Who in their right mind would actively seek out a married man or woman as a potential partner? Assuming you’re shaking your head now, let’s talk about people who lie about their status on online dating sites. And, how to detect them.
I’ve run into more than a few married men on dating sites. They rarely say they’re married, so it’s your job to discover the truth. Some dating sites, like OkCupid, have no restrictions on relationship status (which I applaud, as it invites a greater degree of honesty), but even so, men still lie about their status.
Your challenge is to figure out if he or she is married before you schedule the first date. Sometimes there’s a subtext in their profile, obvious or not so obvious. Words and phrases like discreet, just looking for fun, uncomplicated and travel companion can often be clues to your potential date’s marital status. Take note if he never emails during the evening or on weekends.
Not all married married men/women are looking for the same reasons, so it’s worth talking about the possible situations you might encounter.
- The individual who has a partner with a chronic or terminal illness. Older men and women are more likely to have a partner with dementia, Alzheimer’s or some other illness. Often he seeks a new partner with the understanding and acceptance of his family. While challenging, this is somehow less problematic than other situations. And, more likely to happen when you’re in the over 65 dating range.
- The man who has a bad relationship with his partner but is unable or unwilling to get a divorce. Finances and children are the most often cited reasons for this person to stay in the marriage. He may fear losing his money in a divorce battle or worry about what his children will think, even if they’re adults. The couple may be so estranged that no one seems to care or they may have agreed to stay married in name only.
- The man or woman in a ‘normal’ marriage who is cheating on his partner. The partner may think everything is alright and have no idea of what’s happening behind his or her back. This is the person who is likely to be evasive, dishonest, and willing to bring you into an unhealthy situation, simply to satisfy his own desires.
Technically each of these cases represents a legal marriage. How you choose to proceed is your business. I’ve heard of several couples who fall under category number one. One particular couple moved in together and share the caregiving responsibilities for the spouse with advanced Alzheimer’s. Both families knew and accepted the unusual relationship.
The case of the estranged couple is becoming more common today. People don’t want to risk the hassles of divorce and financial settlements and are often willing to live with the discomfort–they see it as a trade-off of sorts. They may even live in two separate residences and have little to no contact. They may be looking for companionship; you have to be aware that the level of commitment might be limited.
It’s the third case, the out and out cheater that you want to be paying attention to. How do you spot them quickly enough? You don’t want to assume that every man or woman online is lying about their marital status…that attitude won’t get you very far. Some simple attention to details and listening to your intuition will usually allow you to spot the dishonest ones. Pay attention to his or her profile and read emails carefully. If something is awry you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly. Ask questions if you have concerns. And, remember that you can stop communications at any time.
It’s also important to decide how you will handle a married man if he turns up. They’re not all the same and your reaction may depend on a number of things. Would you be willing to date someone who fell in category One or Two? Your answer in part depends on your goal. As I suggest, in The Basics of Online Dating for Over 50 Women, make a wish list of your ideal partner and the type of relationship you want to have. But, be flexible. If the most wonderful man you’ve ever met appears, but has a wife in the advanced stages of Alzheimers, are you going to walk away? If he’s talking about ‘open’ marriages and an understanding, if disinterested wife, are you going to see him? Less likely, I imagine.
Again, it’s your call.
Just don’t sacrifice your long-term happiness so that someone else can have a ‘convenient’ relationship. Be honest with yourself about what kind of relationship you want and stand your ground. Don’t settle. There are plenty of wonderful single men and women online, just like you, looking for the right partner. It’s not a quick or simple process but it is possible to have fun and find a suitable companion.
♥ If you’re just starting, I think you’ll find my little e-book, The Basics of Online Dating for Over 50 Women, helpful. In the e-book I offer basic guidance on setting up your online dating profile, choosing the best photo and more. By subscribing to The Diva of Dating, I’ll send you an occasional email with the newest posts and relevant information about dating and relationships. I promise not to blast you with mailings or share your information. Head up to the top of the page and enter your email address in the pink box. And, thank you.
photo by funnyliberal @Flickr