By LORI PERKINS
Houston Singles' Guide Examiner
Meet Melissa, a 27 year old single mother of two. Recently divorced, Melissa feels more than ready to enter the dating world again. She joins a dating site and is immediately slammed with interesting guys. She accepts a date with Greg, a 33 year old restaurant manager. For their first date, they agree to meet at a local restaurant. Greg is attractive, well spoken, and nicely dressed. Melissa begins to feel an instant attraction to him. At the end of the date, he walks her to her car and gives her a sweet kiss goodnight.
The next day at work, Melissa cannot wait to tell her co-worker Becky about her amazing date with Greg. As they sit down to lunch, Melissa begins pouring over every detail of the date. Becky’s intrigued and asks all the appropriate questions a supportive girlfriend should ask including Greg’s last name. When Melissa tells her, Becky starts to freak out. She begs Melissa never to see him again, and tells her that he is a convicted felon and has spent several years in jail. She tells Melissa that Greg once dated a friend of hers in college when he got arrested the second time. Melissa is in shock. No way was Greg an ex felon. He looked so nice, he had a good job, and dressed well. Melissa is convinced that Becky is mistaken. She decided to go home and blow the whole thing off. She hated to start a relationship off with suspicion.
The next time she went on a date with Greg, Melissa couldn’t concentrate. She kept looking at Greg for some sign that screamed “EX-CON.” She tried to have a good time, but her friend’s words continued to repeat themselves in her mind. She didn’t know if she should confront him, or let it go. Fortunately, Greg decided for her.
As he walked her to her car that night he asked her if everything was alright, sighting that he’d noticed a difference in her tonight. She seemed distracted to him. Melissa told Greg what her friend said, and felt embarrassed that she had to say it out loud. Greg admitted that her friend was right. He was an ex-con. He’d been in jail three times, mostly on drug charges, once for robbery. He told her that he was a drug addict, and the drugs controlled his life for the majority of his twenties. He told her that he’d turned his life around, he found a good job, found good friends, and even got involved in the local church. He asked her if she were willing to over look the mistakes in his past in order to move forward and have a future. She told him she’d have to think about it and that she would call him as soon as she had figured it out.
Needless to say, it’s been a month and Melissa has not called him back. She informed me over a cup of coffee that she felt like everyone deserved a second chance, but that she had two small children to think about, and she wasn’t willing to risk their safety. I could hardly blame her. She sighed reluctantly and said that she’d have to start running back ground checks on the guys she met from now on.
As I left our coffee date I started thinking about what she said. Should we background check our dates? How much money would something like this possibly cost, and can a civilian even run a background check? I discovered a few websites that make it easy to run a background check on anyone.
MyBackgroundCheck.com provides background check information for employees, renters, families, and businesses. The family package is $69.99.
Other websites offer background check information at or around the same rate as listed above, or telephone and address information for $1.99 per search.
It is completely up to you whether or not you choose to background check your dates. What if you met someone you truly cared for and found out something in their past that you didn’t really want to know. Is it going to change the way you feel for someone? Or as a single person, aren’t you obligated to protect yourself, your friends, and you family from any stranger you allow into your life? Personally, I think you should trust your instincts. Protect yourself, but try not to let yourself get obsessed with fear because it will overwhelm your life.
And really, isn't dating already scary enough?
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