55 pm

      The Urban Dater makes your point, Nate: he doesn’t care his GF has a profile, because it doesn’t mean anything. He trusts her, and she only checks it out of curiosity sometimes. I think that really speaks to their relationship.

      Be glad you haven’t met Type Two. At the worst? They want your passwords and to check your phone. All. The. Time. It’s not a good scene.

      Last point? Absolutely agree. I know I’ve blocked out signs before, and it never got me anywhere. Better to be honest with yourself.

      • February 16, 2011 10:48 am

        I think type two women with that level of distrust though are probably never in relationships, the types that end things super fast or on a whim so this kind of thing is rare from the guy end.
        Type two guys are probably needy and always looking to be in a relationship with the first person who says yes to coffee.
        As hard as it is sometimes dating a woman, I’m so glad I do not have to date guys. Just has to be orders of magnitude worse.

      • February 16, 2011 8:12 pm

        That’s funny – I see plenty of Type II chicks in relationships – and maintaining drama on a level I almost think the dude likes it.

        And plenty of girls out there that say yes to the first warm body… makes me wonder how dissimilar we are, when we get down to it…

        I’ve dated boys n girls – there are crazy ones on both sides.

  5. February 15, 2011 8:35 pm

    This is a great post and really gets to the heart of the matter, which is to say that it’s not about the profile. It’s about honesty, trust, and communication. Without those three ingredients, the cake will never rise.

    • February 16, 2011 8:13 pm

      No. Kidding. I swear all you need for a relationship to work are those things – and sex.

      Glad you liked it! 😀 Loved yours!

  6. February 15, 2011 9:41 pm

    LOVE this! In our reactionary world, so many of us forget to step back and check our own B.S. Thanks for sharing such a fresh and important perspective on a pretty common relationship issue.

    • February 16, 2011 8:14 pm

      NO KIDDING. It’s so interesting, because the only person we can do anything about is ourselves. If we all spent a lil more time paying attention and doing something about that? Imagine what a difference it would make!

  7. February 15, 2011 11:16 pm

    Nothing is EVER “that simple.”

    Someone may be keeping their online dating profile alive because they are not sure about their current relationship and don’t want to end their membership just yet. It would be hard not to be upset about this if you are the other person in the relationship, but I get it. Sometimes people aren’t sure unless, you know, there’s a ring on it.

    However, this person should not be *communicating* with other people on the site. That would be a problem.

    • February 16, 2011 8:16 pm

      The point that some people keep it alive “on the backburner” if you will is a good one. There are definitely non-threatening reasons for having a profile. The issue is how you use it – and why you’re active (if you are).

      And then it becomes a discussion with your partner. About boundaries, what it all means, and ultimately – where the relationship is going and what it’s about. That, again, goes far beyond the profile yet again.

  8. February 16, 2011 12:03 am

    Indeed Niks, it boils completely down to absolute trust in yourself and that person. No ifs, ands, or buts. You and Alex touched on that very similarly.

    However, I think it is also a decent and respectful gesture to your lady/man to cut that shit off. While we should entrust in each other, we should also feel the need to owe it to each other to cease having these extra outlets of temptation lurking about us. People shouldn’t have to keep their profiles open if they’ve since committed.

    But it’s also like the FB status thing. A lot of chicks are like “OMG he hasn’t changed his status to ‘in a relationship’ yet” and they get all bent out of shape. I guess it depends on what you want. I know if my guy wanted me to take that shit down, and I was uber serious about him, I would do it just for him. Out of respect.

    • February 16, 2011 8:27 pm

      I agree, Feisty. I think that there are some things you make sure to do if you know they make sure your partner is comfortable and to show your feelings. Although, as I said before and as some of the other Insomniacs have mentioned, there are innocent reasons for having a profile. However. You have to think about the person you’re with, what the relationship means, what they might think about your actions and how they affect another person. That’s just part of being a good partner.

      • February 16, 2011 10:17 pm

        Well stated. The degree of the seriousness of the relationship is a huge consideration. And if it’s serious, we should show that we too are serious by doing away with the trivial. And if it really means something, it shouldn’t matter because we’d be happy to do it. 🙂

  9. February 17, 2011 4:53 pm

    “Instead. Step away from the computer. Sit the fuck down. Take a deep breath.” love this.

    “SO. Instead of using this newly discovered online profile as an a-ha! See??? I have a reason not to trust! So there, Nikki! moment, use the fact that you went looking as a reason to check yourself and start addressing your own fucking problems.” love this more. nice post!

  10. Nate permalink
    February 19, 2011 2:30 am

    Fuck you cunt…

  11. February 21, 2011 10:01 pm

    I would agree with a lot of this. As much as you can be pissed that someone is doing you wrong, you were the one who went looking. So you didn’t trust them. Which means, you probably shouldn’t have been with them to start with. But it does suck either way, finding things that you would rather not be there…

  12. eve permalink
    January 7, 2012 6:44 pm

    Has anyone else online dated ‘Antony (tony) (tn,####) Nwanodi’, mobi chat or video chat and if so around what dates/year?

  13. May 17, 2013 5:47 pm

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  3. The Insomniacs Club and the Jungle of Online Dating | Thank You For Your Sex™ - Lena.FM
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