He Lied About His Age

Q: I recently started dating a guy, and he told me he was 40 and I'm 35. Things have been going really well, and I have been enjoying our relationship. Well, he came clean that he's really 46! He said he feels horrible since he likes me so much and never thought I would date him if he told me the truth. Now, three months in, I feel a little shocked. I don't want to lose the relationship but feel like this may be the beginning of lies that he's been telling me. I don't know if I can trust him. Is this a "forgive and forget" situation, or is this more serious than I'm thinking it is? I need perspective! -Dana, 35

Dr. Anna: I think you're right to be concerned. If he is the type of person to lie about simple things like age, what else might he have lied about? It's a reasonable question. I would tell him that his lying has shaken the trust you were building. Give him an opportunity to come clean about anything else he may have lied about or other important things about himself that he's not told you. Think carefully about his response; is he open, regretful, and apologetic? Does he understand that this is a big deal? If he is defensive or minimizes the effect this has had on you, that would be another big red flag. Ultimately, you have to decide what you're comfortable doing. Healthy relationships are built on mutual trust—if you decide he isn't trustworthy, that will be a clear signal to end it sooner rather than later. If you decide that trust could be repaired, proceed with your eyes and ears open.

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