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Date fright: Online dating works as long as you put in the research

I have a friend who is recently separated from his wife of 11 years. He has known her for half of his life, so the separation was equal parts necessity and shocking, the latter if for no other reason than the longevity of the relationship in one form or another.
He took to online dating in his mid 40s in the hopes of avoiding a potential fix up or trying to determine just how feasible the so called "bar scene" can be when you're not 20 something and perfectly find staying out until all hours of the night.
Thus far, after just a few weeks, he's really started to enjoy just how the online dating and meeting process works. He's getting emails from potential women, and he's even talked to a few on the phone and had one in person encounter.
His excitement, however, often is tempered with skepticism that appears sporadically when a profile or online description seems too good to be true. He'll look at someone's photo and often assume it has been airbrushed or doctored, and their likes and dislikes, job and interests, seem like something you'd fabricate to put that proverbial best foot forward.
Online dating, for all its pluses, has one big minus that hangs over its head: validity. Users tend to do one of two things, ironically at the opposite end of the online dating spectrum. They'll believe everything they see or read or they'll question 100%. In both cases, that's not exactly how you want to start a relationship or even a foray into one.

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As you begin to pursue an online dating profile and subsequent meet and greets, you want to pay close attention to some easy red flags as part of the process, mainly the photos. If photos of someone who lives in a remote town in Iowa look like something you'd see in a Hollywood night club, run away. The odds are it is a professional photo of someone else or it looks like it was taken straight from a magazine cover. Photos that are blurry or vague don't help matters, either.
In addition, be leery completely of conversations that start way too quickly and get serious right off the bat, especially if someone starts asking for money after only a few weeks. If you're getting "I Love You" messages on Day 3, thinking again. As engaging as you may be, you're being set up for failure.
As much as the most love struck person can be, and optimism as it relates to dating is a good thing, you have to find the balance between would be happiness and just being plain naive. Online dating works but only if you do the same to ensure what you're hearing and seeing is legitimate.

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