Kesiena Boom, M.S., is a sociologist and writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Lund University.
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Getting back into the dating game as a single mom can be challenging. There are only so many hours in a day, and most of those are quickly swallowed up by familial obligations. That’s why dating apps can be helpful for single moms, as they allow you to get out there while you also take care of the day-to-day of your life. It’s much easier to set aside ten minutes a day for swiping than, say, two hours a week for a pottery class where you only might possibly meet someone suitable.
As a single mom, it’s easy for dating to fall to the back burner—but remember that you need and deserve love, intimacy, and excitement in your life. A healthy relationship also provides you with the support, contentment, and overall improved well-being that helps you show up as an even better parent to your kids.
And as couples therapist Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D., LMFT, ACS, points out, the kids benefit too: “They can see love shared between two people, shared decision making, and even what healthy conflict looks like,” he tells mbg. Kids can still learn a lot about relationships, even if the relationship they observe is not between their biological parents.
How we picked:
We only recommend sites that were chosen by experts or which received good reviews from users.
We’ve only listed apps and sites that are user-friendly. You won’t have to waste your precious time with a steep learning curve here.
There are tons of dating apps on the market, but ultimately the ones worth using are the ones that other people use. We’ve steered clear of the apps and sites that don’t have enough users to make it worthwhile.
Recommended by experts and real users
Moms are not a monolith, and what works for some won’t be quite right for others. Here, we’ve collected apps that work for a broad spectrum of moms.
mbg’s picks for the best dating apps for single moms
- Extremely thorough matching process
- Time wasters are weeded out by the price
- Takes time to set up your profile, which is detailed
eharmony is a behemoth in the dating business. It’s been going for years and has a reputation as the ultimate way to find real love online. What makes eharmony unique is that it uses an extremely in-depth questionnaire to match you with potential compatible partners, and it therefore takes a lot of the guesswork out of dating—which is great as a busy single mom with only so many hours to spare. “eharmony is definitely worth your time,” says certified sex therapist Aliyah Moore, Ph.D.
You’ll have to pay to access eharmony with prices ranging from $12/month to $60/month depending on your location and the plan you choose (six months, a year, or two years). While it’s one of the more expensive options on this list, the not insignificant price ensures that everyone on the site is dedicated to looking for love. (Here’s our full eharmony review.)
- Popular among single parents
- Easy to use & navigate
- Features for efficient searching, matching, & filtering
- Can’t use it for free
Match.com is suited for moms who aren’t here to waste time on the path to love. It’s a long-running site founded in 1995 (!) with a broad user base and a good reputation. Sexologist and love coach Suzannah Weiss confirms that Match.com is definitely a place for finding love rather than hook-ups and one night stands, which makes it ideal for moms looking for someone to become a part of their family. And the biggest pro of all:59% of Match.com users are single parents, according to the company, so it’s really a great place to find someone who understands your situation.
You have to pay to get anything worthwhile out of Match.com, although you can have a weeklong free trial with limited features to get a feel for the site before committing. There are different subscription options with prices ranging from about $16/month to $27/month. (We’ve got a full Match.com review if you want to read more.)
- Free version works well
- An option to neither see or be seen by straight people
- Not as popular as it used to be
- Time-consuming to answer all of the questions
OkCupid is one of the most queer-friendly and non-normative dating apps out there. You can choose from a wide variety of gender options, and you can even link your profile to your partner’s if you’re polyamorous. In order to get the most out of the app, you have to answer questions about your likes and values, and then you can see how compatible you are with other users based on your answers. This is a really great way to weed out people who don’t like children or who are looking for a lifestyle that isn’t compatible with family life.
The basic version is free and works just fine for browsing and messaging. However, you can upgrade and pay $35 on a month-to-month basis or $17/month if you sign up for six months. One satisfied reviewer notes that she’s been married for nearly three years thanks to the site; her and her partner had a 91% compatibility rating according to OKCupid’s algorithm, and it seems like it was right!
- Dedicated to single parents
- Affordable compared to other specialty dating sites
- Can’t send messages without paying for a subscription
- Outdated, unattractive interface
SingleParentMeet also comes recommended by Moore, who notes that it’s “one part dating site and one part a social discovery site… built especially with single parents in mind.” According to Moore, most of SingleParentMeets members are between 35 and 44 years of age, so it’s perfect for finding people who are a little more mature and ready to settle down into family life with you. One testimonial explains, “I was a single mom of a toddler. Never really thought I’d find someone special to be honest. We are getting married next month. He is the best father to our son. Meeting him on here is the best thing to happen to me!”
You’ll have to pay to be able to send messages, but at around $5/month for a six-month membership, it’s one of the most affordable choices out there.
- Attractive interface
- Free version works great
- Not suited to women who don’t want to message first
- Can lose matches if you don’t check the app daily, which may not be ideal for busy moms
Bumble sets itself apart from other apps because it requires women who have matched with men to send the first message. If you don’t do so within 24 hours, the match disappears. Women who match with women are obviously not bound by the same rule, but one of them must also send a message within 24 hours or else lose the match.
Bumble is therefore great for single moms who don’t have time to sit around waiting to see if their match will message them or not—it puts all the power in their hands. Since you get talking quicker, you can also get to the meeting up stage quicker, so you won’t end up wasting time on matches that aren’t going anywhere.
You can pay to unlock more features on Bumble, but the free version does everything you need. Bumble currently boasts a 4.2/5 rating on the App Store, which is based on over a million reviews. One reviewer says “I completely loved this app…and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something serious”.
- The most popular dating app in the world
- Easy to use
- Requires very little set up
- A lot of time wasters & anonymous profiles
No dating app round-up is complete without an obligatory mention of Tinder. While it’s by no means targeted at single moms, don’t count it out. Tinder has millions of active users and is incredibly popular. If you’re not ready to find a step-parent for your kid and are just looking to dip a toe into the dating waters, then you can’t go wrong with Tinder. The free version does everything you need, although you can pay to upgrade if you’re so inclined. This will set you back between $10 and $40 a month, or less if you lock yourself into a longer contract.
- You know you’re on the same page as your matches about religion
- Large number of users
- Site can be a bit glitchy
Christian Mingle boasts over 15 million singles who are looking for a relationship where Christian values are central. If you’re a mom raising your kids in the Christian faith, it might be extra important for you that your potential partner also shares your worldview and religion.
In order to message people you’re interested in on the site, you must pay for a subscription. These range in price from around $42/month down to $20/month if you commit for half a year. Reviews note that Christian Mingle is by far the most popular site for Christians looking for love, and that it attracts people who are serious about finding a proper relationship.
- Encourages real-life meetups
- Free version works great
- Limited amount of matches per day
- Skews toward a younger crowd
Coffee Meets Bagel is a dating app for those who are looking for something meaningful. Every day the app will send you a few “bagels” (matches) who it thinks you’ll get on with. If you both like each other, then you’ll be able to chat, helped along by the app’s handy prompts. After a week, the chat will expire, so you’re encouraged to quickly set up a meeting. “One of the most important online dating tips is to not chat back-and-forth for too long; you want to get off the apps and meet in person to see if there’s actual chemistry. People need to be dating, not making penpals!” says therapist and dating coach Sara Tick, LMFT.
This app really suits go-getter moms who are looking to forge real-life connections with people who are serious about finding love. Reviews note that CMB is great because it has a simple interface and premise, and it isn’t as frenzied as the swipe-heavy apps like Tinder. The free version is more than adequate, but you can pay $35/month if you want to be able to unlock more of the features such as read receipts and profile boosts.
- Designed specifically for single parents
- Attractive interface
- Newer on the market, meaning fewer users (for now)
From the people who bought you Match.com comes Stir, a dating app created especially for single parents. Stir boasts a handy feature called Stir Time which allows parents to input the days that they’re most available, allowing busy parents the option to match with someone whose schedule aligns with theirs. Stir is currently in its infancy and therefore suffers from the usual dating app teething problems such as a lack of active users, a glitchy filtering system, and a pricey subscription model ($90 for 3 months). However, it does have a glossy interface and a parent company that knows a thing or two about online dating, so there’s definite hope on the horizon for Stir.
Tips for dating as a single mom.
Keep talk about your kids brief.
In the beginning, you can talk about your kids, but keep it short and make sure that you both are talking more about each other, or about non-kid topics, say Zrenchik. “It can be too easy to talk about kids, because it is such a huge part of your life. But, then your date is learning more about your kids than you.” Finding the right balance is key.
But, don’t apologize or make excuses for having kids.
“Somehow, many single parents have gotten the idea that having kids is a flaw they need to apologize for or make excuses for. You do not have to be sorry or make excuses for being a parent,” says Moore. If the person sitting across from you is your ideal partner, then they will wholeheartedly embrace every aspect of you, including your children.
Keep first dates easy and in accessible locations.
For your first date, you want to see if this person meets your expectations, if there’s any vibe, and whether you might want another date. So keep them easy and don’t make them too complex. “You can opt for a cup of coffee (or tea or a smoothie). Find a cafe close to work or home and use that for all your first dates. That way, you never have to think about where you’re going,” suggests Moore. “By keeping it to a cup of coffee, you also give yourself an easy out if it’s not going well.”
Things can be too good to be true.
“If someone seems perfect very quickly after meeting them, either they likely have some issues or you do,” warns Zrenchik. Of course, the goal is to foster connection and fall in love, but this takes time and experience and cannot be rushed. When people run too quickly into a serious and committed relationship, they risk mistaking passion for companionship. Slow down, listen to your gut, and follow it, he advises. This is especially important for the sake of your children, who shouldn’t be rushed into new family constellations.
You might face some judgment as a single mom on the apps, whether from your matches or from your friends and family around you. But as Moore explains, “Judgment doesn’t deserve even the slightest acknowledgment. If someone announces their judgmental opinion to you, just change the subject. Do that every time they bring it up, and eventually, they’ll get the hint.”
However, she says, if you feel that someone’s words are less judgmental and more concerned, you can let them know you appreciate that concern, but you’re fine. You know yourself best, and you deserve to prioritize yourself once in a while!
What is the best dating site for single moms?
The best dating sites for single moms depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to meet other single parents, either SingleParentMeet and Stir would be a great option for you. Those looking for a serious relationship should try out eharmony, OkCupid, or Match.com.
Is there a dating site for single moms?
A few dating sites are specifically designed for single parents, including SingleParentMeet and Stir. As mentioned, 59% of Match users are also single parents.
Where do single moms meet men?
While there are plenty of ways (and places!) to meet a potential partner, dating apps are a great option for parents with a busy schedule, as they allow you to meet eligible singles in a way that works around their schedule.
Whatever you’re searching for as a single mom, dating apps can be a great way to find it. All you need to do is make sure you’re open and upfront about what you’re looking for and create a profile that is an authentic but flattering portrayal of yourself. Different people will find that different apps work best for them, so don’t be afraid to try a few before settling on the one that best matches your vibe.