What People Lie Most About in Their Online Dating Profiles

March 13th 2016

Everyone wants to present the best versions of themselves on dating profiles, and sometimes, this drives them to lie about how awesome they are. I should know: I've been on both ends of the spectrum.

In early 2013, I was messaging back and forth with a guy who claimed to be 5'6," which is my height, but when we met in person, he was much shorter and I felt like I towered over him. Later that year, when I was in the midst of moving from Manhattan to Los Angeles, I set up my HowAboutWe account in the L.A. network even though I hadn't officially relocated yet. I met my fiancé because of this, but he was definitely bummed out when I told him we wouldn't be able to meet up until I left the East Coast a month later.

Melanie Robinson, an online dating expert who uses online dating apps herself, told ATTN: that it's common for people to fib about these two things in their profiles, and the lies don't end there. Here are some major things people tend to fabricate on their profiles, according to three different experts.

1. Marital status

Robinson, who uses Bumble and Tinder, told ATTN: that she has encountered married men on Tinder. In some cases, the men aren't forthcoming about this in their profiles either, so it's possible that you could match with someone who is married or otherwise attached.

"I had one experience where a guy told me he was divorced and he went back home and I got a phone call from his wife," Robinson said.

On another occasion, Robinson met with a guy from out of town who ultimately revealed that he and his wife hadn't had sex in two years because it was too painful for her after menopause. He said his wife gave him the freedom to sleep with other women when he traveled, but Robinson pointed out to ATTN: that he didn't mentioned any of this on his profile or when they first met up.

Julie Spira, who is also an online dating expert, told ATTN: via email that a lot of attached people use dating sites.

"[Some people] claim to be perpetually 'single,' when in fact they’ve either filed for divorce and it’s still pending or they are thinking about splitting up with their significant other," Spira wrote. "The relationship status is a big deal. Either you’re single and available, or you’re attached."

Research has shown that married people are on Tinder as well. In 2015, a report from GlobalWebIndex found that 30 percent of Tinder users are married. Tinder swiftly challenged this report, as it only surveyed 1,282 adults, and Tinder has an estimated user base of 50 million. Tinder responded by publishing its own data, which found a much smaller percentage of married users:

As writer Jana Kasperkevic noted in a piece for The Guardian, "the problem with all of these surveys and all the data is that it relies on Tinder users telling the truth, which a married Tinder user might conceivably not do."

2. Appearance

Damona Hoffman, an online dating expert, told ATTN: via email that many users will lie about things that make them "conventionally more attractive."

"Therefore men lie about their height, income, and age," Hoffman wrote. "Women lie about weight or body type and age more frequently."

Spira made similar comments about appearance lies to ATTN:, adding that men are often dishonest about their height.

"With men, some tend to fib about their height by a few inches if they are under 5’10,” as they know women respond more to men who are tall," Spira wrote. "The same goes with income and profession, which can be exaggerated on a dating profile."

Robinson told ATTN: that she's gone on a lot of dates with men who say they're 5'8" and they end up being about 5'6."

"Even 5'8," which would seem perhaps on the shorter side for a guy, I find that usually they're adding a few inches," Robinson said. "I'll see it over and over again on Tinder and Bumble."

3. Age

Spira told ATTN: that both men and women lie about their age on online dating platforms.

"It’s very common for women to lie about their age to fit into a search," Spira wrote. "They realize that men will search up to an age with a zero attached to it, so often you will find ages ending with a never-ending 9 number. Often photos are posted that are up to a decade old. Any profiles that only include close ups and don’t include a full body shot will make the viewer wonder what he or she is hiding (as in a huge amount of weight)."

Robinson told ATTN: that she has found age to be the biggest thing people lie about in their profiles. A 54-year-old woman herself, she receives fewer matches because she puts her real age on the platform and not as many people are looking for matches in her demographic. Some people experience the same thing and claim they're younger than they really are as a result, Robinson said. They might also tell themselves that they feel younger than they really are and therefore have a right to lie about this detail.

"There's a whole justification process people go through when they put a different age and a rationalization that's generally bullshit and delusional," Robinson said. "When someone has lied about their age and they show up to a date, your first face-to-face experience with that person is a lie, which is a really bad way to start any relationship."

Even when people don't outright lie in their profiles, they are still up against the mental image you have of them, according to Hoffman.

"The tricky thing with online dating is to manage your expectations - even if the other person hasn't lied about anything, they are competing against the fantasy version of themselves that you have created between the time you matched and the time you met," Hoffman said. "Try to stay in the moment and let the person in front of you just be who they are rather than comparing them to who you thought they were going to be."

RELATED: Here's What Happens When Your Tinder Profile Says You're a Feminist

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