What is the etiquette for logging into a dating site after a first date? Should I be upset if I see someone logging into a dating site after our date? Alternately, is it impolite for me to log into a dating site after a first date that I’ve gone on?
I see this question most often from the angle of: “We had a great first date but I saw that he/she was active on Match yesterday so I guess they aren’t interested”.
Sometimes I’m contacted after the person has exploded in an email or phone call to the person they met, normally something along the lines of letting the person know they won’t be “played”.
On the other hand, I’ve also talked to people coming from this angle:
Since Match displays how active a person has been over the last 24hrs, online now, etc., when is it appropriate to log on after you have been on a really good date? I don’t want to seem like I’m not satisfied with him but right now it was just one date. However, going online right after the date didn’t seem right to me. When is the “safe” time to continue looking?
So when is the right time to go back online? And how much should we read into someone we met going back online?
Note: if you are in a committed relationship but are still seeing online activity from the person you are dating, you would want to see this article instead.
Differences Between Traditional Dating and Online Dating
First, I think it’s important to point out a difference between traditional dating and online dating
With traditional dating, after a date it would generally be considered impolite to pursue other people to date immediately. If a man went on a date with one woman and then a day or two later went on a date with a second woman without contacting the first, some would consider him a “player”.
Many people feel that traditional dating should follow a pattern of meeting someone, giving them all your attention, then ending it or taking the relationship to more serious territory. Obviously not everyone feels this way, but many do.
With online dating, there were times where I was talking with seven or eight women at a time all at different stages of the dating process. There were times where I might have two or three first dates in a single week. Many of the women I met, especially those with some experience dating online, were do the same thing. Was I a player? Absolutely not! However, the environment of online dating is different than traditional dating.
I think recognizing the above is very important to ensure you don’t accidentally sabotage a potentially great relationship. Also, if you decide you’re going to try to apply the traditional dating style to online dating, consider the following:
- Many people won’t use the traditional dating approach and can’t be expected to
- You may be hurting your chances on meeting that great person
- Consider reading my arguments on why you should be dating multiple people
Okay, now with that out of the way, onto the actual questions of account activity after meeting someone.
How Concerned Should I be if They Logon After Our Date?
If you’ve gone on a date and you see the person you met back online, I’m not going to say you should never feel concern. It’s human nature to want to know where we stand and seeing someone online again, especially after a great first date, can be very unsettling.
However, if it was just one date, it’s important to treat it like just one date. If there was no verbal commitment made to be exclusive after the first date (and honestly there generally shouldn’t be!) then their being online isn’t breaking any rules.
So I’m not going to say you shouldn’t feel any concern because I’m not even sure that’s possible. But you should recognize that online dating is different than old school dating and what might have been rejection in traditional dating can be fine in online dating.
I’d recommend that you try to have patience early on if you see someone you met back online. This can be very difficult if you’re taking the old school dating approach of only talking to one person at a time. If this is you, I’d recommend reading my thoughts on dating multiple people at once. I’m hardly the first person to argue this, but if I can convince you to give it a try, I think you’ll see many of the concerns over things like last-login-date will fade away.
At any rate, the real trick here is to have patience and avoid the opposite: overreacting.
I just talked about this topic in my article on overreacting killing relationships however I want to touch on it again here.
Imagine this situation:
A man and woman meet and the date goes great. He gets home and by the end of the night he’s second guessing how well the date went. He pops online to see if she’s already looking to date other men. He’s relieved when he sees that she has not been active and he logs out.
The next evening, the woman hasn’t heard from the man so she logs in and sees he’s already been active. She talks to her married friend about this and her friend suggests that she’s getting played by a guy dating many different women. The woman is hurt, so she emails the guy telling him how horrible he is and that things are over.
Later, she feels bad and starts to worry that she may have overreacted (side note: I get a lot of emails from women at this point). She tries to repair things with the guy but the damage is done: he thinks he’s dealing with a potential stalker/obsessive woman when in reality the biggest problem was that online dating was being treated like traditional dating.
This kind of thing happens way too often. We jump to conclusions. When he doesn’t call after two days, we leave a two minute voicemail telling him how he’s the spawn of Satan. She doesn’t reply quickly enough so we decided she’s not interested and never contact her again. Well-meaning friends apply traditional dating rules to online dating when they give us advice and that leads to people overreacting and killing potentially great relationships.
If you’re going to assume something, give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume that they are busy with work, especially when they make it clear ahead of time that they are busy. I’ve actually seen situations where a man has expressed how busy he is in his profile, his email communication and on the first date. As I worked with the woman, it slowly became clear to her that he was being honest the whole time and she ended up overreacting and accidentally ending the relationship.
Don’t let this be you. If you can’t assume the best, then don’t do anything at all! Watch your emotions when you’re dealing with this situation. Any time you feel yourself filled with righteous anger, it’s time to put down the phone or walk away from the computer. Even if you were being played, you really don’t improve the situation by dropping verbal bombs on someone. Sure it might make you feel a bit better for a few minutes, but trust me, it’s not worth the risk.
If you can’t control yourself, instead of exploding just ask them where you stand. Better to explain your concerns than self-destruct.
How Should I Approach Logging On After a First Date?
I think it’s important to recognize that not everyone is using online dating the same. Because of this, I learned to go out of my way on first dates to let the woman know exactly how I was using online dating. I wanted to find a serious, long-term relationship but my approach to accomplishing that involved meeting a lot of women.
I learned that if I was honest up front, it helped. Now, I still had one woman overreact even after I had explained this but generally things went well from there. That being said, I generally didn’t log in immediately first date. It felt like it would be impolite or that it could be seen a bit too much like rejection. Recognizing that your actions send messages, even when you don’t intend them to, is important.
Again, to me, many of the problems with online activity come from applying traditional dating rules to online dating. I think we should recognize that the approaches will be different with online dating and avoid making assumptions that we know exactly what’s going on.
Finally, being honest, open and considerate can help other people avoid making relationship killing mistakes as well.