The moment when you find out that your partner is on Tinder hurts. Maybe your single friend spotted them while getting her swipe on, or you had a hunch and searched for their profile yourself聽with the Swipebuster app. Regardless of how you found out, the discovery still stings. We know that not everyone on Tinder is single, and while there are plenty of other uses for the app, like Tinder Moments, the immediate worry when you find out your partner is on it is that they鈥檙e up to no good.

Whether you鈥檙e just in the beginning of a relationship that you were hoping was headed toward monogamy, or in a more long-term sitch, it鈥檚 never easy to learn that your S.O. is browsing other potential mates. Not only can it make your imagination run wild about what they might be doing, but it can make you seriously question your trust in them 鈥 something that can be a total relationship killer. So when you find yourself in this super tough situation, how in the world do you deal? We asked Vienna Pharaon, owner of Mindful Marriage and Family Therapy in New York City, what steps you can take to tackle this issue head (and heart) on.

omg

1. Take a breath.聽The first thing you should do is take a step back and give yourself a little bit of time to make sense of what you鈥檙e feeling. This means you shouldn鈥檛 immediately seek out a conversation with your boo. 鈥淚t鈥檚 easy to be emotionally flooded when we find something like this out. When we鈥檙e emotionally flooded, it鈥檚 hard to articulate the right message. So slow down, identify what you鈥檙e feeling and take a little bit of time to regroup,鈥 recommends Pharaon.

2. Decide if you should have a conversation.聽If this is a new relationship (maybe you even met on Tinder), then it鈥檚 fair to think that one of you (or both!) could still be online and meeting people. But it鈥檚 important to recognize that if this discovery triggers a negative feeling, it means that a conversation needs to be had.

鈥淵ou should always communicate if something bothers you. It would never serve us well to keep that information silent. If something hurts us, we need to honor it and voice it,鈥 says Pharaon. If you鈥檙e in a monogamous, long-term relationship, the decision whether or not to bring it up is pretty simple. 鈥淚t doesn鈥檛 matter what you鈥檙e using Tinder for 鈥 if it creates doubt and insecurity for your partner, it鈥檚 never appropriate. It sends the message that they鈥檙e not prioritizing the relationship or creating that emotional safety and security.鈥

tinder

3. Pick a time to talk to your partner.聽Think carefully about a time and place to have a conversation that鈥檚 comfortable, private and minimizes distractions. Pharaon mentions that 鈥渞ight before bed, out with friends, during their favorite television show鈥 all not the best times.鈥 Let your S.O. know that you want to talk to them, and then ask them if there鈥檚 a time that works.

4. Focus on you.聽The way conversations start tends to be the same way they end. If you start off on the attack, your partner is more likely to become defensive and shut down or fight back harder. Approach them from a calm place and communicate how you feel. Pharaon recommends beginning with something like: 鈥淚鈥檓 not really sure what to make of this, but it came to my attention that you鈥檙e on Tinder. I don鈥檛 want to make assumptions, but I feel embarrassed and confused as to why you鈥檙e on the app. It makes me doubt where you and I stand, and I worry that I can鈥檛 trust you. Can you help me better understand this?鈥

5. Know that there is hope.聽This kind of issue isn鈥檛 an automatic relationship death sentence. According to Pharaon, when we are vulnerable and share how we are feeling, our partner has the opportunity to meet us there, understand our hurt and then grow from it. 鈥淲e are capable of trusting again. We are capable of growing and transforming,鈥 she says. 鈥淚鈥檝e seen couples come back from infidelity over and over again. There鈥檚 no reason that, if done correctly, a couple can鈥檛 bounce back from online infidelity. The truth is, a lot of the time couples find themselves feeling closer and stronger in their relationship after they successfully work through infidelity. There鈥檚 a lot to learn and understand, and if both people are willing to 鈥榞o there鈥 and put in the work, they can actually find themselves in a much better place afterward.鈥

Have you found out your S.O. is on Tinder? How did you handle it? Tell us about it @BritandCo.聽For more from Vienna, check out her totally inspirational Instagram account, @mindfulmft.

(Photos via Getty)