Ask Dave-Handling dates who lie online

Lately, it seems like everyone I meet is fudging the truth on some front. Why?

By Dave Singleton

ear Dave,
I am really frustrated lately with the number of guys I meet who lie in their online dating profiles and in person. I am 36, attractive, and have been single for one year. After six months of being single, I began making a very conscious effort to “date smart,” as my friend calls it. That means I try to be very clear about who I am and what I am
You’re upfront with the guys you meet and you expect the same.
looking for in a partner. I wish other guys would do the same. Five of the 11 guys I met in the last three months have lied about something. Two lied about their ages; they are over 40 and said they were in their late thirties. Two of the guys claimed they are single, but lied about their status. Finally, one guy lied about his appearance. He’s about 40 pounds heavier than his online description states, and his pictures are from a few years ago. He looks nothing like his photos.

I don’t really know how to deal with this. I don’t like lies, or wasting my time. On the other hand, I don’t want to get cynical, suspicious, or unfairly confrontational. Any suggestions for handling awkward situations like these?
- Liar-phobic in Richmond

Dear Liar-phobic,
I don’t blame you for being annoyed. You’re upfront with the guys you meet and you expect the same. It’s the way it should be. Five out of 11 men is a very high percentage. I am hopeful that it reflects a bad crop and not the national average of men who fib.

Besides the fact that lying is just not the right thing to do, the most obvious reason to avoid lies is that you’ll get busted. Don’t send your high school prom photo when you look more like a middle-aged man. Don’t lie about your age if you want the man you meet to trust you. Isn’t trust a central part of any relationship you hope to establish? Doesn’t lying speak volumes? If he doesn’t have enough confidence or self-esteem to be truthful, what else might he lie about? (I know, I know... I am preaching to the choir!)

Why do people lie? They know that if you meet them, you’ll figure out the truth. Obviously, lies in a profile equate to insecurity. He doesn’t think he can get the kind of dates he wants by being honest. So he
He’s hoping that you’ll be too polite to say anything.
lies to get the first date, hoping you’ll overlook the obvious. And lies in real life are the same — a way of trying to hide from scrutiny an area where one is insecure.

But if you find yourself in this situation again, I don’t recommend silence as your response. You are allowed to notice and comment if someone blatantly lies to you. Here are my tips for handling dates that turn a blind eye to the truth — and how to avoid them in the first place:

Ask smart questions ahead of time.
Weed out online fibbers by double-checking key profile information before you meet them. Review the basics, 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. I usually only meet a guy for coffee or drinks the first time. That’s one way to guard against wasting too much time in case it’s an awkward situation.

Consider whether you have any “comfort zone” with fibs.
There’s a big difference between lopping a decade off your age and being cagey about a year or two — or forgetting to update your profile after a birthday. For me, the line in the sand is this: If you think that your date purposely tried to deceive you, it’s a big red warning flag. You can choose your own threshold accordingly.

Don’t sit in silence.
When someone blatantly lies to you 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 make a scene — 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. Finally, ask him to consider not doing this to anyone else; it doesn’t serve him or his dates well.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at
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