So you’ve managed to do what felt like it was impossible: you’ve scored a date with someone who seems like exactly the kind of person you wanted to meet. If you weren’t excited about online dating in the first place, your first response upon setting up a date is a sigh of relief: you’ve found a date, so you can get rid of the app and put an end to the seemingly interminable swiping.
Even if that’s your instinct, it may not be the best choice: you may be jumping the gun, and it may both do a disservice to you and send the wrong message to the person you’re dating. So when is the right time to delete your profile?
Ultimately, it’s up to you, but here are some things to consider before you zap your profile.
Don’t count your eggs before they hatch
If you’ve only made the date and haven’t actually met yet, hold onto your profile. Anything can happen. Even if you reach the stage where you’re texting outside of the app and starting to make plans, something may come up and you may never end up meeting that person.
Whether it’s cold feet or bad timing, even with the best of intentions, things fall through. Make sure you don’t pull the plug before you ever actually get a chance to meet someone in person.
Likewise, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket
Once you do connect with someone you like online, be careful not to fixate on that person and immediately assume that they are the person for you long-term.
You may have a fantastic first date, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a second date… and even if there is, be wary of committing to someone too early. It can be a big red flag (to you or your date) that things are moving too quickly.
Imagine things from the other side: ghosted?
If you connected with someone you met online and had a great first date, how would you respond if you went back to the app and that person’s profile has disappeared, what would you think?
On a lot of apps, if someone chooses to unmatch you or blocks you completely, their profile becomes inaccessible—which in most cases, looks exactly like what it would look like if you just deleted your profile instead.
If you choose to delete your profile, you may accidentally lead someone you really like to believe that something has really gone wrong.
Instead of you sending the message that you’re excited about where your new romance is going, you may potentially make someone think they’ve been ghosted—and lots of people would take that as a sign they shouldn’t contact you again.
Imagine things from the other side: coming on too strong
The other side of the coin is that you may be sending the other sort of wrong message: that after one or two dates, you’re so into someone that you feel like you no longer need to date…and you may actually be feeling that way. It’s hard not to get excited when you really click with someone.
But realistically, most people don’t want to commit that quickly, and will date a few people before they consider committing—if they’re interesting in committing at all.
So if your profile disappears quickly after a promising first or second date, and the other person still has their profile, they may be a little taken back to see that your profile is gone if you’re still texting. Even if you’re not the type who likes to date more than one person at a time, it’s probably worth holding onto your profile.
There’s no rule that you need to continue checking out other peoples’ profile or even open the app. You can even keep your profile and delete the app. As with many things in life, sometimes inaction is the best action.
Rebuilding a profile is a pain
Even if you meet someone, and even if things are going well, you may not want to jump the gun and delete your profile too soon. It takes a long time to commit, and if that commitment never surfaces, you’re back to where you started.
That’s not a negative—it’s just how dating works. So you may feel a little guilty keeping your profile, but you may also want to save yourself the trouble of re-creating it later if it comes to that.
However, if things seem promising and you decide to take down your profile, most apps give you the option of deactivating rather than deleting.
If you must…
For a lot of people, online dating really is just too agonizing to keep up with. There is one option that may be a good compromise: If you find you’re chatting with someone—or even a few people—you really like but you just can’t stand the whole online dating experience, try using the app on the weekends, and deleting or deactivating during the week (or even longer).
Before you deactivate your profile, message the people you’ve been having good conversation with, and let them know the score: you’re really enjoying talking to them, but the whole online dating thing just isn’t enjoyable for you.
Offer them your phone number, and let them know you’d love to keep the conversation going. Then, wait until those people have responded, or you know that the message has been seen—in a lot of apps, once you delete, your message disappears too—and go ahead and delete or deactivate.
You may find a few people who aren’t willing to move the conversation outside of the app, but very few people will fault you for not wanting to spend your days tethered to a dating app, regardless of the reason.
Try to give online dating more than a day or two, though—not everyone is online at all times, and not every person will be able to respond immediately. Date at your own pace, whether you decide to keep your profile or not.