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LOST LOOKING FOR LOVE ONLINE? HERE’S HOW TO NAVIGATE THE DATING WEBSITES

Given the size and scope of Cyberspace (let alone the glut of dating sites that live in it), it is no wonder we get lost looking for love online.

But surfing for that special someone doesn’t have to be a drag on your time or money, especially since there rarely seems to be enough of either to begin with.  You just need a little guidance to skillfully navigate the World Wide Web dating scene so that you know when you’re getting into.

LADIES CHOICE

We love the recent emergence of dating sites that leave it up to women – and only women – to make the first move. Not only does it give us control, but it helps keep the creeps at bay, too.

Bumble boasts it is “changing the rules of the game” with its approach online introductions, which starts with Bumble showing you the people who meet your criteria. If you both agree to connect (all it takes is swiping right), it’s up to the female user to make the first move within 24 hours or that connection disappears forever. Either person interested in same-sex connections can start the conversation. The app is free.

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Wyldfire is another dating network designed for cautious women, primarily by allowing men to join by invitation only. Each female member is allowed to invite three men to be part of the site.  Men can request membership, but need to be approved by one of Wildfire’s female users before they can participate. Users have to set up their accounts through Facebook to make sure they are whom they say.

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THE CLASSICS

Who doesn’t know a couple that met through Match.com? With roughly 35 million monthly users, Match.com is the most popular dating site out there, and has been the standard for people looking for long-term relationships for much of the two decades since its launch. The site is subscription-based, but you have to sign in for free before it will give you pricing options.

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EHarmony is another extremely popular subscription-based dating service. The site targets mainstream users – i.e. heterosexuals looking for long-term relationships. The site does all the matching for you, based on complex analysis of its members. In turn, signing up for eHarmony takes a relatively long time. There are more than 400 questions to answer.

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OKCupid, which is owned by Match.com, is a favorite of the sites you can use for free. Fans say the site can be extremely accurate when finding matches, so long as users are honest. It’s also easy to navigate. With roughly 10 million unique monthly users, OKCupid is not the largest of the free sites. That honor goes to Plenty of Fish, which claims to enroll 50,000 new singles per day.

NICHE SITES

Looking for a fellow Star Trek fan, a sea captain or a guy with a beard? Chances are there’s a dating site dedicated to exactly the kind of partner you’re looking for.

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But because there are as many niche-dating sites as there are, well, niches, our list includes the sites aimed at some of our bigger demographic groups.  They are:

Ourtime.com is among the largest dating sites for singles 50-plus. “We also recognize that what people want in their 50s, 60s and beyond is often very different from what they wanted in their 30s and 40s, let alone their 20s,” the site says. “

Black People Meet is the most popular dating site for African Americans to meet. And you can narrow that niche down even further with Senior Black People Meet.

As its name suggests, Christian Mingle is designed as a place where Christians can connect. J Date serves the same purpose for Jewish men and women, although the JSwipe, the relatively new Jewish dating app, is quickly gaining steam.

And let’s not forget that city dwellers aren’t the only people looking for love. Farmers Only  is for our friends further afield.

This article was written by Diane Marszalek for The Daily Clutch.