Relationship Advice: My BF Still Uses Dating Apps. How Should I Talk To Him About It?

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Relationship Advice is a column in CLEO where we ask relationship coaches, psychologists and experts on problems that twenty-something women in Singapore might face in different stages of their relationship. If you have a question for an expert, drop us an email at cleo@sph.com.sg.


This column was contributed by Cherlyn Chong, a breakup recovery and dating coach for professional women.

You should be concerned if your boyfriend has dating apps on the phone. Because if you wouldn’t download those apps yourself—or have long deleted them—why would he keep them? If he says he’s using those apps to make friends, let’s be honest: hardly anyone downloads a dating app “just” to make friends.

Is It Considered Cheating?

If it’s something your boyfriend doesn’t mention to you and hides because it would shake the relationship, it’s cheating.

Hence, chatting with other women is cheating. In this case, he’s channelling his time, energy and perhaps even finances to someone else outside of the relationship, and this act is known as emotional cheating.

How Do I Talk To Him About It?

Don’t confront him over text, over the phone or in public. You must confront him face-to-face, or via a video call if that isn’t possible.

It’s best to do it in a private setting, and depending on whether you’d like the relationship to continue, it might be good to do it in the presence of a mutual friend who can help mediate the situation. Make sure that you have ample evidence before sitting your boyfriend down.

He Thinks It’s NBD. How Can I Make Him Understand?

Follow this three-step process:

  • State specifically how you feel about what he did and why it’s a big deal to you (you might not want to label it as cheating)
  • State the specific action that he took that made you feel this way
  • State the potential consequences of that action

So you can say things like:

“When you talked to those three women on the app over the last two weeks and didn’t tell me about it, it made me feel like you were choosing to share something intimate with other women that you couldn’t share with me. It felt like a betrayal because you’re supposed to be my committed partner. If this keeps happening, my trust in you will be shaken, and I will start to doubt our love.”

A word of caution: if your boyfriend still doesn’t see this as a big deal, it’s best to call off the relationship. He has already betrayed your trust and isn’t sorry for it, and this will happen again. You two are simply not compatible, and you should find someone who can be loyal and honest with you.

So… Should I Also Have A Dating App As Payback?

No, because that is immature and manipulative. It might turn into a power game of who can hurt who the most.

Relationship problems cannot be solved when there are actions of contempt, deceit and manipulation. Vulnerable honesty is the only way you’ll be able to have a loyal and healthy relationship, whether with your current partner, or the next one.

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