Dear Annie, The last three men I dated told me that they were single, but I later found out that all of them were married! I’m a 57 year-old, single woman who wants to be in a relationship. I went online to meet single, divorced or widowed men near my age.
I dated one of these guys for almost three months before I found out that his wife was alive and well. I was crushed, as we had gotten along wonderfully and I was beginning to think that we might have a future together.
I discovered that he was married when I ran into them at the dog park. When I saw him, I kissed him hello and he ignored me. She put her arm around his waist and he put his around her shoulder. That was completely humiliating! He called later and told me that his marriage has not been working for a long time.
He said that he and his current wife live separate lives and begged me to continue our relationship. After a lot of soul-searching, I reluctantly decided to stop seeing him. After all, what are they doing together in the dog park if their lives are so separate?
I decided that the online dating scene is not great for me. I don’t feel like I can trust anyone online, so I have decided to go a different route and try to meet through a mutual connection.
I have asked some people I know to introduce me to their single male friends. I have two upcoming blind dates.
Why do men lie about their marital status? Coral
Meeting men in person is a great way to go, especially if your friends can make introductions.
Online dating is just another way to meet people. All it does is introduce you to men who have described themselves by answering some questions and posting a few photos. It favors those whose photos are engaging, write well and who understand how to best use a particular site.
One of the problems with online dating is that it’s easy to get the impression that you can make assumptions about someone’s character and relationship potential from information gleaned from reading a profile and a handful of email correspondence. But, in reality, the only way you can find out about someone is to meet him in person as quickly as possible and take it from there.
I suggest that you approach getting to know a new man in the same way as you would if you met a gentleman at a bar. Ask lots of questions. Verify his answers. Observe how he behaves over time. Find out how he thinks, what he values and what his life has been like until you met. This is a "buyer beware" situation.
The same is true when you meet someone through a friend. Your friend can't possibly know how the person to whom they introduce you handles love and romance. They can't possibly know whether you'll click in the long term.
In either case, I suggest that you always take the following steps when you meet someone new, whether your introduction originated online or in real life.
- Ask for his last name and other identifying information. It makes no sense to go out with someone without having such basic information. You are not prying when you ask for a man’s name, address and place of employment. That is information that you’re entitled to if you’re going to go out with him. If he’s reluctant to provide it, consider it a red flag.
- Look him up on the Internet. Take it a step further than just Googling him. Search on sites like Zabasearch.com, Spokeo or Zillow, which provide homeowner information. If his home has a woman on the title, you should investigate further. It could be innocent – he might have his daughter or ex-wife on the deed. Or, it could be his current wife.
- Many work or social media bios provide good information. Take a look at the website at his place of employment, LinkedIn or Facebook profile. While it’s not unheard of for someone to create a false social media profile, this information should corroborate with other research that you may have done.
- If he is widowed, find out when his wife died. Ask for her name and Google death notices to make sure she is actually dead. One of my clients became suspicious when her widowed date was reluctant to have her over to his home. It turned out that the man’s wife was very much alive. It's why I recommend that you see a man's home before the fourth date and definitely do so before becoming emotionally entangled. A married man is likely to bolt before allowing you anywhere near his home.
- Technology has made cheating on one’s spouse easier than in years past. All family mail used to arrive in the same mailbox. Families shared phone lines. But, the advent of separate cell phone numbers and email addresses has made it very easy for a married person to have a secret life.
All kinds of men are looking to meet women, in person and online. Many are ethical and seeking relationships. Some are not. The best way to proceed is to prioritize discovering who the other person is while you take your time becoming involved with someone you don't really know.