Have you ever Googled someone you met on an online dating site? Sandy Weiner did, and what she discovered was shocking.
Since my divorce, I’ve had two significant relationships with men I met through online dating sites. After my last relationship ended 6 months ago, I took a few months off for some ‘me’ time before dating again. Now that I’m back online, I’ve been on a series of first-date-wonders. No second dates. I just wasn’t feeling a connection with anyone until a few days ago.
My heart did a little happy dance when I received an email from a man who seemed interesting, smart, cool, and dare I say…normal! On paper, we seemed to have a lot in common. We exchanged a few emails and set up a time to talk.
Our phone conversation was fun and easy.
He seemed to have a spark to him, a little fire in his belly, which is very attractive to me. I am young at heart, actively engaged in my life, always learning and growing.
I am looking for a partner who is alive with excitement for life, intellectually curious, and interested in self-growth, too.
We set a tentative date for Wednesday afternoon.
As I hung up the phone, I was smiling. Finally, a man who seemed to have his act together (unlike the guy last week who canceled our date at the last minute because his cell phone broke. Is that the new dating version of ‘the dog ate my homework’ excuse?).
As I thought about our upcoming date, I began to get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut.
There were a few things he had said on the phone that felt a little off. He said he was a real estate lawyer, but he had been forced to retire early several years ago. It was a blessing in disguise, he said, because he likes working for himself and doesn’t like to take orders from anyone.
He also mentioned that he was different from most men his age, because he likes extreme sports and rides a motorcycle. Something about his forced retirement combined with his love of daredevil high-risk sports made me Google him to see if I could learn more.
I don’t usually Google my dates before meeting, because I think it’s good to go in with an open mind.
I trust my intuition to alert me if anything feels off with a potential date, and if it does, I will either check him out on Google or just say no to a first date. With this guy, my gut was telling me to do a little snooping, and I was shocked by what I found!
There were over 18 articles and court records stating that he was disbarred for Grand Larceny ($700,000), possession of a forged instrument, and attempted bribery. He was convicted and sent to prison for a 4-year term.
What do you do when you learn that your potential date is a felon?
Since we had already set a date to meet, I felt I had to somehow address what my friend Google had revealed. I emailed him one of the article links and asked if it was him. And if so, could he explain.
“Yes, it’s me”, he said. “There’s an explanation, but it’s too much to write about. I’ll just say I was given a bad rap and the charges were false. I never stole any money, yada yada yada…” He said he’d be happy to talk about it and tell me the truth.
Um. No thanks. I was not going to ask a convicted felon for his version of the truth. I already knew everything I needed to know. I ignored his email and moved on in my search for love online.
This story is not meant to turn you off from dating online. If you want to find love, online dating is one of your best options, especially if you’re over 40. I tell this tale with the hope that it could help you dodge a bullet (literally or figuratively).
Please don’t be afraid to date online. Do stay safe, and remember to trust your intuition. It knows the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Have you ever Googled a date and discovered something alarming? Please let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Flickr/Kevin Dooley