We have all heard the stories of online dating tragedies – he showed up with a limp and missing a tooth, she showed up looking like she ate the girl next to her in her profile picture. And for those of us that are (or once were) single, these experiences always make for great stories to tell at a holiday event or cocktail party. But the ones that aren’t so funny are the ones that involve cheating, violence, lies or abuse.
Online dating is like a box of chocolates. When you open it up, you want to eat every chocolate in the box because they all look so good. But when you take a bite out of one, suddenly that chocolate that looked so good in the box has a very unsavory filling and you look for a napkin or the nearest trash barrel to spit it out.
Today, I read an article in the local paper about a man who repeatedly beat his girlfriend over a period of time that her face actually became disfigured. For some reason, it just set me off. And of course, she met him on one of the most popular dating sites around. Not saying it is the fault of the online dating site because this poor woman could have very well met him through a mutual friend or at the local bar. But going back to my analogy of a box of chocolates, we have the power of the Internet today to check people out before we even meet them. Some simple research can help you truly determine if your dream date has a creamy caramel center or is nothing more than rotten chocolate that will break your teeth when you bite into it. You can do this with basic information.
I took on a challenge from a single friend recently who was dating a guy, and the things he was saying just didn’t add up. Knowing the stories I have told about what I’ve found on potential dates, she came to me and said, “See what you can find on this guy.” I asked for his name and address and told her to give me a week. Here is what I found out:
His story: Mid 40s, handsome, and active. A single dad with custody of his kids, awarded due to his wife’s chronic drug abuse. Owns a modest house and a reputable business of nearly 20 years.
A real catch, right? Wrong.
His REAL story (public records don’t lie):
-Convicted felon; served 30 days of a one year sentence on multiple charges, the most serious being assault and batter on a minor (must have been one hell of a beating to get a year).
-Multiple arrests for domestic violence and violation of a restraining order on his ex-wife. I even found a domestic violence support group where his ex-wife posted on the message board that she was looking to “empower myself…and build myself up due to the effects of domestic abuse.” I bet the ex-wife is a liar (note sarcasm).
-Business dissolved by the state in 2007.
-Tax evasion; several liens on his home from the IRS totaling more than $100,000.
-Bankruptcy; dismissed several times for non-payment of bankruptcy judgment.
-Several other miscellaneous liens against his home, two alone totaling more than $100,000 for non-payment of business expenses (that’s some reputable business).
Needless to say, she ran – and ran like hell. He’s already moved on to his new conquest who I hear ironically is an IRS auditor. Hopefully, she’ll do some auditing on him before she gets too involved.
The moral of the story: Ladies and gents, do your homework. Look for the red flags. Use the Internet and make sure people check out. There’s nothing wrong with it. In the end, it will save you from breaking your teeth on a rotten chocolate.