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Online Dating: Should I Ask a Woman Her True Age

Online Dating and Age

Online Dating and AgeDear Julie,

I have an online dating question and would love your opinion on this recent emailed dating exchange of mine, on OK Cupid…

Me: How old are you really? 🙂 (Does anyone here tell the truth about his/her age? I mean, besides me.)

Her: How old am I really? I won’t read into this, I’ll just go with it: I’m really not whatever it was I said I was, ha! My photos are recent; age is not something by which I live my life; and I often get mistaken for my daughters’ sister when we’re out together. I don’t look 26 but I don’t look or live like I’m the 50-something I copped to in my profile.

(How’s that for evading the answer? 🙂 Her profile says she’s 51, but she obviously is not comfortable revealing her exact age to me. Should I drop it or press it? Is it too sensitive a topic to expect the truth, even if I myself am truthful? I’ve met women before who’ve revealed they’re as much as 15 years older than the ages they’ve indicated on their dating profiles. And I’m not comfortable or sufficiently evolved enough to date someone who’s 66, even if she is mistaken for her daughter. Thoughts?)

Here’s my take on his dating dilemma.

Women are often very sensitive and about their age and will lie about their age to fit into a search on their Internet dating profiles. Call it a double-standard, but they expect the man to be honest about his age.

Most women won’t even engage in conversation when questioned and will evade the subject. They’ll get offended if you ask what her age is, so I’d say it’s an off-limits subject early on.

When a man used to ask me about my age, I would smile and be coy and say, “It’s not polite to ask a lady her age.”  This practice goes back to early etiquette days,  long before online dating became part of everyday life for singles. Even my grandmother wouldn’t reveal her true age when asked.

Know that physical attraction and chemistry are important. Either a guy will be attracted to someone’s actual photos or to the woman when he meets her in person, or he won’t. I say you should never judge someone by their age and respect her desire to be private about her age until she is comfortable in sharing it. Many women past the age of 40 believe they need to lie about their age to attract a man. They realize that men are interested in dating younger, at least while searching online.

I think your potential date was being polite and sweet by saying, “I’ll just go with it.” If her photos are recent it should be enough. She obviously wants to continue to communicate with you and tried to set a boundary where it comes to age.

Think about how disappointed you would be if you were really attracted to someone, thought you both had a lot in common, had a friendly banter via email, and a phone call or two. It looked promising until…. you asked her if her age was accurate. She gets upset, cancels the date and you never meet.

Often if you meet someone out at a party or gathering and strike up a conversation, you won’t ask her what her age is, because it doesn’t matter. I’m not promoting lying whatsoever, as I encourage everyone to be honest about their age. If they fudge, I recommend they post something in their profile or at least tell someone on the first date the truth.

My best advice is to drop the age question. You don’t know that she’s 66 and you don’t know that she’s 55.  You just know that you might be interested in her and are curious about her real age. If you meet and connect, eventually she’ll tell you the truth about her age. If you’re smitten with her, you won’t mind if it’s 5 years more than you had originally thought. Give her a chance and if you think she’s pretty, let her know. Women love to be flattered and don’t like to feel like their being interviewed or in a deposition.


Do you have a dating and relationship question for Julie Spira? Submit your questions here:

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She was an early adopter of the Internet and creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter and like at on Facebook.

Photo credit: Fotolia

Julie Spira is America's Top Online Dating Expert. She's an award-winning dating coach who's been helping singles find love online for 25+ years. Follow @JulieSpira on IG.

5 thoughts on “Online Dating: Should I Ask a Woman Her True Age”

  1. Hi Julie,

    All in all, I think it depends. There are legitimate reasons that a dater should know the age of their date.

    Assume for the moment that you’re guy in your early 30s, and having a biological family is important to you. Yes, I know that there are amazing advances with IVF and much more, but it’s very different to find out that your date is 38 rather than 31.

    I know an older gentleman who’s been doing online dating for a while. He’s been lying about his age for a number of years now. He’s going out on dates with women who’ve been widowed. Many of them are concerned about his age, and aren’t looking for someone 10-15 years older than they are, fearing that they might become widows a second time.

    So, while someone might not think age is something that defines them, that doesn’t mean that their potential dater doesn’t agree. That’s like me saying “I’m carrying an extra 20-30 lbs, but I’m not fat.” My date (or in my case, my wife) might disagree.”

    Now, that said, I do think that dating sites can do a disservice to people in regards to ages. For example, a woman who just turned 40, immediately gets excluded from searches when drop downs are used (ex: 35-39, 40-45). The person doing the search isn’t interested in a 45 year old, but might have been interested in a 40 year old. I’ve seen women put 39 in the “age field” but might write in the comments that she just celebrated her 40th birthday. It’s a little tricky, but it’s still being honest, in my mind.


  2. Thanks for your comments Ross. I truly believe in truth-in-advertising and realize that both men and women are visual. I speak to men who say they wouldn’t date someone over 35 and when I ask them if they’d go on a date with me (if I was single), they’d say yes. I’m over 35. It’s because they visually can decide if they are attracted to someone. We get hung up on numbers. I think it’s important to let a date know your actual age when you meet. I don’t promote lying about your age, but if someone truly feels they need to fudge a few years to fit into a search and absolutely posts current photos or puts captions under the photos of when they were taken, then know that it’s very common. Adding a comment to the profile or telling someone on the phone or on a first date is important, but probing and asking before a date will make a woman uncomfortable. Even my grandmother refused to tell her age. I do believe you either have chemistry or not, but no woman wants to feel like she’s in a deposition before she meets a date. She wants to feel safe and excited about the possibilities of meeting someone new and exciting.

    However, men do get irritated, and rightfully so, when they go on a date and find a woman 10-15 years older who isn’t recognizable. This to me is ridiculous. You should be able to recognize your date and go on a date with confidence. Yes, it’s a tricky situation. Some people don’t care about age.

  3. Hi Julie,

    I generally agree with you. If it’s about how someone looks or feels, I can agree about the fudging.

    But when it relates to the success of the relationship (potential for children, etc), that’s when I have to put my foot down a bit more firmly.

  4. Is it ok to ask when the photos were taken? If I am to turn a half blind eye to the stated age, at least can the photos be current? I do understand about the age thing, but it bothers me with regard to integrity. If she is already lying to me before we even met, I’m inclined to wonder about the veracity of anything else she says.

  5. Thanks for your comment. I recommend that every photo has a caption of the location and the year the photo was taken.

    This helps you see how recent the photo is and gives you a snapshot of how they look now, versus years ago.

    I hope that helps!


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