You’re in a brand new relationship and everything is going well. You and your new boo are spending a ton of time cuddling on the couch, going out, and having that super hot exploring-every-part-of-your-body sex. You’ve even had the “are we exclusive?” chat. So why can’t you stop thinking about whether or not Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, and all the other apps are still taking up space on your S.O.’s phone?
Deleting online dating apps feels like one of the biggest tests of commitment in monogamous relationships today. Maybe that sounds silly. And maybe it shouldn’t really matter if someone hasn’t gotten rid of Tinder yet, especially when they’ve said they’re exclusively dating you. But keeping the apps on our phones means something. “While some people might choose to keep their apps and not think much of it, there is an undeniable symbolism there,” says Joanna Townsend, psychotherapist and Blush life coach. “Because let’s face it: Millennials have a non-commitment culture that goes far beyond relationships.”
When we’re constantly looking forward to our next job, next city, next Instagram post or side-hustle, then we tend to think of relationships as disposable, too, she says. Sometimes, people keep apps on their phone because their subconsciously looking toward their next relationship.
Sure, some people might just be so absentminded that they don’t remember to delete their dating apps once they’re in a monogamous relationship, but that’s rare, says Susan Winter, New York City relationship expert. If people are clear about what they want in a relationship, they’ll delete their apps once they’ve found someone and chosen to commit to them fully, she says. Keeping your apps around means keeping yourself open to the possibility of someone else, even if you have no intention to use them. And wanting that kind of possibility means that you’re not totally focused on your current partner. “We can’t expect commitment or growth without letting go of attachments and the what-if options that modern dating give us,” Townsend says.
So it’s no wonder that many of us worry about whether or not a new partner has deleted their apps. And many resort to sneaky ways of finding out. You might find yourself saying something like, “I realized I still had Tinder on my phone,” (even though you deleted it a month ago). Then, you wait silently for your partner to say that they deleted their apps a long time ago. Or maybe you spend an hour every night scrolling through the apps, just to see if anything about your partner’s profile has changed since you became A Thing. Even one photo out of place can seem like irrefutable proof that your new beau isn’t all-in on your relationship.
But these sneaky tactics aren’t great, Winter says. They can make you disconnected from and suspicious of your partner. So, it’s much better to be direct about what you want. If you feel that you and your S.O. have reached a point where you should be getting rid of your apps, tell them. “I respect somebody who rolls up their sleeves and says, ‘I’m 100% in. Let’s see what’s here,'” Winter says. And that’s how she suggests you approach the topic of deleting your dating apps — with a statement instead of a question.
Instead of asking your partner how they feel about deleting their dating apps, tell them youwant to delete yours. Making it about you tells your partner that you’re broaching the subject because it’s what you want, and not because you’re looking for them to prove that they’re committed to you. Winter suggests saying something like, “I like you. I’m not interested in seeing anybody else. And if that sounds good to you as well, then I’ll be happy to close down my profile.”
Maybe your partner will be ready to delete their apps, too, and maybe they won’t. But regardless, being direct about wanting to delete your apps will put the discussion in the open. And that’s much less stressful than scrutinizing your beau’s dating profiles every night.