I found dating apps on my boyfriend’s phone

Dear Meredith,

I have previously written you a letter but I never got a response. I don't hold it against you because I know you must get a lot of emails everyday. Well, if you get some time, I would really like your take on this. Last night I went through my boyfriend's phone (I know, bad idea) and found two dating apps on it. Although neither of them seem active, I'm freaking out big time. I asked him about it and he said it must be there from before we started going out. Well, we've been going out for over a year.

A few weeks into our dating, he told me he deleted his Tinder and OkCupid apps. The apps I found last night were different ones. It doesn't make sense why he would simply"forget" to delete these. His age preference on these apps is 26-38. He was 39 three years ago and I know that he likes women either the same age or younger than him. So on that part, it makes sense that this account was made three years ago. But could it be that he installed it again on his phone recently, and when he did his old profile just recovered with it?

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

– Ms. Confused

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 meeting up with anyone else. But I 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.

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 to begin with. 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 because 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? App expertise?