Why Do So Many People Lie In Online Dating?

a silhouette of a man and woman on their laptops facing each other

There are millions of Americans seeking love on the Internet. Little do they know that teams of scientists are eagerly watching them trying to find it.

A recent New York Times article titled “Love, Lies and What They Learned,” indicates that collectively, the major dating sites had more than 593 million visits in the United States last month.

Research involving more than one million online dating profiles was partly financed by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The in-depth studies found that about 81 percent of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles. On average, the women described themselves as 8.5 pounds thinner in their profiles than they really were. Men fibbed by 2 pounds, although they lied about their height, rounding up a half inch. Another study found that women’s profile photographs were on average a year and a half old. Men’s were on average six months old.

According to the studies, liars tend to use fewer first-person pronouns. Professor Catalina L. Toma, an assistant professor in the department of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said this is an indication of psychological distancing: “You’re feeling guilty or anxious or nervous.” Liars use more negative words like “not” and “never,” yet another way of putting up a buffer. Liars use fewer negative emotion words like “sad” and “upset,” and they write shorter online personal essays. (It’s easier not to get caught if you say less.)

“I was personally really shocked,” said Professor Rose McDermott, a professor of political science at Brown University whose study was published this year in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. “People were much more likely to say ‘I’m fat’ than ‘I’m a conservative.’ ”

Personally, none of this is surprising if you’ve dated online. You may find it exasperating, but I just think it’s human nature. WE are insecure. We know that online dating presents a lot of choices. We know that men are looking for younger and thinner and women are looking for taller and wealthier. We know that if we tell the truth – I’m 5’8″, not 5’10”, I’m 55, not 49, we’re all but eliminated from the search of the most desirable candidates. So we fib a little to “get in the door” and hope that we don’t seem too different from our descriptions.

Given that 81% of people lie, I think it’s time to stop getting so bent out of shape when they do, and simply assume that everyone is fudging a little bit – some, more than others. At the end of the day, it’s better to be pleasantly surprised when someone does tell the truth than bitterly disappointed when he doesn’t. It’s too predictable to get angry about.

Read the full article here and let me know your thoughts.

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  1. 1

    I thought this study was fascinating. I believe that fibbing is exacerbated because most people don’t have an accurate view of themselves. Someone who played sports in high school thinks of themselves as “athletic” 20 years later when they haven’t budged from the couch in nearly that long.   Nearly everyone seems to think they look younger than they do. I know I feel the same as I did at 25; do I really look that much different? I don’t see it, but I’m sure others do.

    So, it’s that mild self-delusion coupled with the desire to appeal to the most desirable that seems to lead to all of that lying!  

  2. 2
    my honest answer

    “Given that 81% of people lie, I think it’s time to stop getting so bent out of shape when they do”
    I don’t know if I agree with you here Evan. ‘Fudging’ is one thing, but outright lying? It doesn’t matter if a lot of people do it, it still doesn’t make it right.  

    1. 2.1

      Fully agree with you you, “my honest answer.”   I immediately said after reading Evan’s post, it’s not okay…even if almost 100% were lying.   Look what the majority were doing in Hitler days…look what the majority of CEO’s and Wallstreet have done?   Just because the majority is doing it does not make it right or okay.   A lie is a lie…let’s call it out…what happened to character and integrity…

    2. 2.2

      Bingo!    I agree. Evan seems to say that if   most of the people lie (fudge) a lie then it’s o.k.    NO, it isn’t      It’s a lie. deal breaker for me.

      1. 2.2.1

        total deal breaker — lying about marital status, education or age…not good.

    3. 2.3

      Totally agree. Lying is never OK. It’s a big red flag of a character issue and it needs to be addressed before going any further.

  3. 3

    I don’t find it exasperating that people are lying on their online profiles, I just think it’s too bad that they feel the need to. How is anyone else supposed to accept them if they don’t accept themselves? There are things about me that might be a deal breaker for some guys, but lying about those things will only attract men who aren’t interested in the real me.

    I don’t doubt that lying or “fibbing” on dating profiles is common. However, the people who chose to do so shouldn’t complain about not getting a second date or be unsuccessful with online dating… People who misrepresent themselves are setting themselves up for failure.

    I do a lot of online dating and nearly every guy complains that women mispresent their weight in their profile. The general trend seems to be that a lot of women post photos of themselves where they appear significantly slimmer than they actually are. The number that I hear a lot is 50 lbs. These women are not getting second dates.

    Of course men misrepresent themselves too. My experience is that men fib about their height, like the author said in the above article. Men also seem to post old photos or photos taken from a very good angle or photos that disguise that they are going bald. Over time, I have learned to weed these guys out by communicating only with those who have a variety of newer photos. Even so, the guys who got beneath the radar did not get a second date.

    So, while I get that we all want to create a profile that presents us in the best light possible, lying will most likely backfire. Do people really want to be the subject of someone’s “bad online dating” story?

  4. 4

    The “problem” with online dating is that a lot of information comes out under the list of criteria. When we meet people under “natural” circumstances, we don’t get nearly as much information as we do on an online dating website. I think it is a pleasant surprise to get to know someone and fall in love this “natural” way.
    Having said that, it is hard to meet people, so online dating sites are a part of the dating process these days. Unfortunately, it is so easy to discount people based on various criteria. I know that I have had strict filters on age, height, weight, and other things. Over the years, I’ve loosened up on those criteria. I know that in real life, I’ve met lots of prospects outside of those criteria that I was willing to date and get to know more.

  5. 5

    I think Evan should set up a speed dating event for the people who read/post on his boards. We all seem so much more enlightened!

  6. 6

    I could have written the exact same thing that Antonia @2 wrote as my experiences have been the same re: the whole 50 lbs issue with women and the height issue with men. I find that 5′ 10″ is the teetering point….if they say they are that then they are probably not and I think most add more like 2″… If they say 5′ 11″ or above they are probably telling the truth….just my experience…fibbing / or lying right off the bat is just not a great way to start anything!

    1. 6.1

      Spot on with the height thing.    5’11 are usually truthful.    But yes 5’10 or below people are usually fibbing.   You really gotta watch the 5’9 people, those guys are usually 5’5. I have at least 5 men show up that said they were 5’9 and were 5’5, how do I know, because as a 5’1 woman in heels I was their height!   I wear tall heels but I was their height.

      1. 6.1.1

        This, right here, is a perfect illustration of tyne problem. When lying is expected (which in online dating , it is), it’s not just the person buying the lie who gets deceived. The honest are in effect penalized for telling the truth, because thanks to the liars, everyone else assumes the honest individual is lying too. I list my height at 5’9″( the truth) but as   Lisa just illustrated, I’m assumed to be much shorter. WHY? Because of all the LIARS! Same thing with age.

        It’s no better for women; I see a head and shoulders pic only, I’m likely to assume that woman is much heavier that “average”. Why. because so many just flat LIE about it.

        My point, to all the those out there who feel compelled to lie: NO, it’s not innocent, and not only are you deceiving those who respond to you; you’re also causing many honest men and women to get filtered out, because most people assume they have the same   lack of honesty and integrity YOU show, in telling your” little fibs”. Man up, or woman up and try telling the damn truth for a change; aside from everything else, it’s a whole lot easier to remember !

        1. lisa

          I agree.   I am 100% honest and my pics are within 6 months are look like me.   I would be interested to hear if the people who are dishonest have success in the long term?   They may get more first date but probably not many second particularly on the lies that are visible on the first date. With height the women that won’t date a 5’5 man are not going to give you the man a second date and some may even leave or be rude when they show up and see the guy. I would not but honestly I think they have the right to and he deserves it.   Or if the woman could care less about height you probably still won’t get a second date because you lied and now you look like a liar and lack self confidence and no woman wants that. What gets me is these men then get angry they don’t get a second date!   Hello!   And then there’s you being honest who a lot of women probably assume you are lying about your height because of these guys and look past you!   I agree.   You should be honest no reason to lie.   Own what you have down to the last inch and pound !

  7. 7

    I would be very angry at a guy who wasted my time by outright lying about his age. My bf who I met on Match was honest about his age, as was I. Please note: my bf is 9 years older than me, and the only other guy I’ve dated past one date was 12 years older than me. Honesty matters more than actual number of years.
    I would like it if the sites would ask for BMI rather than the very unclear “slender, average, or a few pounds over ideal”.  
    I have noticed one man change his profile from “some college” to “bachelor’s degree”, and one other change his profile from PhD to graduate degree.

    1. 7.1

      I had guys posting old pics because they are at least 50   pounds overweight, think they had a chance with me lol.. completely delusional.

  8. 8

    I read in an article about online profile writing, that if your photos are less than 2 years old, that is considered current.   I have never been on a dating sight that asked women to divulge their weight. They just ask for body type, thin, curvy fit, extra padding, etc.
    As far as the age thing goes, women have it tough once they turn 50. My friend, a gorgeous 56 year old, couldn’t not get any men under the age of 75 to respond to her profile. Demoralized, she changed her age to 53 and soon met and went out for a nice date with a guy in his mid-fifties, close to her age, a peer.   At the end of the evening, he busted her. Apparently, he had noticed that she had altered her age on her profile, then googled her to verify that she was indeed 56. He said, “a lie is a lie”, putting an awkward end to what was up to that point a nice evening. It was completely premeditated on his part, he waited all night to confront her. She never heard from him again, needless to say. This coming from a guy who was the same age as she! Middle aged women are judged unfairly because of their age. No wonder they lie.

    1. 8.1

      You’re absolutely right. Middle aged women ARE judged unfairly because of their age.   Just the same as shorter men are judged unfairly because of their height.   I stand a solid 5’7″ and I don’t lie about it.   Believe me, I’m eliminated from the vast majority of women’s search criteria.   It’s not right. It’s not fair.   But that’s just the way it is…

    2. 8.2

      Let’s face it; when a woman says she’s younger than she is, it’s a lie.   When the a man misrepresents his height, education, etc., it’s a lie.   If you have to lie about one thing then what else did/would you lie about.   When a woman says you have to be 5’10’ or taller and she’s 5’0″ t0 5’4″ she’s following that canard that taller men are more successful and therefore richer.   Financially independent means wealthy.   There are many more words and phrases that can clue you in so I skip over those profiles no matter how “attractive” they appear in their photos.   If one looks carefully at them they can tell some are older and not recent.   It seems a lot of people are just trolling to see what’s out there so either they don’t care or maybe they’re in a relationship and are scoping out a “better” fish.   Just once I’d like to meet a woman who is exactly as she purported herself to be and wants what she claimed she did.   When you don’t, you waste my time/money and yours.   That shows me yo don’t respect me enough to be honest in your profile, on the phone, or in person.   It seems to be a numbers game so don’t expect me to spent more then a cup of coffee on you to start.   If you allow a second date and I want it, then, I’ll be more “generous” (another word women use for wealthy).

    3. 8.3
      Ted Silvers

      she was judged unfairly, because she lied? got it!

    4. 8.4

      Jane, I feel your pain!

      But I have always liked older women. I will be 56 in August, but I cannot get 65- and 70-year-old women to even talk to me. Now, those proportions are not that bad, it’s not like I’m 35 years younger! Why do women whine that dating is so hard after 50 and then turn down a younger man who is interested in them? I think that this is a problem that is largely of women’s own making.
      And there is no excuse, NO EXCUSE, for lying! Not for either sex. If a man lies, drop him. I do not lie. I am 5′ 10 1/2″ in my stocking feet so I say 5′ 10″ I am not 5′ 11″ and I don’t fudge even that 13 millimeters. Liars always get busted in the end and that is the wrong end.

      By the way, Jane, are you busy Friday night?


    5. 8.5


      You mean the same way women in that same age group judge me for being 67 )my real and stated age) or being 5’9 , (my real and stated height), and not only by those numbers alone, but also by assuming I “must be” even   older and   considerably shorter, because “all men lie about that”? Your friend was judged unfairly, BUT, when she addressed the inequity by LYING. she made herself part of the problem, not part of the solution, AND, therefore deserved the outcome she got. TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE   A RIGHT !

    6. 8.6

      I’m with your friend Jane, if explained to me I would readily accept her reasoning, and a year off?   That’s not a material misrepresentation, a misrepresentation sure, but no big deal.

      Age in on-line dating is just a proxy for three things, (1) where you are in life, (2) the cultural references you get; and (3) looks/health.   Frankly the last one is meaningless with pictures.

      I can see where your friend chose 55, but probably looks like she’s 45.   That’s good.   People have to set some limit on search criteria to just weed through the volumes of “matches.”

      One (1) and (2) she’s being honest, a 56 year old is likely at the same spot in life and has the same cultural background as a 55 year old.

  9. 9

    If people had massive amounts of success with profiles that were 100% honest then no one would lie……or would they? Even if they had massive success they would naturally start to tweek their profiles to get even better results.

    After over a decade of online dating sadly I’ve learned I have to lie in my profile to get responses and subsequently dates. Back in the early days I was delusional and had that 100% honest profile and even though it was a lot easier in 1998 I still wanted better results so I started “tweeking”……my height,age,income,education,and even my marital status….god knows unless I look like George Clooney I can’t be 51 and “never been married” in a profile so I put “divorced”like everyone else my age. No woman has ever demanded to see my drivers license,college diploma,or divorce papers so life goes on. The main thing is my pics are alway current and I look exactly like them…..48 yrs old….lol Is there that much difference between 48 and 51? 😉 I think the age thing comes more into play for younger people than myself wanting to start families ie: biological clocks etc…..

    People can lie about a myriad of things but looking like the pics you have posted is THE most important. In my opinion everything else is negotiable.

    1. 9.1

      Everything else is negotiable? People like you is why I hate online dating. I have never lied on my profile. It isn’t right.

  10. 10
    Evan Hawk

    I think that study is dead on. Having done a lot of dating online after my divorce, I notice I did much better than other friends of mine. Dating online is very to the stats. Im 6’2 and pretty fit. So my stats for a man are pretty good. My friend, who is much shorter then me, did not fare so well, even though he does very well in real life. That is the problem and why most people lie on them I think. There is nothing more frustrating then to show up on a date and the person looks nothing like their pictures.
    I lot of people dating after a divorce tend to go to online, and either do very well ( like I did) and it helps jump start their single life , or they do not and it has a bad impact on their self confidence.

    1. 10.1
      Tammy Oliver

      I hope online dating worked for you.   I have friends who have tried and get someone out of state and it has become a nightmare.


  11. 11

    I’m part of the 19% who doesn’t lie on dating profiles for one reason only: the truth will come out the minute you meet the person. I would rather tell the truth from the beginning and avoid any uncomfortable “I’ve been found out moments” later on. The way I see it, what better place to tell the truth about yourself than online, so that you can meet a person who’s really attracted and interested in you? It may take a little longer, but you will probably fair better in the long run.
    The one area where I can understand people not telling the whole truth is age, especially if you look good for your age. Now, I’m in my early 30’s so I haven’t really dealt with the age issue so much, but I can understand the temptation to hide it if you think you’ll have a better chance of meeting someone by hiding it. But the reality is if someone is an ageist it will really bother them if you lied, so you’re back to square one.

    1. 11.1
      Ted Silvers

      bottom line: there’s no reason to lie…..a buddy of mine, dated a women, threw a b-day party for her, friends, family, etc…..when the candle blowing ceremony came, her friends laughed at the small number of candles, my buddy inquired as to why the laughter, party, relationship…….OVER…..this, after several months of dating……it all comes out….and unless both of the  participants are lying, it generally won’t end well……

  12. 12

    I don’t lie online, but I can understand why people do.    Men lie about height, education, and actually body type(way more than men like to admit), b/c those are areas they are judged harshly on.     Women lie about weight and age for the same reason.    I’ve seen men who list college grad and then in the profile admit it’s not true.   Or people whose main pic winds up being super old and the additional pics are the current ones.    What I don’t understand is the overall level of hostility and vitriol spewed by some b/c someone dared to waste their time.   

    It’s also interesting how some people will extend the definition of a lie to include the idea that someone just didn’t live up to expectations is a liar, and the behavior that some people engage in to ensure “truthfulness” can be mind boggling.   A friend of mine who does just fine in real life as an average woman (and no, not average lady sized, just a regular little woman), had a guy who was grilling her even though she had current full body shots and b/c she’s not where she wants to be, describes herself as few extra pounds or something similar.   Now in real life, she wouldn’t be getting judged for her weight, but what was CRAZY to me is that this guy seemed to want all of this proof that he wasn’t going to meet her and find out that she was somehow really fat.   It was CRAZY.   I mean, okay, if somehow her picture was distorted or old and she was much heavier, all he has to do is have a drink and bounce.   I’m not sure why that level of paranoia is warranted since all he was at risk of losing was an hour or less of his life.   Ridiculous. And no, it wasn’t necessary b/c people lie. It was ridiculous b/c it should just not be such an affront to you that you might meet someone that doesn’t live up to your expectations.   I’m sure some people will insist that it was justified b/c there are so many liars but do you a)really think it’s that important that he protect his precious hour and b)do you think she was really interested in meeting him after that rude and blunt exchange?

    People lie about the things that cause people online to reject them. As someone mentioned, the irony is that people are rejecting people online that they and other people would happily accept in real life.   As much as people whine about the unfairness of it all, plenty of short men and heavy women(and men b/c people act like fat men don’t exist or like it doesn’t matter when men are fat) are walking the streets happily with partners and spouses. Plenty of people who aren’t even average looking are happily dating and married.   All men under 5’10 and women above a size 10 do not die alone, no matter how much people on dating website want to insist that they do.

    When I meet people who fudge about their height or take pictures that don’t show the receding hairline I don’t get mad about it.   It is what it is…it might be disappointing ONLY if it makes the person less attractive, but I also know that as a woman, I can become attracted to someone who doesn’t appeal to me at first (as much as I dislike gender stereotypes I don’t think men can do this unless the lady in question changes in appearance significantly).   The first person I ever met online was plenty tall, so no need to lie (anyone over 5’11 or 6 feet just doesn’t tend to lie about that), but the “athletic and toned” body had a big gut. It doesn’t really damage or offend me in any way that he and others did it.    It didn’t make me mad, it didn’t even disappoint me.   It just is what it is.   Unfortunately he was “facially challenged” AND didn’t have an interesting personality so it was a no go.   

    It’s not so offensive to me to meet someone that I won’t want to meet a second time, no matter what the reason.   I mean, there are plenty of things that I know turn me off that aren’t obvious in a profile.   Should I demand someone’s dental records b/c I hate bad teeth?   Should it matter if the pretty/handsome face is the result of surgery since it doesn’t reflect the genes that would be passed down to kids?   

    But seriously, why so much anger from men b/c you meet a woman you don’t want to sleep with (and so many men don’t want to pay for anything for ANY woman unless they think they are getting sex) or a woman if you meet a man you don’t want to marry?   You are probably going to have a lot of days like that unless you find that one.    Is that anger really necessary? Just b/c someone dared to waste your oh so important time.   I hope that none of the people who get so mad NEVER lie in any other parts of their lives.   

    I’ll also point out that we aren’t really privy to the lies that people of our own gender commit since we probably aren’t ever searching for them.     

    Oh, and what websites are people using where they claim to be able to quantify how much people weigh.   I’ve never seen that.   Just the adjectives, and no, I don’t think anyone should be putting down measurements b/c if you have an accurate picture it just shouldn’t be that serious.   If I don’t like bald men do I need to grill people about sending me 360 degree shots of their head?   Um, no, not so much. It’s NOT. THAT. SERIOUS.

  13. 13

    I was on match for several years a while back and I had an interesting experience.   In the name of honesty, I was planning on putting up a couple of really good photos, some average ones and some not so great ones but then I think it was actually Evan that says somewhere that this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, so I just went with the good ones (was this Evan, or am I thinking of some rival dating guru?!).   

    I put a line in my profile, however, saying that my photos were very much me on a good day, that I didn’t look like that every day, (particularly in the mornings) and that I was looking for someone who wasn’t overly looks-orientated any way as I only do make-up for weekend nights out (all my photos were clearly taken on weekend nights out).   

    For the most part this worked well for me.   I met over 100 guys and I’d say 3/4 asked me on a second date at least, and of the quarter that didn’t, I doubt looks was the reason in every case.   Three men did, however, strongly hint that they were disappointed by the real me and that they considered themselves out of my league.   I sensed they felt I’d wasted their time and a part of me feels this wasn’t entirely illegitimate although given I’d said I was looking for someone not too bothered about looks I also felt that they were wasting my time as much as I theirs.   

    The funny thing was that it wasn’t the best looking men that were like that.   In all three cases (and I’m sure there were men who felt the same but were too polite to say so) the guys were maybe 7/10s; I’d say I’m a 7 at best, a 4-5 at worst.   I actually met some men with model looks, proper 10s in the sense they could rival the Orlando Blooms of this world, and the weird thing was was that some of these guys were very interested in me in real life.   To begin with I posted my best photos and filtered out the super-hot, as I thought they might be let down, but after one guy repeatedly begging, I gave in, and he was actually really interested in real life. After that I just met everyone that looked interesting and   had plenty more drop dead gorgeous men keen to meet up again.

    So match really boosted my faith in men.   It showed me that there are a great many men that aren’t that bothered about looks (although there will always be a core who are).   And I’m now with someone who’s proving to have a lot of “potential” as Evan says we should see it!   I have my fingers crossed!   

  14. 14

    I agree. It’s not that it’s not worth getting angry over, although I guess men are more likely to get angry since they often are the one who is paying   (although this could be remedied by the obvious choice of coffee for an initial meet-and-greet).

    The first person I had ever agreed to meet from a dating site, OkCupid, asked me on the phone before we met in person if I looked like my photos.   I started laughing and replied “Well, they are me!” and he goes “Oh, well you wouldn’t believe the photoshop jobs on some of these profiles”… When we did meet up in person, he looked nothing like his photos! (And from that date, I learned “wears hats” = balding, “doesn’t show teeth” = bad teeth).   And men do this across the board.   I met another guy who had photos that must have been 3 or 4 years old.   I think people just start to get jaded… Why don’t the dating sites just reject photos older than a year, etc?   Or explicitly suggest a headshot and a full body shot, so people who are new to navigating those things have a better idea of what to select?

    I didn’t feel it was a huge waste of time for me, because I never paid for anything.   Men do a bigger disservice to themselves than women do, I suppose, but I think by arranging for an inexpensive first meetup men are freeing themselves up from spending too much money just to get a date in the first place.   

    1. 14.1

      I am sorry to say this but I agree with the hat = balding / no teeth in smile = bad teeth.   I have ran into this situation a couple of times and it has been true.   I am in the older range (55 female) and I feel that if by this age (or at least your mid-40’s) you should be able to improve your looks (hopefully financially stable at this age).   I spent lots of money getting my teeth straighten because I know that in attracting a mate, it’s important.   And if you are bald, post your profile picture without the hat.   We will find out anyway.   Unfortunately, we are superficial people and looks are what we are attracted to at first.   It’s just the way it is.

  15. 15

    Such a waste. The article was poorly written.
    (1) Well, the authors fail to consider in their article that there are different degrees of lying. I am amazed how they could fail to bring that up. For example, I am somewhere between 5’7″ and 5’8″, and on my online profile I of course put 5’8″, even though if my date were to insist on pulling out the tape measure on me and we were to round my height to the nearest inch, it would be 5’7″. So technically I “lied”, but I would say that what I said has to be considered a smaller fib than putting my height down as 5’10+”. I have met women online who put their height down as 5’8″, even though they are really 5’9″ (they come to the date wearing flats). I never considered what they did to be lying. Something similar goes for posting pictures 18 months old. If they had put their height down as 5’6″ or 5’5″, that would be a different story.
    (2) Political views, weight… Why would you need to divulge that information about yourself before you even met? You never had to in the olden days when you made contact with someone. It utterly astounds me that the authors fail to consider in their article that people want to disclose things about themselves to someone over time.     
    I have gone on about 25 dates, and every woman I have met represented her “hard data points” (i.e., physical appearance, job) truthfully, up to maybe the “lies” I mentioned in (1) that aren’t really that. Where I think women DID stretch the truth, in my experience, is in their personality and in how ready they really were to be dating.   Many women did come across as more friendly, adventurous, and outgoing in their written communication, but then when you meet them in person, they seem a lot more guarded. In some cases they weren’t in a place in their lives where they were really ready to date. One or two I suspected had just gone through a major breakup which they were not over.
    Too bad the authors didn’t really address this.

  16. 16

    This is a very interesting topic and poses a conundrum for me which is this: I don’t lie in my profile about body type, age etc… but since so many people do, I always wonder if others ASSUME we are all lying a bit and therefore automatically ADD ON a few years and a few pounds anyway…. What I mean is, since I’m 47and normal weight ie: not skinny but normal weight range for my height, I put that I am 47 and average body type, but does that mean that men viewing my profile automatically think “she’s put 47 that means she’s really 51….she’s put average weight so that probably meand 8lbs overweight” in which case maybe I SHOULD lie and put 44 and slim so that they’ll think “that probably means she’s 47 and average weight…”

    Also, to the person who couldn’t understand why peple get upset about men who lie about their height etc… and having their time wasted, I  am one of those that does get very upset about this kind of behaviour – maybe some folks have so much free time and emotional energy it doesn’t matter to them, but to me, if I’m rushing home from work on a weekday to  dive in the shower, do my hair, get dressed up and turn up in my cute  high heels  at a bar to meet a guy who’s 6ft, I feel  frankly insulted to find a guy who’s  5′ 8 standing there quite the thing as though….what? I’m not going to notice??! That people think its quite ok to blatantly misrepresent themselves and, yes, waste other peoples time and ENERGY in this way is just horrible. Dating is traumatic enough without this kind of nonsense. To me, it shows a lack of respect. The date may only last an hour, but the whole evening is ruined.

    1. 16.1

      then take off your heels.  
      i’m a guy. i LOVE shoes. I love Prada, Gucci, Tod’s. I love shoes, but women matter more than shoes.
      women talk about heels as if heels are an essential component of romantic and sexual happiness. men do not understand this. it’s a riddle we do not get. they are just shoes. trust me when i say that i love shoes, but i love sex and love more.  
      if you take off the heels, your range of potential mattes will double.  

      1. 16.1.1

        That isn’t the point. It is upsetting that he lied.

        1. avery_t

          Not: Its not. If he had been 6′ 3″ yet lied and said he was 6′ 1″, you wouldn’t mind the li.e You mind the shortness. Women always say it’s the lie, but what if a 6′ 4″ man claims to be 6′ 2″. Would you be bothered by THAT lie? Probably not.

          If a man claimed to earn 150k per year but actually earned 450k/yr, you wouldn’t mind that lie either.

  17. 17

    Wow, people lie in online dating? *What a shocker!* Frankly, I’m not surprised at all, although I would say that the frequency of lying surely goes up with age. After all, if you’re 25, there’s no reason to knock off a few years, or post old photos, and you’re probably in decent shape.

    The only thing that really bothers me are more extreme and obvious lies, like people who knock more than 5 years off their age (I encountered one guy who actually shaved 15 years off), and those who use photos more than a couple of years old (some are 10+ years old), and there are many of those. A guy who added an inch or two to his height wouldn’t really bother me, but one who added 4+ inches probably would. The men I meet who say they are average weight are almost always carrying 30-40 extra pounds, although that wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me.  As far as political views go, I would like to know in advance if a man is a right-wing conservative, since I’m pretty liberal.

    On top of lying about physical stats, there are, of course, the people who lie about their baggage, or personal issues, and that isn’t something you can necessarily discover until you’re a few dates in.  

    Even if you’ve lied about your age, your photos should be recent. I try to be understanding about the “little” lies, but really, all you can do is screen as best you can, and only meet the ones you are most interested in. Dating is really tough and so many people are insecure, messed up, etc. The guy who went out with Jane’s friend (#8) just so he could out her about her real age sounds like an angry/crazy person with too much time on his hands.

  18. 18

    Helene — I know I do exactly what you said you fear.   If I’m reading a man’s profile and it says 5’8″ I automatically assume he’s probably 5’6″.   And I am one who does not need a man to be super tall to be attracted to him, but I do need him to be honest.   I am 5’5″ and when I go to meet someone who I expect to be 5’8″ and we are essentially looking eye to eye, all I can think is, “what else has he lied about” and “how stupid does he really think I am that he thinks I wouldn’t notice?”  

    And yes, I also consider it a complete waste of my time.   I am completely honest in my profile, and while I understand others are just trying to “play the game” to get more dates, that doesn’t mean I have to like it or excuse it.  

    I disagree a bit with some of the comments regarding non-disclosure of political views… to me, being at least a bit compatible in that area is critical for a long-term relationship.   I don’t list any requirements or demands, but simply mention that I’m fairly liberal, so that if a man wants to rule me out he is free to do so.   I have never successfully dated someone who’s politically conservative (I usually wind up pissing them off in some way) so I am OK with the fact that this reduces the potential pool for me.

    1. 18.1

      women benefit from the fact that websites do not ask for weight in numbers or for waist size. ten years ago, dating sites asked a woman to list her weight in pounds. many women lied.  
      now, aman could think “she listed herself as slender, but i think she’s average.” however, since there are no set definitions for these terms, a woman can’t be accused of lying. i see many women who claim to be “fit” who look overweight. they claim to be fit because they finished one Tough Mudder race. to me, “fit” means “Sharapova-type level of lean, low bodyfat fitness.” Women benefit from being able to use vague terms.  
      I am 5′ 7″. that’s average height for a Jewish male in his forties. But it’s 3 inches below average height in the USA. growing up, many of my friends were Jews who stood around 5′ 7″. that was very common. so, can i claim to be “average” height?  

  19. 19

    Ah, so this is why online dating has been so problematic for me.     Honesty is the number one thing I look for in people and I just haven’t found much of it in the men I’ve met from dating sites.  

    It’s not just that they’re older, fatter, shorter than their profile shows, I don’t care about self delusion.      But they lie about what they’re looking for in a relationship and their definition of a relationship and other important things.     Many of the dates are strained because these men are trying to maintain their facade built of lies.   It all comes crashing down, they’re exposed and embarrassed.   I feel bad for them but it’s not my problem.

    I don’t lie in my profile, but I don’t have pictures either.     I live in Podunk and the entire town doesn’t need to know I’m on these sites.   I am 53 and I don’t have a shortage of dates.   Men are not disappointed if they are brave enough to meet me.   I, however, get disappointed in the game playing, not the age, weight, height.  

    I just want honesty and integrity, obviously it IS too much to ask from   the online dating pool.

    Oh, some guy grilling me by email or phone?   Buh-bye (delete)     Why would I want to met him in person or waste any time on that?

    1. 19.1

      The reality is that most men think they are above women in terms of intelligence.So they assume we will believe their lies.It’s a massive insult/turnoff.I work out and keep fit, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of men trying to fool me with their old (read: thinner) pics.Most men dating online are horrifically narcissistic.

  20. 20

    Seriously?   If you have dedicated any time to online dating you already knew these things.   I wonder how much money was used to discover what we could have told them?!?! Funny!

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