Plenty of Fish, the popular free dating site, has been used mostly for hook-ups. But can it rebuild its image?


Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 6.56.22 PMThis past week, Plenty of Fish announced that it would eliminate the option of “Intimate Encounters” on its online dating platform. The reason? According to founder Markus Frind, he was receiving too many complaints from female users of the site who were getting harassing messages from men. He wants to refocus the site back to its original strategy: helping people find real relationships, not hook-ups.


In a message to users, he shared that out of the site’s 3.3 million members, only 6,041 are women looking for no-strings-attached trysts. In addition, he said that “the ones with hot pictures are mostly men pretending to be women.”


This was a bold admission for the founder of such a successful online dating site (the site is free for users, but pulls in a significant amount of money each year in ad revenue).


Mr Frind said in his statement: “When I created POF, I wanted it to be all about finding relationships with the right person. For the first seven years, this worked really well, I got the site to 10 million users without any employees and PoF was generating a ton of relationships.”


But Frind said he would now be making changes and eliminating the Intimate Encounters option, adding: “Intimate Encounters on POF can be summed up as a bunch of horny men talking to a bunch of horny men pretending to be women.”


Other changes include putting limits on age gaps. Those members who are more than fourteen years apart are not allowed to message each other. According to Frind: “There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact 18-year-old women. The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hook-ups.”


I’m curious to see if any other online dating sites take similar actions to prevent their sites from being used primarily as hook-up destinations rather than relationship-seeking sites. Many sites guard against things like inappropriate photos and harassing emails. But ultimately, it is up to members of the site to decide how they will use it. And free sites are more susceptible to misuse than paid sites.


There are certain measures that every dater should take before using an online dating site. Plenty of Fish has made it a little easier by rooting out fake and sleazy profiles, but there are still a few things to be aware of:


“Hot” pictures. If the pictures are lude or sexy (showing intimate body parts or making sexual gestures at the camera), likely the profile is fake. If this is what you want, there are plenty of porn sites out there. But if you want a relationship keep this in mind.


Getting virtually intimate. If your date is telling you how much he wants to have sex, or how he’s fallen in love with you just by your emails, beware. If you’re intimidated by his pursuits then tell him thanks, but no thanks.


Meeting in private. If you’re meeting an online date, please meet him in a public place. Don’t let him pick you up and don’t meet him at a private house (his or a friend’s). You don’t know him or what he wants. Meet everyone in a public space first.



Most people are pretty stressed out about dating and why not? Dating can be uncomfortable if you are new to the scene. Even if you are an old pro, dating can be intimidating depending on the circumstances. Even the people who have been single and dating for years struggle when they get a date from hell or an awkward situation to deal with. Every bit of help and advice you can find to make things easier is a good thing. Dating does not have to be a negative experience and you can even make the vast majority of your dates enjoyable. It is all about preparation and execution. Here are five easy dating tips for singles that will help to ensure your dates are usually home runs:

Commit to a better screening process

Perhaps no other single thing can ensure you a better percentage of good dates than this. It is amazing how people go out on dates with people they know nothing about and then complain about how they had a bad time. Not only is this dangerous, it is fairly ignorant. Find out about whom you are dating and get to know them a little for a change. This is one thing that we can take a tip from the old timers with…take some time to get to know someone.

The world today is full of all kinds of dangers that you simply can’t ignore. If you are going to play Russian roulette with your dates, then you will eventually get burned. Instead, you really should give yourself a specific amount of time getting to know people in a laid back setting. You will have much better (and safer) dates if you do.


Consider dating that “friend”


The story is a familiar one; boy meets girl and falls in love but girl thinks of him as only a friend. Eventually, girl realizes that boy is pretty awesome dating material but boy is already spoken for. Pain and tears ensue from there and suddenly Nicholas Sparks writes a movie about it. You really should consider that special friend and make certain they are not more. Those are the best kinds of relationships in the world.


Remember that honesty will keep you stress-free


Occasionally you will have to tell a white lie or two. Everybody knows that and most everybody gets that. The truth is, however, that even the white lies are dangerous. Consider for a moment the following scenario:


You meet a blind date for the first time and they are not your type in every single way. They eventually pick up on that vibe and ask you if you are attracted to them. You say no. They ask why not and you give them the typical, “It’s not you, it’s me” thing. What happens from there?

They walk away thinking they might have a chance down the road. You get unwanted phone calls which leads to more lies and eventual anger and heartbreak from the poor dolt.
Why not simply say, “I am not attracted to men with back hair that is longer than my head hair” or whatever the problem may be? You will have a moment of discomfort but no further contact after that. Which one sounds easier?

Open your mind to the online dating world

Most singles don’t even realize the incredible opportunities to weed out the bad matches that exist online. If you really want to streamline your dating pool and find the best of what is out there for you, then you should investigate online dating in all of its glory. They have online dating sites now for everyone and everything. The best part of this is that you can literally see what people like and dislike. The best online sites actually pair up and suggest dates that have similar characteristics.

In the world of dating, every single bit of help you can get is appreciated. Why not let the online world of dating help you narrow the search a little? The expense is very negligible and you can save a great deal of insanity by ruling out certain sectors of your dating world. Why date a smoker when you don’t have to? Why go out with someone that loves cats when you know that you are allergic? The online world makes things so much easier if you let it work for you. Give it a shot!

Never forget to consider what someone ultimately is looking for


It is amazing to me how people skip right over this vital part of any dating situation. If you want to go out with someone, but you know they are not looking for a relationship, you need to make sure you are looking for that same thing. Many people take a situation like that and assume that they can change the person or make them into what they want. This is a sure-fire way to ruin a date. If you know you are on different paths, move on to someone who shares yours. Changing someone is never a good thing on the road to true happiness.

These are only a few of the many dating tips that are out there to ease your dating stress. If you are dating often, using these tips will help you a great deal. The key is to look a bit closer at who you decide to date and using logic to decide who fits and who does not. Dating does not have to be stressful as we add most of the anxiety to our own situations.

Attractive mother and son.

It is so difficult for single mothers to have the time to get out and meet someone who they can spend their life with.  Many men are not looking for a readymade family and this can cause some heartache for the single mothers who like them.  There are also scary true life stories of men who take over the father role in the household and then are abusive to the children.  This usually happens when the mothers allow the men into their lives without really getting to know them.  One of the issues this article will discuss in length is when it is appropriate to introduce the children to a new man.  With all these issues, it is a wonder any single mothers have the opportunity to find true love and to have a complete family.

Single Mothers Dating Tips

The following is a list of singles dating tips for single mothers that will make this time easier:

  • Finding a Qualified Babysitter
  • Feeling Guilty about Dating
  • Should You Tell Your Children’s Father you are Dating?
  • When to Introduce Your Children to Your New Man
  • Should He Move In and When?
  • When it Does Not Work Out

Finding a Qualified Babysitter

Once you have made the choice to start dating again, you really want to make sure your children are taken care of when you are out on dates.  If your children’s father is in their lives he may already have the children for visitation so you can have your date nights when they are with their father.  If not, then ask a family member or a trusted friend that your children already know and are comfortable with.  This gives you the assurance that the children are alright and you can relax and enjoy your evening out.  Make sure that you do keep your phone on during your date in case there are any issues with the children that you need to be aware of.  You can always ask your sitter to send a text message occasionally to let you know how the kids are doing to keep you updated.

Feeling Guilty

It is perfectly normal for you to experience feelings of guilt when you first start getting back into the dating scene.  You may feel like you are a bad mother for leaving your children or that you should not be out having fun while they are with someone else.  Everyone deserves some time for themselves including single mothers so learn to allow you to have that without feeling guilty.  You will find that it does get easier with time and that you are a much happier person and a better mother when get the opportunities to dress up and let yourself go once in a while.  At the end of the day it does your children good to interact with others besides you and if you trust your babysitter you know the kids are perfectly fine while you are out.

Should You Tell Your Children’s Father you are Dating?

A big issue for many single mothers is how their ex’s feel about them seeing another man.  This can be a touchy subject without a cut and dry answer.  Telling him about your dating depends on how your relationship is at the moment.  Does he still care about you?  Does he want to get back together with you or has he moved on?  If he still has feelings for you then you should not tell him you are dating until you are in a relationship that you know will be a lasting one.  If he is seeing other ladies and has no romantic interest in you anymore then certainly you can tell him your intentions.  He may even be willing to spend more time with the children in order to allow you some extra nights out.  This would be the ideal situation but as stated, this is truly a judgment call on your part.

When to Introduce Your Children to Your New Man

This is another huge issue for single mothers who want to get back into the dating scene, when your new man should meet your children.  You should never allow a man who you have only dated a couple of times to meet your children.  There should be a relationship established over a long period of time and one that you know is going somewhere that would constitute a commitment from both of you.  Causal dates should never be brought to your home unless the children are not going to be there.  The two main reasons for this are one, the man may be a predator who is looking for single mothers with children to exploit and two, your children may become attached and when the relationship ends, they are hurt.

Should He Move In and When?

If you have been with a man for a long period of time and if you love each other and have decided that you want to be in a long term relationship you may be thinking about living together.  Before you move him in, this is the time to introduce him to the children if you have not already.  Watch how he interacts with the children and how they respond to him.  If all seems well then it is perfectly normal to have him move in and to share your lives together.  Many may feel that marriage should come before this point but that is up to you and your own moral code.  Surely if you marry a man he would be living with you and children.

When it Does Not Work Out

So you met a great man and you fell in love, spent a good amount of time dating and he has met the children.  Then, for whatever reason, the relationship ends and you are left single again and you have the added burden of telling your children.  This can be a difficult time but if you are supportive and understanding of your children’s need to mourn the loss of your relationship, it can actually help you through the grieving process as well.  Allow your children to speak about the good times and let them know that they were not at fault in the break up.  Many times children feel that they did something wrong and that is why the father figure they loved went away.


It is never easy being a single parent and dating may seem light years away to you now but there may come a time when you want to put yourself out there again.  If you take these tips and use them when you decide to join a few singles dating sites and start gradually dating again then you can be assured of a smoother experience.  While this won’t help you to not get hurt, it can help your children from becoming attached to a person who is not staying in their life long term.  Your children are the most important part of the equation so you need to make sure that their safety comes first by having a good babysitter and by not introducing the children to your dates too soon.  And please remember that you are entitled to some happiness and joy in your single life and you do deserve to have some time that is devoted to just pleasing you, but do keep the password to the dating website safe, and your computer locked up 🙂