By Lindsay Dodgson
Somehow you’ve navigated the dating world effectively enough to find someone you like who isn’t stashing, breadcrumbing, or ghosting you— congratulations. But don’t expect everything to be plain sailing from here.
Liking each other enough is the first hurdle, but it can still be tricky to work out when you should have “the talk” and make things official. If you met on a dating app, the conversation might start with deleting your accounts.
It’s quite the statement of exclusivity to delete your profiles from Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Badoo, and whatever else you’re using, but if it feels right, it feels right. According to relationship psychologist Claire Stott, a data analyst at dating site Badoo, it’s still a good idea to exercise caution at the beginning of a relationship — no matter how perfect it may seem.
“Everyone should be cautious at the beginning,” she told Business Insider. “I think the rule is if you delete your dating apps after a first date, you’re almost saying ‘I’ve completely invested in this now,’ and you might end up getting hurt.”
After all, everyone puts on their best selves on the first few dates. They want you to like them, and you want them to like you. So you’re not likely to see all sides of a person early on, which makes it almost impossible to know how compatible you are.
There’s also a chance they’re manipulating you into thinking they’re your soulmate, so watch out for love bombing tactics.
If they tick every box — they’re not a toxic person, they’re open and honest about liking you, and they seem keen on taking the relationship to the next level— then you can consider the “let’s delete our apps” conversation.
“If you had a first date and you like them, don’t go in and delete all your apps and remove yourself completely,” Stott said. “Just don’t go on it for a bit and go back to it if you need to later on. But if it goes for a few weeks and you think ‘ok this is great,’ then delete it.”
As for approaching the conversation, Stott said doing it in a way that’s casual and not accusatory is the best route.
“You could say to them, ‘I’ve not dated anyone in a while, have you?’ Have you been dating other people?’ she said. “If you ask them in a way that’s not accusing them of doing something wrong, you’re more likely to get an honest answer.”
There is no guarantee the conversation will go the way you want it to. There’s a chance you will be one of several other people your partner is dating, and you had no idea. That’s not to say the relationship is destined to fail, but it does give you more of an idea of where they’re at, and whether it’s worth getting involved any further.
“That’s not to say close yourself off,” Stott said. “That’s not healthy either, to be completely unemotional every time you go on a date out of fear of getting hurt. But just look at it as an opportunity to get to know someone.”
You might decide you still enjoy spending time with them, and you’re in an emotionally secure enough place to handle the fact they’re dating other people at the same time.
“That is ultimately what dating is, you’re getting to know that person, and finding out whether they’re compatible for you,” said Stott. “If you can, at least try and be a bit chilled about it in the beginning stages, and accept they might be dating, and had a couple of other dates at the same time they saw you, but that’s okay.”
If the relationship is worth it for both of you, she said, it will carry on, and you’ll only want to see each other. Plus, there’s every chance that once you have the conversation, you’ll find out they’ve already deleted all their apps and you can do the same.
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Originally published at www.businessinsider.com.