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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Remove Online Dating Profile

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

 



When Should I Remove my Online Dating Profile?

I’ve met someone online, but I’m unsure about if and when I should remove my online dating profile. What do you suggest?

 

There are really two inherent questions here: “When should you remove your online dating profile?” and “When should you expect the other person to remove his/her online dating profile?” Let’s talk about each separately…

“When should you remove your online dating profile?”

The answer should follow from your comfort level, but keep one thing in mind… you may have different expectations than the other person. And taking down your profile – especially if you’re on the same site – can unwittingly add unwanted pressure on the other person and strain your developing romance. Here are some guidelines for helping you answer this question for yourself:

  • Am I taking down my profile just because the other person asked me to do? Don’t do it unless it’s what you want and it feels right.
  • Am I taking down my profile in the hopes this will please the other person? Don’t do it if it’s being done for manipulation.
  • Am I taking down my profile because I feel this person is different? Don’t do it, if you honestly don’t know the new prospect well. People can be quite different than how they present themselves online. Sustained contact and interaction offline is the only way for a real relationship to move forward. Until then, people are living through a fantasy to some extent and putting themselves at risk for unmet expectations.

Some legitimate reasons to remove your profile involve how serious you are about another person and the implications of this based on your value system. For example:

  • Regardless of the other person, you feel committed to exploring the relationship and therefore don’t want to lead on other online daters who may contact you.
  • You have discussed with the other person where the relationship is going and have jointly decided that removing profiles is a logical step forward.
  • You have discussed with the other person the prospect of moving the relationship forward and have decided that removing your profiles is a good test to see whether a new level of commitment feels right.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t remove your profile unless you have carefully considered the implications for you and the other person and are comfortable with those implications. This sounds simple, but online daters rarely think of this as an important step or action – and it is.

 “When should I expect the other person to remove his/her online dating profile?”
People will only remove their own profiles when they feel comfortable, and comfort levels vary even within couples. Some people are even chronic online daters and will never remove a profile. In my view, it’s entirely unrealistic to expect someone to remove a profile if the relationship you have is confined to cyberspace. In other words, profiles probably shouldn’t come down until there’s some level of shared and clearly define commitment and expectation shared by both people, and both people have worked this out after meeting and getting to know each other offline. There’s no substitute for having clear, shared expectations. In this way, a couple is on the same page and agrees on the meaning of certain reciprocal actions in a relationship.

And even after you’ve met and worked out relationship expectations face-to-face, there are other options than simply taking down a profile. After all, paid sites can be expensive and leaving a profile online may be the most practical choice. For example, either or both parties can “suspend” their accounts – that is, not use the accounts at all or post a qualifier in the profile that the person is currently “unavailable” because of a new relationship that s/he is exploring. In some ways, this can be a win-win situation because it avoids the pressure of removing a profile completely while at the same time advertises to the world that you are taken (temporarily at least!). Remember, women love when men make public displays of affection – expressions that show others that you two are a couple. This called a “couple identity.”  Announcing in your profile that you’re now taken by “a wonderful woman that you intend to get to know better” may actually earn you brownie points by your new partner. In the unfortunate case that the relationship ends for whatever reason, you may even garner some sympathy from other women and therefore appear more sensitive and caring than your competition and get more winks and hits later! This will definitely help you “rebound” back from the relationship quicker.

 

Dr. James Houran's "Office Hours with Dr. Jim" column is published every Monday.


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