For the past year, I’ve been dating a man I met on JDate. I’d venture to say that he’s “the one” — and we’re already talking about engagement, marriage, children (hopefully in that order). Here’s the thing: We haven’t been honest with most of our friends and even some of our family members — including his parents and older sister — about how we met. Now, I know that many, many happy couples meet on JDate and that the stigma of online dating is almost nonexistent these days. But it has always felt more comfortable for us to tell people that we met “through a mutual friend” than to tell them that we met online.
Our white lie has become problematic when the question of how we met comes up when we’re with a group of people — some whom we have told the truth, and some whom we have told the “mutual friend” story. Is it okay to keep up the ruse? Or should we just come clean to those we have deceived? And, if so, how should we explain to them our decision to lie in the first place?
Dear Closet JDater, What are you embarrassed about? That you and your boyfriend met on JDate or that you resorted to it in the first place? Either way, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone does it nowadays. How are you supposed to meet someone? No one has any money left for going out, and your synagogue hasn’t had a singles mixer since it lost its endowment to Bernie Madoff. JDate’s all that’s left. No one will think less of you for using JDate, but they might be a little confused by your failure to admit it. I always tell my kids that keeping a secret gives other people power over you. If you tell the truth about yourself, if you own your own story, then no one can use it against you. You need to come clean. It might be awkward to admit that you deceived your friends and family, but the solution is to confess your embarrassment. Be honest about it. “You know that mutual friend we told about? Ha ha ha, we were embarrassed to admit it, but his first name is J and his last name is Date.” Or something like that. Just laugh at yourself, and people will love you. You need to embrace the romance of this story! You were feeling unlucky in love, a trail of schlemiels in your past, and so on a whim you registered for JDate. And there he was — your bashert — waiting for you. What a great, contemporary love story. Just think of the wedding toasts it will inspire.
Ayelet Waldman is the author of the novels “Daughter’s Keeper” and “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.” She also penned seven installments of the “Mommy-Track Mystery” series. Her non-fiction book “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace” will be published in May by Doubleday. Her Web site is www.ayeletwaldman.com.