Growing up, I had my fair share of nicknames; there was Rona Barrett , Jessica Fletcher and my favorite that has stuck with me and currently is the title of my upcoming book Sherlock Homegirl.  I’ve always been nosy, but since nosy has such a negative connotation, I prefer the word inquisitive.  As an adult, I can’t say that I’m any less inquisitive, but it has definitely helped when it comes to dating. According to a survey of 2000 people by dating website OurTime.com, 37% of the women and 29% of the men said spying on a significant other is acceptable. I hear the teeth sucking loud and clear, “Well, if you have to snoop then maybe you shouldn’t be with that person?”, that is what you’re thinking right?  I tend to think that not every flag raised is going to be a red one. Some flags of a cheating significant other aren’t as significant as others. That flag may be a little pink, as opposed to red.

Red flag:  You find a receipt for a box of condoms in your husband’s car and the two of you haven’t used them since saying “I do”. Then you get head butted.

Pink flag:  Do you  know a cell phone secret squirrel? Oh, you didn’t know your significant other had a google voice number? You might want to check that out.

In my dating career (I call it a career because shit is hard work sometimes) there have been times where I’ve been compelled to snoop on a potential date, especially in the world of online dating.  Personally, I think snooping is something that should be done, especially while partaking in the treacherous waters of online dating. I’m not talking about breaking into emails, or reading text messages (been there done that) my version of snooping consists of doing simple online detective work.

Men and women lie. But of course the statistics will weigh heavier towards one gender, but that’s another subject.  If the world was filled with actual single people dating, it would be different, but unfortunately the dating environment is filled with married people or even people in so called “monogamous” relationships masquerading as single people. When the ring comes off and the significant other is left at home, everyone looks the same.

From my own experiences, I’ve learned that online dating can be a cesspool of married men. Take it from me, the shit isn’t easy.  In order to find out information about people, sometimes snooping via online research can be valuable.  I always tell people, when you meet someone from an online dating site, whether it’s Match, E-Harmony, OkCupid or Craigslist, be cautious and try to find out other information about them before the actual date.

Here are a few simple tips:

● Something as simple as, taking someone’s email address and searching for it on Facebook, can yield amazing results. Remember that man or woman who claimed to be single, well finding a family portrait on their Facebook page could prove otherwise.

● If you’re lucky enough to have an actual physical address and you know the person is a homeowner, find their area’s local tax assessment website, pop in their address and see who’s actually on the listing, occasionally, a married couple will have both of their names on the buyer and tax assessment information.

● Google is your friend. Google their first and last name and when that wedding registry pops up, you have your answer.

Sure, you can always rely on just asking the person, “Hey, are you married?”, but who’s to say they’d tell you to truth.

Red Flag: Well, see I’m kind of separated, you know, we don’t share beds or anything, we just live together.

Pink Flag: No, but I do have roommates and I don’t really bring people home. Also, don’t call me unless I call you.

In the book I’m currently working on, the stories shared a pretty hilarious and pathetic at the same time. The fodder that my friends and I have pretty much proves that you can’t be too cautious when it comes to the world of online dating.  No one wants to become a victim of someone’s lies, so the more resources at your disposal the better. You too can become a Sherlock Homegirl, or boy.

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