Dating websites and dating apps are still the number one way people meet, connect and fall in love. That said, there are some downsides to dating websites and dating apps, one which is the ease of lying about things–specifically your age. That is the subject of this week’s Love Essentially, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.
Why Lying About Your Age In Online Dating Is Silly by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group
The ability to get away with lying about your age in online dating is scary, and it happens a lot. People can provide any number they choose, photos can be deceiving or site users can post old photos to back up the lie. Read this email I got from a divorced woman:
I went out with a guy who claimed to be 45 when he was really 58. He didn’t tell me his actual age until we had gone out on several dates. I liked him so I continued to see him, but his age was always an issue for me. Looking back, I probably should have ended things when I found out his age. We broke up recently (after over a year of dating), and I noticed he’s online again saying he’s 13 years younger. I find this utterly annoying and wrong. He’s not a bad guy, but it’s so unfair and misleading.
First of all, I have a hard time believing that 58 can pass for 45, but that’s beside the point. This story is so disappointing to me on many levels. First of all, any lie is a big red flag. But second, it is obvious this man is pretending to be younger for the purpose of attracting younger women, which is really, really unfair. It is unethical and quite frankly, slimy.
I’m not going to say that if he wants to attract women in their 30s and 40s that he would get them if he posted his real age. He probably wouldn’t. But, I wonder: Why does he want such a large age gap in the women he dates, anyhow?
I cannot even count the number of women I know in their 40s and 50s who are gorgeous! They have beautiful, healthy bodies, they are active and smart and wealthy and kind and worldly. I’m really questioning this guy’s priorities. Not to say younger women don’t have any of these things. They definitely do. But what they don’t have is commonality with Mr. 58.
I have interviewed dozens of men over 40 who want to date women their own age for reasons that include:
• They have a lot to talk about.
• It’s comfortable.
• They find the women interesting.
• They feel a connection.
I find that so many men these days care less about a number and more about wisdom, life experience and common interests.
I also have to say, people who lie about their age in online dating aren’t very smart. Don’t they realize that almost all outcomes will be bad? The person they lied to could see them in person for the first time and know they are lying immediately, and that might be the end right there. Or, let’s say the liar and his or her date hit it off and start seeing each other regularly. The liar is going to have to come clean at some point. When they do, do they think the person they lied to is just going to say, “Oh, that’s OK. No biggie.” Wrong. The red flag will immediately go up, respect will be lost, and the person will wonder what else the oldie isn’t telling them.
The other downside of lying about your age in online dating is that you are really lying about who you are. While we all want to say “age is just a number,” (and I do believe that) how old we are really is a part of who we are. I can say that while in my core I’ve always been the same person, I am very different at age 51 than I was at 21, 31 or even 41.
Although no one likes getting old, aging is a beautiful thing because with every birthday we gain experience and wisdom and empathy. We become better people. We make mistakes and we learn from them. So if you think about it, we just keep getting better and better the older we get.
I do want to say that I know a lot of happy couples with big age differences, including my parents, who are 12 years apart and who have been together for 57 years. But, what sets these couples apart is that their spouse didn’t lie about his or her age. The person knew the age up front. So, the relationship started out authentically.
Online dating has its benefits and it is still the number one way men and women meet, connect and find love. But be careful. A married person can have a profile status that states he or she is single. Someone can say they are 6 feet 2 when really they are under 5 feet (not that that is a bad thing – it’s just a dishonest thing.) Someone can say they are a corporate vice-president when in reality they are unemployed, and of course, anyone can state that they are any age.
Remember that when you put yourself out there online, the most important thing is to be proud of who you are…(Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.)
Like this article? Check out my article, “Dating After Divorce: What’s New And What Hasn’t Changed A Bit”