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Ask Dave-On Online Dating And Honesty


One man is turned off by those who fudge the truth…how to handle this?

By Dave Singleton

ear Dave,
I am a 38-year-old gay man who generally likes the efficiency of online dating. It’s worked well for me, but there’s one aspect of it that I need your advice on. I try to be very honest in my profile. For example, I don’t describe myself as perfect. I
I try to be very honest in my profile.
only show pictures from the last year or so, to reflect what I really look like. But lately, I am frustrated — I’ve encountered a guy or two who stretch the truth about their looks, age and interests. What’s the best way to handle this, and stop it from happening in the first place?
—Do They Think I Am Blind as Well As Dumb?

Dear Blind,
I don’t blame you. You expect truth in advertising. You don’t expect to encounter the online profile of Dorian Gray.

You’re excited to meet Mr. Promising, who sent you his picture via email. But then you’re disappointed to discover it’s from the previous decade. It doesn’t reflect him, which is what an online profile and picture should do.

While it’s true that dating online is fraught with many challenges, such as the crucial chemistry test (i.e., his profile sounded great, but will the spark be there when you meet?). You shouldn’t have to wonder if your date is fudging the facts: age, height, interests and other key factors that aren’t open to subjective interpretation.

People should recognize that if the email correspondence goes well, the two of you will meet, and the truth will be plain to see. Height, age, weight — those things will be obvious in seconds. Interests and attitudes will be made clear very quickly, too. The truth is, if you want a real relationship, then you have to be real. Unfortunately, though, you and I probably can’t convince the entire general dating population to be totally truthful. So here’s how to do your best to avoid those few people who do play a little fast and loose with the facts:

Screen carefully.
Before you meet him live, review the basics in your profiles, such as age and interests, just in case there are any discrepancies. Better to find out before you take the time and energy to meet.

Don’t become too cynical.
Sure, these dating misfires can happen. Misfires happen with off-line dating as well. Your first impression of that great guy you met at a
That’s no way to project yourself onto the online dating world.
party might completely change after you spend two hours with him at dinner. The best you can do is keep being as honest as you can in your profile and in your intention to meet similarly honest men. Whatever you do, don’t add the phrase “no liars!” to your profile. You’ll sound bitter and angry. That’s no way to project yourself onto the online dating world.

Allow for wiggle room, but not much.
There’s a big difference between lopping off a decade in your online profile and forgetting to update your profile when you turned 50 last month. But you have a right to expect that your date is close to the age he purports and that he looks something like his picture. If you discover that a date purposely tried to deceive you, it’s a big red warning flag. What else is he concealing? Why is he not being truthful? I would rather not go there — would you agree?

Make a graceful exit.
When someone egregiously lies in any way and then pretends that you shouldn’t notice or care, call him on his lie. He’s hoping that you’ll be too polite to say anything. You don’t have to storm out. But you can simply and straightforwardly make clear that you don’t like being fooled. Tell him that you don’t feel obligated to continue a date that began under false pretenses. The ordinary rules of polite dating behavior don’t apply when someone has lied to you.

Bottom line: Don’t waste time with an untruthful person should you encounter one. Politely end the date early and make it clear why if asked. I know the rules seem obvious, but maybe some people still need to hear them. Don’t send misleading photos, fudge the facts or lie about your age if you want your date to trust you. After all, you’re looking for that special person who’s thrilled with you just the way you are.


Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at davesingleton.writer@gmail.com.
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