I’m In A Relationship But I’m Still Active On Dating Apps—Here’s Why

Despite having been in plenty of exclusive relationships in the past (and being in one now), I’ve never had the heart, time, or desire to delete dating apps off of my phone. Believe me, I have my reasons.

I get bored a lot. Whether it’s Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, or Coffee Meets Bagel, I often find myself wasting hours swiping through my fellow users. I’ve always viewed dating apps as glorified games. The reality is that if I’m using these apps for fun, I’m not in it for the conversation and I’m never pursuing anything past initial hellos. That is not the game I came to play. And yes, I have tried downloading Candy Crush—I got stuck on level 5 and tapped out.

The confidence boost is pretty great. So, you’re telling me that I can get multiple ego boosts and be a social butterfly all from the comfort of my own couch? I quickly realized that I have the ability to match with hundreds (potentially thousands) of random people—people who are generally willing to shower me with compliments in hopes of a date or whatever. I’ve never felt the need to rely on my partner to build or maintain my self-confidence, and honestly, it’s unfair to ask of them. So what was the harm in receiving a few flattering remarks from a perfect stranger?

Paranoia is realPerhaps while perusing your partner’s phone, you might have noticed that they haven’t deleted their own dating apps, and that could just be an honest mistake! But have you ever had your partner unknowingly match with your friend, only for you to be sent a screenshot of the evidence? Trust should not be this tricky to navigate. Regardless, I felt the need to do a substantial app sweep when my next relationship became exclusive.

The networking factor can’t be ignored. I don’t like to refer to myself as a dating app aficionado but I think I might be one. Over the past couple of years, apps like Tinder and Hinge have introduced new features that allow you to place yourself anywhere in the world, giving you the ability to match with people in that area. Yes, I would absolutely love to be educated on the film and television industry in Stockholm or the stock exchange in NYC! This is strictly business, but finding friends along the way is a perk.

Monogamy is tough. Monogamy can be seriously difficult and oftentimes (in my experience anyway) immensely overrated. Every time the honeymoon phase has ended, I find myself going through a serious adjustment period­. It’s felt like the excitement and romance we once had seemingly flown out the window. I’ve found myself getting too comfortable. That comfort turned into boredom and then eventually resentment of my partner. Committing to one person is a huge deal and I couldn’t help but find solace in having the means to meet someone new in my back pocket.

I suffer from serious FOMO. You know the phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side”? Well, I’ve often found myself experiencing intense bouts of singledom FOMO during relationships. Spending time with my single friends who are constantly meeting and experiencing new people has the ability to send me into a downward spiral of paranoia. I find myself asking the difficult questions: Is there someone better out there for me? Am I destined for greater things and greater people? Does staying quietly active on these apps open the door for all of this greatness to enter my life? Potentially—and I couldn’t possibly let that keep me awake at night.

I love the thrill of it all. Is it cheating or is it simply a harmless hobby? Either way, I’ve been in the position of receiving a minor adrenaline rush with every incoming notification on my phone. Talk about being hypocritical, I know—see point 3. The jury is still out on whether or not staying active on dating apps is technically cheating, but the general consensus is that it’s not exactly the sign of a healthy relationship. We’ve established that monogamy can get stale, so is it the lingering risk of getting caught in the act that I once found thrilling? I can’t determine the exact psychology behind it, but the potential danger of conflict may have been just the type of excitement I was looking for.

I know that this relationship won’t last. What my years of dating have taught me is that monogamy is hard and life is just too short to waste time on a dead-end relationship. I’ve realized that when I start to find myself flicking through a dating app while in a committed relationship, it’s time to reflect on myself, my partner, and our future together. These reasons for secretly staying active on apps are rooted in the need for some type of communication. Deep down, I know that I’m not getting what I need from my partner and relationship. And because of this, I will always be consciously looking for a way out. Unfortunately, dating apps make that all too easy. I’ve learned a lot from these past experiences and for the time being, I’m probably better off single and avoiding the apps altogether.

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