Life Advice



Erika Ettin: The difference between deleting and deactivating your dating profile (and why it matters)

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

I recently had someone reach out to me about a dating dilemma. The man she was dating exclusively told her he was no longer on apps; however, a friend spotted his profile, which was not only “active now” but updated. When this person approached the man about it, he claimed the app kept his dating profile active for “research.”

Unfortunately, it was immediately clear to me that this guy was lying and keeping his profile active on the side.

How do I know this? First of all, his response says it all.

If you are truly committed to a relationship and hear your profile is still on a dating app, you would react differently to someone questioning it. If I were being truthful, my immediate reaction would be to pull out my phone and show my partner the app wasn’t there.

Using some nonsense excuse like it being used for research purposes — which isn’t only false, but don’t you think some people would have some issues with that? — is not the right answer. (Not to mention, for someone to think they are important enough that an entire dating app must do research on you is hilarious to me.)

Now, let’s talk about how dating apps work. There’s a difference between deleting your account and deleting the app off your phone.

If you want to get rid of your profile — so it doesn’t come up while others are searching — you need to go to your settings and actually delete it. (There is often a confirmation of this.) Then it’s gone. Some sites do allow you the ability to deactivate (or hide) the profile without completely deleting it. Then if you decide to go back on the app, your information is still there.


But if you simply delete an app like Bumble, Hinge, Tinder or anything similar from your phone, your profile is still there — however, with another point to call out the guy from our story is lying, it would not say “active now.”

When it comes to exploring a new relationship, I recommend deleting (rather than deactivating) your profile. Some may be hesitant to scrub their bios completely — after all, writing a profile, answering the app’s question and choosing photos is a whole process.

However, having the profile readily available at the click of a “reactivate” button is basically giving you a soft landing if things don’t work out — and that’s not exactly going into a committed partnership with the right attitude. If you’re going to be in something, be all in. And if things don’t work out, cross that bridge only if you arrive at it.

Naturally, the next question is this: When is the right time to delete your dating profile? Unfortunately, there’s no strict timeline like “delete after the third date.”

Every relationship is different, but the best idea is for the decision to be talked about with your partner and mutually agreed upon. By both parties deleting their browsing options, you’re committing to giving the relationship a serious chance. And if one person isn’t up for the task, it’s an opportunity to evaluate why you’re on different pages and see if you can get back on the same one.

At the end of the day, these apps are downloaded with the intention of being deleted from your phone. But now you know that when it’s time, make sure to delete your profile and not just the app to give your relationship a fair shot.

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