You’ve decided to try online dating and found yourself talking to a man that seems promising. You decided to meet and on your first date things go great. You enjoy each others’ company, enjoy the same things and over the next month or so you start to date more seriously. Generally everything feels wonderful. However there is one problem: his dating profile is still active.
If this sounds like your situation, you’re not alone. For the last few months this has been by far the question I’ve received most often from readers. I had touched on a similar topic last year in my post my boyfriend has kept his online dating profile active.
While I still believe what I wrote there, I’m finding that many of the women who are contacting me are not at the point where they are sure if the man is their “boyfriend” or not.
With that in mind I wanted to review one of the recent emails I’ve received from a reader and offer some additional advice for this problem.
So What Gives? Is He Interested in Me or Not?!
First off let me say that many men keep their profiles active even though they are interested in the woman they are regularly dating. Men are slower to commit and many also need their ego “stroked”. They like having women contacting them…even if they are rejecting all of them as it makes them feel desirable. If you think this is annoying I definitely understand but I would still encourage tact when you try to resolve this issue.
What You Shouldn’t Do
The one thing you shouldn’t do is verbally attack the guy or start throwing out ultimatums. If he’s hesitating because he’s concerned about commitment, this approach could scare him off. In some cases, this could cause what he saw as a healthy, budding relationship to end abruptly.
I’ve had several readers write me after they argued with the man they were dating to ask if I thought they had made the right choice. I even had one reader who had gave the man a hard time the day after their first date when his profile was still up. I wish these readers had written me beforehand because this is often the worst approach to take (at least from this guy’s point-of-view).
One Woman’s Experience
So what should you do? I do have some advice but let’s first look at one reader’s email and user this as an example for better understanding where you stand with your guy:
I have been dating a man I met on Match.com for about 6 weeks – we go out regularly and he is always quick to make plans with me. We have a great time together and he calls every night to chat or say goodnight. I am really interested in him and I get the feeling that he feels the same way.
My issue comes with him still having his profile up, and with my curiosity getting the best of me, I check almost everyday just to see when he last logged on – seems to be every few days or so. I have read what you have written on this subject and I know you said that men are slower to remove their profiles than woman – so my question is how long is reasonable to wait for him to do this before you say something or begin to feel offended by it?
When my profile was still up I did message him while he was online and made a little joke about him being there one day and his response was that when people make the effort they at least deserve a polite ‘no thank you’…but that’s been a month ago. I haven’t said one word about it since but I am wondering how long to wait.
Addressing the Active Profile Issue with Tact
First off, let me say that this guy’s “reason” for keeping his profile online makes absolutely no sense to me. He’s saying that since the people who are contacting him put in the effort to contact him, he should respond to them. I get that idea and if he were actively looking to meet new people I could even agree…but if he’s only logging in to respond to new emails why not remove the profile so all those women don’t have to “work hard” in the first place? His response actually makes me wonder if he even realizes that he could hide his profile.
Silly logic aside, I would ask any reader who has this issue the same thing I asked the woman who contacted me: are the two of you EXCLUSIVE and have you both made it clear that you are only interested in dating each other? Until the conversation happens, I would say it is fair for a guy to keep his profile up. Perhaps not nice or courteous but not unfair either. It’s especially bothersome if his actions suggest exclusivity even if he hasn’t declared so in words…and yet it is still acceptable in my mind for him to keep his profile up, even in this case.
If you have agreed to be exclusive, things are easy: you just need to ask him to take it down! If you haven’t agreed to be exclusive, I feel this is the point that the relationship would need to reach before you would be in a position of strength to ask that the profile be removed.
Moving Towards an Exclusive Relationship
Assuming the “let’s be exclusive” conversation hasn’t happened, I would recommend you start to slowly but intentionally determine if he feels your relationship is headed in that direction. Where does he see this relationship going, exactly? As I discussed above, I would recommend against being aggressive or angry. Still, these are areas you will need him to define.
Once you’ve decided to get a clearer idea of where your relationship stands, I recommend trying to start conversations as naturally as possible over a 2 to 4 week period. Try not to force them but at the same time you will want to look for opportunities let him know that you need to know where you stand with him. For example, at the end of a nice evening together (especially if the two of you are commenting on how much you enjoy spending time together) you could bring up your concerns on not knowing where you stand in the relationship. It’s a good idea to let him know that the active profile is the source of much of this feeling (leaving this out could leave many of us guys, who can be dense when it comes to relationships, confused or surprised).
These are tricky conversations and can be difficult to work your way into. Since I feel that really good advice would require me to understand the relationship on some personal level, I can’t tell you exactly how to approach the situation. However, I can give some general advice.
First, you’ll probably want to check out my previous advice on this topic. Second, I believe the following guidelines can help when having your conversations:
- Be honest. Let him know you’re bothered being unsure. You care for him and while some of his actions declare he feels the same way, other actions make things less clear.
- Be caring. Don’t beat him up and don’t jump to ultimatums. If he can’t answer where you stand after your first conversation don’t go and demand to know by such-and-such a date. No one wants to feel like they are being bullied into a relationship.
- Be patient. Don’t try to force these important conversations even though every bone in your body may want you to talk to him about it as soon as possible. Try to pick what feels like the best opportunity to talk about it, not the first opportunity.
- Be understanding, within reasonable limits. If he is honest and admits to having a commitment issue, could you give him more time? There will come a point that you will need to draw a line and make ultimatums but I’m not convinced one month into the relationship is that time (especially if you think you’ve found a great guy)
To me, if a month goes by after you’ve expressed your concerns and he is still refusing to remove his profile then setting ultimatums seems more reasonable. A month is enough time to decide if you want to pursue a relationship further. Still, use your best judgment. Don’t start making a demands on the 30th day just because I suggest a month as a good measurement. Relationships are unique things and you’ll need to decide when it is best in yours to start demanding more…but at some point he will need to commit or you will need to move on.
When Should I Start Trying to Move Towards “Exclusive”?
One thing about the advice above is that someone women will want to start this process immediately after the first date. If you’ve been on one or two dates and your guy still has his profile up, you have nothing to worry about. As a matter of fact, making an issue of things at this point could create a problem when no problem previously existed. Just as some people have trouble committing, others are far too quick to try to do so. Don’t be too quick or demanding in your desire to define your relationship…be willing to give it time and allow it to grow naturally.
It’s tricky to suggest an amount of time set in stone for when you should expect things to move forward as every relationship is different. That being said, I believe a month of spending time together is a good general time frame to expect some concrete definition to your relationship, especially when you’re going out of your way to interact with each other every day. The reader above waited six weeks and I think that is very patient. In her case, it is very reasonable for her to expect her guy to offer some clarity on where he sees their relationship going.
That’s a long article just discuss having a guy take his profile down!
However, as I’m getting this question more and more often, I’m hoping the details I’ve included here can help you reach the point where he realizes there is no reason for him to keep his profile active any longer.
To sum it all up: I would expect that within the first month of actively dating each other that you should have an idea of where you stand and I would expect his profile to be down. In the cases where his profile is still up, I would expect that another month after bringing up your concerns is all it should take for him to decide (and it really should be much faster than this). If you’re two months in and his profile is still up, it’s time to get your profile back up as well.