Life Advice



Erika Ettin: Two of the most common questions clients ask this dating coach

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

As a dating coach, I get a lot of interesting questions, and some of them come up more often than others. For that reason, I wanted to share a Q&A on two of my clients’ most common questions:

Q: I was with a friend tonight who recommended I fudge my age on these sites. I know it’s not the most honest thing to do, but she said she would have never met her husband if she didn't. A lot of guys do the cutoff of 35 or 40, so me being 41 will automatically rule a lot of guys out in the age range I'm looking for. The moment she started emailing with her now-husband, she told him right away, so she wasn't being dishonest or misrepresenting herself. Thoughts?

— Maggie, 41, Los Angeles

A: I can't say this strongly enough: Do not lie about your age. Will lying attract more people? Sure. Will you feel good about it? No. Will you anger a lot of people in the process? Yes.

While I'm certainly glad it worked out for your friend, she is one person. You don't know all the times (a lot!) when it doesn't. Lying about anything is not a good way to start a relationship. It leads people to wonder what else you're lying about. Think how you would feel if he lied about his age, or height, or anything else for that matter. The right man will want you just as you are — a smart, beautiful 41-year-old catch!


Q: I have a question about these people who seem to want to "keep in touch"/text with you without setting up a date to actually meet. I started communicating with a guy on Match last week. I'm very interested in him. On Sunday, we turned to texting (reluctantly on my part since I always fear texts won't turn into an actual date). Many texts all day, getting to know each other a bit more. Then he sent me a text yesterday and then today, very generic, "hope you're having a great day" type of texts. I find these very annoying. Do you want to meet or not? I don't want to send a rude text, but I'm wondering what is a reasonable expectation here. I can't stand these random checking-in texts that are not really about anything or moving us forward.

— Stacy, 50, Washington, D.C.

A: The best advice I can give is not to exchange numbers before you have the date planned because, as you can see, it almost always devolves into a text relationship that way. I call texting “the death of the first date” for this reason. Once it's planned, exchange numbers a day before in case someone is running late or needs to cancel, not to chitchat. You can even say, “In case you need to reach me tomorrow, my number is _____.” That way you’re making it clear that it is just for contingencies.

Now that you know for next time, what do you do with this guy? Text him this: "Hey! I can’t tell from our texts if you’re still interested in meeting. I am, so I just wanted to check in.” It’s honest. I will say, though, that a guy who wants to see you will schedule a date, so it's already a bit telling.

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