There's a new dating destination for single parents looking for love. March 21— aka National Single Parent Day — marks the launch of Stir, a new dating app that's designed to make it easier to meet like-minded folks who don't see kids as a dealbreaker and maybe even fulfill those Brady Bunch-style blended family fantasies.
Created by Match, a division of Match Group whose dating properties also include Hinge and Tinder, Stir is meant to be a safe space for parents who might otherwise face stigma or get the runaround on mainstream apps. And in the spirit of not wasting time — an undeniable luxury for anyone whose date-night prep includes arranging a babysitter — the app includes a "Stir Time" scheduling feature that allows members to align their own blocked-out "me time" windows with their matches. And in contrast with other apps, members can clarify more about their parenting status and custody set-up by noting if their kids live at home with them all, part or none of the time. Members can also share their views on having more kids down the road and how long they'd wait before introducing a new romantic interest to their little ones. Strictly speaking, one doesn't need to be a parent to join, so long as they're "open to kids."
But for Crystal King, an Orlando, Fla.-based single mom by choice, dating online has previously meant using filters to weed out men who don't already have kids.
"As a parent, I am only looking for men who are fathers," the Amazing Baby app founder tells Yahoo Life. "At 40, I'm not interested in giving birth to any more children, so a man who is 'open to more children' or 'wants more children' is a hard NO for me."
That said, not every dad is in the same frame of mind. King, whose own kids are just 1 and 4 years old, has previously hit it off with single dads with older children who saw their diaper duty days as being long behind them. "None of them wanted to start parenting all over again with small children," she says. And some single parents may prefer to avoid the challenges of starting a relationship with someone who has their own brood, wary of the complications that can come with merging families (and exes) or have differing parenting styles.
But as a busy mom, King does appreciate the efficiency of online dating, relying on filters and her "gut reaction" to make a judgment call about a potential match.
Though she admits feeling "a bit queasy" while trying to navigate the online dating waters as a single mom with two young girls, Angela Marie Christian also recognized the appeal of using apps to widen the dating pool without leaving the house, explaining, "I just didn't have the energy to go out to bars or events." But the 41-year-old CEO experienced mixed success finding someone special in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Most single men without children did not want to date a woman with two children," Christian tells Yahoo Life. "The men were like Peter Pan: never wanting to grow up, surprising you on the date that they prefer open relationships or that they'll be moving to Europe for a month... It was a sea of men who basically just wanted to get lucky."
Like King, she narrowed her focus to single dads, but encountered the opposite issue: They were "ready to move very quickly," Christian says. "They wanted to meet each other's kids before date 3, they wanted to make plans into the future ... it felt a bit rushed."
In the end, she left the apps and wound up meeting her new husband through alternative, also non-traditional means: social media.
With a survey of 1,494 Stir members finding that 20 percent have been ghosted after revealing they had kids on a dating app, it stands to reason that building a dating pool primarily filled with fellow parents could put members on a more level playing field — or at least help them find some common ground and a spark worth booking a babysitter for.
Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.