One of the big differences in the world of dating today is the role of the internet. Not only can you find love online through dating sites, you can also use the internet to find out more about potential love interests. Nowadays, it's commonplace to do some pre-date Googling on other singles to find out more about them. But when does this harmless curiosity go overboard?
It's only natural that you're going to be curious about other singles. Whether you've been set up, met them at a bar or stumbled across them online - you're going to want to know as much as you can about them. There's a lot to be discovered through Google, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Are they compatible with you? What are their photos like? Who do they hang around with? Are they legit? Where do they work? Do they have any bad press?
At the end of the day, you're wanting to get as much information as you can to help you form an accurate impression of them. Armed with these details, you can then decide to push forward or pull out.
But beware. All this research can come at a cost. Your pre-date Googling can end up hurting rather than helping you if it starts to become an obsession or you set unrealistic expectations of the other person.
Here are some key signs to look out for that suggest you've gone overboard with your pre-date Googling:
You spend hours not minutes a day Googling your love interest
You feel unable to control this online behaviour
You begin to feel guilty or embarrassed about the amount of time spent researching them
Your friends start expressing concern about this
You make all your dating judgments based on only information found online
In the end, although there is much to find out on the internet about other singles, some of the best and most accurate information you can gain is from face-to-face meetings. By all means enjoy a bit of pre-date Googling, do your due diligence, but don't give it too much time or emphasis. You need to control it - not the other way around. You also don't want to turn up to a date, knowing too much about them.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 9's series Married At First Sight, and the ABC doco Making Couples Happy. He is also the author of the book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)