Gone are the days where single daters enjoyed the mystery of meeting someone new before going on a first date.
These days, most people can't resist becoming a cyber-sleuth and adding digital data to the mix. A simple Google search from years ago has evolved to including social media to find out someone's past employment history, see their prior relationship statuses, find out about their real estate holdings, age, divorce records, close friends and the list goes on.
A new poll conducted by Harris Interactive for People Search site Spokeo of 2046 singles 18+ in the U.S. shows that 82 percent of the singles were in fact researching before a date or early on in the relationship. Most of those in the survey were using traditional search engines to check out their date, followed closely with 64 percent who said they were using social networks to see if they had friends in common or not. (See infographic below.)
Has all of this data at your fingertips helped or hurt relationships? I know many singles who find out information they feel uncomfortable with -- actually canceling dates or breaking up if their findings revealed that cheating was involved.
According to Spokeo's findings, 61 percent of those who suspected their loved one of cheating and found supporting documentation would confront them in person, where 30 percent would decide to call it quits on the spot.
With the trend to sneak a peek before meeting in person on the rise, how does one balance the excitement of meeting someone new versus relying solely on the data?
While online dating safety is high on my list, I believe the data will allow singles to feel more comfortable about someone they're getting involved with. If you find something that makes you uncomfortable online, have the conversation offline before jumping to conclusion. Your loved one may have his or her arm around a kissing cousin at a wedding, and isn't necessarily on the cheating path.
Are you searching online for information on your dates?
Julie Spira is an Online Dating Expert and author of the bestseller The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Julie was an early adopter of online dating and creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more online dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
"Seventy-Two Percent of Americans Search Before They Date" -- An infographic by the team at Spokeo People Search