Networkers Need Not Apply
She caught her boyfriend on a dating app; he claims it’s for networking and making friends. Brande offers solutions to a letter writer who isn’t sure what to believe.
Q. The other day my boyfriend asked me to use his phone to check the weather for the weekend. When I went onto it, I noticed he had two dating apps downloaded! My heart started racing and my stomach dropped. I had no clue what to do, so I just checked the weather really quickly and went back to what I was doing.
That night I decided I had to confront him. When I did he laughed and said I had nothing to worry about, and that he was using these apps to “make friends” and “network.” He does work in an industry that requires meeting a lot of people all the time, so I guess this is kind of a plausible explanation. The friends thing kind of weirded me out but I decided to let it go.
A few days passed and I just can’t shake the feeling that this was off. I’ve never heard of anyone using a dating app to network or make friends, but I guess I could be wrong. So, what do you think? Do people actually use dating apps to network and make friends? Am I being paranoid?
Candace, 29, NY, New York
The saying goes, “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one,” and the simple truth here is dating apps are for dating. So either your boyfriend is the worst networker known to man, or he’s cheating on you. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach? Listen to that. Or, if you’re still not convinced, listen to the stats: 76 percent of men and 86 percent of women have never used a dating app to make friends or network.* So, while it’s technically possible your boyfriend is telling the truth, the odds are not in his favor.
I don’t know what your boyfriend does for a living, but I can’t think of any profession where making friends is a part of the job description. There are plenty of careers that require regularly seeking out new clients and wining and dining individuals to win their business. Neither one of those activities requires an app, much less a dating app. Homeboy’s playing you.
Quiet as it’s kept, there is a weird fascination people in relationships have with dating apps. If you and your boyfriend met the old-fashioned way, he probably has a legitimate curiosity about how the whole digital dating process works and what his odds are of succeeding in that realm The desire to be desirable in other people’s eyes never really leaves us no matter how committed we are to our partner. So your boyfriend might’ve created a profile just to see what all the hype is about – and if he’s still got it — which might be why he told you he’s just using it to make friends. Sadly, that possibility is far more plausible than him just networking on a dating app because, to answer your question explicitly, no one does that.
76 percent of men and 86 percent of women have never used a dating app to make friends or network.
Either way, the bottom line is you’re not okay with your boyfriend having dating apps on his phone for any reason at all, and the fact that he hid it from you makes it questionable.
Go back to your boyfriend and let him know how you feel. On the off chance he’s not cheating, he should be willing to show you the exchanges he’s had with other people so you can judge the nature of the conversations for yourself. If all is on the up and up, still let your guy know you’re not okay with him using dating apps for professional purposes because, again, that’s not what they’re for. Suggest one of the other hundred networking apps that exist for that sole purpose. Actually, take his phone and download a few of those apps for him as you uninstall the other ones. I’d also add a line about needing to pick up some new hobbies if he’s that pressed for friends.
If your boyfriend refuses to show you what he’s been up to on these apps or you confirm that he is indeed cheating, exit stage left. After you mourn the loss of the relationship, download a dating app for yourself so you can find a better boyfriend.
*May 2017 survey of Hinge users
Brande Victorian is the creator of Be-Enough.com where she chronicles tales of love in the time of weight loss along with other musings of her health and wellness journey. She also serves as Managing Editor of MadameNoire.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Send questions to Brande at firstname.lastname@example.org.