Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I have been seeing a man for about four weeks. We met at a speed dating event--after waffling for a long time, I finally decided to "get out there" and meet new people. I was falling for this man, whom I shall call Z. He seemed a perfect match for me--great listener, respectful, loves poetry, supportive of my work, dedicated to his own work.

Then last night, Z drove the 40 minutes between our homes and showed up unannounced at my door. He was obviously anxious and upset about something. From his manner, I thought Z was about to break up with me. I was steeling myself to hear, "I've had fun hanging out with you, but I'm just not ready for a relationship. It's not you, it's me." Etc, etc.

But the truth was weirder. Z was having a conscience attack because he had lied about his age. When he signed up for speed dating, he listed his age on the registration form as 27. He's actually 34.

When I asked why he lied--why?? It's such a futile gesture, guaranteed to start any relationship off on the wrong foot--Z said it was because he was embarrassed about still being in grad school at age 34. He didn't think any woman would be interested in a 34-year-old grad student. He intimated that the reason this thought was infesting his brain was his ex-girlfriend--his over 30-student status was something she used to taunt him about.

This prompted further discussion of the situation with his ex, and I won't tell the whole story here, because it's extremely long. Suffice to say, their relationship was and is completely toxic. The reason they still communicate is because when Z and the ex were together, he was a stay-at-home dad to her child from a previous relationship, and Z still wants to be involved in the child's life.

I already knew about the child--Z told me about her on our second date--and I made the decision that I still wanted to pursue the relationship. But now, another bombshell. I don't have a problem dating a 34-year-old (I'm 26), but I don't like being lied to. Now I just wonder if I can trust this man at all. How many more surprises will there be? What else is he keeping from me?

Z asked me to understand why he had lied about his age, assured me that he felt terrible about it, and promised he would never do it again. He said he's human and he made a mistake. Okay, fine. I understand that people aren't perfect. But right now, I just feel hollow and disappointed. The bubble of happiness that this new relationship created has definitely been punctured.

I have no answers right now. My friends are split between giving him the heave-ho and giving him one more chance. My mind has been doing this back-and-forth dance all day. It's early days yet, but somehow I really thought this relationship was on the right track. I can hardly express my disappointment at finding out I was wrong.

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