Dating and Deception-That’s What She Said

j0402640 Yesterday’s post dealt with truth in dating. While much of what I described happens to both men and women in dating, yesterday’s post was decidedly from the female perspective and slanted pretty heavily toward men and the deceptions they tend to employ, if they employ them, when dating. However, I’ll be the first to admit, that men face their share of unhappy experiences and boatloads of deceptive practices when dating too. I know this because they tell me so or they have, when I dated them. Seems that when it comes to dating and deception, it’s an equal opportunity venture.

Women are just as guilty as men of deception. They just deceive differently. For example, there’s the very common practice of fudging on the number of years we’ve actually roamed the earth. Early on in my Post-40 World dating experience I corresponded with an individual who told me that he actually met a woman who said her age was somewhere in the 40’s but when they met, it was evident to him that she hadn’t seen 40 anything for a few decades.  He ended the date instantaneously and (the best part) she seemed stunned.  And this is only one of many, many experiences I’ve heard that men encounter when dating online.

Personally, the day I feel tempted to lie about my age is the day I hang it all up for good.  I just can’t do that.  It is unfair and dishonest.

Do women who do this honestly think that the men they meet are going to be totally impressed when they finally see that they’ve been lied to all along? Further, what kind of foundation does this build for any kind of meaningful authentic relationship?  My guess is, and please, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is it erodes relationship before it even begins.

j0422266I’ve been told that women lie about their weight, but personally, I don’t get that because I know weight doesn’t tell you much of anything and can give you a really bad impression.  Most guys would die if they knew that that cute hottie they are pursuing online actually sports a 145 on the scale instead of a 119, but fits nicely into a size 8.   But if she cropped her pic so it just revealed her face and then touted the number 145, what the heck do you think the response would be? Yeah, on the other hand, the fact that a woman even looks like a size 8 online is probably guarantee enough that no guy is asking that woman what she weighs.  It becomes an insult to ask what a woman weighs.  After all that’s not on the dating questionnaires.

While women are less inclined to lie about their marital status (I think, I don’t know this for sure), this doesn’t mean women are exempt from misrepresenting themselves.  On one hand it is understandable.  We all want to present ourselves in the best light possible.  After all, isn’t that what make up, hair products, deodorant and designer jeans are all about? But when we step over the line of presenting ourselves in the best possible light to recreating a fictional imaginary self, then this is, in my mind, crossing a line.

Personally, I’m all about full disclosure.

j0422190 In fact, I recently, even as I was writing this was called upon to disclose some very awkward and deeply humiliating aspects of my own personal past. It is a past that I am  ashamed of and will never be able to erase.  It is a past I regret and will spend the rest of my days trying to help people avoid in their own lives.  While full disclosure was not comfortable for me (I totally would have loved to have not had a conscience and been able to justify minimizing or reinventing my past), I told the truth and all of it.  It totally sucked.  I might never hear from this person again and this is a person I completely respect and admire.  But I am committed to being different than I was and I am committed to being vulnerable, transparent, with nothing to hide.  It might cost me any number of friendships or romantic interests to come and my past, quite frankly might eliminate me from the experience of any real lasting, meaningful, connected relationship with the opposite sex, but at least I can go to sleep at night knowing that the other person made a decision about me based on fact and not on supposition and not on an inadequate amount of data.  

And that, quite frankly, is how I prefer to do life, because in the end, I’m never going to enjoy quality relationship where the foundation is based on misrepresentation and inadequate data.  If the entire point in dating is to get to know people in hopes of someday developing a relationship based on intimacy then full disclosure (at the right time and in the right manner to the right people) becomes important.

I want the real deal.  I want authentic, meaningful, connected relationship when trust is the foundation and transparency and vulnerability the cornerstones.  If that can’t be had then give me the single life.  It is much more convenient anyway.

17 thoughts on “Dating and Deception-That’s What She Said

  1. I have never lied about my age or weight either. As with you, my past is sometimes hard to deal with but I do tell fully what has gone on in my life. I do not always volunteer this information but I do not hedge it. If someone doesn’t like me and what I am saying is the issue, better off without him.

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  2. I have had more women ask me my penis size than you would probably be willing to believe. I just say 16 inches and they don’t bother me anymore. The only time I am overly concerned about a woman’s weight is if she is so heavy she can no longer keep herself clean, or, if she is so big we cannot kiss and make love at the same time. And no, I do not have to actually do it to know. I can tell at a glance.

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      1. Makes no difference to me. If there is something intrinsically wrong with penises, we are all in trouble. As far as the word goes, it is such a cutesy and friendly little word, not too different from peanuts, but the phonic pronunciation of peanuts is way more loaded than penis. I can see Beavis and Butthead giggling and one of them saying, “He said pee nuts! Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh (ad infinitum).” But then I do not know if it is the word, penis, that is objectionable, or the fact that it refers to an object that has been attached to me all my life. I can think of some whoppers when it comes to everyday words we use in our lives. Have you ever eaten a kumquat? I bet even Jack Web can’t keep a straight face when he says that. I bet Newt Gingrich has probably written a chapter on the evils of calling a fruit a kumquat.

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  3. Excellent article Cat! The dating risk can be so minimized by the simple goal of starting out as friends! I also have history I would definitely choose differently now if I had the choice. You are a bright & shining star Cat!
    🙂
    John

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  4. I’ve always been an open book. Something that makes some people uncomfortable.

    I can’t be anyone other than who I am. It would be nice for my own comfort level and for that of some others if I could fudge and leave out a few details. Just isn’t in me though.

    I figure those who hang around after learning the specifics are worth having around. Those who don’t…oh well.

    On the shame thing. We all make mistakes, do things we aren’t proud of. Shame is such a self-defeating emotion. Once you make the commitment to not repeat a mistake it is time to let go of shame.

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  5. Do you think we should fully disclose everything? If we have a messy past, have changed, and are dating someone wonderful, is it really in either person’s best interest to have “full disclosure?”

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a very honest person. I will unabashedly remark on my faults and weaknesses. I think these confessions help me grow.

    However, I think you are venturing into the intimacy topic. Disclosing “all of us” should be done with care, no? This is sharing that involves giving a piece of yourself. It also involves risk. As with all risk, the pros and cons should be extensively evaluated.

    I think there are pieces of ourselves that should be kept inside. These pieces are part of what make us whole.

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    1. Ambrosia, I am not a fan of full disclosure between lovers. When my ex-girlfriend and I would make love, or just laying there after or in between, she did not think there was anything wrong with saying how an ex liked a certain act we had done in a different way than I did,that sort of thing. I had to put my foot down and say “No, I do not want to know that stuff. Keep it to yourself.” It is not just male jealousy, it is also the fact that she is showing disrespect for this other person who once undoubtably loved her the way I did. She is violating the sanctity of what they once had between one another. No matter how much she came to dislike the man, she should respect the way they once felt about one another enough to not violate the intimate privacy of what they once shared. I suspect that the reason she did this is because she did not take our relationship as seriously as I did. It was her way of distancing me and in a subtle way, telling me that I was also temporary.
      On the other hand, I will say that every person has a right to their memories. I would never demand that my wife/lover/girlfriend get rid of old pictures, videos or other souvenirs of past relationships, no matter how intimate or personal they might be. It is an integral part of the fabric of their life. I just don’t want them in my face.

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      1. Custis,
        That’s definitely not the kind of thing I am talking about. There’s also the idea or concept of “need to know”. I’m mostly concerned about the kinds of information that would inhibit, alter, or change the possibility of a relationship from developing. I agree with you. I really don’t care to know all the sordid details either, but I do feel I have the right to know if the person is married or otherwise detained or limited in his ability to build anything substantial with me.

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        1. You are speaking mainly about intentional deceit then. Ok, I understand. Well that is a given that these things should be disclosed, but if a married person is going after you, it is highly unlikely that they are going to give you this information. They have a motive for withholding it. It is a lot like the person who posts pictures taken ten years ago on their dating site profile or photoshops the hell out of the pics to hide weight or other problems.
          We do not like to admit it or think about it, but the number of married people who want have affairs is far higher than the majority of people realize. There is a huge number of people out there who discretely seek sex outside of their marriages simply because of the excitement of it and the fact that they want variety. I already told about the girls in the nursing home, and all my life I have worked alongside of men who brag about their affairs. If I were to judge by my own observational experience, I would have to say that the number of people having affairs is far higher than the number who are faithful to their spouses. I have found these observations to be rather grim, the kind of thing that makes you turn in your bed and look at your spouse and think,,,,hmmmmmmm.
          I am continually amazed at how many people live double lives, sometimes actually being married to two different people as one of my ex-wife’s husbands was. Yes, this is true. She married a man from Mexico and did not know that he had a wife and children in that country. Of course, he never told her either. He had it made. He was making good money in the States, sending enough of it home to make his other family prosperous, and taking a lot of trips alone back to Mexico to be with the other family. She did not find out until they had an argument and he beat her and put her in the hospital. She went states evidence and turned him in for a poaching ring he was running.
          Americans sometimes have a spouse, while also having a life-long affair with someone else. I grew up down the street from a man who maintained two families that knew nothing of one another. One of my older brothers came upon him one time when he was sitting in a dark corner in a tavern, sobbing. He had a son by the girlfriend, and that son had just been killed in Viet Nam. He had no one to turn to and was hiding alone with his grief.

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  6. I believe in appropriate disclosure. A subtle difference, but an important one. I also take exception to some of the terms you use for your past. I think you need to find kinder adjectives that do not obscure the “truth” but that aren’t as judgmental.

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    1. Appropriate disclosure is probably a more accurate term. However, when it comes to current marital status, at least where I’m concerned, leaving out details such as married, separated, or in a relationship is inappropriate. Past history, especially if a changed life is the case, maybe not so much.

      As for the terms I use for my past….hmmm. I’ll have to go back and reread and consider what you’ve said. Maybe you could elaborate?

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  7. Boy, you are hard on yourself. But I find that a lot of thoughtful women are.

    I tend to “overshare.” It’s a flaw, and I know it makes some people uncomfortable. But a few years ago, I made a concerted effort to cut most of the “Bullshit” out of my life, whether it be a person or a lie or secret shame.

    I’ve been shooting “from the hip” a lot more since then, because I kind of feel like…the people who know me and accept me and love me KNOW the real me. They won’t be offended, and if they are, I trust them to tell me.

    And oddly, I feel so much more comfortable operating this way. Kind of liberating, really.

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    1. I am pretty hard on myself…in some areas…and on the particular evening I wrote this, I think I was even harder on myself than I usually am. I recently had a friend tell me, “I think you have more difficulty with this than anyone else does.” Probably true!

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  8. I think that I prefer uninhibited caring disclosure to appropriate disclosure. One person’s idea of appropriate might not the same as another’s, and the thing that makes relationships difficult is that they are always between one’s self and at least one other.

    What I mean by inhibited in this situation is the impulse to hold back information, because you are afraid of the consequences of sharing that information. If the consequences of sharing that information my produce undesired consequences, then it is important to the relationship and needs to be shared. But it needs to be shared in a way that is grounded in a caring for the person it is being shared with, and for the people who are implicated in the information.

    The whole issue comes down to trust, both side of it, trusting and being trust worthy, and not just as regards me, but as regards the person I’m sharing with. I’ve got no business sharing with a person that isn’t trustworthy, not only for my sake but for the sake of others implicated in the information I’m sharing. As a relationship develops, so does trust and the need for trust (if the relationship is healthy, i.e. worth pursuing). And so also does the need and possibility for more disclosure. In relationships, certain points are reached wherein decisions are called for. If your withholding information to bring about a decision that wouldn’t otherwise be made, your not trustworthy. If you are sharing information or withholding it from someone who won’t handle in appropriately, then your not with some one who is trustworthy. In either case, the resulting relationship isn’t based on trust, and without trust, you don’t have intimacy, i.e. your are not really sharing yourselves with each other.

    I had a Zen teacher that offered this test to couples, “can you honestly say to each other “I will never hurt you.”” My wife at the time couldn’t say it, and she hurt me deeply and repeatedly. That’s on me. I trusted someone, that wasn’t trust worthy, and so between us, there wasn’t trust. For that reason, there also was not a marriage.

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