Answer: Someone who was never in a committed relationship in the first place
This was a topic that came up at our recent Online Dating Profile Writing & Review Workshop and it was a theme that a series of dating bloggers wrote about recently.
Here’s my first bone with this whole skulking around the Facebook page and various online dating sites in order to check up on the person you’re dating:
Just because it says “Active in X hours/Days” doesn’t mean the user was actually active. One of the guys who attended our workshop this weekend was telling people that more than one dating website inflates their active user numbers and have employees logging in to people’s accounts just so their profile will show up as active. Therefore, you really have no idea if the person had actually recently logged on.
I deleted my Match account months ago. But my friends or readers still send me profiles to review. My cookies are set so that I’m never logged out of Match.com. So if I click that link, guess what? I’m “active.” I’m not contacting anyone, I’m not looking through profiles for personal use. I just happen to be on the site.
I have NO DOUBT that there are people who are in exclusive relationships who cheat online. However, I don’t agree that just because someone shows up on a dating site as being active in the recent past means they were up to no good. If I were to guess, I’d say it’s at best a 50/50 chance that your partner is cheating. Match.com STILL sends me emails almost every other day telling me so and so wants to connect with me. Out of curiosity, I’ll log in. I’m not actively using the website. It’s absolutely, totally possible to be involved with someone and be committed and still be curious.
If you do decide to monitor the online activity of someone you’re dating (hello, first sign something is up either with you or the relationship) be prepared to find out something you don’t want to know.This is why I hate, hate, HATE the whole Twitter/Facebook/Online Dating stalking idea. You’re going to find something that is going to create suspicion. Then you’re faced with having to tell the person you were monitoring that you were checking up on them. Now you’re looking a little crazy.
This works both ways, too. If you’re someone who likes to announce every thought you have on Twitter or Facebook or your blog, and you know the person you’re dating can easily find all your social media connections, expect that behavior to be used against you. Bottom line, at least for women….if you’re someone who likes to publicly vent, participate/thrive off of drama or actively seek attention online….few men with their shit together will want to engage you beyond casual sex. The ones who do engage you, more than likely, are also attention seeking drama queens. At best these men will be amused by you, but they’ll rarely take you seriously. By being one of those people, you’re basically tattooing I NEED A LOT OF ATTENTION across your back. Very, VERY few men are going to risk being your next victim or be used as fodder so people can “like” your status updates.
If you’re a guy who likes to use these platforms to flirt with women, listen up. While I would never tell a man what to do, if I saw that he was regularly flirting with women via Facebook or Twitter, I’d think twice about whether or not he’s ready for a real relationship and if I’ll always have to watch him to some degree. If you have a girlfriend, a boyfriend or a spouse and you frequently engage single people online, you’re suspect in my eyes. It’s a quick jump from Facebook Flirting to web camming.
Let’s say you’re not up to no good. If the person you’re dating is someone who is inclined to monitor your digital footprint, you could be in for an uphill battle. Everything you say will be put under a microscope. It starts with Facebook and soon they’re snooping in your phone and telling you they “happened” to see something questionable. Sorry, you don’t “happen” to see a text on someone’s phone, even if the phone is lying there on the table. You choose to look. This is where all the scars we accrue from past relationships rear their heads. If you’ve dated a series of players, douchebags or golddiggers, then that’s about you. No need to make every other person that comes after pay for that. Deal with your crap and don’t try to poison everyone else’s experience.
Oh..and before you check to see if they’re “cheating” make sure you’re actually exclusive. It’s odd to me that someone could be in an exclusive relationship and their partner is so clueless that they’re letting the other people they’re dating post their cutesy, flirty banter on in their Facebook Wall. One, how stupid do they think you are? Two, how do they have so much time to be exclusive with you and courting all these other people? Before you start playing Nancy Drew, be sure you know where you stand and the relationship isn’t all in your head. Want to know where you stand? Ask them. Don’t use their online behavior as “proof.” Especially if you have a habit of dating sketchy people.
If it’s not explicitly stated that you and someone else are not seeing or sleeping with anyone else, I don’t care what label they give you or what you think is the case, you both are still free agents. Never assume you’re exclusive. Want exclusivity? Ask for it. Don’t gather ammunition to use against them and try to guilt them in to loving you.
Something else that we brought up in the workshop was that a lot of people don’t bother to delete, shut down, privatize their dating profiles or change their relationship status on Facebook. It didn’t even occur to me until a few weeks ago to make my profile invisible to searches. I just don’t think about those things. I think it’s dangerous to assume that someone should just know to do this. Some people just don’t give it much thought.
The big question that arose at the workshop was when to have The Talk. No, not that talk. The Talk where you discuss taking down your profiles. So now we’ve added yet another conversation we have to have with people we’re dating?
Have any of you had this conversation with someone you were dating? How did it go?