Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It doesn't seem normal to keep up with old flames, right? But what about old friends/tinder dates? Is a tinder date a flame? Where is the line? Well, one woman sought answers for all that.

u/taciturnframe laid it out for us:

My (30F) boyfriend (40M) of two years regularly checks up on former Tinder dates

I've been dating my BF for two years. Living together for one. Six months into our relationship, thanks to that feature that shows you who your friends like and follow, I noticed BF liked photos of certain women who live nearby with regularity. I know one of these women. So, I asked him how he also knew her, thinking we had some friend overlap.

He said he's never actually "met," her, but used to talk to her a lot when he was still online dating. (We also met online). Most of the other women he follows and "likes" with regularity, it turns out, are women he met (before we began dating) on hook-up apps. I asked him why he still follows them and if he's still interested in them. He said, 1) I have "nothing" to worry about, 2) But he admits he was "digitally flirting" with her (and several other women). He said he shouldn't be doing it and will stop. He also said he unfriended the girl we mutually "know" because there's no reason to keep in touch with someone he's never met.

Here we are, two years later. I was using a shared device to search for a party invite on Facebook, not realizing it was logged into BF's account. The first items that popped up in the search bar were the names of women he knew from online dating sites, including those he said he'd "digitally flirted" with on Instagram years ago. I expanded his search history (prying, yes) and saw he regularly searches for these women and creeps on their profiles. He looks them up 2-5x a month.

I understand checking out an ex or two's profile out of morbid curiosity. I visit the profile of a former flame about once every 2 years or so and hope to see he's doing well. But I don't understand his obsession with women (he hardly knows or only had a date or two with) who he met on Tinder. Or why they are on his mind WEEKLY. I mean, he's obviously thinking about them if he needs to look them up and lurk on their pages every week. I thought we nipped this kind of behavior in the bud early on. How do I broach this continued issue with him? Should I just pull the plug on this relationship, because he clearly lives in his past/fantasy land? IMO, 40 is way to old for this juvenile behavior and having these sorts of "boundaries" discussions.

TL;DR Boyfriend of two years cyber-stalks former Tinder flames often, checking out their profiles weekly. How do I broach this issue? Or should I just move on at this point?


Here was some of the advice she got.


What would alarm me the most is that when you spoke 6 months in, he unfollowed only one girl: the one who had connections to you, and where there was a risk you'd find out more than he intended. I suspect he didn't tell you the full truth then.



If you speak to him about it, what could he say to you that would put you at ease?

Is there an explanation you would be okay with? If he said he fantasises about being with them? If he said he masturbates to their pictures? If he said he enjoys flirting online? If he said he's keeping his options open for when you guys break up? If he says he's just curious? If he says he's nosy and enjoys gossip he finds on their pages?

If he promises he won't do it again, would you trust him on that? Or do you think he would lie to you like before? How would you know he was keeping his promise, and not just hiding it from you better? Would you be okay with him continuing this behaviour openly?

To my mind, you set a boundary with him before. You told him this behaviour wasn't okay in your relationship, yet he continued anyway behind your back. Whatever his motivation is, it's clearly a bigger drive than keeping his word to you. I would find it very hard to trust someone after this, it's a betrayal.

If your boyfriend is truly remorseful and when confronted make a a concerted effort to change and takes real practical steps to prove he won't do this again (e.g., deleting Facebook/Instagram), and you think that you can work on this together than I would give him a second chance (or if you think you can accept him carrying on looking at there profiles during your relationship). But if he doesn't make the effort, or you don't think you will be able to trust him again then it's probably not worth it to pursue the relationship further.




Well, be honest with him. Tell you that it happened his Facebook account was logged in without you realizing it and it happened that you saw his search history. Surprised (and disappointed) to see a few names you guys talked about, you looked for the entire history and noticed that he checked up on them.

Show empathy and tell him what you told us, that yes, you check up on an ex once every two years but to make sure he's doing well, but you would like to know why he would check up on these ladies he barely knows (as far as you know because who knows he hasn't been talking to them on a weekly basis?) every week.



This is one of those things that, as a woman, when you see a guy do this to you while in a relationship, all you do is feel pity for his GF. This is blatantly disrespectful. He's keeping up with his past "options" and entertaining thoughts about what it would've been like if he had chosen other women. Those women are probably so amused/disgusted by his continued attention after so long. It's creepy.

Does this seriously sound like someone you want to invest you time in?

He's obviously interested in women that aren't you. Maybe you should let him go, and find someone who is worth your time and investment.



Keep in mind that you only know what you've found. Did you stumble across everything? Probably not. Can you trust him to uncover the stuff you don't know about? Probably not. If he can not share his phone or accounts then he is his own worst enemy and is going to throw away your relationship eventually, once caught red handed. Why does he keep lurking? He has a time investment in those people and is keeping current, because in his mind he is still pursuing them.

Leave, or confront him and give him your ultimatum and let him decide. Either way you'll have to decide how much of your life and conscious is going to go into being a private investigator, spent worrying when he is alone or evaluating all of his behavioral quarks trying to make sense of his behaviour. I wish you the best of luck.



How do I broach this continued issue with him?

I recommend telling him straight that as long as he lives in this past fantasy land, you won't be taking the relationship seriously, and you're not considering an engagement.



The fact that he is dating a woman 10 years his junior indicates that he is too immature for women his own age. He is trying to prove something to himself, and continues to check on these women to prove that he has options to himself. I bet his Facebook has tons of pics of him and girls he barely knows with his arm around them. Move on.




Isn't he like too old for this random immature sh*t? If he's happy w/ you then why is he checking on these women? Doesn't make sense. Stop wasting your time.



I wish you the best of luck! Stay strong, you can do this. We believe in you!



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