A few years ago, only those who were Internet savvy made a Google search part of their regular dating regime. Now it's as common as waking up in the morning and brushing your teeth.
We rely so heavily on information that we receive on Google during the pre-dating phase of our new relationship, that sometimes becoming the cyber-sleuth will backfire on you.
When active online daters are still on the phone with a potential date, it's not unusual to hear the sound of the clicking keyboard in the background on both ends of the telephone line. Both men and women are guilty of using their head and not their intuition while researching someone who really wants to connect with your heart.
In the April issue of Glamour magazine, now on the newsstands, I shared my thoughts in their article, 'Stop Googling Your Dates!' While these comments in the article might seem amusing to you, it's creating a digital obsessive disorder that can get out of control quickly and leave you empty-handed on date night.
"Aw, he rescues pit bulls." (You learned on Instagram)
"But, hmm... all his exes are blond." (According to Facebook)
"Linkedin suggests he's unemployed since 2012."
"Uh-oh, really into politics." (Says his Twitter feed)
The Glamour article cites a recent Match.com survey, which said that 38% of women would cancel a first date because of something they found out about him online and 48% of women research their dates on Facebook. Are singles turning into comparison shoppers?
By the time you have your first phone call, chances are you'll feel like you know the person very well. Think about it. You've compared your friends list on Facebook, stared at his or her Twitter stream, and read their Linkedin Profile as if you were a hiring manager. Is this what digital love is about?
"Every piece of positive information you learn online about someone will probably drive you toward having sex sooner," says Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and chief scientific advisor to Match.com and Chemistry.com. "Part of it is that pre-dating makes you feel like you already "know" each other by the first date."
"You get this false, euphoric sense of security that you're in a relationship and pre-dating accelerates your entire courtship," I explained to Glamour.
At the end of the digital day, you don't really don't know your date; you just think you do.
Has doing a Google and extensive social media search helped you find better dates or has it backfired on you? I invite you to share your experiences.
Julie Spira is a top online dating expert and founder of CyberDatingExpert.com. She's the author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating and creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene. For online dating advice, sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter and follow @JulieSpira on Twitter.