Have You Ever Spied on Someone to See if They’re Still Using the Site When You Think You’re Starting to Get Serious?

problematic woman using her laptop

Have you ever spied on someone to see if they’re still using the site when you think you’re starting to get serious?

How did you feel when you saw that they were “active within 24 hours”?

Did you confront/question your partner about their recent activity on the site or remain silent?

Did you feel you SHOULD continue to date other people because they were still active?

Find out my thoughts on the ability to “check up on” on your partner by clicking here:

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  1. 1

    I haven’t, but I don’t harshly judge people that have because I understand why they would. To save everyone confusion though, I think ‘taking the profiles down’ should be talked about outright, likely in the exclusivity conversation, and not something that is just assumed.
    Until a couple is exclusive, there’s really nothing wrong with being on a dating site. And just seeing that someone has been active isn’t necessarily useful information- they could’ve been active for a variety of reasons.

  2. 2

    Oooh, this is a really good one…

    Your use of the word “spied” leads me to believe this is not something you will look on favorably, Evan. I’m not sure what you mean by “starting to get serious.” For some people that could mean dating only one person, for others it could mean sleeping together, for others it means contemplating a long-term, committed relationship.

    “Spying,” “checking,” “assessing”–call it what you will, yes, I’ve done it. I still do it. I would guess a lot of people have.

    I would love to think that a man telling me we are in an exclusive relationship is sufficient for me to trust him, but that just hasn’t been the case in my history. Twice, I’ve been in relationships where men have asked first for exclusivity and told me their profiles were being taken down off the dating sites where we met. My profile was already down in each of those cases–first, because I was hoping for exclusivity and didn’t think I could find it while dating other people, and second, because it was too difficult from a time management perspective to maintain a regular relationship while dealing with the volume of mail Internet dating generates.

    In both cases, several months into the relationships something started to feel weird–less communication, more excuses why they were busy, etc. I tried subtly to find out what was going on without having one of those big where-do-we-stand conversations. I was assured everything was fine, they were just busy with work, etc. Still my gut told me something was wrong. I always listen to my intuition. And my intuition said “look online.” Sure enough, they were both active within the last 24 hours.

    In one instance, I just let the relationship fade without confronting him about it. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that hurt, so I took it as a sign the relationship wasn’t meant to be anyway.

    In the other case, I did confront him about it. I even gave him an out, asking if he was on the site just looking, to feel like there were options if things didn’t work out with us. His initial response was to accuse me of spying on him and showing a lack of trust for him. I replied that yes, I did spy on him, but it was a last resort when I felt he wasn’t being honest with me. And my suspicions were validated–way to deflect the conversation from what was essentially him cheating to me being distrustful! Never mind that I had every reason to be!

    If we had been just casually dating, I probably would have kept mum and let it play out–he might have found out he preferred my company anyway. But since we had been sleeping together and discussing holiday plans, etc., I didn’t feel I could keep quiet about it. It turns out he did want to break up, but “didn’t know how to tell me without hurting my feelings.” (Yeah, this was a much better way to find out.) There’s more to the story, but essentially I think he just wanted to make sure he had another fish on the line before he cut me loose.

    Now I pay closer attention to a man’s activity online. If he’s writing me long, personal emails, calling me, or dating me and he’s still “online now” every night, I keep contacting and dating multiple men. Maybe he looks at my profile every night and thinks the same thing, making it self-perpetuating. I don’t know. It’s certainly a conundrum with online dating vs. dating IRL. I guess someone has to break the cycle at some point and risk being hurt.

    What I do know is the next time a man tells me he wants to be exclusive and is no longer active online, I need advice about how to proceed. Do I trust him and risk STDs, etc., if he’s sleeping with other women? Do I tell him, “OK, but I’ll be checking up on you”? (That doesn’t sound like a great way to start a relationship.) Do I secretly keep checking on him and confront him if I see activity? Do I trust him and only spy if something feels not right with the relationship? Am I naive to take a man at his word, given the statistics on infidelity? Am I just a typical once-burned-twice-shy woman who needs therapy for trust issues LOL?

    1. 2.1

      I had the same experience he told me i was he really liked me and the next time he came over he asked me if i wanted to be his gf then a few days later i didnt hear from him now i dont understand you need to spie on your man and see whats he is up to because if you want a relationship to work out you have to be on your guard with your man

      1. 2.1.1

        Nadia @ 2.1 – If you have to be ln guard with your man, then he shouldn’t be your man.   Time to “next” him.

    2. 2.2
      wise and single

      In online dating you would be a fool to trust a man period.   I have trusted men in the past and have that feeling something is not right….as communication drops off…they busy…haha…we all busy.   So when that happens hell yeah I check online dating sites to see if they still on….quess what…they always are.   I had latest tell me he was in love with me ….yeah right…he was online every day.   Next time he told me the love business I told him I saw him online.   He said, “oh I was just responded to email and told them I was in a relationship.”   haha.   Yeah right.   This behavior kept going ….and again saw him again online.   I told him I was done.   He needs to keep that “I love you” stuff to himself or his latest online honey.   He said online he was 58…..when we had our first date….this guy had to be 70 and over…another thing he said he scuba dives….haha….he can hardly walk….really needs a wheelchair….but quess what…I ain’t gonna be the one pushing it!   Girl you right on….do not doubt yourself…protect your heart and your body….men they think with their other head.

      1. 2.2.1

        Give me a break when it come to men doing this. Women do this too, it’s about finding the right person.

        I think online dating in general is toxic since there are so many options and a lot of people have the “grass is always greener” mentality.

        I suggest dating people offline if you want to make a more genuine connection.





        1. Trent

          Amen Jack.   You hit the nail on the head.   I’ve had women tell me that they “love me” , and then they’re back “online” on the dating websites within hours.     Unbelievable.   Online dating is killing traditional romance.   My ability to trust anyone has been almost destroyed. Good luck to you..   Trent

      2. 2.2.2

        Lol, I so needed this today.   I’m in the same situation with someone lying about being online hunting for ladies.   So I createc a fake email account and responded to his CL personal ad.   So I’m pretending to be that other girl. He told her so many lies in his replies to her, even went so far as to say his dad passed.    I’m going to make him sweat and then lower the boom.

        1. Yolz

          I love it! Good on u.   I did the same years ago. He denied he dated someone recently.. Which was me!

  3. 3

    Maybe their profile was still active on the site but hadn’t been visited for a while, and someone viewed their profile or sent them a message, and they popped in to check it out.

    Or they could have visited the site to spy on YOU to see if YOU were still using the site!

    1. 3.1

      Why would they feel the need to check it out if they are in an exclusive relationship? Why not just delete the email they get? Is it a man thing that they need to feel like they are still available even though they say they are committed? Or an ego thing because they need to feel like they are still the sh**…..Seriously the male mind works differently and yes I do believe some men, ya some, can be trusted and just go on the sites bc they get an email so they have to check because it makes them feel good about themselves that they still look good and woman want them, yet they take it no further….I just think that’s the male mindset but tell me if I’m wrong here Joe…..

      Do they ever think going on line and checking out whose looking at them will jeopardize their relationship and don’t think ‘checking out’ those emails is a big deal???…. To a woman it is but to Men I believe they think it’s harmless and that they didn’t do anything wrong…….

      For the record I’ve been in this same situation. My bf and I live together. If we are not at work we are with each other 24/7. Sounds sickening but it’s not. We love each other’s company and spend most of not all of our free time together. We laugh and have a blast. That said I don’t know how he could possibly cheat because we’re together all the time BUT I HAVE looked at the sites he was on and some do say active every now and then or active in so many days…….let me also preface, My BF and I have tried numerous times to get both of us off the sites…..some sites are very difficult to get off of even if you call the company’s help line (been there done that it doesn’t work either) so we are BOTH still on there still. I chose not to check my emails. If he checks his well then he’s a big fat jerk but does that mean he’s cheating? No I just think his curiosity is leaked and he can’t help himself bc of what I said above……at this juncture I know he’s not cheating, now if he replied that would be another can of worms not for this discussion…..and yes I do know he doesn’t reply bc I have access to his phone any time I want and he could give two hoots if I take it to use it…..if he were hiding something he’d guard it with his life….been in those relationships too…..

      So I’ve learned to live with the on line dating snafoos and chalk this up to him just needing to feel like a rock star to make him feel like a kid again…. even though he’s in my bed every night.

      Unfortunately ladies it comes down to trust. If u can’t trust the person your with then why be with them? I mean really…why would you want to be in an untrusting relationship….it’s difficult but there ARE good men (and woman) out there…..u just need to be patient and you will find them…..

      for the record my BF and I did not meet on an online dating site either. We met the old fashioned way…..in a bar 🙂 so yes that can still happen too just need to get yourself out there….

      Hope this helped and Joe would love to hear your thoughts…..

      1. 3.1.1

        firefly…i feel like i just read my diary…the only change is that im not online dating & never have, my man(ex?) has a POF account that he said was deleted/gone a year ago but oops its still active & thriving! His 100%-hand on the bible truth is that “i tried to delete it & yes i do see the emails daily but do nothing about it & dont tell you because……silence for effect……I DONT KNOW WHY…….ummm ok i love you too baby.

        thanks girl for the laughs & were sisters in boy-bs

    2. 3.2

      Yes joe it’s true what you say,my man hasn’t been on the dating site for almost 3 yrs but he still receives emails, I’ve checked up on his old one cause of the emails that still show up from other woman,yes his site still there but says he hasn’t been active on it for a long time.

  4. 4

    I read Jennifer’s comment after I posted mine. I just wanted to add that I think men and women are on dating sites for one reason: to date. Once you are with someone else in a mutually agreed upon exclusive relationship, you need to take your profile down. There are plenty of other ways to be pen pals, to post on forums, etc. Being on a dating site says to the world, “I am still available and looking.” Taking your profile down is the first step in saying “I have found the person I’ve been looking for.”

    1. 4.1
      Julie Kristine Pederson

      Exactly. Youre an idiot if you are ok with the person you love checking a dating website, please, dont be naive   or passive. Not up for discussion. Their attention should be on you!

  5. 5

    Post 1: I agree totally. I’ll add to that by writing that I think until people are exclusively dating that it is fair to leave the profile up.

  6. 6

    FWIW, its not spying if it is public information. That person knows that his/her profile is visible and they know that the other person will be able to see if they go back to the site.

    Either the person with the profile still up is doing something wrong and is really BAD at it or they see it as up-and-up. In other words there isn’t a mutual understanding yet of how exclusive the relationship is.

    1. 6.1

      That’s correct its not spieing! Im looking out for myself!

      Im very confused however, met a man on line July 16, within 2 weeks he said I love you. Last night I met his daughter for the first time. Last week he was on his phone and I noticed an email from Okcupid, so a couple of days ago I downloaded the app and there he was, active as well. I feel very disappointed now and confused

      1. 6.1.1

        Sounds familiar! Same thing happened here to a T! Was his name Joe!? Lol

  7. 7
    happy girl

    I have not been in an exclusive relationship yet.But If that came up I would take my profile down. If I am dating I do see the person I am talking and emailing with online, but I leave them alone. I am also checking my emails and so why get upset about. Sometimes it is good to check as it is an indication if someone has been online and is not answering you back anymore that I can move on.

  8. 8

    I think it’s totally “normal” and I’m sure everyone looks to see when the last time a person they’re dating was or IS online. That being said on Yahoo I’ll sometimes delete a profile and put up a new “hidden” one the same day so that I can’t monitored by someone I’m dating. If they ask me “why I took my profile down” I usually just say “my subscription was about to run out and I didn’t want to be charged again right now”. Sometimes I’ll also “test” them with one of my recon profiles like let them know the “hot recon guy” looked at their profile or even wink to see if they “take the bait” and make a move to judge their interest level in me…..lol Yes, I know I’m so evil ….lol but you can learn a lot by “experimenting”.

  9. 9

    Of course I look. But I don’t draw any conclusions. I log on for a variety of reasons and it wouldn’t bother me to see he did too unless my guy and I had agreed to be exclusive.

    I did end a relationship once because he told me he was not on the site but it just so happened I was looking right at his profile. I ended it because he lied.

    I wouldn’t take my profile down until I am making a commitment to dating just one guy and I don’t want to do that too soon. However, when I am interested in someone, I have noticed my enthusiasm for the whole process does wane and I end up not checking my message box as frequently. I would hope he would feel the same. The idea that the other women would just pale in comparison sounds like a good deal to me!

  10. 10

    I don’t think you were ‘spying’ at all on your dates; I agree with Steve that it’s public information. Spying is a loaded word when it comes to looking at a website!

    Regarding your questions at the end, I believe intuition is a powerful thing. You had a feeling about both of those guys and you were able to go online and have your suspicions confirmed. But what if you were dealing with guys that you hadn’t met online and what if you were dealing with guys who were a little better at covering their tracks? I don’t think the real issue is how or when to confront a guy on his internet activity, cause you may not always even have that option, it’s about acting on how you feel, even in the absence of ‘proof’.

    If you feel uneasy about a guy and you can’t put your finger on it and the feeling doesn’t go away, thats enough of a reason, in my opinion, to have a conversation with him. Not necessarily a ‘who is she and how long has this been going on’ accusatory convo, but rather an ‘im uncomfortable, and unless we do something about that i’m leaving because being uncomfortable all of the time isn’t fun’. It’s perfecly acceptable to do that, but women tend to always want/need ‘proof’ first. I get it, I just think its to our detriment.

    I can guess you’ll be thinking ‘but what if it’s me? what if i’m just crazy and paranoid and he did nothing wrong?’ Well, i beleive that type of thing all works itself out too. I read somewhere once that if it’s right there is nothing you can do to ruin it and if its wrong there is nothing you can do to make it work. So if you subscribe to that, nothing to worry about. You haven’t been proven to be crazy so far, right? 🙂

    Plus, I think people who have trust issues know it. Are you always uneasy? Are you always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Are you paranoid someone is going to do you wrong even when you’ve just been on one date and they don’t owe you anything yet? Then you may have some trust issues. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with you.

    As long as you do your part (trusting your feelings and acting on them, not waiting until you get ‘proof’ of wrongdoing, like some woman calling your phone) thats really all you can do.
    I rambled a bit, hope that made sense.

    1. 10.1

      Preach sister….Gospel

  11. 11

    For those of you wishing a little anonymity when checking to see if someone has been online, it’s possible on Match.com to sign out first (and make sure the automatic sign-in box is not checked) and then click on Search and type in the person’s username. Since you’re not signed in, you don’t appear in their “Who’s viewed you” area.

  12. 12

    If I’m starting to get serious about a guy, then I may check to see if he’s still active online. If we’ve had the exclusivity conversation, however, I won’t and trust him to have taken his profile down.

    Once I’ve started to get more interested/serious about someone I’ll take my profile down because until things end with him (or my feelings wane) then I don’t give other guys a real shot, and don’t want to be rejecting people who at another point in time could be a good match for me.

  13. 13

    Once you are with someone else in a mutually agreed upon exclusive relationship, you need to take your profile down. Being on a dating site says to the world, I am still available and looking. Taking your profile down is the first step in saying I have found the person I’ve been looking for. or if for whatever reason you are unable to exclude your profile from the site, note somewhere that you are currently not looking at the moment. I have run into this problem, where I was unable to delete my info from the site, which I felt was very unfair and would not use that site again nor recommend it to anyone. Every time I would note that I was no longer looking, they actually would go in and remove that statement. Sad but oh so true, so watch out on what sites you use and their membership requirements as to when you are able to remove profiles.

  14. 14

    Around a year ago, about 2 months after I started dating someone I met online, I took my profile off. I did this only because I needed a break from the charges of it. I had a child starting college that fall and wanted to save money. The guy though took it to mean I thought we were exclusive, when we both made it clear at the onset it would be casual dating, and he disappeared.

    The man I’m currently dating I also met online and we’ve both kept our profiles on that site because they have blogs and the site is used for more than just dating. It doesn’t bother me that he’s still there, even though we’ve been together more than a year and are exclusively dating. I trust him.

  15. 15

    I’ll sound like the oddball here, but I just don’t do it. Whether you call it spying, checking, or validating your suspicions, what it comes down to is a lack of trust. And I have never seen anything good come from it. I know a woman who has gone as far as checking her boyfriend’s phone to see “last number dialed” or checking his emails while he was in the shower & had left his email account open on his computer screen. To me, this is unethical and I’d be very pissed if a guy did that behind my back. If a woman is insecure (and we all are to some degree) and has trouble trusting, her relationship is doomed anyway..whether she gets her “intuitions” confirmed or not, because she will not rest until her those uneasy feelings are validated. I’m a strong believer in intuition, but truthfully, when it comes to relationships, there are times when what I think is my female intuition is actually my insecurity, my trust issues. So, I don’t do this type of checking and I’m happier for it. Call it head in the sand if you want. All I know is that I have more satisfying relationships than Nervous Nelly playing private eye. The last time I met a guy on line and we decided to be exclusive, nothing more was ever said about whether our profiles were still up. I never checked, because it didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that we were happy, and he treated me respectfully and lovingly. I accepted that and enjoyed it, assuming the best – giving him the benefit of the doubt, just as he did to me. Our relationship ended after one & a half years, but not because of any infidelity that I knew of. We had differences about our futures that we couldn’t resolve & we mutually decided to end the relationship. Since then, I’ve decided that’s the way I want to handle any future relationships, because any actions on my part that I wouldn’t want my man to know about are actions that erode the relationship. We have so much access to information now, information we never had in the past, but that doesn’t mean it should be used as a means to make us feel more secure in a relationship. You can’t guarantee loyalty by checking behind someone’s back. Relationships are always a risk, and if you can’t accept that type of risk and assume the best, you shouldn’t be dating.

    1. 15.1

      Best comments yet.
      I have had the spy thing done to me for years.
      Relentlessly doing everything you mentioned.
      It finally made me feel
      Why don’t I go out with someone else or
      Do whatever.
      I constantly was being watched in every manner.
      Finally I broke it off.
      Most faithful Guy I was it it really gets old having a partner spy at every corner.

    2. 15.2

      Finally a comment of a mature woman! This were exactly my thoughts. Would all you women here giving support the OP spying on the partner for whatever “reason* want he doing the same on you? This is so much distrust, then why do you stay with the guy in the first place? If you can’t handle your jealousy and insecurity issues, why don’t you treat it or stay away from dating at all? There is a saying that if you are looking for something hard enough, you will eventually find it… My advice is to treat your insecurities if they are that severe and focus on what you have in your partner and what you can give him in return. There is no time left in a serious and mature relationship for BS like spying and controlling. I’ve been accused of assumed infidelity for all kinds of “information* online appearing “obvious” to my partner, even though I have been with no other person during that time. You get sick and tired feeling in a position of constant justification. Thanks, but no, peace of mind is more important than juvenile games like these!

  16. 16
    Robert Lehrer

    Several years ago, I met a lady that I was crazy about. Soon afterward, I stopped my paid subscription. I fell in love with this woman and didn’t even give online dating another thought…..until she noticed that I hadn’t removed my profile from the website.

    After she told me how hurt she was, I explained what happened and I immediately pulled my profile down. I can understand a woman or man feeling insecure when they see their partner’s profile online.

    The important thing in my opinion, is to talk about it with your partner and don’t assume anything about what the profile showing means. Talk first, then pass judgement.

  17. 17

    um, just for clarity’s sake, the Jennifer of comment #11 is not me, the Jennifer of the earlier comments and other comments throughout the blog. It’s not a bad tip though 🙂

  18. 18

    I do this every time and I expect it. If fact, I expect them to be dating other people even if we’re serious (ie having sex) UNTIL we have a specific conversation about being exclusive. After that point, I don’t spy, I stop looking, and I expect her to stop looking also.

  19. 19

    I’ve been dating a man I met online for nearly a year. Recently, he mentioned that he logged in to the dating website to see messages we had sent one another in the beginning. He also mentioned that, even though we get along so well, I was not his “top match”. I am not the jealous type, so at the time didn’t think twice about these comments. In the following few days, I started to get that uneasy, intuition-y “something is up” feeling. I totally believe in trusting that feeling. I know some people may think they are being paranoid, but if you have ever been screwed over by a boyfriend (or girlfriend) in the past, I think your brain recognizes differences in your partners behavior, even subtle changes (maybe that sounds strange but its always been right for me). Anyway, I couldn’t shake this feeling, so I did something I somewhat regret. I made up a fake dating profile, and added stuff I knew he would like, to see if he would message “fake me”. Well, he did. His comments were somewhat flirty, which stung. I knew I couldn’t tell him what I’d done, so I had a “talk” with him about my bad feelings. I told him that ever since he had mentioned going back on the dating site, that something seemed off. I told him that if he wants to date other people, hey, go ahead, but don’t tell me he thinks I’m “the one” while doing so. I told him that my cheating/fucking around policy is that the relationship is over, so what he wants to do is up to him. He deleted the profile and said I was right (like I didn’t know that). Now things are fine, but I do feel like this whole situation burst the bubble a little bit. I really hope this doesn’t happen again, that it was just a fumble. I also feel bad about the fake profile, but I can’t marry a guy who is out trolling for other girls on the side.That’s the shit thing about relationships, you just never know.

    1. 19.1

      I’ve done this. .. It’s really sad that we have to deal with stupid men that don’t know how to respect what it is to be in a relationship. I became paranoid after I did the fake profile thing . He would lie and say ” oh   that’s not him”. I don’t think he is physically cheating on me but just seeing that he is still active on these sites,really gets me mad and sad.i could except him being interested in someone else, but just be honest . I feel like I am so scared of putting my heart out there and getting lead on.

    2. 19.2
      Karmic Equation

      Cindi and Lee,

      There is more to trusting your instinct than simply “catching him red handed”, there is the follow up part to show him you have your boundaries.

      Cindi, I commend you for talking with him as a follow up, but you took the easy way out for yourself. How do you know he didn’t create a new fake profile on a different site or even on the same site? You don’t. And while it’s great you trust him, a guy who did what he did is not a trustworthy guy. And your staying with him when you know this is just a form of burying your head in the sand. Dump him. He’s just going to do it again, and this time not get caught. And when you find this out years later, you’ll feel doubly betrayed. Don’t do that to yourself.

      Lee, when you’re with the right guy, you’re not anxious or walking on eggshells. He’s the wrong guy for you if he makes you feel that way. Dump him and find a guy who makes you feel content.

  20. 20

    I don’t spy. Regardless of whether we ever had the exclusivity talk.

    There is something undignified about looking for such evidence, methinks.

    If I feel something is wrong, I’ll just ask the guy point blank.

    And oh, JB, if I found out the guy I was dating did that sort of thing, I would drop him just for that.

    1. 20.1
      Jane Smithe

      Well, I will have to disagree.   I had a man (doctor) that wanted to marry me.   We agreed to take our profiles down.   I took mine down, but months later realized he not only hadn’t taken his down, he also was “within 24 hours” also.   Luckily, I had a friend that was on (in another city) write him and flirt, etc.   He took the bate, and not only didn’t call me, but wrote her one day, he set up a date to go out with her!

      So, say what you want, but I believe it saved me a lot of time and heartache, as well as dodging a bullet with STD’s!!   I’m not saying to all Sean Connery on him and look at his emails, etc…but there ARE a few things you can do to make sure he’s not jerking your chain.   So, yea, it’s probably “spying” but it probably saved my life and sanity, too.   Life is full of cheaters and liars.   This guy took the cake. He had me convinced I was the only one for him.

      Find out, cut your losses, and move on.

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