I think my boyfriend is on dating sites, but I’m too tech illiterate to investigate it.
Specifically, I think he’s on Hinge and Tinder. Possibly Bumble. I tried making a dummy Hinge account to see if I could match with him (I Googled it and you can’t search for specific people on these apps). But the account wouldn’t proceed unless I enrolled my phone number, which I feel could backfire on me somehow. I don’t want him finding out I’m doing this, but I feel this gnawing in my stomach. The Hinge profile, if he has one, would hit me harder than the others because it’s supposedly specifically for relationships. If he’s on there, I need to see his profile. I need to see what he’s saying on it. I need to see how he’s presenting himself and what he says he’s looking for.
A friend told me to just get a burner phone and use that phone number, but I know even less about all of that and I’m on a budget. Is this the way to go, or is there some alternative that I’m not thinking of here? I asked a dating discussion forum and basically just got a bunch of people saying I sound like someone trying to catfish and scam some unsuspecting guy, so…no help there. I don’t know if a Google voice temporary number would work, or if I should just shell out for a whole-ass new phone or what.
Sorry if I’m in the wrong place. I’m in therapy and trying to get myself to calm down, but I’m really scared to drop this guy without knowing for certain that he’s playing me for a fool here.
Whoa, A! Never EVER be scared to drop a guy.
You’re in the power seat, A. You’re the decider. Do you feel safe in this relationship?
Your letter is heavy on the covert spy stuff and light on the details, but I’m going to assume there’s some shady stuff happening for you to feel these deep suspicions.
Either one of two things is going on — he’s totally innocent and you’re irrationally deranged with fear, in which case you shouldn’t be dating. Or — he’s super sketchy, you’re nuts from the gaslighting, and you shouldn’t be dating him.
I know. Not the answer you were hoping for. You wanted tech support (from me, a middle-aged blogger who doesn’t understand her Facebook settings) not a Trust That They Suck sermon.
Here’s the thing with sketchiness and feeling off balance — that’s ENOUGH. You don’t need to crack the code or create fake dating profiles. You just have to listen to yourself and check in with your feelings. Trust your judgment. Pay attention to what you’re observing.
Does your boyfriend ghost you? Is he distracted? Protective of his cell phone? Does he get super defensive? Does this relationship run hot and cold? Does whatever he’s telling you add up? Are you spackling? Oh right, totally makes sense that you slept in your car in January and had no cell phone signal…
Any of this bullshit going on? That’s ENOUGH. You don’t feel safe with this person? DUMP HIM. You can dump someone for far lesser offensives than being on multiple dating sites while feigning a commitment to you. Maybe he doesn’t read books. Maybe you don’t like the color of his sweater. Maybe he drones on about Civil War battles…
YOU GET TO CHOOSE!
Yes! You get to decide if he’s acceptable and worthy of you! Or if you’d rather spend your quality time elsewhere.
You’re DATING. This is supposed to be the best of times. It’s sex and dining out. It’s not supposed to throw you into apoplexies of therapy. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORK WITH THIS.
Oh, but you need evidence?
I long ago resigned from the Marriage Police Squad. But I can tell you what I learned — you can’t win this arms race. If someone wants to cheat, they’ll find a way to cheat on you.
If you catch him and he promises to be transparent and share his passwords and be a good boy, that’s bullshit. Because a) you’re not his nanny. Who wants that kind of crappy parentified relationship? and b) He’ll just get new passwords and new devices you don’t know about.
Duping you is half the fun. It’s not a technology problem, it’s a character problem. You can find evidence of bad character without finding the smoking Tinder profile.
Look, I don’t know what you’re going to find after you set your traps, but it’s obvious that this relationship is not bringing out the best in you. Save the therapy money and just end it, please. (((A)))