woman-2937208_640Online dating can be a total bust – ridiculous e-mails from guys who aren’t your type, discovering that Oh, hey, men lie in their profiles – or it can be bliss. If you find someone you actually like and want to date exclusively, you might be ready to give up searching for love on the Internet once and for all. So … when is it time to delete your profile?

First, what does your online dating service offer as options? Can you hide your profile completely without actually deleting it? If you can simply become invisible, this is a great choice. The fact is, creating a good online dating profile takes a lot of time and effort. (“How many pets do I want?” “Um, what are my interests again?”) If no one can see it, it’s worth it to keep it. You won’t continue to get e-mails from suitors, and your significant other won’t get a phone call from his brother asking why you’re on the hunt. It’s great to be optimistic, but even if your new beau seems great, you never know when you’re going to find yourself suddenly single and desperately trying to remember your incredibly witty and sexy, “About me.”

If you met online, it’s much easier to have the “So we’re not going to keep searching” conversation. This is sort of like the “So are we going to be in a relationship on Facebook?” talk for the eHarmony crowd. You may both casually agree that you won’t continue to pay for the service when it expires in a few weeks, or you both may commit to removing your profiles completely. If you and your boyfriend are an online dating success story, you should both remove your profiles and stay logged out; as members, you can still see the last time the other was on. No good can come of that.

Sometimes though, you go on a few online dates and then meet the guy of your dreams at Starbucks! Funny how that seems to work out.

If the new guy knows about your profile, he may be the one to ask you to remove it. If you’re ready to be serious, you most definitely should. You were looking for love and were lucky enough to find it! Don’t be stubborn and don’t self-sabotage because you think something better is going to come along.

If he doesn’t know about your online dating history, you might want to remove it before anyone stumbles across it. It could cause major drama, even if you know you haven’t checked your “Winks” since you met him. Think about how you’d feel if the roles were reversed. And while the stigma of online dating is mostly gone, it might be something you wish to keep from him.

Although having the talk about removing your profile is good, there’s also no reason you can’t remove it pre-talk, as soon as you feel ready. Ask yourself a few questions.

  • Was I already thinking about giving up online dating?
  • Do I still think of myself as single?
  • Do I want to go out with anyone else?
  • How would I feel if this guy saw my profile?

If your answers are “No, no, no, and awful,” you can quietly take your profile down. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it; he may not even realize it’s happened. If and when the discussion does happen, you can just casually say you removed it a few weeks ago, “Because I was kind of over it.” It’s enough to let him know you’re into him, but not so intense that it will scare him off.

If you choose to remove it on your own, don’t make a big deal about it or throw it in his face. He may or may not be ready to do the same, but screaming, “I took myself off Match last week, why are you still on it??!” is not the way to find out. If you want to be exclusive, then grow up and have the talk.

If you are really hesitant to give up your profile, ask yourself why. 

If his Facebook pic is one of the two of you, and yours is one of you with a random shirtless guy at a Kid Rock concert … if you’re browsing “Casual Encounters” while he’s telling his mom about you … you might not be as ready for a commitment as you thought you were, or he might just not be the right guy for you.

Because ultimately, you should know when it’s time to remove it for good, and be excited that you feel that way. There comes a point in every serious relationship when you realize you have no desire to be with anyone else for a very long time. It could be when he’s down on one knee, but it will probably be when you look across the table and fall in love with the way he eats his waffles. You’ll realize you found what you were searching for and that you haven’t been truly “available” for a long time. When that happens, it’s time to send a virtual message to the men of the world and click “Delete.”

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