PRO: When in Doubt, Check ’Em Out’ Ricardo Suber, aka “Your Royal Flyness,” author of The Facebook Datebook for Men (Flyness Publishing) and other online dating manuals

Proper investigative work is vital. Your time could be wasted going on a date, or worse—your safety could be at risk. A [widely publicized] example involved a woman who claims she was sexually assaulted on a date after meeting a man on who had sexual battery convictions. I’ve dated more than 500 women I met online, and I check out every woman I’m about to meet up with. Facebook is usually the best place to find information. You can find photos of her, see who her friends are and more. In some cases, I’ve found that women who gave me their numbers actually had boyfriends. I say, if it’s public, it’s fair game! Men and women have different concerns with regard to a date’s background and sexual history. Women tend to be more accepting and, in some instances, prefer sexually experienced men. Men prefer long-term relationships with less experienced women. Women tend to have greater safety concerns than men, yet men should be equally cautious, due to the possibility of being set up for robbery or injury from the woman’s ex-lover.

One last thing: There’s a line between investigating and snooping or stalking. The difference lies in the motive. Investigating implies that you are looking into the cause of odd behavior or other “evidence.” Stalking, which is illegal, is done out of unfounded suspicion and is a sign of insecurity.

CON: Don’t Let Those “Clues” Close Off Your Options Dating coach Thomas Edwards Jr., aka The Professional Wingman

There are legitimate safety concerns that I advise my clients to never discount. But any intelligence they gather will be fragmented. When they get hung up on those few details, I remind them to keep an open mind. My clients and friends go to Facebook to see a potential suitor’s profile. Guys typically go to see photos. Women, who tend to do this much more, look into a guy’s lifestyle.

Warning signs may include pictures of a person appearing drunk or promiscuous, or postings that suggest they’re in a current relationship. I’ve seen instances in which a woman didn’t want to go out with a guy because she saw him in too many photos with other women. Others have googled their matches to see if any bad information comes up. Want to get a better idea of what someone looks like? Fine. But creating a scouting report is not. You’re taking away a guy’s chance before he even gets one with misinterpreted information and preconceived notions. Having a closed mind isn’t good for your dating life. Avoid distractions such as Facebook, Google and the rest of the Internet before meeting someone in person. Your best evaluation will be based on firsthand experience.

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