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Online Dating: Should I Ask a Woman Her True 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.

Julie

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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.

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