Lying In Your Profile

back of a man with his fingers crossed

I am 45 living in NYC and just getting over a relationship…it ended really well and we are good friends. So we shared an apt together and when we ended it I moved back with my folks to take my time hunting for a new place and to visit. Then my father got cancer and I am helping care for him. How do you put that in a profile? And when women see “living with Parents/extended family” that must be a red flag for sure.

Any advice?


Great question, Alan – one that defies an easy answer. In fact, this may be the first question I’ve gotten in ages that I may never have contemplated before. So let’s break it down:

Reasons to tell the truth:
1) It’s easier to remember
2) You won’t have to explain yourself later
3) It’s the commonly accepted and ethical thing to do.
4) You wouldn’t want someone to lie to you.

Reasons to not tell the truth:
1) It sounds like a big red flag
2) It requires a lot of explanation
3) It falls under the category of “Too Much Information”
4) It will eliminate most potential candidates right off the bat

Living with your parents certainly falls in the same tricky category as a 71 year old woman or a 5’2″ man. Just being who you are – when people feel like they have infinite options – is not always the most effective strategy. In fact, for people on the extremes of height, weight, age, etc – online dating is not going to be your best bet. You probably do better in real life based on charm, kindness and personality as opposed to that “checklist” people use when searching online.

So what to do?

I hate going on record to advocate for anything less than full disclosure, but that’s what I’m going to recommend to you. And while all the hypocrites can complain that lying is always wrong, I’ll still believe that it’s the best course of action. People hold back information out of insecurity, yes, but also for more practical purposes. If you were arrested for drinking back in college, I would anticipate that you wouldn’t mention it in a job interview. If you smoked pot in your teens, it wouldn’t be smart to bring it up on the campaign trail. If you are on Zoloft to control your ups and downs, your online dating profile wouldn’t be the right place to mention it. Anyone who disputes this is a moral absolutist – which is simply impractical. If people were fair and logical, it would be fine to mention it. But they’re not. They’re judgmental. And hypocritical.

As I’ve said before, you can justify your own white lie – you do all the time – but you expect others to always tell the entire truth. And that’s just unrealistic and unfair.

Your truth, Alan, is an understandable and difficult one. And there’s no way of saying it in your profile with a throwaway line (such as “by the way, I’m really 38, not 35”, which I recommend to those who choose to manipulate their age). So hide it. Click on the “I live alone” button and once you get to the phone, explain your circumstance in an organic way. It’s not like you’re proposing marriage to her and saying, as she moves in, “By the way, that’s Dad’s room”. You’re doing what’s necessary to establish an early connection. And if she sticks around after your confession, she’s obviously the type of person you want to keep around. If she bails, she’s perfectly entitled to it. Not because you’re a liar. But because she doesn’t want to have to deal with the unfortunate drama in your life.

Join our conversation (6 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1
    Katira Solay

    okay great but what about someone who is living with their parents, is 27 and waiting for a decision from SSA/Disability and works and supports herself and her bills and attends college? how do you explain that? i’ve been single for three and a half years and i wanna date but how do you do dinner with explanations like that? can you say TMI or uncomfortable silences? especially if they ask what the disability is or how it came to be?

  2. 2

    Katira – why go there on the first date, or even the third? When you’re first getting to know each other, focus on the fun parts of the evening, and keep the conversation light. You can learn a lot about each other by talking about your values and dreams, there’s no need to launch into complicated explanations about a touchy life situation. If your date asks about something you sense might have a Drama Aura, just smile and light-heartedly say ‘that’s a long story, maybe I’ll tell you when I know you better!’

    I am guessing your disability is not obvious; so wait until you are sure this relationship is going to take. I would wait for ‘girlfriend’ status, and give it a good month after that. Wait until you know this person actually cares about you and is not going to be scared off by half-formed ideas about what the situation is. JMHO.

  3. 3
    Maddie Cartoonist

    Don’t worry about it…she’ll find out sooner or later. And then she’ll decide about whether to continue dating you or not based on the answer (& how she feels about lying). Like:

    1) If your parents are living with you and you are supporting them/taking care of them: props! You look all responsible and family-focused–very good things! Just be sure to take her out as much as possible, to get away from the ‘rents/get private time and also so she doesn’t start thinking you’re broke/trapped by the situation.

    2) On the other hand, if you are living with your parents and using their house/finances/intenet connection/laundry and meal service (even if you are “taking care” of them part of the time), you can expect the instant Death of the Relationship.

    I’d never date a man who sponged off his parents in any way. You can “take care of your parents” and have your own place at the same time, you know. I’d rather date a starving artist who lived in a dump with no food, furniture, cable, computer, even a man with tons of credit card debt, no job, and no money, as long as he was independent.

    Realizing that your parents actually need all the $ they have (& aren’t likely to get any more since they’re retired!), and that you have potential and a long life ahead of you and therefore need to get your own thing going, is a huge part of growing up. If you haven’t done it, you aren’t ready for an adult relationship, IMO. Also if you take your parent’s money, you have to do what they say. What’s attractive about that?

    I dumped a guy recently because tho’ he is in his late 40’s and hates/is jealous of his parents (complained all the time about how Republican and materialistic they are, etc), I found out a few months later that his mortgage, his car, his masters degree, and his child support are all paid for by them. While he quits job after job because people keep “disrespecting” him. Basically he was a spoiled brat 7 year old, despite his age. You don’t get to dis your parents while taking their money, unless you’re under 18 yo and a bit of an idiot.

  4. 4

    I think that no one needs to know your whole sordid tale on the first few dates. You do not need to pour out your soul about childhood traumas, less-than-excellent living arrangements or a bad dating history. In the first few dates, you should focus on getting to know each other as people. That means having fun, enjoying each other’s company and not getting too hung up on your “big secret” until you’re sure it’s getting serious. Even then, I wouldn’t make too much of a fuss about it. Just bring it up casually in conversation and if they ask for more details, you can give a brief explanation. Even then, try to frame it positively. For instance, if you’re a recovering alcoholic and you’ve been on a few dates with a guy (or woman) and they suggest sharing a bottle of wine,  don’t  get all serious and say, “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly” and go into a lengthy explanation of how your problem started and how you spent 90 days in a rehab center, blah, blah, etc. If they ask if you’d like to partake, just say a polite no, thank you. If they persist, you can say, “I had a bit of a drinking problem which I dealt with for years, but I’m sober now and feeling great.” They will understand and maybe even respect you more for how you’ve dealt with your struggles. It’s the same with this gentleman: frame it in a positive light and don’t just spew it out on the first date.   A lot of people do stuff like that under the guise of being honest, but what that really says is, “I’m incredibly insecure about my situation, so you need to know this up front so I won’t fall for you and get hurt later, when you dump me”. In a way, it’s putting up a wall to blurt stuff like that out.  

  5. 5

    ….lieing on the dating sites?…hhhmmh.

  6. 6
    Jay King

    Alan, Something like that would repel any potential woman In the online dating arena away from you. It’s a fact that women in the online dating sites have a checklist, and I assure you, “living with parents” isn’t in the list. Just like your profile picture, you would want to have your best picture out there and not your ugliest one, you would want to have the best bio and not a tragic one. Like in job hunting, you would want the best CV/resume so you can land the job. I’m not saying it’s ok to lie, but also i’m not against it, these are white lies, lies that has nothing to do with your personality as you said you are hunting for a new place, you lie because you would want the opposite sex to know your personality and be attracted to you before you tell them your secrets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *