Online Dating Red Flag Series: Things Don’t Add Up

Dating Red Flag

1+1=2, but when it doesn’t’ you need to run for the hills! First, don’t worry, this blog post is not about math. In our latest installment of our online dating red flag series, we’re going to cover when things just aren’t adding up. Let’s start with a story.

You’ve been online dating for a few weeks at one of the best dating sites, when a great message comes in from a potential suitor. The message is clever and gets you interested to find out more. You’re pretty excited as you look and see that your message came from someone who is a hard-working and dedicated surgeon whose hobbies include fostering puppies and feeding the homeless.

Umm, JACKPOT! You start chatting with this awesome match, and everything seems amazing. They feed the homeless three time a week and are proud to be making a difference in their community. They foster baby puppies and nurse them from birth until eight weeks old and then help to adopt them out. They also are a trauma surgeon who works long hours making sure that people get the treatment they need.

Great, right? Well, not so fast. Things. Just. Aren’t. Adding. Up. How does one person raise puppies that require full attention, work in the emergency room for long hours, and feed the homeless three times a week, AND have time to date online? 1 + 1 is not equaling 2 here.

Your Brain is Your Best Dating Protection

In a world of fairy tales and Disney movies, it’s pretty easy to get your judgment clouded by all of the right answers and prince charming or princess…whatever the female equivalent of charming is. The problem is this. If you aren’t taking a step back to look at the whole picture with a potential dating match, you might be missing the obvious red flag.

What is the super secret dating rule we can give you to spot this? There isn’t one because every situation is going to be so different. It might be someone feeding you a bunch of things that they do that are just not humanly possible (like in our example). Maybe it’s someone who claims that they do something that they don’t really do? What about someone pretending to be something or someone that they’re not? Cough, catfish, cough. Yes, there is a TV show fully dedicated to this it happens so often

Because every online dating situation is going to be so different, you’ll have to just train your brain to try and spot this. We do have a few steps that you can take with each potential match that may help.

  • Take a look at the big picture. Do all the small pieces they’re telling you about themselves add up or does something not fit?
  • Do you have enough information to make an honest assessment about whether they are being truthful or not? Remember, you aren’t an expert on everything, and we would hate for you to torpedo things with a great prospect just because you overreacted to something that wasn’t there.
  • Do you have any ways that you can validate any of their information? Are there any public records, websites, or other ways you can find out if they’re being truthful?
  • What do your friends say? Ask your friends you trust for their opinion. It doesn’t matter if they’re single, married, dating, or if they have any experience dating online. As long as they know how to use their brain and have a good sense for reason, they’re a perfect person to ask.
  • Are you sure that you’re not seeing things just because you are looking for them? The self-fulfilling prophecy can be a dangerous thing, especially with dating. It basically says that when you start to look for something, you’ll ignore the signs it’s not there and only focus on the ones that support your argument. We have a tendency to do this a lot without even meaning to, and it can put us in some pretty awkward situations.

What Do You Do When You Suspect Something

It all depends on whether you just suspect shenanigans of your dating prospect or you know for sure that they are full of you know what. If you know for a fact that they’re full of it, you need to stop talking to them and find another quality single to focus your efforts on.

If you want to let them know you know, go for it, but be aware that people that lie are often master manipulators and know how to mess with your heartstrings. We’d advise just ignoring them and blocking them, but if you have to get that last word in, we won’t blame you.

If you suspect the person you met online of not being who they say they are or things they’re saying not adding up, you should first follow the steps we laid out above. Collect information, get opinions, and figure out where you are. If you no longer think there is an issue, you have to let it go or else it will poison the potential success of that relationship.

If you’re still unsure, continue talking with them but be on your guard. Look for more clues and maybe even ask them some more specific questions to try and get to a conclusion.

The greatest thing about online dating today is that there are millions (literally millions) of matches online for you to choose from. If you are having an issue with someone not being completely forthcoming or misrepresenting themselves, you don’t have to stick around to try and make it work. Realize that match is not worth your time and probably can’t be trusted, and move on to one of the other millions of matches out there 🙂

We say this a lot, but we mean it. You are important, and you deserve someone special who you can trust. You do not deserve to have to put up with people lying or being deceitful, even if it’s with something small. If you suspect foul play, find the answer you need, and then either let it go if it’s not there or let them go if it is.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.