When it comes to dating should you lie about your age ?
Age does not protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age.
– Jeanne Moreau
How important is being honest about your age in the dating world? And for that matter, how much does age really matter at all?
As a professional matchmaker, I deal with this topic daily, in my search for the ideal partner for my clients, writing enticing profiles and getting down to the nitty gritty about having babies, athletic ability, and so much more.
Let’s deconstruct this issue and see how to approach this sometimes sensitive subject when searching for a soul mate.
Society often dictates the “norm.” While it was once not considered “polite” to ask someone his or her age (especially a woman), people are now more likely than not, to just blurt out, “How old are you?” Worse, if they don’t believe your answer, they’ll ask again, “No, how old are you really?” Age is referenced constantly in the media, “Emma Stone, 30, was seen out with John Doe, 42, who recently ended a romantic relationship with Molly Dolly, 34, who is now dating Joe Shmo, 35.”
Can someone tell me… WHY does the press feel the need to add a number after everyone’s name?????
And why are we all so obsessed with age? I remember years ago when I was living in Chicago. I was thirty-five, and I told a guy I worked with my age. I will never forget his reaction! Sounding both surprised and mortified, the guy said to me, “Oh my God, you’re that old? I never would have guessed!” Then, perhaps trying to wedge his foot out of his mouth, he added, “You look really good for thirty-five.” My co-worker may have thought he was giving me a compliment, but I took it to mean that, being that old, I should already be a wreck, but somehow by the grace of God (or freak of nature), I was still holding up. “Yes,” I said, “I’m thirty-five. Luckily, I can still manage to dress myself and get around without a walker! Amazing, isn’t it?”
Once a man I was dating told me that I was “well-preserved.” I felt like a piece of antique furniture! In my business, I constantly hear the phrase, “She looks really good for her age, or “He looks so young for his age.” I don’t understand why anyone has to “look good for their age.” In my opinion, either someone looks good or they don’t — their actual age is irrelevant! Some of us have taken extremely good care of ourselves over the years, and it shows, while others may have smoked, caught too many rays, and had a few too many cocktails along the way, among other things. As people age, all that damage shows. Maybe I’m way off, but I never feel complimented when someone tells me that I look good for my age. I just feel that they are saying that I am old, but don’t look that old yet — like I should. I would rather be told nothing at all. (Luckily my hubby thinks I’m a ten, and that’s all that matters!)
We all seem to have a definite idea about what a certain age “looks like.” Age (even for those under twenty, who think that everyone older than twenty-five is “ancient”) is a baseline from which all other things about that person are measured. So when it comes to dating should you lie about your age ? Consider these comments:
“You look good (for your age).”
“You’ve accomplished so much (for someone your age).”
“You’re very mature (for your age).”
“I admire that you’re still so ambitious (for someone your age).”
“You’re not financially secure (at your age)?”
“You’re having a baby (at your age)?”
“You’re in pretty good shape (for someone your age).”
Of course, physical “preservation” is often equated with age, as is sexual prowess, but consider this interesting take on it: when one of my girlfriends told a guy she was forty, he said, “You’re forty? You don’t walk like you’re forty.” Say what? Yes, we seem to have definite ideas about age, and you can bet that when men and women are looking for a partner, age is an important part of the equation (even if they say it is not!).
Which brings me to the issue of lying about your age in the dating arena. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the most challenging aspects of my job. Every day I have the advantage of seeing and hearing about what is really going on out there, and here is my take on this touchy subject.
“I Might Be “Old” But I Still Feel Young
You might look young and feel young, but lying about your age almost always comes back to bite you. Even though it might get you to second base with someone, when they find out about your dishonesty and your actual age, you’ll rarely get to third base, or especially “home.” Sustaining a lie over a period of time can slow down the process of weeding out the “no-gos” so you’re not free to get on with finding the person who is “perfect” for you. This is not to say that lying isn’t very tempting. In an age when being injected with Botox can have higher payoffs than being infused with character, you can be sure that fibbing about one’s age is happening a lot!
My former client Darren told me that he was sixty-five when we initially met. He was charming, incredibly fit and said that he wanted to meet women closer to his age than the thirty somethings he had been dating. I was thrilled that he was interested in dating age appropriate ladies, as I felt he would have so much more success in finding that special lady. Well, my age radar was completely broken the day we met, because I later found out that Darren was actually seventy-five! When I asked him why he lied to me, his response was, “well, if I say I’m seventy-five, there will be no takers!” He, like many of the singles I have worked with over the years, feel that once their date sees him/her in person, they’ll be so impressed by the “total package,” that age won’t matter.
I felt compassion for Darren, getting older is not always easy, but I told him that lying by a decade would come back to haunt him, as the truth would come out eventually.
Yes, I know that many of us do not look, act, or feel our age, but even if we feel we are “ageless and timeless,” honesty really is the best policy when it comes to “interviewing” someone if you’re looking to become “Mr. & Mrs.” Besides, once you’re a couple, you can’t keep your driver’s license or your passport under the mattress forever!
When It comes to dating should you lie about your age ? Age Matters —- Here’s Why
Whether you’re looking to experience something for the first time, or you’ve been there, done that, age is a milestone of sorts, representing experiences that become significant and important to our hopes and dreams in life. Here are some reasons why age matters when looking for “the right one.”
Age and Energy Level: Age is often equated with stamina and, in particular, energy level. While men are often more “adamant” about the importance of a woman’s age, the same “age-is-important” mentality is true for women, too. Regardless of their age, invariably the majority of men say they are not all that interested in dating “older women” (which men define as age 40-plus) even if they are attractive, bright and sexy because “they have no energy and can’t keep up with me.” Many men say that once a woman hits her late forties, her energy level drops significantly, and she no longer wants to do many of the things he’s interested in doing. Try as you might to convince a man that energy does not seep out of a woman’s body as though it were a punctured balloon once she reaches the big four-O, many just don’t buy it.
We can all cite examples of fifty-year-old women friends who run major corporations and, in their spare time, ride horses, go whitewater rafting, hike, bike, play tennis and golf, and more! My own aunt, at sixty-five, was typically working twelve-hour days and going out in the evenings with her fabulous fiance, (whom she met in her late fifties). On the weekends she played in tennis matches, hikes, played some golf, cleaned the house, ran errands and looked fabulous doing it all wearing a size four! So ladies, I do know that men can be out of touch on this issue.
Women, while less vocal about a man’s age, and yes, a little less biased and more flexible in letting age be a “make-or-break” factor, also say that age matters as it relates to energy level. If a thirty-year-old says she’s looking for someone in his eighties, well, she’s most likely not looking for someone who enjoys her passion for skiing — or at least not accompanying her on black diamond ski trails. If she is sixty, she may not be looking for someone in his thirties or forties unless she is simply admitting she doesn’t mind being with a man who’s merely looking for a “sponsor” and not a love match.
Age and the “Soon You’ll Look Like My Mother” Fear: I remember as a child, my own brother, who was about ten years old at the time, had a crush on a little girl who lived up the street. One day he went to her house for lunch. When he came home, he announced that he was no longer interested in her because her mother had a big butt. He figured if the mom had a big butt, the daughter eventually would too. My mom and I had a good laugh. Thank goodness our own mother had a great figure, so no guys ever judged me on my mother’s girth. Apparently men form these ideas about women and their mothers in childhood. Very interesting, isn’t it?
But seriously, do women get “old and fat” after forty? Many do. But many women today do not. And for the single gals who intend to find “Mr. Right,” many do not intend to lose him because she stops being attractive to him. As my girlfriend Elisabeth told me, “I intend to look good for the guy in my life because I know the importance of “eye candy” in making sure that all his more interesting body parts work!” What do I have to say to that? “Smart girl, lucky guy!”
You see, Elisabeth has figured out one vital truth behind men’s fear of “old women.” It’s easier to stay sexually active when the woman is fit and attractive. I hate to have to state this truth so bluntly, but that’s just the way it is! Of course, it’s all right for him (in his estimation) to look worse than homeless on Saturday morning when he declares he doesn’t intend to shave for the weekend and why should he toss those twenty-year-old running shorts? Well, that’s why God created chocolate — to help women cope with such frustrations! (Luckily there is also couples counseling.)
Bottom line: Looks — and therefore, age — are important factors in a man’s desire to pursue you. (Yes, yes, we know that for approximately two percent of the male population is not true.) But if you are dating someone in the other ninety-eight percent, it’s important to understand the basics of the “romance gene” for the male gender and what it takes to attract his interest in romancing you. And they say women are complicated!
Age and The Biological Time Clock: That ticking time clock can affect both men and women. If you’re a woman who still wants children, you may not want to marry a much older man who won’t be around to raise a family or has no desire to start one in the first place. And yes, there are men in their late forties and fifties who still want to have children of their own. But these men tend to gravitate to women who are much younger. By the time they date an older woman long enough to really know each other, and then have a year or two alone together after marrying, it may be too late to start a family. So, a man generally won’t take a chance on a forty-something woman if he still wants children. If he doesn’t mind adopting or helping her raise her own children, that’s another matter.
Age and Youth: Age definitely matters for men who simply want to date young things — “just because.” And yes, women sometimes want to date “younger,” too, but usually this is the exception to the rule. Brad is a good example of someone who will ONLY date younger women. Although Brad is sixty-five, and really more suited for dating someone in her early fifties, he won’t even consider dating a woman in her late forties. In fact, ideally, he would like only to date women who are thirty-something, and actually prefers twenty-somethings. He certainly wouldn’t pass up and eighteen-year-old if he could get her to say yes to a date. He especially fawns over models and famous young tennis players. (Which says it all!)
Even though Brad himself is sixty-five and looks sixty-five, he thinks he looks young. Like most men who think the way Brad does, they say young women are “fresh-looking and more fun to be with, and that they aren’t bitter with as much baggage as older women,” (I’ve heard that reasoning so many times my head could explode!) It is probably no surprise that Brad admits he is lonely. And, not surprisingly, the women or “girls” he is interested in are not interested in him.
Age and Experience: Age also matters when it comes to “experience.” It takes plenty of living to put experiences under your belt. Women tend to love it when a man has done something significant in life; achievement represents a good work ethic and is equated with “being successful,” or at least a good provider. Some men also like and respect being with a woman who has many achievements and has been around the world a bit. But, let’s face it, for most men, a partner’s realm of achievement is less important than it is to a woman. Many men would prefer to date someone younger over a woman with an impressive resume of achievements. This is especially true for men who have had mostly traditional marriages where the wife stayed home and cared for a family.
Women, on the other hand, may not be looking for a man with a fifteen-page resume, but very few women ask to see men less than ten years younger than they are — because these men really haven’t had time to “make something of themselves” yet. Women really do prefer to be with men whom they have something in common, and many times those commonalities come down to having raised a family, valuing family and friends, and the basic core values of safety, comfort, and willingness to be in a mutually loving relationship. Much of this is a function of “time under one’s belt” — in other words, years of living and learning lessons. Mature men, of course, share these values as well. The good new is that age can be a common denominator in looking for mature and committed love.
Age and What Other People Think: Oftentimes, a gal will decline to meet a gentleman who happens to be quite a few years older than she is because “he’s almost as old as my dad!” Many women cannot imagine themselves being with someone from their “parents’” generation.” Even if they could possibly have much in common, some women are concerned about getting involved with someone significantly older, as it may appear to others that he’s “sugar-daddy.”
Very few men, however, worry that dating a much younger woman will arouse looks of scorn. In fact, most will happily and proudly date a younger woman because it is a boost to their ego, as if they want to proclaim, “I’m potent and virile — as you can see by the young ‘eye candy’ on my arm.” Never mind that most of the time after she gets dropped off, she calls one of the young guys she’s seeing and invites him over. Yes, she’s available to go out with her senior citizen if he’s got great tickets to the best events in town. This same man who loves to show her off, of course, would rarely consider dating a woman his own age.
Age and Financial Security: We’d all be kidding ourselves if we said that financial security wasn’t important to us. How many of us have married not for love as much for financial security (or selected one man over another because we thought he had a more “secure” future)? Yes, there are gold diggers among us. Remember Anna Nicole Smith? Her wedding to a man in his nineties years ago, prompted comedienne Roseanne Barr to say on national television, “Did you hear about Anna Nicole Smith marrying that old millionaire guy in his nineties? I just want to know if he has an older brother!” Women are more likely to equate age with security— the more years under his belt, the more time he’s had to make and invest money. What Anna Nicole Smith did sounds like a pretty good idea to a certain group of women, who say, “I’d rather be an old man’s sweetheart than a young man’s gofer.” For a woman who says she’s looking for a much older guy, her agenda is usually to be taken care of.
We Are Always the “Perfect Age” for Someone
Age: for all the reasons above, it matters! There are sound concerns and shallow ones — which may not seem fair, but it’s a reality a dater must be prepared to contend with. Consider these numbers: There are about 86 million single adults in the United States. If you are between the ages of 25-29, you have 9 million unattached peers. If you’re between the ages of 35-44, you are 13 million strong. And if you’re 55-64, you have 2.3 million same-age contemporaries. As these numbers show, there are enough singles to go around for all of us!
Given that there is so much competition out there, we are all beginning to take better care of ourselves. Our perceptions of what we can and cannot do are changing as well. More “older” women are out there hiking, biking, getting their black belts in karate, spinning, boxing and mountain climbing. And more “older” men are super fit and, yes, even sensitive!
I urge my clients and readers to keep an open mind: Try not to judge a person by a number — you might be pleasantly surprised! Each age has it’s own special joys and experiences, so capitalize on those. We are always the perfect age for where we are in life, most especially if we truly want to find a partner.
TAKING STOCK: Here is your chance to see how important age is to you in deciding whether you’re willing to commit to someone.
- Do you have a specific age range in mind for someone you’d like to be with? If so, what is it?
- Why do you believe this age range is “good” for you?
- List three ways you’ve experienced a date’s age to be significant in terms of that person being someone you would marry:
- Have you ever been attracted to someone much older because he appeared to be financially successful?
- Have you ever been attracted to someone much younger because you enjoyed the looks and admiration that being with this person garnered from others?
- Have you ever rejected an older date because you feared that he wouldn’t be able to “keep up” with you, or that his physical appearance might soon deteriorate?
- Are you attracted to people who have done a lot of interesting things in life, who have a lot of “experiences” under their belt?
- Have you ever lied about your age or avoided telling it to a potential or current date? If yes, why?
- If you found out later that a date lied about his age, but you really liked the person, would you continue to see him?
If you answered the above questions honestly, I bet you could say “yes” to at least one of them. That’s okay—it’s a reality in today’s world, because age does matter. Therefore, it’s important to analyze your feelings and preferences regarding age before entering into a dating relationship. Why spend time with someone whose age will most likely become an “issue” between you? On the other hand, if your “age criteria” is too strict, you might want to broaden your mind and expand that “age range” a bit. Age tends to be one of those “make-or-break” issues for most couples. Make sure you know what ages work for you, and you’ll find yourself making smarter dating decisions.