Online dating apps: The ultimate guide for single moms

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If you're new to online dating as a single mom, it can be overwhelming and confusing.

Which online dating apps are the best?

Which dating sites are full of freaks and pervs?

Where can you find nice guys?

What about single dads looking for a relationship?

A fun date?

Love?

Hot sex?

All of the above?

First of all: CONGRATULATIONS!

If you are asking these questions, that means you have done some very deep and important work on your journey to moving forward with a positive, healthy romantic life.

Maybe you've been out there a while, getting frustrated, heartbroken and a bit hopeless.

But if you are new to online dating apps, this is a quick guide for how to get started, and which are the best dating sites.

Or, you can get started now with my top recommendation now >>

Top dating apps for single parents

  1. EliteSingles
  2. eHarmony
  3. Match.com
  4. OkCupid
  5. Zoosk
  6. Tinder
  7. Tawkify
  8. The League
  9. Plentyoffish
  10. ChristianCafe
  11. Happn
  12. Bumble
  13. New to dating? Online dating tips for moms
  14. Matchmakers
  15. Non-sexy awesome things that come of online dating

What are the best dating sites and apps for single parents?

This ranking considered the following criteria:

  • Process for vetting and verifying users
  • Education and profession level of the average user
  • Dating site membership cost and whether there is a free version
  • Quality of technology interface including the app

Top online dating sites for single parents include EliteSingles, eHarmony, Match.com and Zoosk.

Best dating apps for single moms

This is a list of some of the most popular, proven and fun-to-use sites. One thing I have learned in communicating with single moms every day for more than 8 years, and through my own enthusiastic dating, is that each site services a different function in different parts of the country. While Match.com might be a go-to source for potential love in one part of the country, it may be primarily a hookup app in others.

So, ask your friends which they think is the best dating apps. Try a few. Keep an open mind, and have fun!

EliteSingles

EliteSingles stands out in that it has a deep personality survey that attracts an overwhelming percentage of members who are professionals with college degrees, and are looking for a serious, long-term relationship. The site says serve all races, religions and ages who are interested in partnership.

EliteSingles stands out because it features:

  • A deep personality survey to make highly compatible matches
  • Profiles verified by Customer Care
  • Free personality report
  • Apps for iOS and Android
  • 82% of the members have a college education
  • Over 90% of members aged 30+

Read: EliteSingles online dating app review

EliteSingles matches potential partners via extensive questions about your values and ethics, lifestyle, how you feel about yourself, career attitudes and accomplishments, emotional maturity, whether you are seeking more children or not, sexuality, and much, much more.

Because of this, the this online dating app tends to attract professional, educated singles seeking serious relationships.

Try dating online with EliteSingles now >>

eHarmony

This site has been around for more than 20 years, and the focus is on long-term, serious, committed relationships. Created by a psychologist whose goal was to create an algorithm to find true compatibility that will result in deeply committed, fulfilling partnerships. Read more in depth about eHarmony in my review here.

The gist is that both users answer extensive lists of questions, which then scientifically connect you with strong potential matches.

This isn’t a platform for casual hookups!

Trying to decide between eHarmony and EliteSingles? Read our comparison here.

Match.com

One of the oldest and most popular sites, you cannot go wrong with Match.com.

I met a serious boyfriend on Match, and many great people I know have Match accounts.

The interface is a little dated, but workable, and in many parts of the United States, Match still reins as one of the best online dating apps, with largest selection.

Plus, there’s a free trial option, low monthly cost, and creating a profile is simple.

OKCupid

I love OKCupid. It is very popular in New York City where I live, but I find it to be a great interface.

There is a free version, but very few people can resist upgrading.

When you upgrade on OkCupid, you have access to features like seeing who “liked” your profile, or when the guy you’re hot for last logged in.

OKC is a highly interactive site, which features thousands and thousands of user-generated questions that allow you to really get to know a prospective match. When I was really dating like a mofo, I took a lot of time to read guys' responses to these questions, as well as answer many myself, including adding comments. You can tell a lot about a person through these questions!

Some common OKCupid user-generated questions (which are totally up to you as to whether you answer):

Is interracial marriage a bad idea?

Would you consider an open marriage?

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about carbs?

Lights on or off during sex? [my answer: “On. Unless you're ugly.”]

Are you going to run away as soon as it's commitment time?

Is climate change real?

Check out OKCupid >>

Zoosk

There's a reason Zoosk is the highest-grossing dating app around:

The app-based dating site has 35 million users around the world, and pulls in your social media accounts to help you quickly create an account and match with compatible people. Zoosk claims to use behavioral matchmaking technology to constantly customize your dating and matchmaking experience.

The easy-to-use site and app have a free version, as well as premium monthly and annual memberships. Zoosk also has cool features like a “boost” which is a fee-based bump in the number of people who will see your site, as well as verified profiles, to help you sort through the undesirables.

Overall, Zoosk is a great online dating app for online daters, and may become the favorite of veterans!

Learn more about Zoosk in my review.

Check out Zoosk for free>>

Compare EliteSingles and Zoosk—which is better for single parents?

Tinder

This started out as a hook-up site, thanks to its geo-location feature and minimalist profile details. Tinder invented the dating site swipe — which everyone know understands is a swipe right if you're interested, and the fatal swipe left if you're standing in front of your boat, shirtless, in a grainy pic from 6 years ago holding a big fish.

Unlike other sites, Tinder user profiles are limited to a few photos and a very brief profile. There is not a ton of opportunity to express who you are, or learn deeply about potential matches, by browsing alone. You have to connect, then chat (or call, or date!).

But like any popular technology, this one has gone mainstream, and I increasingly hear quality people – both men and women – say they rely on Tinder for dating people with serious relationship potential. It is simply another way to connect romantically, and should not be ignored if you want more than a friend with benefits (or — if you DO want a frind with benefits!).

This is the fastest-growing dating site, and also tends to skew younger, but that is also changing.

Try Tinder now >>

Tawkify

Tawkify bills itself as a personalized matchmaking service — not a dating app. The site has more than 100,000 members, who do not pay, singles who are considered for dates and matching. Customers, on the other hand, pay a fee, and meet with a concierge matchmaker who personally selects potential matches.

Tawkify promises a personalized experienced for customers, who pay between $99 and $6,000 per year, depending on the level of service. Each customer meets with their concierge, expresses their preferences and dating goals, and then is presented with a list of potential matches. If the member also agrees on a date, the concierge plans and schedules a fun date. Afterwards, feedback from each of you is shared with the other person, and that information is used by Tawkify to connect you with dates going forward.

Tawkify claims that the service works with new clients for 6 to12 months, with almost 80% successfully matched in that time.

Check out Tawkify now>>

The League

This new online dating matchmaking service that bills itself as very elite, as it only accepts a small percentage of applicants, making those accepted seem very special indeed.  Potential members are approved based on data from their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, presumably seeking out daters with higher income and education. There is a waitlist, and membership costs $349 per year, which is on-par with other sites, as well as upgrade options for money money, to increase the number of matches you are served each day.

The app's homepage boasts: “Are you told your standards are too high? The League offers to be your well-networked friend who doubles as your wingman,” sussing out good matches for you based on a more discerning set of qualifications than your average dating site. Every member is assigned a “concierge” who promises to help vet matches

Still in beta, The League is available in New York City, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, L.A., London, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Haven, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

The League ups its exclusivity vibe with “groups” based on personal interests, including yachting, golf, international travel, brunch groups and women worried about their fertility!

The League has been criticized for requiring members disclose their race, and allowing them to screen matches by race, but seems to be making efforts to change that.

Ready to apply for The League? >>

PlentyofFish

POF is a solid, straight-forward online dating app, one that jibes with moms:

POF reports that 44% of its female users are single moms, and that single moms find matches 10% faster than other users.

That is saying a lot, as there are 70 million members on this easy-to-use site. Unlike Tindr and other swipe-based sites, this one gives you plenty of room to write a nice essay.

POF also free, which is good and bad — free is always awesome, except that it attracts all the riffraff! Ain't no such thing as a free [fish] lunch!

See what you can catch at PlentyofFish >>

ChristianCafe

All the sites allow you to search by religion, but a few dating sites specifically focus on different faiths.

ChristianCafe caters to people seeking fellow Christians. Owned by Match.com, this site has been around for many years, and has the largest database of single Christians.

Is dating within your Christian faith important to you? Check out ChristianCafe >>

Happn

Happn is a newer dating site, one focused on hyper-locality. In other words, as soon as you create a profile by linking your Facebook account, Happn figures out where you are located, and uses  GPS tracking to connect you with people who you have crossed paths with IRL, showing you a map of where you have been in the same coffee shop, bar, grocery store or AYSO soccer field.

Since Happn's goal is to connect you with locals, you actually must be within 250 miles to actually send and receive messages from another member. This is a pro if you're afraid of being catfished by some shady guy in Dubai.

Happn has some cool features, like an in-app feature that allows you to announce an activity — like watching the game at a certain bar, or having a meal at your favorite restaurant, which can inspire others to join your party. You can also send voice messages through Happn. Pretty cool.

Does this sound really cool? Give it a shot. Do you find all this close-to-home tracking creepy? Maybe challenge yourself and try it anyway?

Happn has a very basic free version, with more usable memberships starting at $20 per month.

See if you can find a local honey on Happn > >

Bumble

Bumble was created by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe a few years ago, with the sole focus of putting the power of dating into the hands of women.

In other words, women have since the dawn of time been sick of dudes coming on too strong, cheesy pickup lines, dick pics, stalkers and worse. Bumble is the answer to these issues, as in all cases, women initiate the online flirting, and are the only gender that can initiate in-app conversations and chats.

Women on Bumble report that the quality of men on the site tends to be higher, as they are guys who are comfortable with women who like to take charge.

The online dating app is free to try, with a reasonable upgrade program, and is easy to set up, as it pulls info from your Facebook profiles, which also informs which people are suggested to you. Each match has a time limit, so both are compelled to respond quickly to any promising interactions — not to mention incentivized to stalk the app.

Check out the woman-focused dating app Bumble >>

Matchmaking services

Even the best dating app does not offer the same experience as a human matchmaker.

Matchmakers can be a fantastic service for single moms, as these professionals get to know you personally, and connect you with quality people, saving you lots of time and heartache.

Matchmakers tend to be expensive — which is both good and bad. The high price tends to attract successful professionals who are also serious about dating quality, relationship-minded people.

Matchmakers can cost anywhere between $10,000 to $50,00 per year. One service that stands out is It’s Just Lunch.

It’s Just Lunch matchmaker service

It’s Just Lunch stands out as one of the oldest services with 28 years in business, 3 million first dates! With prices between $2,000 and $5,000, it is one of the most affordable matchmaking services. It is also one of the best. Why?

    • It’s Just lunch guarantees a minimum number of dates — each package is customized for each client
    • It’s anonymous. Your identity, including contact info, is not shared with the other party.
    • They set up the date. It’s Just Lunch is unique in that the service makes a reservation at a bar, cafe or restaurant for you. You and your date show up and have a great time.
    • You provide feedback after your date — this helps the matchmaker hone her selection of new dates for you, as well as better understand the other party.
  • Every package comes with free dating coaching sessions.

Learn more about It’s Just Lunch from our review, where Emma went through the interview process. Call 1-800-805-9757, or have It’s Just Lunch contact you.

Online dating tips for single moms

If you are new to dating after divorce, a big breakup, or a long, dry spell, you are likely feeling a little nervous. Negative thoughts may include:

There are no good guys left at this stage! 

No quality man wants to date a single mom seriously. 

Texting, sexting, dick pics, dating sites are all new since the last time I dated. I'm terrified! 

My mom bod is so fat and saggy! Who would want to get with this mess!

I am too busy to take time away from my kids. 

I don't trust my judgement about men and am afraid of getting into a bad situation again. 

Any of this sound familiar?

First, some quick tricks to how to feel sexy and confident.

Then, read what this dating coach says about successful men and single moms (spoiler alert: they love them!).

Next, hear what other happily dating single moms say about romance and sex in this post: 9 reasons dating and sex are better as a single mom.

Finally, if you still feel like you need help, check out my video course, How to Get Back Into Dating for Single Moms.

Online dating tips

If you are ready to get out there, but need some online dating advice, here you go!

  1. Where you live. Each city has its own vibe on each dating site for single moms. For example, OKCupid is among the most popular in New York City where I live, and is the best resource for quality dating. But in other cities, OKC is used mostly for hooking up. Ask your friends. Ask men you date. Check out a few.
  2. Each site has different types of men as members. It’s just like looking for a job – you may have your resume posted on Monster.com, Indeed, and a couple of industry-specific sites. Again, check out a few that others recommend, use their free trials or promotions, and see which has the best selection for you. Likely, you will keep a few accounts going at the same time. Sometimes, more is more!
  3. Don’t give up too soon. Dating is about dating – meeting new people, learning about yourself, your tastes and needs at this time of your life. Just because a date doesn’t lead to marriage does not make it a disaster! Did you have fun? Meet a nice person? Learn something about yourself? Consider it a success!
  4. There is nothing unique about the men who date online. I often hear women say: “I'm giving up on online dating apps! All the guys there are losers!” That is like saying: “I'm going to cut off all my friends who are on Facebook! Only losers are on Facebook!” After all, online dating is 100% normal and commonplace, nothing to be ashamed of and NOT an activity unique to any particular type of person. If online dating isn't working for you now, take a break, assess how you might approach dating in general, and then try again in a few months.
  5. Online dating is what you put into it. If you want to meet honest people, be honest yourself. Here is a deep-dive into why you should be totally honest on your dating profile about your salary and income, as well as whether you have kids. Here is my guide to choosing photos for your dating profile.
  6. Have fun! The better your attitude about dating and meeting men, the better your experience — no matter the outcome.

The internet is just a medium for meeting men. A tool for connecting with other humans. Like Facebook or Instagram, but with more potential for sex, romance and STDs (kidding / not kidding).

Keep at it, try new things and keep an open mind. Also: HAVE FUN!

In the meantime, you can also consider dating apps as simply another social media. I did.

7 non-sexy awesome things that can come of online dating

If you're like most single people I know, online dating is a mainstay. What more efficient way to connect with men interested in cheap hookups and glomming onto you in fits of slobbering neediness?

But really, in my experience, I can't say enough good things about online dating. Aside from being a one-stop shop of all things men, in my recent year-long tenure of digital connections I also found many, less sexy benefits of putting your pixels out there. Here are 7:

1. Make a friend.

After one fun date with a a single dad my age earlier this year, Marc and I friend-zoned each other. We've been buds ever since. We recently went hiking with our kids, and we text a couple times per week, usually about who we're seeing (and met online).

2. Help a friend, and set up blind dates.

I've encountered several guys online who seemed cool, but not right for me. So I intro'd them to my single girlfriends by sharing with each party their handle.

3. Help your family.

Last week my brother, who owns a media company, had a business lunch with a guy introduced him to — someone I'd met online and dated for a minute.

4. Business networking through online dating.

My friend, an accountant, has turned several otherwise dead-end dates with guys she met online into clients. When I needed an entertainment lawyer, I found one through a music attorney I went out on a date with, and met online.

5. Connect with old friends on dating sites.

I recently stumbled upon an old acquaintance's profile. I sent him a message: “Hi Marcos! Your daughter has gotten so big! Hope you're well!” and I got a similar one in return. Online dating sites the new Facebook? You decide …

6. Catch up on gossip.

I went out with one online connection who turned out to be a business journalist who worked at the exact same news wire I did at the same time. He caught me up on gossip of all my old colleagues.

7. Boost your web traffic.

A couple guys I met online have become regular readers of this blog. Marc told one chick he met online about it and she subsequently not only became a reader, but linked to one of my posts in her online profile. Hey bigblueeyes74: We'll likely never meet, but me love you long time. Muah!

How to choose the best online dating site for you?

With so many online dating sites and apps, it can be overwhelming to get pick one. Here is my advice:

  • Try a few. Most online dating sites have a free version, with a premium upgrade for a monthly or annual cost.
  • Ask your friends. If you are interested in dating locally, and have an idea of whether you're intersted in casual or serious dating, other singles you trust may prefer one site over others. Based on the thousands of women I interact with through this blog and social media, I've learned that each site attracts different types of people depending on the location. For example, Tindr is more of a hookup site in some areas, but full of serious daters in others.
  • If you are interested in finding a serious relationship, I highly recommend EliteSingles. Aside from the free basic membership, the in-depth survey assesses each member's personality, goals, and values, and verifies each member, 90% of whom are over age 30, and 82% of whom are college educated.

Check on EliteSingles for free now >>

Which dating apps for single moms have YOU tried? Comment below and give it a review!

Thinking of dating again, but not sure where to start? Afraid to get hurt? Unsure of how dating works in 2018 — with apps, texting, sexting, dick pics, etc?

Worried about flaunting your new mom bod on the market?

That is why I developed the bestselling video course, Get Back Into Dating AGAIN for Single Moms.

This course takes you step-by-step to work through your fears, hopes, create a dating site and get your sexy on.

Guaranteed to get you on one quality, positive date!

Related Posts:

Why single parents should put their kids second when dating

The benefits of dating single dads

Tips for dating a single mom (12 things NOT to say)

Why post-divorce rebound breakups hurt so bad, and how to get over them.

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

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    Great Post! I’m a fan of the blog, and conveniently, a dating expert/author, and I thought I’d mention a couple of quick points about your great list. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Michela on October 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I am a single 32 yo, never been married and no kids. But I am enjoying your site immensely! I just been dating, include online, pretty much forever. I just want to say to all the single moms: if you are struggling, the grass is greener nowhere. I think it’s hard (and rewarding) about the same for everyone.
    My good friend is 55 and an accomplished professional with a grown son with special needs. She was always lamenting to me how “all the men” want to meet women “like me.” Well, she met a fabulous man a few months ago and they are going strong. I too met a fabulous man… and got dumped.
    So, I think it’s challenging for everyone. Just because you haven’t been married, or are younger, or whatever– doesn’t make it easier.
    Hang in there. There may be all these things that seem to be going “against” you in the dating pool… but actually the right guy is going to find you and love all those things!!! It’s easy for pretty much no one.

    • Emma on October 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      I so love this advice — SO TRUE!! “Grass is greener nowhere”

  14. Lisa Daily on September 15, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Hi!

    I’m a fan of the blog, and conveniently, a dating expert/author, and I thought I’d mention a couple of quick points about your great list.

    First, while eHarmony does have a very long questionnaire that promises to scientifically match you, several studies have found that to be basically useless. Your odds of finding love on eharmony are about the same as anywhere else. (Although their member base does skew to more commitment-minded daters, and anecdotally, shorter men.)

    Second, for single moms (and who am I kidding, women,) you want to be extra careful with the geo-dating apps. (Happn, Tinder, etc) because you’re already in the same area when you match, and safety is an issue if you’re matching up with people you don’t necessarily have the opportunity to learn much about, or matching in/near places you frequent with your kids.

    That said, online dating is a boon to single moms.

    Lisa

    • Emma on September 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Good tips, Thanks Lisa :)

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