Posted in Dating / Relationships

Misrepresentation and Dating

… and then there was two. The filtering is now at an end and though I am not going through Dating Fatigue I am comfortable with now only having Indiechick and Mirror Image to quibble over. For various reasons, progress with both girls will be slow and cautious – I have explained why but let me just re-cap.

  • Mirror Image lives over 200 miles away, has little relationship experience and is slowly warming to our upcoming meeting as a date. She has a shell that requires a slow and careful breakdown
  • Indiechick is twice divorced and not wanting to rush into anything. She takes her time to respond, to arrange anything but is insistent she wants to keep seeing each other. There is a shell there too, a different kind of shell, but a shell nonetheless

My previous two dates have been filtered out due to misrepresentation, one deliberate and the other was seemingly unintentional. I am going to speak in general terms about misrepresentation but give examples in each case.

Unintentional

Naturally, dating sites tell you to put your best foot forward. They tell you to show yourself having fun, smiling and doing stuff out and about. This is pretty reasonable advice, after all you want to push a positive image about yourself to snare your match. Everybody looks better smiling (unless you have a mouthful of teeth and bad gums) but what if you’re not naturally like that?

This is what happened to me with The Sergeant. All of my female friends who looked at her profile (because they now see it as mandatory to screen them for me) said she looked “a lot of fun” and she did! Her pics made her look a happy go lucky girl and she had one of the sweetest butter-wouldn’t-melt smiles I’d seen in a long time.

Yet when I met her her face was like stone. It wasn’t nerves, clearly. She was a serious person and though she did have a sweet smile, I saw it just twice in the three hours we were together. She had a military air about her where everything was taken seriously, even when discussing favourite films and books she frowned more than she smiled. Disappointed as she wasn’t the person I thought she was. Forgiveable?

Intentional

This is clear cut. You tell your date you are divorced but eventually drop in that you are separated and haven’t even filed for divorce. You’re dating a childless man who doesn’t want children and you neglect to tell him you have three kids. It’s being 10 years older than you claim to be; it’s being 30lb heavier. It’s saying you love travel but haven’t left your home town for 15 years.

The girl I met this week – Miss Manic – neglected to tell me something major. She had a disability. This wasn’t a problem in itself, she seemed cool and I would have met her had she been upfront about it. However, when she neglected to tell me about it, she lost any chance to a second date. I am upfront. I was clear in my profile that I was separated, I leave no ambiguity that I do not want children. None of my photos are more than a year old and I try to put up a new one every month. I believe in being straight with people and it is a shame that others do not.

If you feel the lie is so big that it is unforgivable, you have the right to walk away. Of course, you might not want to make a scene in public – and the last thing you want to do is start an argument in the middle of a coffee shop with somebody you’ve just met. I was polite but when we finished the last of our drinks I made my excuses, wished her the best and left her outside the coffee shop. Though I was not rude, I made it clear that I wasn’t happy with a half-hearted “It was nice to meet you”.

All I can really say is go with your gut about how you should react when confronted with a deliberate misrepresentation like this.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

6 thoughts on “Misrepresentation and Dating

  1. It doesn’t help that there’s all those ‘helpful’ articles scaring people into putting their best foot forward. I think some people read that they can’t tell the whole truth. I think others may tweak their profile to try to get more responses. But I agree with you, people should strive to be more accurate and honest about their traits and what THEY find interesting about life and themselves.
    And some of those examples you gave happens in off line dating, not just online dating!

    1. Absolutely! If we all did that we’d get the dates / relationships that we want, online or offline.

      Thanks as ever 😀

  2. The girl not mentioning she had a disability is making me think. I think I can safely say that I value honesty above any other thing, nor have I ever lied about myself when telling potential online dates about myself. But when I think about all the possible things someone might be irritated that I didn’t reveal earlier, the amount of stuff to tell seems overwhelming. How to choose without focusing on what might cause the person to misinterpret what defines you TO you? If someone asks you and you cover/lie/misrepresent, that is definitely dishonest. But maybe she doesn’t think of herself as disabled. Or maybe she thought once you met her, this disability wouldn’t matter, or would could be better explained. There are so many things these days considered disabilities. Did you both ask/give each other a full mental and physical health account of yourselves and family history, or did it just not come up? One reason it got me to thinking was, one of my relatives has been dating someone for about a year now that she met online, and one thing she mentioned to me was the first time they met in person, the first thing he told her was about a serious and debilitating injury he had had which affected how he appeared and what he could do (in all honesty, I had completely forgotten this when I was introduced to him, and didn’t notice it until she mentioned it later, though I guess it’s noticeable). Despite my extreme demand for honesty, the fact that he didn’t find a way to bring this up before meeting her (and told her right away on meeting) didn’t seem dishonest to me, nor do I think of him as disabled, though as a practical matter the nature of the injury could certainly qualify him. When I think about it there are other people in my life who could be considered “disabled” but that is not how they live their lives and neither I nor they define themselves this way, and it’s not even among the first things I would mention when describing them to someone else, as if I had to point out the damages.

    1. Her condition was definitely a disability and is not a condition that has recently been “reimagined” as a disability. I spotted it straight away when she turned up so it is not an invisible disability. She was also training in a field with a focus on disability and took all the benefits of that. To all intents and purposes she certainly considered herself to have a disability and so would everyone else. I simply feel that she was being dishonest.

      Furthermore, my profile states that I am looking for somebody to go on long country walks with, and sometimes I like to take some relatively rugged terrain. There was no possibility of that with her so that was a definite barrier.

      I didn’t give her a full account of my mild depression. If it seriously affected my day-to-day living or might have come between us in a relationship then I certainly would have done. As it is I don’t get violent, I have never been sectioned, I have been on antidepressants on three separate periods. I have only ever had one day off work as a result of depression and I had gone into work that day – my Manager could see I was not in the right state and he sent me home. I simply need to retreat into a man-cave when I am low.

      I hope I was able to clarify my position properly 🙂

      1. I get what you’re saying, and it makes sense, especially considering what you asked for. Maybe I’m overthinking it and it’s really just a case by case thing. I think if I had an “obvious” disability it might be easier to bring up with someone I haven’t even met yet than delving into depression history and all that stuff. On the one hand I think at some point in the relationship it’s obligatory and good to mention… and I have brought up depression in advance but to varying levels. The first profile I wrote listed all my negative (and positive, but some go both ways) traits so as to be completely honest. It sounded truly dismal and psychotic, and I really don’t think I’m THAT dismal and psychotic so it didn’t turn out to be accurate after all. I guess you just have to find a balance 😛 Some of the closest people in my life don’t discuss some of those things with me. I’m still not sure what all should be revealed before the “first meeting.”

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