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Saturday, November 18, 2017

I’m 47 years old and divorced for three years. After about a year of being single again, I decided I was ready to meet someone new, but somehow really wasn’t being set up very much, and when I was set up, it was never with anyone that seemed right to me. After hearing this advice from a number of people, I decided to try one of the dating sites.

Eventually I met Evelyn on one of the sites and we started dating. She is a wonderful woman and I found myself really falling for her. On these sites, they ask you all sorts of questions, so that before you reach out to anyone, you have a pretty good sense of the details of their life. Along with many other details, I figured I should be dating a woman in the mid-40 age range. Evelyn said that she was 45, which was fine and the entire time we were dating, I viewed her as a 45-year-old woman.

I recently bumped into my cousin, who I don’t see very often, and mentioned to her that I was dating someone named Evelyn, not thinking that she could possibly know who Evelyn was. Upon a longer conversation, it turned out that my cousin was pretty convinced that Evelyn went to school with her and was in her grade. My cousin is 51 years old! I told my cousin that this could not possibly be, since Evelyn is 45. Eventually my cousin found her high school yearbook and showed me her picture. Sure enough, you could tell it was the same Evelyn.

The fact that she is older than I was looking for is disappointing, but not the end of the world. After getting to know her, I realize age is just a number and she has a young personality. But the fact that she lied to me is driving me crazy! I’ve spoken to a number of people who tell me that it’s not entirely unusual to lie about one’s age on these dating sites, but I’m having a very strong reaction to the whole thing. I feel like if Evelyn lied about her age, what else could she be lying about?

I’m wondering whether I‘m making more of this than I should or whether you think I should stay clear of Evelyn, even though we’ve really had a great connection.

The Navidaters respond:

Evelyn’s lying about her age does not concern me…yet. One isolated and culturally supported fib does not make Evelyn a liar, so be careful not to jump the gun. She probably isn’t robbing banks or committing identity theft. Let’s face it, it is challenging for women of a certain age to meet a man in any circle, let alone in Orthodox circles. Men are able to date much younger women as they age, while perfectly attractive, intelligent women of a certain age struggle to find a date. As my kids would say, and for once I concur… It’s not fair!! For the time being, try to see Evelyn as a product of her environment.

With a positive, supportive attitude and spirit, approach Evelyn about what you found out. Relay exactly what happened. I bumped into my cousin…yearbook…there you were, etc. And then, don’t say a word. Be prepared to observe her reaction. You want to see genuine remorse. Obviously, if she continues the lie, insisting she is 45, or if she is cavalier, or if she shows no remorse or regret, this speaks to a personality deficit. If that is the case, that may make your decision about your relationship. If she is truly apologetic and has a good reason for the lie, I encourage you to stay in the relationship because you said you are falling for her. That is so precious and rare.

As for now, to all our readers, please keep in mind that this “shidduch system” has the power to make anyone a little meshugah. Whether it is a beautiful, accomplished 25-year-old woman crying and depressed because she believes she is an Old Maid, or parents who are so anxious to see a child married off that they are unknowingly ruining their relationship with their child, girls starving themselves, or older singles and divorcees being encouraged to lie about their age because the men their age are marrying younger women, there truly is a secondary shidduch crisis. An emotional crisis. It would be nice if the people who had the power to change this would do something about it.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Mann, LCSW

Esther Mann, LCSW, and Jennifer Mann, LCSW, are licensed, clinical psychotherapists and dating and relationship coaches working with individuals, couples and families in private practice in Hewlett, New York. To set up an appointment, please call 516.224.7779. Press 1 for Esther, 2 for Jennifer. To learn more about their services, please visit thenavidaters.com. If you would like to submit a dating or relationship question anonymously, please email [email protected] You can follow The Navidaters on Facebook and Instagram for dating and relationship advice.