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Meredith Goldstein's logo for Love Letters in Sunday magazine. Current as of 2019. Globe Magazine.
Meredith Goldstein's logo for Love Letters in Sunday magazine. Current as of 2019. Globe Magazine.

Q. Dear Meredith,

Last night I went through my boyfriend’s phone (I know, bad idea) and found two dating apps. Neither seems active, but I’m freaking out big time. I asked him about it and he said they must be from before we started going out, more than a year ago.

A few weeks into dating, he told me he deleted his Tinder and OkCupid apps. The apps I found last night were different, and look to have been set up about three years ago, based on the age preferences for his accounts. It doesn’t make sense he would simply “forget” to delete these. Could it be that he installed them again on his phone recently, and when he did his old profile just recovered?

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I don’t know anything about dating apps so I would really appreciate the answer to that last question. Also, I realize it’s out of line to go through his phone, and I intend to get help, not just for him but for myself. But if he really did cheat on me (or at least he intended to, since the profile isn’t active, and the last he connected with someone was “a while ago”), then I don’t want to stay with him.

— Ms. Confused

A. It sounds like the profiles are old. You explained why.

But what if the worst-case scenario is that he downloaded an old app, swiped through a few faces, and then stopped before messaging anyone? Would you be able to get over it?

I’m not defending that kind of behavior. I can see why you would define it as a betrayal, even if he was browsing with no intention of a meetup. But I want you to consider what you’re really worried about. Sometimes people have a bad day and don’t behave like great partners. The more important questions are about what led them to their mistakes.

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That’s why I wonder about the state of your relationship. You’re asking the Love Letters community to decode your boyfriend’s app history, but you’ve told us nothing about why you’re with this man, whether this behavior seems out of character, or how serious you are with him. Why did you check his phone in that moment? What gave you doubts?

If the relationship is great and you only checked his phone because it was right in front of you (not an excuse, by the way), I’d let the conversation die. People are allowed to have some secrets. If he’s earned your trust, give it to him.

But if you’re anxious because the relationship isn’t great, or you believe he could be seeking others, consider whether you should be with this man. The lack of “here’s why I’m happy” information in this letter suggests you might be better off working on yourself on your own.

— Meredith

READERS RESPOND

I wonder how much he trusts you now that you’ve rummaged through his phone. BOSTONSWEETS21

Enough with the social media, dating app, and snooping drama. TALK with your boyfriend, calmly and maturely. PENSEUSE

I’ve been in this same boat. You snooped on his phone for a reason. The presence of the dating apps makes you uncomfortable for a reason. Listen to your gut. It could save you a lot of time and agony in the long run. BELLE129

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Catch season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.


Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.