If you're new to online dating as a single mom, it can be totally overwhelming and confusing.
Which sites are the best?
Which are full of freaks and pervs?
Where can you find nice guys?
A fun date?
All of the above?
[Better question: Where can I safely explore what I really want?]
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. We'll talk in another post :)
But for the new to online dating, here is a quick guide for how to get into it, and which sites are the best:
Top dating apps for single parents
- The League
- New to dating? Online dating tips for moms
- Non-sexy awesome things that come of online dating
10 Best dating websites 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 6 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. Try a few. Have fun, and keep an open mind!
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!
Bonus: Sign up between now and Feb. 14, and get 15% off with code VALENTINESDAY.
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 the leading dating site, with largest selection.
Plus, there’s a free trial option, low monthly cost, and creating a profile is simple.
I also have a promotional coupon to use for 25% off if you sign up here!
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?
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, this is a great starting point for online daters, and may become the favorite of veterans!
Learn more about Zoosk in my review.
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 booty call.
This is the fastest-growing dating site, and also tends to skew younger, but that is also changing.
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.
This new online dating 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.
POF is a solid, straight-forward dating site, 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!
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 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.
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 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.
Online dating tips for single moms
A few general guidelines:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- There is nothing unique about the men who date online. I often hear women say: “I'm giving up on online dating! All the guys there are losers!” That is like saying: “I'm going to cut off all my friends who 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.
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. Here is my experience:
Related post: 9 reasons dating is better as a single mom
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!
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.
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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.