How do I find the best online dating websites?

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Answered by: Cheri, An Expert in the Internet Dating Category
Let's face it: you can do everything online these days--including finding the love of your life! When it comes to finding love, being open and willing to accept love where it finds you is essential. Many people have turned to online dating as a way to meet love interests. Whether you are just looking to make a new friend or to meet your potential wife or husband, many are finding loving, meaningful relationships through online dating websites.The internet is full of online dating websites geared toward helping like-minded people connect. Finding a dating website online is as simple as typing "online dating websites” into your search engine of choice -- numerous sites should come up for your perusal! But this is where things get a bit trickier. With all the choices available, how does one go about selecting the best one? In my online dating lifetime, I’ve learned that that there are three key aspects to consider when choosing an online dating website: specialized vs. general, cost, and success rates.

Some online dating websites specialize in connecting people of a specific race, religion, sexual orientation, and/or location. For example, if you are Christian who wants to meet other Christians, websites such as Christianpeoplemeet.com might be for you. African-Americans looking to meet other African-Americans may check out Blackpeoplemeet.com. If these types of factors are important to you, simply modify your search and include keywords such as “Christian” dating websites or “Black” dating websites to narrow down your options. On the flip side, there are websites that more general in nature, like Match.com, POF.com (Plenty of Fish) or EHarmony.com. These sites do not specialize in connecting people of a specific race or religion per se, but rather let you set search criteria based on various factors to narrow down what you are looking for that way.Once you decide on the type of site that interests you, it’s time to consider other factor such as costs and success rates. Many sites will let you join and browse for free, but limit certain functions, such as communicating directly with your potential matches to those members who pay for a membership. I’ve paid prices ranging from 14.99 to 30.00 for one month to test out different sites. Most sites offer varying pricing options.

While browsing the site for free, do a search and see what type of singles come up in your area. Read and analyze profiles. Try to get a feel for the atmosphere of the site and decipher if the people there are looking for serious relationships or if the site seems geared more toward casually “hooking up.” Some sites ask in-depth questions of members to really get a sense of what each person values in a relationship when matching up potential mates. It may also be helpful to read reviews, testimonials, and success stories.

Once you have narrowed down your options, join the site (a few sites), jump in and get your feet wet! Experience is the best teacher. Almost everyone I know has tried or considered trying online dating. Still, I come across a few who are still surprised by the fact that people meet online and actually develop meaningful, lasting relationships. And after talking further with these people, I’ve found that their perception stems from lack of knowledge about online dating and fear of the unknown. Love can be found anywhere; it’s a matter of having an open-mind, an open-heart, and the willingness to put yourself out there!

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