In the real world, dating usually involves peacocky behavior, reminiscent of a peacock displaying its gorgeous tail feathers; others don a guise of cautiousness or secretive behavior. The same is true with online dating. People rarely show their true selves, disclose factual personal information, and conduct themselves in an honest manner when dealing with potential mates, especially during the very early stages of dating when they are still strangers to each other and are still getting to know one another.
The whole point of this getting-to-know each other stage is, obviously, to get to know each other. Online dating lends people a kind of anonymity that makes them feel safer and more confident. This sense of security can be taken in one of two ways: a person feels more free to be himself/herself with potential partners online, not fearing judgment and rejection or feeling more capable of handling one or both; or a person sees an opportunity to show himself/herself in a different light to impress, mislead, or compensate for self-presumed flaws, reinventing his/her character because he/she does not feel confident enough about himself/herself and still fears judgment or rejection.
Most times, people with honest intentions still tell white, supposedly harmless, little lies about their age, their interests, or the kind of food they like, just to name a few. The most common reasons why a lot of people do this is because they really like the other person and do not want to risk losing their interest, or they simply want to please the other person. The most common justification is that once the other person gets to know them better and sees all their desirable traits, and especially after love has finally blossomed, the supposed flaws and the white lie/s made about these flaws would be easier to forgive. But even with the smallest and whitest of lies, it is still possible to come to a point where the "deceit" (for lack of a better word) is taken so far that taking it back and coming clean about it would cause more damage and hurt than was initially or ever intended.
No matter how justified and understandable a lie is, no matter how small or seemingly harmless in the beginning, it always has the tendency to snowball and damage the relationship that may have developed between two people, even if it was founded on other, honest aspects about each other that they shared with one another. Of course, if an online relationship is solid enough, especially if true love is present, it can survive something so "trivial" compared to the common and much bigger challenges that such relationships often come with.
No one can really tell if and when a little, white lie might get out of control or how the other person would take it once the truth comes out. With online dating, especially when one is looking to engage in a cross-cultural online relationship, honesty is always the best policy. Yes, there is always the chance that the potential mate who turns out to be one's ideal life mate would see past the dishonesty and be willing to forgive and forget it; but it is just as possible that this would cause the other person to question many other things about the relationship and about their partner. Maybe it would be a problem that can be fixed, maybe it won't. The search for a lifetime partner through online dating is already riddled with a lot of maybes and a person should try to reduce these as much as he/she could, instead of add to them. If one is looking to make a commitment for a lifetime, for true love and happiness, he or she must also plant seeds of truth to gain true fulfillment.
One can learn more about online dating, particularly Chinese online dating, on the blogs, magazine and forums of ChinaLoveMatch.net (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on all things Chinese.