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Dear Mary: Can I trust my new boyfriend when he lied about his age?

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"It turns out that he is eight years older than me, whereas he told me he was only one year older." Stock image

"It turns out that he is eight years older than me, whereas he told me he was only one year older." Stock image

"It turns out that he is eight years older than me, whereas he told me he was only one year older." Stock image

I met a guy on Tinder and we’ve been seeing each other for three months. I really like him and the ‘exclusive’ conversation has been had. However, he revealed something that shook me a bit last week. We were chatting about the future and he admitted that he had lied to me about his age. It turns out that he is eight years older than me, whereas he told me he was only one year older.

He said he had changed his age for search purposes on Tinder and that the lie became so big that he didn’t know how to approach it.

I don’t mind that he is eight years older than me. What I do mind is the lie. If he was able to keep something like this from me, I wonder what else he is keeping from me.

Can you go forward with a relationship when the foundation of trust is this shaky? I would love some advice as my friends are just telling me to dump him.

Mary replies: I don’t agree with your friends and I don’t think you should dump him. You had been very happy with him up until the time he told you that he had given a false age on Tinder. I think it is a really healthy sign that he felt secure enough in the relationship to tell you that he had lied.

He wanted to connect with women who were younger than he is and so created a false age.

However, he must have posted a fairly recent photo of himself and given lots of details about interests and hobbies because you swiped right on his photo and I have to presume you were not disappointed when you met up because you are still together.

I don’t know how long you were chatting before you met, but you probably got to know lots of details about him. I can just imagine how difficult it was for him as the relationship developed and he knew he had to come clean, and that he would have to confess what he had done. But he did that, which shows that he is really serious about you — apart altogether from having the conversation regarding exclusivity.

People keep all sorts of secrets from prospective partners when they first meet. It may be something that they are ashamed of or upset by — such as an alcoholic parent, or lack of education for which they feel they may be deemed not smart enough, or even an ongoing illness. But when they get to the next level in the relationship, and it is obvious that there is more than just a passing attraction, that is when they know that they have to talk about the secret. This is what has happened in your boyfriend’s case and now he has trusted you enough to tell you.

However, the question you ask is if you can trust him. Has he given you any other cause not to trust him? If his only transgression was to lie about his age, and everything else has been very good, then I think he deserves to be given a chance with you looking forward rather than back. As long as the age difference doesn’t bother you — and it is not all that big anyway — then I would continue on as you have been doing.

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However, if there have been other examples of him not being truthful, then you will seriously have to consider your position. But the story as you have told it to me, to my mind, does not warrant an ending of the relationship. 

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

 


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