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Navigating the world of online dating can feel like stepping into a game with an unspoken set of rules and conventions - that aren't written down anywhere!
Here are all the most important do's and don'ts to help you get involved with Christian dating like a pro.
It's tempting, we know, to 'not mention it' or to have a wild time flirting online, without the intention of meeting up or dating anybody outside of your faith. The problem here is that it is often detrimental to your dating journey, and is a quick way to feel that you haven't respected your faith.
Your faith is important to you and will be valuable to anybody special enough to share it with.
Never feel pressured into being anybody or anything you are not!
Some Christians avoid social media and believe that online dating is a gateway into abandoning your beliefs and principles. This concept is out of date and doesn't reflect the maturity and morals of today's young people who are more than capable of holding their own, and respecting their faith, amongst their peers.
If you allow yourself to feel excluded or unwelcome, this is bound to impact your confidence; and, in fact, the opposite is true!
Christian dating is friendly, welcoming and inclusive, and a brilliant place to meet like-minded people and take steps towards finding your future happiness.
So you're looking for a partner, and would like to date, get married, and have four kids. Perfect! Or - you're looking to chat online, not ready to start dating yet, and would like to meet people who share your faith - also perfect!
It's vital, to be honest with yourself first about what you want, what you can offer, and where you want to go with any fledging new relationships that start to appear.
You can think about prioritising the characteristics and lifestyle attributes that your ideal partner has. Nobody's perfect, so by setting these in order of importance, you avoid rejecting people who might be your ideal puzzle piece while setting yourself a clear reminder of what a relationship partner needs to have to match with you.
Many of the most beautiful relationships expand from trusting friendships into something more romantic. When you join an online dating site, of course, you're looking for love and affection - but don't let that get in the way of new friendships that cross your path.
When you spend time online, chatting, and taking part in chat rooms and discussions, it's very likely that you'll meet plenty of other Christian singles.
Take the time to speak to people you aren't romantically interested in. You may make a whole new group of friends and have the opportunity to learn from other's experiences - and when you have a special friend, there is no telling where that relationship might take an unexpected turn in the future.
You've met the man of your dreams who is 99.99% perfect - but he isn't Christian, and doesn't share your beliefs! What to do?
Unfortunately, the answer is this: you have to walk away and find somebody who does.
There are no two ways around it; you cannot change people, and should never put yourself in the position of entering into a relationship under any false pretence. If somebody would like to change for you or to take the time to learn about your faith, then that is a great place to start a journey of learning together.
If they aren't interested; they aren't perfect, no matter what first appearances might say.
One of the common questions from young single Christians - do I need to dress a certain way when going on a first date, so I don't give the 'wrong' impression?
The answer is - dress however makes you happy! Everybody has the joy of freedom of self-expression, and your faith is something you carry in your heart everywhere you go - regardless of whether you're wearing your most daring dress or most demure pair of jeans!
You don't need to create an impression; simply be yourself, and everything else will fall into place.
Some people have oodles of confidence and can start chatting about the most intimate topics with somebody they met online five minutes ago!
Most of us, though, need a little space to feel safe and secure in chatting and will need to take our time to build up a new relationship to the level where we feel comfortable talking about our faith and personal life.
That is absolutely fine, and no matter whether you or a prospective date, feel the need to put the brakes on, it is never a problem to share your feelings and say so.
The right person will go at your pace, and you'll get to know more about each other in a way that everyone feels happy and confident in. Never, ever, feel pressured to take a relationship to the next level - your time, and your confidence, are yours and yours alone.
Our boundaries are in place for a reason; to protect what we hold dear and to keep us safe. Whether you've met someone extraordinary and are desperate to impress them, or are worried about all your friends being married and being 'left behind' - look after those boundaries until you feel like you're in the right place to take them down.It's always wise to be cautious when meeting people online, through any kind of site, so don't rush to talk about specific topics, never share information you feel uneasy about, and never disclose financial information online - for ANY reason!