Long Reads

Is this the real sign you’re in a committed relationship in 2018?

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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To delete or not delete? Of late, the question has entered many a conversation over cocktails. 

I know why I’m on dating apps: I’m looking for a relationship (well, I think I am). Right now, I have three dating apps on my phone. Two of them I occasionally indulge in (if I’m bored). But one has my full attention. Like most Millennials, I swipe away, one day after the next in the hope of finding my person.

Dating isn’t just exhausting, though: dating apps have transformed how we date today into a swipe-centric world. Does anyone meet face-to-face in a bar after a few too many anymore? Truth be told, I’d give up the swiping sphere tomorrow – if I found that person who ticks all of my boxes.

Maybe that’s why one question keeps popping up in conversation over cocktails: is deleting dating apps a true sign of commitment?

But therein lies the real issue. Not only does swiping one person after the next (on several different apps) feel like a game of numbers, but it makes us feel…dare I say it…disposable.

“We’ve been dating for four months and last night I noticed he still had Tinder on his phone,” one friend recently said to me.

“Maybe he just forgot to delete it?” I replied. 

“Don’t you think it means something if he’s still using the app?” she asked, looking exhausted.

Translation: is he just not that into me? If Love Island has taught us anything it’s that he’s not committed if he’s waiting for the next best person to walk through the door (or pop up in a new notification). 

Does anyone meet face-to-face in a bar after a few too many anymore? 

But does keeping dating apps on our phones really mean something?

“We live in a society where we’re constantly looking for an upgrade in everything,” divorce coach, Sara Davison, tells Stylist.co.uk. “Dating apps provide us with so much choice, making it make it difficult (for some) to settle with just one person. Ultimately, apps make us feel like the grass may be greener somewhere else.

“I think your relationship is doomed if your partner still has dating apps on their phone. It means they’re still open to seeing what’s out there. No one fully commits if they’re still on dating apps.”

According to a recent study, around a quarter of Britons still use a dating app while in a relationship.

“It’s a Love Island mentality where you’ve got to talk to all of the men in the house because you don’t know if someone better will walk through the door tomorrow,” explains Davison. “You’re saying: I’ll give this my all just now, but I’m keeping my options open. It shows no commitment.”

And our love for dating apps looks like it’s only set to increase. According to app research firm App Annie, worldwide spend on dating apps reached £234 million in 2016, and £448 million in 2017. 

But does keeping dating apps on our phones really mean something?

Dating is tricky (and a minefield in 2018). So, when should you approach the conversation about deleting your dating apps with someone you’re dating? No one wants to come across as needy, right? If I’m sleeping with them, then I’m certainly going to ask the question – a mentality shared by Davison.

“If you’re sleeping with the person then you can definitely ask the question. It’s about protecting yourself,” says Davison.

Love Island is exactly like using dating apps. People hop from one person to the next. It’s time people worked out what they want and need from a relationship.

“The key is to have an open and honest conversation with the person you’re dating, but without coming across as needy. You need to ask them if they’re willing to come off dating apps to really give your relationship a go. If they’re not willing, even for a few weeks, then you know that they’re not as committed as you. It tells you that they’re just not as into you as you are to them.”

I’m willing to bet if you asked your friends if they’ve approached this topic with a significant other they’ll say yes – just like Stylist’s editorial assistant, Moya Lothian-McLean.

“Dating apps are what we use to meet new people. If you’re no longer looking for a partner, why on earth would you need an app?,” says McLean. “Mutually binning them has actually featured as a show of commitment in both my relationships and one of my friend’s, too.”

Who wants to spend their evenings swiping away? Be committed. Take the risk. Ask the question. You never know, you might just find your person.

Images: Unsplash / Getty