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Dating Sites

Learn about the various dating sites available on the Web.

The internet might turn up the perfect partner. [© Shutterstock, 2010]
© Shutterstock, 2010
The internet might turn up the perfect partner.

Dating sites help create connections between single individuals looking for romantic opportunities. To help promote safety, most dating sites allow individuals to contact each other through an anonymous e-mail system. With a membership at an online dating site, people can create a profile with pictures, interesting facts about their lives or a list of their preferences for the type of person they want to date. Many types of dating sites are available, such as basic U.S.-based adult sites, single parent sites, religion-based dating sites and alternative dating sites. It may help to consult reviews or Web sites such as the 100 Best Dating Sites Guide, which signs up individuals for memberships and tests out the services before posting reviews.

American Adult Dating Sites

Approximately 20 million people visit online dating sites each month, according to estimates from Online Dating Magazine. While most online dating sites feature residents of the United States, some sites, like InternationalCupid.com, work on an international basis. Other sites, like Dating in London, focus on a specific geographic area outside the United States.

In the United States, Match.com, eHarmony and Perfect Match are three of the leading providers for online dating. When looking for dating sites, consider which sites offer free membership. Unless a company offers a money-back guarantee, avoid paying for a membership without a free trial period. Free membership sites tend to have thousands of members, so to cut down on potential prospects, it is also a good idea to look for Web sites that offer a personality or compatibility match.

Single Parent Dating Sites

Often when a single parent decides to use dating sites, it can be more comfortable to use one tailored to the needs of single parents. Single parent dating sites generally work to connect other single parents looking for a relationship. Profile information on these sites might include photos and brief bios of children along with the normal bio information for the person seeking the relationship. While it may seem like there is less risk involved in an online relationship, a person can experience the same difficulties he or she would with face-to-face dating. In addition, many single parents do not necessarily want to find someone who also has kids.

Religion-Based Dating Sites

For many people, religious beliefs are important when it comes to finding the right person. There are Web sites devoted to specific types of religions, as well as those that allow members of all religions.

While these sites aim to connect people with similar religious viewpoints, many online daters experience the same problems as daters that use non-religious Web sites. Because members should have similar morals and ethics, many Christian dating sites, for example, do not perform background checks on the members. In addition, many of these sites feature a disclaimer that online daters must be responsible for determining whether or not a person is trustworthy.

Alternative Dating Sites

Whether a person has a bad experience with one site or lives an alternative lifestyle, niche-dating sites that cater to specific needs allow many online daters the opportunity to meet someone special. The most popular alternative dating sites include those based on sexual preference, illness-based dating sites and sites for people who want multiple relationships. If there is a quality that prevents a person from joining mainstream dating sites, there is a good chance someone developed a site specifically for that quality.

Homosexual dating sites include those such as Gay.com and PrideDating.com. Many of these Web sites offer membership options for people not necessarily interested in dating, but who would still like the support of others living similar lifestyles. Some alternative Web sites go a step further than mainstream sites by allowing people to arrange to meet other site members during group vacations. There are also dating sites dedicated to transvestite dating, bisexual dating and other alternative relationships.

Web sites that host dating services for those suffering particular illnesses typically work to bring people with similar ailments together. Web sites like PositiveSingles aim to bring HIV-positive members together. EDGE Publications reports that one alternative dating site for HIV-positive members sees an average of 100,000 unique hits per month.

Whether seeking a long-term relationship or merely a companion with a similar lifestyle, online dating sites can help make it easier for people to connect with others.

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