Online dating used to be a bit of a social taboo. Anyone signing up to a dating site would be seen as a little sad or even desperate. But times change and nowadays many couples say that they have actually met their respective partners online, on some kind of dating medium or social network.
For a certain generation however, the taboo of finding love online still remains. Single parents, who are on their own through divorce, separation or the passing of their loved one, do not necessarily look to the internet as a source of potential love interest. But now their more technologically minded children can help them find love, as a new dating website – mylovelyparent.com, tackles the problems single parents face when searching for Mr or Ms Right.
Launched last month by Matt Connolly, 35, he told the MailOnline that the idea for a dating website specifically for single parents came to him after he wanted to help his own mother find love.
He explained to MailOnline: “The inspiration for the website came from my mum – a very lovely lady in her 60s, who has been single for too long. Early last year she asked me if I could help ‘find her knight in shining armour’. I looked at a number of different online dating sites and couldn’t find any that I wanted to recommend to her. So I decided to set up www.myLovelyParent.com.’
Matt said that his website is fun and easy to use but also safe, as all profiles are checked and vetted before going online. The profiles are only visible to other members and personal email addresses are not shared. The profiles are initially set up by a relative of the parent, so that could be a son or daughter, niece or nephew.
Then the parent will typically get a message asking them if they want to join, so nothing is done without the parents consent. The website – which is free for the first three months – allows the parent to then expand on their profile, and they can then use it to meet like-minded people.
And the great thing about the site is that the children can still have an input into recommending a potential date for their mum or dad.
Divorced Nick Cutts, 61, asked her daughter to create a profile for her on the website after hearing about it on the radio. She said: “My generation were brought up to think that the man should make the first move but I suspect if I said that to my daughters they would laugh at me! Times have changed.”
The mother-of-four from Cornwall said: “I have been single for 18 years – exactly the same length of time that I was married. When I heard about Matt’s site I thought it sounded like a good idea so I rang my youngest daughter, Natasha, and told her about it. She immediately agreed and wrote my profile.”
Nick said she had tried a well-known dating site before but it found it too ‘big and impersonal’.
She said she liked the fact members on MyLovelyParent were signed up by their children as it shows they must have strong family ties – something she looks for in a companion.
She explains: “The main appeal of myLovelyParent.com is the endorsement of a son or daughter. From a female perspective, if a guy has such a good relationship with an offspring that they are prepared to write something for the site, then that says something about him – and his relationship with his child.”
She added that she feels more comfortable using the site knowing it is made up of people a similar age to her who may have also been through a divorce. Nick hasn’t gone on any dates yet but said signing up is the first step in being more proactive about her love life.
“You are not going to find someone by sitting at home,” she said. “I wouldn’t necessarily go for love. An outdated concept, in my view, is the value of companionship. After 18 years on my own (albeit working and bringing up children) I am fairly sure I wouldn’t want to co-habit but it would be lovely to have someone to share things with. That is what I believe my kids want for me and that is what I believe myLovelyParent.com is likely to provide.”
The website is currently looking to boost their male membership and so have launched the ‘Older Gent Academy’. Each father signed up will get free membership ‘for as long as they need to meet that someone special’.
Matt said the Academy is designed to help older men who may be struggling in the minefield that is the modern world of dating.
He said: “Older dads can often find it difficult to form new relationships in later life. Many can become very set in their ways and lose the confidence and courage to meet new people. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The Academy gives single dads the chance of a new look, new skills and a new start.”
For more information visit mylovelyparent.com and mylovelyparent.com/academy or check out their Facebook page.