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Match launches a new dating app for single parents

Stir claims to eliminate challenges single parents encounter on other apps, like the stigma and scheduling obstacles that can come with having kids.

Match launches a new dating app for single parents

For Houston single mother Jacki Maggard, 32, making time for a love life is difficult. “Trying to find time to do things for me is very rare, and very hard,” she says, given the pressures of her job as a police dispatcher for Rice University, and taking care of her 9-year-old son. When she does get a chance to talk to potential connections on dating apps, mentioning that she’s a single parent tends to scare them off. “They kind of disappear,” she says.

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Maggard’s experience is typical of single parents on popular dating apps, where single parenthood status is often a deal breaker for prospective partners. Single parents may also find scheduling dates hard as they juggle all of their commitments. That’s according to Match Group—the company that owns many of the most popular dating apps, including Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, and Match.com. Responding to these challenges, and seeing a surge in single parents on the apps during the pandemic, Match created a new app just for single parents called Stir, which launches March 21, National Single Parent Day.

“Single parents can often feel like outliers, and they are oftentimes overlooked on mainstream dating apps,” Dinh Thi Bui, Match’s vice president of new verticals, wrote in an email to Fast Company. According to internal data, 54% of single parents have been ghosted after a first date, and 20% after a connection learned that they had kids. Only 27% of singles without kids are seeking people with kids, per the company.

And in the U.S., which has the highest rate of one-parent households in the world at an estimated 10.5 million, demand for better matches is increasing. Match noticed growth in interest during the pandemic, when single-parent app subscribers jumped by double digits in July 2020 over the previous year. When asked how they’d spend two extra hours in their week, 45% of people in a survey of 1,494 single parents said they’d want to use it to date. “When I do [have the time], I really want to take that time to develop a relationship with another person,” says Maggard (who was introduced to us through Match).

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Maggard prefers to date other single parents because they understand what it’s like to date with a distinctive set of responsibilities. Stir offers that comfort. After seeing it advertised on TikTok when the app soft-launched last fall, Maggard registered; she says she much prefers it to other apps she’s tried.

When users log onto the app, they see a roster of people nearby who have logged similar interests. Unlike on Tinder, Stir users don’t have to match with each other to chat, making the experience more similar to sites like OkCupid. One standout difference is a unique feature called Stir Time, where parents can publish the dates and times they’re available on a virtual calendar and sync them up with potential love interests.

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While Match is mainly targeting users ages 25 to 45 on Stir, the app’s focus is more broadly on a “life stage” rather than an age group, Bui says. Match has made apps for very specific audiences before, including BLK and Chispa, which cater to Black and Latino daters, respectively. “We see Stir as another opportunity to serve an often overlooked community,” he says. They’ll be measuring its success by monitoring conversation and connection metrics, and collecting feedback.

So far, many Stir sign-ons have also stayed with the mainstream apps. “I use them all,” Maggard says. But Stir is now her go-to. Right after downloading it, she met someone and went on a couple of dates. “It was a great experience, and made me want to stick around with Stir,” she says. She’s currently chatting with someone else whom she hopes to meet soon.

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