[This is part 2 in our Internet Love series: The Definitive Mommynoire Guide to Online Dating!]
Ok Cupid, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, E-Harmony: you’ve seen the commercials. Those are some of the names of the most popular online dating sites. Dating has changed since our grandparents’ day. Both of my grandfathers made appeals to the families of my grandmothers to express interest. My maternal grandad was first told to go away and come back in a few years. My granny was deemed too young by the powers that be in her home. So my grandfather left until they both had a few years under the belt, returned, properly courted her and brought her back to Friendship Village in Guyana.
They didn’t have the questions that we have today: Is it better to meet someone online or in person? What’s the difference between a hookup site and a dating site? How can I make my profile attractive, sexy and smart all at the same time? How do I not come across as some Internet skank?
Why Online Dating?!
Last week we discussed why you should be dating online right now. As a single woman and a mother in particular, it’s easy to feel like you’re out of options. You’ve outgrown the club scene, you’re tired of the same old guys and the same old lines but maybe you’re tired of being alone. When you are ready to find love, jumping into the world on Internet love makes you a willing participant in your own destiny. There is no faster way to learn that the world is bigger than Tyrone, D Lova and Stan to see that Jason and Tony are also interested in Y-O-U.
How to Get Started:
1. Know what you want. There are so many sites out there that it can make your head of coiffed coils spin! To know whether you’re a Christian Mingle or a HowAboutWe kind of goddess, you need to know who you are first. Each dating site is completely different. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin and be on every site all at once. It’s better to dive deep on one or maybe two sites that have the kind of men you are interested in meeting.
Answer these questions in your #LoveClass Notebook:
a) Are you currently mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally available?
b) Are you seeking to date casually or enter into a long-term relationship?
c) Who is the man you are seeking?
d) Do you have ethnic, religious, regional or industry preferences?
e) Are you the kind of woman the person you’re seeking would be looking for?
f) What qualities and values matter the most to you?
2. Choose the best dating site for single parents. Now that you know what you’re looking for, you can pick a dating site. After all, most sites claim to find your perfect matches based on an algorithm of your needs.
Think of dating sites like restaurants. If you’re looking for an exquisite gourmet meal, you won’t find it in the local fast food joint. Similarly, when you’re looking for a veggie burger and sweet potato fries, it’s not the Chef’s Choice at Fig and Olive.
Some dating sites are free and others have a cost. There are good men to be found on both playing fields. The great thing about a paid site, however, is that with the barrier to entry you’re less likely to meet time wasters. Time wasters are men who enjoy the rush of meeting and chatting online with no intention to meet in person. They may be married, bored or otherwise involved but before you say, ‘See Abiola, I knew there were weirdos online’ remember that there are Time Wasting Men and Supercilious Scrubs in the supermarket and gym, too.
Free or Paid Site?
Free dating sites include: Ok Cupid, Zoosk and Plenty of Fish.
Paid sites include: BlackPeopleMeet, Match.com, HowAboutWe, Chemistry and eHarmony. Most paid sites allow you to browse, which is kind of like window shopping before purchase. (Handsome Dr. Ian Smith is currently the face of Zoosk.) Chemistry and eHarmony are exclusively for those seeking long term committed relationships although you can find Hookup Creeps and Marriage Material on all of the sites.
What’s Race Got to Do with It?
If you prefer to date an African American man, black dating sites include: BlackPeopleMeet, BlackSingle.com and Black Planet Dating. If you prefer to date interracially, sites known for interracial swirl include: Afro Romance, Interracial Match and InterracialSingles.com.
There are niche sites for everything from religion to cheater’s paradise Ashley Madison to Cougar Life. Sites like Tinder and Hinge draw from your Facebook network to help you find “the one.”
My recommendation is that you search for your niche within a bigger site so that you have more options. You may also want to investigate the best sites for single parents to meet each other. Try SingleMomsAndDads.com, SingleParentLove.com and SingleParentMeet.com.
Come on back next week. We’re just getting started. Now it gets really good…
In the final part of this series, “Online Dating Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make,” we will investigate:
- How to set up a hot online dating profile,
- What photos you should use,
- Where to meet your match,
- How to make sure that you’re safe,
- How to explain to potential dates you have children,
- When to detail the other parent’s involvement.
While pondering over dating sites, Mommynoire wants you to know that Moguldom Films has a new documentary out called The Swirl that focuses on interracial dating. Peep more about The Swirl /#TheSwirlFilm. Buy or Rent it today!
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at Abiola’s Love University. Her upcoming advice guide is named “The Official Bombshell Handbook.” Tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.