Dating After 50: The Dark Side of Online Dating - dummies

Dating After 50: The Dark Side of Online Dating

By Pepper Schwartz

Though some people on dating sites lie in their profiles, most only shade the truth. The areas that people fudge the most are their age, weight, and height. Few people (with the exception of a couple whoppers) lie about anything major (like being married as opposed to single).

Small lies online

Still, the question of whether it’s a white lie or a whopper often lies in just how close to the truth it is. For example, common categories to describe weight are “slender,” “fit,” “average,” and “a few extra pounds.”

Most people are afraid to pick “a few extra pounds,” and readers usually presume that everyone is gilding the lily, so that the people of “average” weight are actually heavy, and the “few extra pounds” people are really heavy.

Maybe if you’re not slim or fit, you think people won’t consider you. But the truth is, you have to go with what you have. A little lie like not fessing up to a few extra pounds isn’t little anymore when the actual difference is 40 pounds.

These white lies may not cause a problem if someone was already flirting with you in person and obviously didn’t think your weight was a big issue, but they matter a lot when the first time a person sees you, you’re 40 pounds heavier than you look in your profile picture.

People can get angry and rude when they think they’ve been misled. If you’re much heavier than you said you were, someone meeting you for the first time may just turn right around and decide not to stay. Save yourself from mortification. Don’t lie substantially about what you look like.

Big lies online

Whopper lies are the dark side of online dating. Many predatory people are on the Net. The most common deception is a married man or a man who lives with someone who says he’s single. Another variation on this theme is a man who strings along three or four women and tells each that she’s the only one.

Some women do the same thing, but it’s a lot less common. You may also encounter people who misrepresent their financial status.

On some sites, professional sex workers contact men who are there looking for dates, not sex. These professionals figure that some of these men will be flattered by attention from a very attractive woman (or a man on gay sites), so that even if they didn’t go to the site looking for sex, they may be very happy to get some.

Of course, not all of them lie and present themselves as just sexy potential partners. Some of them are straightforward about being “affectionate” if they “are treated right” or just ooze sexual promise — and then, when contacted off-line, say that the “affection” comes at a price.

Male scam artists generally have an impossibly handsome picture — but that’s not the tip-off, because of course there are other handsome men on the Net. Two things should alert you to the truth about these guys.

Some of them only want to communicate by e-mail and have all kinds of excuses why they can’t talk on the phone. This is because the Nigerian men who do this would be calling from another country, and they have accents that usually don’t match their picture.

And second, they’ll tell you they love you madly within a very short time. They may wait six months after that, but eventually, they’ll ask you for money so they can come visit you while their money is tied up because the bank made a big mistake and it has to be cleared up, or something like that.

One bite of a bad apple and the whole online dating space can seem threatening and dishonest, but don’t think this is a common occurrence. The majority of people online aren’t scam artists.

Don’t get turned off because there are a few dishonest people on the web. People lie in every kind of dating or casual meeting situation. This problem isn’t confined to Internet dating, but you have to be somewhat more cautious online because it can be harder to check out the facts.