We live in a youth-obsessed world: television, films and magazines are constantly bombarding us with the images of young and gorgeous people and the tales of their many adventures. The Jewish community is of course not impervious to this phenomenon. Led by the media into thinking that youth equates beauty, fun, energy, fertility and, ultimately, desirability, a lot of dating candidates, looking for their Jewish soulmate, find it irresistible to lie about their age in order to get a better shot at landing in the “wanted” pot.
A lot of Jewish moms are still trying to fix up their “pride and joy” with a good Jewish partner. However, over the last decades, more and more people have resorted to finding a partner online through dating portals. There are a few Jewish dating and matrimonial sites.
On of the (many) problems of online dating is that it has rendered being truthful about age more difficult than ever: with only a picture and a few profile points provided as a basis for selection, looks and age take on a particular importance. Showing personality, vibrancy, charm and energy is a real challenge when all you have at your disposal is a small photograph, a few words and a couple of numbers. This is why we are often left with the difficult choice of either lying or risking being eliminated from the selection pool.
Being matched through a personal introduction (either by a friend or by a professional Jewish matchmaker) makes age less of an issue, as the selection is made by a third party, who is hopefully considering multiple criteria. Yet even in this context, some people are reluctant to be honest about their age. Generally their intention is to reveal the “awful” truth at some point down the line, when personality has had enough time to shine and charm and when – hopefully – the notion of age has been relegated to its rightful place, that of an insignificant detail. Because of its temporary status, this “alteration of truth” can be viewed as a little white lie and will always been presented as such when the truth finally comes out, in an awkward moment of intimacy.
The problem is that most people date with the aim of finding their soulmate. In this quest, personality, reliability, openness and honesty are more important than age. To start your relationship with a lie is not the best way to attract a lifelong partner. It may make you temporarily more attractive in the eyes of candidates for whom age is important. But it will not help you when the truth is revealed, as it necessarily will be when you engage in a long-term relationship. Your “little white lie” will likely be an absolute turn-off for anybody who is looking for a reliable partner.
The Torah prohibits ginevat da’at, the misleading of another person. While one should always abide by this rule, doing so with your partner is vital to the development of a healthy relationship. Honest communication should start on the first date. Using a Jewish matchmaker will help you stay on the path of sincere communication and improve your chances of finding not just a date, but your true soulmate.