When Should You Take Down Your Online Dating Profile?

I’ve been dating a guy online for a month, and he brought up the idea of being exclusive, to which I agreed. At what point should I take down my dating profile? If he doesn’t take his down, would that mean that he is trying to keep his options open? I know in your eBook “Why He Disappeared” you talk about mirroring his actions–ifhe calls, answer; if he sets up a date, say yes—so if he keeps his profile up, I should keep mine up too?

I was thinking of giving it a few weeks and if it doesn’t come up, to say something along the lines of “Since we’re exclusive now does that mean I should take my profile down?” versus “I’ve noticed you still have your profile up, are you dating other people?” Or will bringing it up at all make me seem needy and jealous?



Dear Vanessa,

I tackled this question a long time ago, but yours has an extra twist that makes it unique.

So let’s go through your original letter and see if we can make sense of this together.

He brings up the idea of exclusivity, but doesn’t take his profile down: hmmm…very fishy, don’t you think? It’s like making a New Years resolution to do cardio, but refusing to ever set foot in the gym. The two things just don’t add up.

Maybe this guy needs a dictionary to clarify the term “exclusive,” but, by pretty much any standard, “exclusive” doesn’t mean logging onto Match to peruse other women.

Which is why I’m very comfortable redefining your relationship, Vanessa as “non-exclusive.” You’re just seeing a guy who’s making grand proclamations that you want to hear. And it seems to be working quite well for him. Moving on…

“Exclusive” doesn’t mean logging onto Match to peruse other women.

You want to know how the concept of “mirroring” (seen in “Why He Disappeared”) plays into online dating. You hit the nail on the head, Vanessa. If he emails you immediately, you email him back immediately. If he waits 3 days, you wait 3 days. If he asks for your phone number, give it to him with a time to call. If he follows up for a second date and you’re interested, accept. You don’t have to do anything other than what he does, which keeps your job VERY simple and crystal clear.

If he’s not doing what you want him to do, rest assured, he’s doing what HE wants to do.

And, apparently, what HE wants to do is promise exclusivity to you while continuing to look for other women online. He must think you’re a fool because, really, everyone spies on everyone in the online dating world.

I’d like to give you some earthshatteringly brilliant advice that you haven’t previously considered, but I very much like your take on things.

Keep your profile up, give him a few more weeks to step up to the plate, and go with “Since we’re exclusive now, does that mean I should take my profile down?” It’s cunning and cutting at the same time. His answer will reveal everything to you.

At which point, you can get back online to find a guy who really DOES want to commit to you. And for your own sake, please check out Finding the One Online to guide you through every step of the process. It’s everything that’s in my $2500 Romance Course for about one-tenth of the price…

More importantly, you’ll never have to have this “what should I do” feeling ever again.

Good luck.

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  1. 1

    Ah yes, the dreaded “when do I take my profile down” decision.  I’ve been in that spot several times.  I leave it up and let the guy question me if he finds it.  If he asks then I tell him, “you let me know when we’re exclusive and I’ll take it down”.

  2. 2

    It’s possible his profile is still up, but he hasn’t logged on since he asked you to be exclusive. But short of that, it sounds like he wants to take you out of circulation while he looks for something better, or just different. It’s a dick move, which would make him a dick for doing it. And do you really want to date, let alone be exclusive with, a dick?

  3. 3

    I don’t like having to second guess someone I’m supposedly exclusive with so I wouldn’t wait a few more weeks to have the profile discussion. You should have had it the same time as the exclusivity discussion, but you’ll know better next time. If there is a next time.

    If you’re close enough to be exclusive you should be close enough to talk about taking your profiles down – otherwise what’s the point? Waiting a few more weeks does nothing but allow you to possibly develop stronger feelings for a guy who is not honest and stringing you along while he continues to see what else is out there he might like better. Who needs that? Not you. 

  4. 4

    I think that as soon as the guy brought up the idea of being exclusive, Vanessa is entitled to simply say, “if we are exclusive, shouldn’t our online dating profiles reflect that?” I don’t think she needs to wait on this unless she wants to. After all, he is the one who brought it up i the first place.

  5. 5

    Also, Evan, what happened to dates on posts?

    1. 5.1

      Ruby, to quote Evan on this matter: “Sorry, kids. No more time stamp. It made conversations… seem really dated and I want new readers to embrace old posts as if they were new…”

      He’s right about that. It keeps things much fresher without them.

  6. 6

    Ok, I’m going to be the odd voice here.  Marc gave you the key in #2; how long since his profile has been active?  My fiance forgot about his profile.  It’s still up.  He just never did anything with it and thought that it would delete after a certain amount of inactivity.  Now that he realized it’s up he’s going to take it down, but I want for him to wait until I get to a good color printer.  I want to print a copy for a scrapbook.  So he may not be a total loser.  But if it shows that he’s active, definitely bring it up.

  7. 7

    Evan, i see no evidence in the email you quoted that he doesn’t want to take his profile down. She said that HE suggested the exclusivity, and SHE says ‘what if’ he doesn’t do that.
    If he suggested the exclusivity, i see no reason to distrust him.
    It sounds to me like the wishy-washy one is the woman here. I mean, isn’t it obvious that she should take down her profile once they are exclusive?

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Seriously, Ben? The evidence that he doesn’t want to take his profile down is the fact that his profile’s still up.

      The incongruity between his “suggesting exclusivity” and his profile being up is the reason that Vanessa’s asking the question.

      1. 7.1.1

        @ Evan, right ON.

        @ Ben, you are probably that kind of guy….!

        @ Vanessa, if you even have to ask, he is not worthy at all.

  8. 8

    I’m not making excuses for the guy, but I do know that sometimes guys can be incredibly spacey (and lazy) about taking care of things like this.  But I think it’s a conversation they should have now, and not wait.  She doesn’t have to be accusatory, just matter of factly say that she’s assuming they’ll both be removing their profiles now.  His reaction to that will be very telling.  If he’s serious and he’s “into” her, he’ll be glad to comply.  If he gets weird and defensive, that’s a pretty good indication that he’s not sincere.  Hopefully, that won’t happen.  Best of luck.

  9. 9

    Oh that’s nothing.  Conversed with a guy on match who had both a wife (separated) and a girlfriend and wanted to drive out from Michigan to have coffee.  Uh-hunh.
    That said, Zann is right, men are lazy about this stuff and also don’t put much stock into it.  You can see if he recently logged in.  I’m guessing you might be “spying” on each other!  He might be logging in to see if you are; we are all insecure in the early days of a relationship.  As E suggests, give it a few weeks, then, “pop the question!”
    Good luck!

  10. 10
    Karl R

    Vanessa asked: (original post)
    “If he doesn’t take his down, would that mean that he is trying to keep his options open?”

    Not necessarily, particularly if he’s on Match.com.

    On Match.com, your profile will stay visible, even if you’ve cancelled your account and stopped paying. This happened to a friend of mine, who was unaware until I pointed it out to her.

    If your account is set up to forward messages to your personal email account, opening one of those emails (even if it’s a wink) will count as “activity.” I tested this with my own account. Minutes after opening an email, my account indicated that I was “online now,” even though I had not logged in for several days.

    What I’ve said is only true of Match.com. I don’t know how the other online services work.

  11. 11

    Karl #12
    But on Match.com you have the option of hiding your profile. It’s not just about not logging in, it’s about actively hiding or deleting the profile. Your profile won’t be visible if you hide it. I think most dating sites have this option.

    1. 11.1

      Anyone who just hides a profile believing it is acceptable or even moral once seeing someone, is hiding more than just their profile and clearly is not mature enough for a relationship, asides still being searchable if you’re among 80% of the population who know how to. it speaks volumes of how committed they aren’t, and I waste no time with these chancers.

      1. 11.1.1

        Really, John? If someone I’ve been dating for 3 weeks asks if we can focus on just getting to know each other, exclusively, it’s not enough to hide my profile? I think it is.

  12. 12

    I also don’t agree that men are necessarily lazy about this. I think they know when their profiles are active, and if they are actively logging on, although they may ACT spacey about it. My friends and I have heard men make a lot of excuses about why their profiles are still up: “I thought I did take it down”, I couldn’t figure out how to hide it” (from a man with a PhD), “I don’t even know why I’m still on there” (when he’s logging on daily), “I only write to tell people I’m not interested” (when he later admits he’s still actively dating others). Actions speak louder than words.

  13. 13

    Even if the reason his profile is still up is completely innocent, it’s still a bad sign she doesn’t feel free to just ask him about it. This relationship is starting out with questionable communication skills at best.

  14. 14

    “On Match.com, your profile will stay visible, even if you’ve cancelled your account and stopped paying. This happened to a friend of mine, who was unaware until I pointed it out to her.”
    Ughh, this is awful. Some day Congress will pass a law requiring websites to truly delete our personal data.  But on a similar note, when I decided to sign up again for match.com after a 6 year hiatus, they still had all my data, profile and everything!  A zombie profile, back from the dead!  It was a little creepy at first, but then I realized that I had written a good profile the first time around and didn’t need to redo it.
    More to the point — I’m not so sure about the mirroring thing here.  If I’m having a good time dating someone and don’t feel like trolling for new online dates, I’m probably going to hide my profile so as not to be bothered, no matter what he does.  It doesn’t really mean anything more than that to me, and I probably wouldn’t mention it to him.  It’s more about me than him, at that point.

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Isabelle – that rumor about Match.com isn’t true. I’m on there every day with my clients. You can hide your profile from searches at any point in time and you can cancel your paid subscription at any point in time. What Karl’s friend didn’t do correctly was HIDE her profile after cancelling her subscription. They’re two separate actions. Just because someone doesn’t want to pay doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to continue to receive email from men…and then, in a few weeks, activate the profile to answer the email. Point is: it’s not unethical of Match to keep profiles up at all. It’s incumbent upon the user to understand the technology.

      1. 14.1.1

        To add to your note Evan….one thing I’ve done in the past….removed my pictures and delete my written profile content….then unsubcribe….then hide.

  15. 15

    I think the main point people are trying to make is that sometimes people just forget to take their profiles down. I was in a long-term relationships (living together, engagement) and I had a profile on match.com the entire time that I didn’t even consider deleting or even logging in to look at until after we split up because I was so into the relationship I was in. I also have a friend who is very happily married who still has his profile up on the dating site we originally met on. He just hasn’t logged in since he met his wife. Vanessa didn’t specify if she’s seen him logging in or not. If he’s logging in still and hasn’t mentioned in his profile that he’s met someone (which I’ve seen a lot of guys do) then she might have reason to be concerned, but otherwise, who can say with what little information she gave in her letter? I think the biggest concern, the same as somebody else said, is that she’s afraid to bring up something important in a supposedly exclusive relationship.

  16. 16

    @evan – wow, you have to both hide and cancel to completely disappear from match?  that’s news to me.  how about a post on other match.com tricks?
    (and I don’t think it’s unethical per se for a company to keep your data — it’s just business after all, and data is a resource like any other — but I think match could do a better job at explaining its terms.)

  17. 18

    This is a tough one but as with most things honesty is the key. There are many dating sites but few that do not spam you to stay a member or keep your details in their data base to swell membership numbers. The site http://www.loversmatch.biz removes all members older then six months to keep members current. They can do this as the site is free and members who are still looking for that someone special can rejoin for free. If you are seeing someone and want to keep your details live then be honest and tell anyone you are seeing that it is not an inclusive relationship. When the relationship does become inclusive then it is time to remove your details from all the sites you have registered on as you need to be honest with not only your partner but also the other members on the site.

  18. 19


    Evan’s right. Match,basically knowing they have a “monopoly” pulls all kinds of sneaky stuff that you have to be an expert to know how to play and work around.

    Perfect case example: The week that Yahoo was bought by Match I moved my profile over to Match but I kept it “hidden” because I was dating someone,very busy at work and also didn’t want the distraction.
    NO,I didn’t take it down for the woman I was dating that I met on Yahoo incidentally.
    One day during that time,I logged on to fix a spelling error or something and didn’t think anything more about it.Then I’m in a bar and a woman I know says “I saw your profile on Match yesterday” yadda yadda yadda….
    and I’m like “you shouldn’t have,I’m hidden” I get home and found out my profile had been “live” for 10 days I thought it wasn’t. What Match doesn’t tell anyone is…. if your profile is hidden and you make any changes to it.You have to rehide it or it goes back to being searchable. Absolutely ridiculous !! Again,you have to know every nuance of every site you’re on or it’ll backfire on you.

    Match has so many invasions of privacy that I have to have 2 extra recon profiles to accomplish what I want to do. I never view profiles with my REAL profile because that’s an invasion of MY privacy so I do it with my recon profile.Maybe I don’t want a woman to know I “viewed” her or that I’m “online now”. On POF and Yahoo these are/were simple things you could “turn off” not on Match. There are other things I dislike about Match but it’s the only site that matter’s.They have the most quality profiles,even more since they bought Yahoo. You can’t NOT be there…lol
    You just have to learn to play it and work around all the bullsh*t.I’m still learning……… remember you never stop learning in this game! 😉

  19. 20

    @Karl R,I tested what you said last week about if your just checking or opening your Match messages only from your email address (and not on the site itself)they’re being forwarded too.In fact I’m doing it right now from my recon profile and it doesn’t show I’m online or have been online in the last hour.So I’m not sure what you meant by “activity”. I don’t think it works that way.I’m pretty sure you’ve had to actually log in thru tha Match site for that activity time to be accurate.

  20. 21

    Selena 3
    she is right you should have talked about, taking down your and his profile from dating website.

  21. 22
    Two Becomes One

    There sure have been alot of good points added to this blog.  At first I totally agreed with Selena, Then I read A-L’s post about someone forgetting their profile was still up. One tip she might try is to send him a cute little flirty message on his page.  It could be a way to open up some conversation about taking the page down.  Also, she would know if he was still checking it.  Since that is how they met, it would seem a viable avenue to get his attention.  Ind the end this comes down to a trust issue.  If it turns out she can trust him, great.  If not, run baby run.

  22. 23

    I’m totally in this same boat right now but going on two months into dating…and we have spent SO much time together when we can because of working opposite shifts. And every sign of meeting the family and friends and the small things, as well as talking forward on future activities and dates and plans since the day we met, yet he says he still wants to get to know me better before calling me his girlfriend but respects my request to be exclusive. The ONLY thing that gets me tripped up all the time no matter all the positive wonderful things he has done the past 6-7 weeks is he signs into match just about every day. And I stopped for a while and noticed he had been looking at my profile. Yet, I decided it’s time to mirror him and make him work for it so I continue to log in once again.  Help…I don’t know what to think of this and if he’s just bored since I know he doesn’t have the opportunity to date others working nights and we spend much of the other days off in the week together.  Thoughts??!!  Should I bring an ultimatum or am I over reacting?  I don’t want to push him away, being too upfront about it, this whole thing with him…it’s too right!

  23. 24

    @Confused # 26

    I think giving him an ultimatum without talking to him reasonably first would be overreacting.

  24. 25

    I disagree with the response and it seems that our “expert opinion” wound up giving advice based on the poster’s boyfriend being a “player.” Not all men or even most men for that matter) are players…just the ones who learn to work the system by manipulating women into falling for them tend to be. Instead, the male in question is most likely seeing if the poster took down her profile (yes, it’s creepy but you can do that on Match) and then after she had, would return the favor. He already got vulnerable and asked to be exclusive and he probably didn’t want to seem overly interested because that could convey to the poster that he wants to move too fast. GIVE HIM A BREAK AND THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT! If you are reluctant to do this, consider why he would even ask for exclusivity in the first place?!?!? I think he sounds like a nice guy and one shouldn’t be so quick to judge him negatively. The exact same scenario happened with me and my girlfriend and after I saw that she removed her profile, I returned the favor without even having a discussion with her about it until much later. STOP ASSUMING THAT MOST GUYS ARE CREEPS BECAUSE IT RUINS RELATIONSHIPS AND CAUSES BOTH PARTIES TO EXPERIENCE UNNECESSARY ANXIETY! I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I know what I’m talking about. Pick you battles and save your mental anguish for situations that are more clear-cut.

  25. 26

    I could not think you are more right…

  26. 27

    Lose this guy. I just went through-and am still going through a lot of pain. I met a great guy on Nov 4 through Match. We went on 3 dates in a row. (Second date he brought me to feed squirrels in the park.). After one week he brought me to meet his sons, and at 2 weeks wanted to be exclusive- said he’d like me to be his girlfriend. I was in…and I asked him about it two more times- if it was what he really wanted, and he always said ‘of course it is- I like to be exclusive with you, baby.’  I deactivated my account and I thought he said he was going to, also. But I saw him on there- ACTIVE…’Online now. IM me, now’. He only saw me on the weekends, and only liked to text during the week – said he wasn’t a phone person, and spending time with his sons (who live with him) during the week.So,  I texted him, asking why he was still active..said I was asking in the nicest softest ‘voice’, cause I didn’t want to be seen as ‘yelling’. He got upset, said that I was being insecure, and that he was on there to see why he was still getting emails, that he doesn’t like being checked on and living life under a microscope. I apologized profusely and said I just really liked him and didn’t want to get hurt. He said in his profile he was very honest and only saw one woman at a time…wanted to be sure he really meant it. He told me he really liked me too, but I need  to be more mindful of the things I say.
    Soon after he took me to meet the rest of his family-see a Christmas parade. Things were going great. But then he went a whole 24 hours without any communication. My friend had been going through problems with her boyfriend-breaking up/getting back together, etc. I told her that I’d create and pay for one month of match…maybe she’d meet someone like my guy. (And I was going to check in on his profile- see if still active..) That was Wed the 14. I called him on the phone that night, and we talked for a few minutes- about the weekend coming up- we were spending it together again, and four days over Christmas. Got off the phone, finished profile with friend and she wanted to see his profile so we went on just to look at his pics. (maybe he saw we viewed him). Didn’t post pics of friend, but wrote- ‘If interested, please email me and I’ll send pics’. The next morning, I got a good mornign text from boyfriend. I felt bad about creating the profile for my friend who didn’t even really want it in the first place- I had wanted to make it mainly to check on him. So, I went to deactivate it.  I noticed there was a message in the  inbox, though. (and I had only made the profile the night before). It was FROM HIM! He had messaged to say that he was very intriqued, thought ‘we’ were on same page, and wanted to see pics!!!!  I called him and said that he emailed a profile that I made for a friend. I was shocked.  Never ever expected that. Especially since we didn’t message him. He didn’t have a good explanation…I asked if he was seeing other people and he said just emailing and couldn’t talk -would call me that night. Instead I got a txt saying he needed time alone to think. I was so sick to my stomach…I had fallen for this guy!  I texted and texted and left a voice mail and and email. He responded once via email to say he’d call that night and never did.  My brother had passed away 3 years ago and I brought over a game of his to his house. My last text was asking him to please mail it to me.  I never got it.  No game back, no response.  Not even the courtesy of letting me know it was over.  I should have known better when he got so defensive when I asked about him being on match. I just don’t understand why he needed to be exclusive, why we did all the family outings and why he introduced me to his family.  I don’t get it.  I don’t see how another human being can cruelly ignore another one.  I went online recently to look at his pics b/c I miss him and he added new ones. One was of him feeding a damn squirrel in the park. I guess that’s his schtick.
    So, lose this guy.  You can totally deactivate your account and make it invisible. After you cancel it, it asks if you’d like to hide your profile. 

  27. 28

    A quick add-on to what I wrote. When I said we didn’t post pics on the profile and said ‘if interesed, email me and I’ll send pics’, that was what we put on the profile….we never message my boyfriend…er…exboyfriend.  Hope this was clear…I’m just still so sad and upset over it.  I do believe I was played….

  28. 29

    @Nicole…I had the SAME situation.   We dated a month before becoming exclusive.   At that time I explained my definition of exclusive was taking our profiles down and he agreed.   I met all of his friends and co-workers.   And then fast forward another two months when I was cleaning out my emails I saw our first email and that he had been logged in within the last 3 days.   I calmly asked and he replied that his account auto renewed.   He was apologetic and told me everything I wanted to hear.    I believed his story and spent the next night and most of the weekend with him…Monday rolled around he still had not hid his profile.  I made a fake profile and he read it and favorited my fake and when I confronted him I trapped him and he did the same thing I need time to sort it out, etc.   He hid his profile and there went away my evidence and I started to doubt myself.   Eventually I caught him online with an updated profile.   Again.   I broke it off.   I have no explanation on why someone would put the energy into seeing you two to four times a week, bring you into their personal life and vice versa only to be trolling the internet for other woman.    Only to turn it around and blame me for “trapping” him and complaining about not giving him space.   I am finding it really hard to be able to date online again.   Trust again period.   He had me completely fooled and I would have never have guessed in a million years.   He lied really well to my face over and over again.

  29. 30

    Same thing happened to me as well.  I dated a guy for a month or so, he wanted to become exclusive, but wouldn’t take his profile down.  So, I put mine back up.  Then he took his down….so I took mine down.  A few weeks later, I went to go check and his profile said active within 3 days.  I was devastated.  He made up some excuse that his friend wanted to show him a girl.  YEAH RIGHT!  If his friend knew about a girl on the dating site…wouldn’t his friend have an account?  AND we all know you don’t need to UNHIDE your profile to browse and look at profiles.  Really??  I am not stupid.  I hung up and never spoke to him again.  End. Of. Story.  

    Don’t worry ladies…Karma will ensue…one way or another.  Just know you did your best and the other person is just selfish, dishonest and has no class.  Be grateful you weren’t fooled into marrying a person like this.  I consider myself lucky to find out soo soon.   

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