My Boyfriend is Active on Online Dating Sites

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www.metanotherfrog.com

A woman has just realized that her boyfriend has been active on online dating sites. She is wondering if this is alright, and if she should address him.

Dear Doctor Life Advice,

My old boyfriend and I have resumed our exclusive relationship. Years ago he told me he always looked online on dating sites, ”just to look.” I noticed that he still has an old profile on a dating site and has logged in within the past three days. What do I say to him if anything?

Signed: Concerned Girlfriend

 

Dear Concerned Girlfriend,

This is a very interesting question, and it really depends on how you feel about your boyfriend. From your question, I can tell that you two were together in the past. There was a period during which you two broke up, and now you are back together. It seems that you may have even gone for years without dating each other. There are some questions that I want you to ask yourself before you decide whether or not you say anything to your boyfriend:

  • Why did the two of you break up in the first place? There must have been some reason for the two of you to have ended your relationship. Did you two just differ in the ways you think and behave? Was there infidelity involved on either side? Take a really good look at the reasons why your relationship ended the first time. Try to look objectively at what conflicts you had then, and see if they are still there. If the conflicts are still there, then I’m afraid you’re not in a lasting relationship unless you two put serious effort into resolving these conflicts. If there was infidelity involved, then there is going to be a major trust issue between the two of you that you will have to overcome this time around.
  • What led the two of you to get back together? I’m always curious to know why people get back together. I get all kinds of answers to that question. Some couples, after they break up, realize how much they really loved each other and how petty their conflicts were. They get back together and work on resolving their conflicts in a more constructive way. This is a healthy example of how two people get back together. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve heard people say that they found out they were more miserable without each other than with each other. so they went back to the familiar misery they felt in the relationship because it was relatively better. This is very unhealthy; it tells me that the partners are both unhappy people who feed off of each other’s misery.
  • Was he active on the online dating sites the first time you were dating? You said in your questions that years ago he told you he was on the site “just to look.” Were you together then? It is really important to know this, because if you were OK with it the first time around, then he probably assumes you do not have a problem with it now.  A simple conversation with him about where you stand now about his “just to look” statement may clear things out.
  • Where do you stand with regards to him just looking on online dating sites? Take a little bit of time and think about how you really feel about this. Are you just mildly annoyed by this, or is this a more serious issue to you? Is it serious enough that you’d want to end the relationship because of it? You need to know where you stand on the issue before you talk to him, otherwise you won’t know what to say. For example, if you are going to threaten to leave him unless he cancels out all of his online dating accounts, then you should be prepared to really leave him. On the other hand, if it is just a mild annoyance to you, then it may not even be worth the energy to talk about it with him. The decision on what to say to him is ultimately based on how you feel about the situation.
  • How did you find out that he has been on online dating site? You did not mention this in your question. Did you just stumble onto this information because you share the same computer, or is it more complex than that? Do you have reason to mistrust your boyfriend? Have you been checking his computer accounts without his awareness? Are you yourself on dating sites and found out through your own account that he has been logged on? The answer to this question will tell you a lot about how much you and your boyfriend trust each other.

The simple message of the above questions for you is that first you need to know more about yourself. Spend some time and figure out why you are in this relationship, what you want out of the relationship, and how you feel about this specific situation before you talk to your boyfriend.

I want to share with you that although your question is very short, I get a sense that you do not trust your boyfriend. I believe that trust is the main ingredient for a healthy relationship, and without it, the relationship becomes troublesome and both of the partners suffer. I believe that once you know more about what you want from your relationship, it is important for you to talk to your boyfriend and clear the mystery of this situation. Open communication is essential for building a trusting and ultimately loving relationship. When you do talk, make sure you cover these areas:

  • You believe that you are in an exclusive relationship with your boyfriend. The first thing you need to do is to make sure if your boyfriend is under the same impression. Also, you two probably should have a definition of what “exclusive” means to each of you. For example, does it mean you can still flirt with or even date other people as long as there is no physical intimacy with anyone else, or does it mean completely exclusive? If completely exclusive, then is it OK “just to look” or not?
  • You know that he has been on the online dating sites. If he tries to lie to you, then he’s not trustworthy. Be aware that he may turn this on you and imply that you have been “spying” on him. Stay firm and let him know that you need to discuss the issue of his online dating activities, before you can start talking about the issue of how you found out. Don’t let him turn this around on you.
  • Ask him why he needs to continue looking if he is already in a satisfying relationship. “Just to look” is not enough of an explanation. I am afraid he is staying with you while looking for something he would perceive as better or more exciting.
  • Let him know what your feelings are about the the situation and what you need from him. Do not expect him to read your mind. Notice that I cannot tell from your question how you feel about this, and what you expect. He probably does not know either. Be precise and clear. For example, you may tell him that this is unacceptable to you and would lead to ending your relationship, or you may tell him that you would prefer that he stop looking. Again, you need to know where you stand before you talk to him.
  • Make sure the conversation ends with clear understanding of expectations on both sides. Do not let him tell you how you “should” feel about a situation or what you “should” expect. Your feelings and expectations are your own, and no matter how much another person tries to change them for you, it never works.

Words to live by: “Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish.” Barbara Smith

I hope this is helpful, and I wish you the best with your upcoming conversation,

Dcotor Life Advice



14 Comments

  1. pewpewarrow
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Hey, thanks for sharing this. I went through something similar now and through this guide, was able to work through my side of things and write down a clear guide on what i feel, want from us as a couple and to still remain calm and give him room for his side.

    • Vanessa
      Posted July 8, 2014 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      Hi girls, I find myself in a similar situation.
      My exclusive boyfriend of 6 months, since 3 we are officially an item, is 38. I am 32.
      He has been in contact with several women, all from far away parts of the world, e-mailing them and instant messaging. I told him last Friday that I had been snooping around in his computer and know about his flirting. I was really upset, but he remained calm, told me that was an “old” story, and just a running gag. He said he has nothing to hide.

      This morning I found that he was looking at the badoo app. “Old” thing – new app downloaded? Am I really, really stupid to stay with him, or do I just have an oversized ego and all this is actually good news since he is in contact with other women, learns a lot about love, and I benefit from that at last? I am really confused right now.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Hello! As you ladies are, i am in the same boat. I am 24 yrs old and bf (ex bf) the same age. Last week I found his bank statements, and saw he has been paying for a while on a dating website. We have been dating for 7 yrs now and this is nothing new to me now, i confronted him couple years ago with the same situation and he swore to my face it was not him, that it was fraud. i gave him a chance etc…now a second time? dont think so… i searched his user name, email on google and there it was that stupid dating site. Men are good in talking sweet to us and we give in so easily…why? i guess because we love them, but we deserve better. My grandma from years of experience has always told me, men will never change! Its true you will never be able to change him. Haha we all know they change for couple days, a week, couple months then its the same thing again. I broke up with my bf, and it has not been easy.. i have felt lonely, anxious, sad and all the worst possible feelings out there. but im convincing myself its all temporary. Yes he will beg for me and probably lick the ground and do ridiculous things to “prove” me he regrets what he did!! but is that what you really want?? NO! He has literally called me over 80 times a day the past couple days because he knows he messed up. but i will not give in, because if i do…it will happen again and again and again, then theyll know you will stick around through theyre mistakes. but this is not an ok mistake. It is killing me inside like there is no tomorrow, he was my world, i devoted to this one person 100% i had no eyes for anyone but him. I gave up friends and family to be with him. For him to do this? and expect me i will stay with him and let it go of something that truly hurt me. Please be strong. Crying has been the best medicine for me and keeping my self busy with things i love to do, no matter how lonely or sad you feel do not give another chance. Someday i know someone will find me… someone who will truly respect me, love me and be true to me. Sounds like a fairytale huh but not all people are the same. We have values and morals, and for some of us its important. 7 years has been 1/3 of my life and i feel like ive lost so much time, but have learned that even if i see one red flag not worthy m time. Wish you all the best

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 2, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

          Hi there…(guy)im just kinda going through the same at minute. Me and my partner split up last Tuesday after 4 half years…this Monday i found out she was on POF since thursday. I dug some more and found she had actually been on online dating sites since MAY.
          Ok we have not been happy for about a year but this is so low and she knows my ex did this too…all the lying to my face.
          So if your suspicious ond find things…GET RID.

          • Anonymos
            Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            How did you deal with this? This literally just happened to me on sunday but he told me a bunch of stuff as to why he did it and that he loved me still and is so sorry and regrets it bc he knew i was “the one”. Just want advice bc I’m confused and idk what to do. What did you do?

          • Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            This is a serious breach of trust, and if you decide to break up with him, it’s understandable. If you choose to stay with him, know that it is your choice and feel empowered about it. Let him know that in the future you will not tolerate him dating other women, even if he’s “just looking” on dating sites. If he does it again, break up with him; he can’t be trusted.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        No your confused you have feelings and senses if you two are together then your together period he shouldn’t even be thinking bout another woman or even online dating he’s the crazy one

  2. Kara Beachum
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    My boyfriend is on tagged and he said that he is only on there for the games, “Pets” is what they call it. He says he has to flirt with girls so that they buy him, he was sending girls his picture and asked if they thought he was sexy. When confronted he acts like no big deal but you can tell he is nervous, this is hard for me because we just had a baby 2-months ago. What do u think? He claims that he wants to get married to me and that I am his dream girl.

  3. Sandra
    Posted April 2, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Just found my bf profile on plenty of fish he’s using a photo that I took of him on a great day out .he rung me earlier to say he’s going to see his sick aunt this Easter weekend but will see me Sunday he lives 200 miles away .i texted him an told him I’m heartbroken funny he hadn’t replied as of yet .ive been with him for five years I’m trying to grieve for my mum who died recently an this is not helping me I’ve haf my suspicions before but seems like this had confirmed it hasn’t it how am I going to get through this what do I do

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 15, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Cut him off. No contact. Get some therapy. Talk to friends.

  4. Amy
    Posted July 27, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what to say. As a third party observer, I would say — wake up! He has concluded you are not the one. He is not exclusive and you are setting yourself up for hurt by continuing….Sometimes I wonder whether men are capable of fidelity at all….

    Recently I found my boyfriend of nine months has an online dating profile I found out at he had checked his email on my computer. When I logged on, the website said I had five messages waiting — so thinking they were mine, I opened up the box, not realizing it was his box until I got in…

    That’s when I saw an email from this dating site. He hadn’t done much with it — meaning he hadn’t paid the fee to join but had starred a number of women (who all look similar to me, making me think I am just a “type” he wants, rather his wanting to be with ME.) and had created a profile. It was sad — he is pressing 60, I am upper 40s. He always told me he preferred older women as they were smarter and he had nothing in common with “giggling little girls.” He sees me every day — we do everything together and go out all the time. We are for all intents and purposes a committed couple, and yet he has an online profile in which he is looking for women 30-(my age), meaning I am the upper age of what he is looking for.

    I felt crushed, that our relationship was a mirage. Any illusions about his caring were shattered that instant. Bizarrely, part of me didn’t care. I always liked him as a friend, enjoyed the physical part of our relationship, we are immensely compatible and help and support one another. I considered what we had a “mature” relationship. I never felt he was my soulmate nor the flutters of love, stuff I had dismissed as adolescent tripe. I had felt those connections with men in my past only to be hurt beyond repair as I was so emotionally invested.

    My bf and I were two independent people who completed each other. I had thought of marrying him as he is my physical type and we make each other stronger, better and provide companionship. I could see myself growing old with him.

    Not any more. Now he is just some old skeezy guy looking for young girls. He clearly doesn’t want me. All the women were my physical type, except younger versions of me. Now the innocent leering at younger women who walk by has taken on a whole new meaning. He once said he had to leave a restaurant as a pretty young woman sat next to him and he didn’t want to be tempted and yet here is online….

    I think online dating sites have done immense damage to monogamy and relationships as there are an infinite number of possible partners for everyone. Since women tend to prefer monogamy, we are the ones who get hurt as even though we commit, our partner is still keeping his options open. Of course, I am too in a way — as if the perfect man walked into my life tomorrow, I might consider him, but I am not actively looking or leading a fantasy life.

    As I said, I wonder whether men can be trusted. We had what seemed to be a monogamous relationship — he sees me every day, texts, calls all the time….and yet…..

    Take from that what you will…

  5. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I found out that my bf of 4 years been meeting up with bunch of random girls online, exchanging phone number and and he went out for couple of date but ended up not interested in any of them when he sees them in person . I just don’t understand how he managed to do it since we do things together on a regular basis. He recently proposed to me when he find out that I am pregnant. He always tells me that he loves me yet he is on line searching for other women. I confronted him and he said I pushed him away by not giving him attention and arguing and fighting with him, he is not remorseful at all., all he said was i pushed him away and its my fault. Now I broke up with him for good and changed my phone number and blocked him from my fb as well. I rather be single than being with a person that I cant trust anymore.

  6. Full Time Mum of 4
    Posted January 26, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi all, Im going through the same thing, but now thinking maybe its a man thing, Ive been with my partner for 6 years now and we are due to have baby no 4, my emotions are so up the shoot right now being big and pregnant I feel worthless and ugly, 5years ago I found his online profiles on a dating site, and then again when I was pregnant with baby no 3 and now again recently the last 2 times I confronted him and he apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again, but I feel its getting worse as this recent one he has been paying using his credit card, I hate the feeling not knowing why he does it, I really thought our relationship and love for each other was growing strong only to realise I feel like Im being emotionally abused, I do love him and he is a great dad to our 4 babys and I was his first love, I want to let him go so that he can maybe experience his habit, but as soon as I mention breaking up he threatens to kill himself and says he don’t want anything to do with me or the kids. And Im scared because he dosent have any real family, his mum passed with cancer when our 1st was born and he does not know who his father is. So its just us and I have a big family, I mostly feel sorry for him, Ive given up my friends and family aswell to give him everything, also I do just about everything for him and with 4 babies under the age of 4 the stress of it all as well as having to care for our babies is getting more stressful. Arrrrgh, I havent been able to talk to anybody really about all this so this is a big rant I guess, but I do feel a bit better letting it all out, just a bit of relief I guess knowing Im not the only one going through it…….

  7. Posted May 6, 2017 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    If u r.In w.Relationship with a man, there is no reason he should be active on a dating website. Since when.Is thia bs exceptable….

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You expressly agree that exclusive jurisdiction for any dispute with SBMD, or in any way relating to your use of the SBMD Site, resides in the courts of the State of California, County of Orange, and you further agree and expressly consent to the exercise of personal jurisdiction in the courts of the State of California in connection with any such dispute including any claim involving SBMD or its affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, contractors, officers, directors, telecommunication providers, and content providers. Notwithstanding any other provision, you agree to a final and binding arbitration in Orange County, State of California to resolve any dispute between you and SBMD and/or Dr. Sayeh Beheshti arising from or related to your use of the SBMD Site in any way, shape or form.

These Terms and Conditions are governed by the internal substantive laws of the State of California, without respect to its conflict of laws principles. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is found to be invalid by any court having competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of these Terms and Conditions, which shall remain in full force and effect. No waiver of any of these Terms and Conditions shall be deemed a further or continuing waiver of such term or condition or any other term or condition.

10. Complete Agreement

These Terms and Conditions and the SBMD Privacy Policy constitute the entire agreement between you and SBMD with respect to the use of the SBMD Site, and its content.

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Disclaimers


DOCTOR LIFE ADVICE IS NOT INTENDED FOR PROVIDING MEDICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSES OR ADVICE, AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR SEEKING THE HELP OF A PHYSICIAN. DOCTOR BEHESHTI, THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLES DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC DIGNOSIS, TREATMENT, OR ADVICE ON THIS PAGE.

IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A MEDICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911 OR GO TO YOUR NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM. THIS SITE IS NOT INTENDED FOR PROVIDING EMERGENCY SERVICES OF ANY KIND.

This website contains questions, answers, graphics, drawing, and other content and material, all of which are for informational purposes only, and are public information. Any questions submitted will be reviewed, and if they are to be answered, the content of the question may be edited for purposes of making it easier to read, and to protect the submitters' identity.

The content of this website is not intended for forming a doctor-patient relationship. Whether or not you get a response to your question, you should be aware that you have not formed a doctor-patient relationship with Doctor Beheshti, and she is not liable for your medical and mental health or wellbeing. Use the responses provided on this website at your own risk, and do not use them in place of a physician's advice.

This website is not intended to replace seeking advice from your physicians. Always seek the advice of a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other health care professionals for issues concerning your physical and mental health. If you submit a question which does not get a response, do not consider that as a sign that you should not seek out the care of a physician.

WARNING

ALTHOUGH AT DOCTOR LIFE ADVICE WE RESPECT THE PRIVACY OF ALL INDIVIDUALS, THE CONTENT OF THIS WEBSITE IS COMPLETELY PUBLIC. THE BEST EFFORTS WILL BE MADE TO MAINTAIN YOUR ANONIMITY WHEN YOUR QUESTIONS ARE POSTED ON THE WEBSITE; HOWEVER, PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOUR QUESTION MAY BE POSTED ON THE SITE WITH MINIMAL MODIFICATION AND WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ANY AND ALL READERS THAT ACCESS THIS WEBSITE. PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY WHEN YOU SUBMIT A QUESTION OR INQUIRY. DOCTOR LIFE ADVICE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF SOMEONE IDENTIFIES YOU BASED ON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN YOUR QUESTION. YOUR IDTENTIFYING INFORMATION PROVIDED BY YOUR EMAIL, SUCH AS EMAIL ADDRESS, NAME, IP ADDRESS, ETC. WILL ALL BE REMOVED AND DELETED FROM OUR EMAIL ACCOUNT BEFORE YOUR QUESTION IS POSTED.

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Helpful Resources




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About Doctor Life Advice

Doctor Beheshti

I am a compassionate and well trained psychiatric doctor, and I spend my days talking to others and helping them with their daily issues and problems. I have come to understand that all of us, regardless of our backgrounds and our life stories - every one of which is unique - share similar wants and needs.

I love my job which allows me to hear unique stories and help each of my clients individually. Although I cannot take the place of your doctor, I would love to hear your story too and perhaps provide some advice that will be useful to you, as well as others that will benefit from your story.

I have a sense of humor which comes through in my writings. Please know that I NEVER intend to make light of anyone's painful or sensitive situation. I only use humor because I think sometimes a smile and a little chuckle can go a long way in helping us feel better.

Doctor Life Advice is written and maintained by Sayeh Beheshti, M.D., M.A., a private practice psychiatrist in Newport Beach, CA.


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