Plenty of Fish POF changes: Age Restrictions +or- 14 years AND intimate encounters

Discussion in 'Online Dating' started by Incognito, May 22, 2013.

  1. Incognito New Member

    What are your thoughts on this mass email Markus sent to all the users on POF?

    What do you think of these changes?



    5/20/2013 2:50:50 PM
    My name is Markus and I created POF/Plentyoffish. When I created POF, I wanted it to be all about finding relationships with the right person. For the first 7 years this worked really well, I got the site to 10 million users without any employees people and POF was generating a ton of relationships. Around 3 years ago, everyone started using the website via mobile phones. Today about 70% of POF use is via a mobile phone and unfortunately about 2% of men started to use POF as more of a hookup site mostly due the the casual nature of cell phone use.

    In sticking with my vision that POF is all about Relationships, I'm going to make a bunch of changes to ensure it stays a relationship-focused site.

    1. Any first contact between users that contains sexual references will not be sent. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will be deleted without warning. This rule has actually been in effect since last month and it's made the site so much better.

    2. You can only contact people +/- 14 years of your age. There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old women. The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hookups. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will get deleted.

    3. Intimate Encounters will go away in the next few months. There are 3.3 Million people who use the site every day, of those there are only 6,041 single women looking for Intimate Encounters. Of those 6,041 women, the ones with hot pictures are mostly men pretending to be women. 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.

    In short the vast majority of people will not be impacted. This is because the vast majority of people are not going around spamming women saying "let's have sex tonight". I can't change POF alone, I need your help to get the word out there that POF is all about relationships!

    Markus
  2. thebugisback Well-Known Member

    When I got that email my first thought was along the line of "about time he did something". Then I realized I might not be able to chat with other people from the forums because of the age restriction. Now I'm not so crazy about it.

    As for the Intimate Encounters I actually like that there is a way on POF to restrict people that have emailed for IE or had their profile set for IE. I admit that using the IE filter greatly reduced the email in my in box. I really don't care if some random guy had previously contacted people for IE, but apparently many of the guys that would do this also were the kind that would send out unsolicited sexual email. What will become of me when IE is removed? LOL. (probably nothing now that I am well over 50)
  3. drop_em Member

    POF is designed to prevent people from being in relationships. Every one of its (mis-) features is a means of exclusion, rather than inclusion. Who the hell wants a dating site that restricts you from contacting whomever you wish to contact? Just because Markus thinks that +/- 14 years is too a limit for a ``real'' relationship doesn't mean everyone shares his quaint notion. All that will do is encourage people to lie about their ages more than they already do. Markus may know how to be a programming jockey, but he knows little to nothing about social interactions or human nature. The reason it worked well in the beginning is that he wasn't so anal about imposing his own preconceptions on other perople's relationships and hadn't gotten around to screwing it up by doing so.
  4. Akela Admin

    A couple of POF members I know in RL are ecstatic about the changes. No more 60+ year old men emailing 30 something gals, etc.

    On the other hand, the most active POF "serial dater" I know claims to be looking for a relationship. So... I'd say this is a move in the right direction, but it will take a bit more effort to get where Markus is aiming to go simply because people lie. I think he is on the right track, though.
  5. drop_em Member

    Markus is a programming geek and because of that he doesn't understand that there is no technological fix for a social problem. Technology has never solved a social problem and it never will.
  6. Mike Andrews New Member

    This is done as a marketing ploy... But part of the popularity of POF is the fact that's its a little edgy .. people moan but secretly like the edgy side, that's why they stay there and if they can't cope with a few pixels on a screen worded in a slightly different way than their brain can cope with, well POF isn't for them anyway.

    I'd rather POF did not turn into match, a screen full of passport photos full of yawn-inspiring people (I know I'm there too! hehe).

    After being banned for life by putting a side view photo on (lovely one) as my main photo then forgetting and 3 weeks later putting a funny poster (not smutty just funny) for 2 HOURS! I created my profile again with a new email and I messaged my best friend (female) on a first message explaining how a work email I sent from my phone that day said 'c-ck' instead of something else and was banned 'for life' AGAIN ..

    And as for the age thing, I've met plenty of women age 30 & 31 (I'm 46) (ok I've met 4 lol) and 3 of them wanted to see me seriously .. now I feel like a perv!!!
    There's already an option if people want to restrict age. It could even be made default and opt out to give people the choice.

    I've been on POF for 2 years (not a reject honestly .. just not found the right one) and love the programming etc.
    Last edited by Mike Andrews, May 29, 2013
  7. Helen Member

    I think the changes are ill-thought-out and ultimately senseless.

    The first one has also been implemented along with the new ability to flag the individual message as inappropriate. And we already had the capability to block people and report users. Redundant three times. Perhaps worse, it's also blocking friendly messages about things like home crafts projects (I swear I am not making this up). Users don't know what the flagged terms are, and, given the reported results so far, evidently many of them have nothing to do with sex whatsoever. So far, I haven't tripped this filter, but I am sure that I will, and I will have no idea what I said that did it. All I will know is that I didn't, in fact, say anything sexual. All this does, as implemented, is make ordinary communication more difficult, accomplishing the reverse of the stated goal.

    A 50-year-old is a lot more than 14 years older than an 18-year-old. Additionally, the 18-year-old already had the ability to set his/her own restrictions on what age range could contact him/her. If people were having trouble finding the age filter settings, that was what needed to be fixed. Nannying everyone wholesale is a terrible solution to a problem that didn't actually exist. Then, too, in addition to having cut off many people's conversations with those 15 years or so apart whom they wanted to date, it also reduces the chances of making friends there via forums. What do more friends lead to? Potential relationship introductions... it's redundant, it's overbearing and heavy-handed, and it accomplishes the reverse of the stated goal.

    I don't care about Intimate Encounters going away, except, it isn't. Now users who want that are just using other options for what they're seeking, and clarifying in their profiles. The only effective difference is, we can no longer pre-emptively block them from e-mailing us. Again, the opposite of what was intended.
    igorfrankensteen likes this.
  8. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    Plus one to everything Helen said.

    The only thing I've heard which makes sense to me, is that some important potential advertiser told Markus that they would cease having anything to do with POF, because of the I.E. people. Past that, only Markus deciding suddenly to force everyone to bend to his prejudices, fits what he's doing.

    Redundancy and vagueness are common for his ideas of how to go about doing things on POF. I've already been quoted here, in reference to some of the obtuse and repetitive required selections that everyone must choose from to label themselves there. That he used a 32 year gap to explain why he was setting a fourteen year limit, is an excellent example of how he does NOT follow what I think of as logical reasoning, in designing either his rules, or the execution of his desires.

    So far for me, it just prevented me from alerting someone that they were being victimized by some jerk who posted their pic on "POFreaks."

    And I too was glad to see an end to the I.E. class of people, not because I particularly object to their existence, but because again, Markus did an absolutely incompetent job of dealing with them. Setting up huge permanent punishments for initiating contact with them, while simultaneously failing to clearly and ostentatiously label them as I.E.; sloppily INCLUDING I.E. profiles in automated "Matches" and in all searches .

    But as Helen and others have said, there is no way to stop liars from using any dating site, short of the Mafia-type solution.

    Oh well.
  9. Krebby2001 Well-Known Member

    I've said before and I'll say it agin -- programming expertise is not the same as social science expertise. Where the 14 year gap comes from is anyone's guess. Guess, as in, conjecture. If someone is not competent enough, as a member of POF to set their own age restrictions, then I reckon that person does need help from someone like
    Markus who's all too willing to act as a pseudo-scientist and make determinations for them. Garbage in -- Garbage out.

    Good luck with trying to find a match peoples of the world.
    Observer likes this.
  10. Qwertyzac New Member

    I am 48 and I've got a female friend on P.O.FISH who is 32. As soon as this restriction went into place I lost contact with my female friend with whom for some strange reason we forgot to exchange email addresses with. Once that happened I placed a chargeback with POF and close my POF account.

    Even more, I stopped dating online and started going to clubs and meeting people in real life. Not into meet "The Only" because I'm only into friends.

    POF seemed like a place to meet friends, not just love and relationships.
    Last edited by Qwertyzac, Jun 15, 2013
  11. Pat New Member

    I'm 41 and just looking for friends/hangout/chat on POF. I came across a ladies profile today, she was in a town very close to me and also looking for friends/Hangout/chat. She had no age restrictions on her profile and neither do I. The problem is like I said I'm 41 and she happens to be 56(which I'm fine with obviously) I would love to contact her and possibly become friends but the new 14yr +/- thing makes that impossible. Really quite stupid in my opinion since I'm clearly old enough to make my own decisions when it comes to people I want to associate with and so is she.. also as mentioned by others here there are options in the profile setting to restrict people from contacting you if needed.

    The way I see it is that everyone on POF is of an age where they can decide for themselves who they would like to be involved with.....either in a relationship or as a friend..I'm not into hanging out with 18yr olds myself but should definitely be able to contact someone older or younger than me if I so choose. then let them decide to reply or not.

    I could care less about him dropping the IE option for the site.
  12. Pat New Member

    I just wanted to add something that I forgot..If the issue on POF is 50yr old men contacting 18yr old woman he should have also mention 50yr old woman contacting 18 yr old men which I'm sure happens as well. Either way the age restriction should (if at all) only apply when a person of a certain age is contacting another person say 25 or younger(example).

    I think it is unneeded to restrict a 26 yr old from messaging a 40 yr old if they want to or a 30 year old from contacting a 45 year old if they like.
    ...I wonder as well if the paid member have these restrictions!!
  13. Krebby2001 Well-Known Member

    So, POF, as a "free site" is still a money generator for Markus. What a surprise. Still, Supply and Demand will dictate what happens to the site over the long run. However, as Barnum often said, "There's a sucker born every minute." While we're at it, send $1,000 dollar "seed" to me and I'm spend it on helping poor children. After I buy myself a Lamborghini. Bwaaa Haa Haaa!!!!

    At least I'm honest.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. And if you're a Markus supporter, make it Folgers, since that's all you can afford.

    Fair and Balanced.
  14. philippe New Member

    Ironic I could not message my EX on POF!
    BTW I enjoy all those ADs on POF from Russian based dating service scammers.
  15. duncan New Member

    Apparently Marcus doesn't think that 18-year-old women are mature enough to edit their profiles and adjust their mail settings to block messages from men they do not wish to have contact with. But the 14-year age difference doesn't protect them from messages from 32-year-old men. Does he think there aren't any 32-year-old men looking for 18-year-old prey? If 18-year olds aren't mature/intelligent? enough to use a perfectly workable feature on POF, like setting their mail to block certain contacts, he should set the age restriction to 21.

    And, as several people have already pointed out, once you're into middle age a 14-year block on your contacts is too restrictive. A lot of healthy relationships are built upon a wider age difference than 14 years.
  16. philippe New Member

    And why does POF keep showing me photos of women younger than I can contact?
  17. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    ^^^ I can sort of answer that. The number one (and numbers two and three) reason why that appears to be happening, is that POF's software isn't all that well written.

    For one thing, the site will log you off every few seconds, or at least it will "forget" that you are logged on. Therefore, every time you change the page you are looking at, the batch of pictures automatically shown at the top, will revert to default assumptions, which seem to be based upon twenty-something people.

    If, when you see this, you go back to the top of the page and click whatever "sign in " button is there, you will tend to see a shift in the pictures at the top, to people closer to your age.

    Another aspect of this crappy supporting software, is that even when you are logged in and run searches, you will not be able to count on the location or the age limit aspects to work 100%.

    Finally, though the "Big Fish" announced that he was changing the site to stop everyone from talking to people he doesn't think they should, he did so long before he finished writing all the changes that are needed to actually make that happen. He set email blocks up first. He seems to be gradually making other changes as he goes, to make the limits work throughout the site.
    Observer likes this.
  18. Krebby2001 Well-Known Member

    Garbage in, Garbage out. That's been the credo of programmers since time immemorial. Markus, of course, probably didn't go to a good school for programming, or hired Dollar General programmers. The credo still stands. As Barnum used to say, "There's a sucker born every minute." Which would quite describe those who believe in POF, or for that matter, any "matchmaking" internet site. Take your chances. Welcome to Vegas, but at least in Vegas, you have some fun, understanding the term, "We Cheat You Fair."
  19. philippe New Member

    Thanks igorfrankensteen & Krebby2001 excellent information and analysis. Am a former Programmer should have known better guess I went to the wrong school. :D
    Having tried Match and eHarmony before have come to the conclusion that these sites are pretty much the same just use them to say hello and see where it goes offsite. It is just a Vegas crapshoot.
  20. Krebby2001 Well-Known Member

    The programming sucks because the Boolean and analytic logic behind it is warped. You can program anything to a "T" but if the truth table analysis and Boolean is not logical, then it won't matter. Here's a little something from Alice in Wonderland, that we used to share with students improvising GDSS (Generalized Decision Support Systems):
    Alice: Where Should I go?
    Cheshire Cat: That Depends on Where You Want to Go To."
    Alice: "I don't know."
    Cheshire Cat: "Then it doesn't matter where you go."

    If the empirical knowledge behind the programming is shot, everything behind it will crumble. And if science has discovered a way to match people along the lines of romanticism, I haven't come across any such articles or findings (though it's not my field of expertise by any stretch of the imagination).
  21. scott New Member

    Just been wondering why i couldn't contact anyone under 26 and i now have seen the reason.
    Bloody stupid one if you ask me -I actually get on better with people half my age so would prefer the contact with them. A 54 yr old woman just isn't going to interest me the same way as a 24 year old would.
    Shouldn't have changed what wasnt broken.
  22. duncan New Member

    I can't say this for sure, but someone on another site said that the 14-year age limit doesn't apply to the 18 to 22 year olds. You have to be under 30 to message one of them. If Marcus has set special age restrictions for the kiddie crew, then why saddle the rest of us with that 14-year age restriction? Wasn't this all about to keep 50-year old men from messaging 18-year old women? Marcus makes the rules up as he goes along.
  23. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    ^^^Not sure what you are saying there. If you are under thirty, then you are within fourteen years of an 18 year old.

    If you go back and read Markus' actual notice, you'll not see anything in there where he claimed to be going after the youngsters. Rather the opposite, really.

    He didn't explain why he chose 14 as the limit, or why he decided to completely ignore the fact that as people age, the affect and importance of age differences shifts back and forth. My personal GUESS, is that he got mad about something to do with a specific older person chasing a specific youngster, and so decided to set the age limit to get that exact set of people apart, and made it a policy across the board, out of laziness and anger. Just a guess. He clearly doesn't think the way I do, that's all that I am certain of.
    Observer likes this.
  24. duncan New Member

    As I understand it, theoretically, a 32-year old man could message an 18-year old woman, and a 36-year old man could message a 22-year old woman. This is applying the 14-year restriction. But no man over 30 can message the 18 to 22-year olds. So this leaves out the 31 and up guys even if they are within that 14-year limit. He's applying a more strict protection for the 18 to 22 year olds.

    As I said, I can't vouch that all this is true - only what I've heard.
  25. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    Could be. I've also seen a mention in several places, that there are UNPUBLISHED restrictions, which are so, in order to catch people who are trying to sneak around the PUBLISHED ones.

    Anyway, it is what it is, and it is a free site (for most folks). For those who choose to pay, they have the option to leave.
    Akela likes this.
  26. duncan New Member

    Marcus had an interview with Elizabeth Denham on Huffington Post in which he used the word "relationship" ten times. Quoting a part of the article:

    "Another way POF is trying to encourage real relationships is to block communication between men and women who have greater than a 14-year age difference. According to Frind (Marcus), POF generates hundreds of thousands of relationships, and when subscribers leave the site, they let POF know who they left with.

    'We found that virtually none of them were plus or minus 10 to 12 years. Outside of that range, there was a very, very low chance of a relationship,' Frind related. 'And if there is a chance for a relationship, the break-up rate is triple.'"
    In other words Marcus believes a relationship ain't gonna happen outside of that +/- 14-year age range. In his closing statement to members when he first notified them of this age restriction, Marcus said "I need your help to get the word out there that POF is all about relationships".
    Well he's inconsistent. I did a search nationwide for women who were "not seeking a relationship or any kind of commitment" and came up with 600+ profiles. And this was only within the 28-year age span that I'm allowed to search. The full spectrum would turn up thousands of women. If it's all about relationships he should purge those not seeking a relationship.
  27. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    PLEASE don't call for more restrictions, simply because you resent the ones in place so far.
  28. Krebby2001 Well-Known Member

    Type I error: Exclude cases of "false Positives," as when you're willing to exclude criminals in the interest of protecting those who might be innocent.

    Type II error: Include some cases of "False Positives as when you're interested in capturing individuals who might have an attribute, as in treating a patient for a disease that he/she might not have -- better to be safe than sorry.

    I think that's the way it works -- it's been a long time since I've taught stats. Haa Haa!!

    In either case, you're dealing with the fringes of a population, or sample, usually operating at 1 % up to 5% Alpha levels. (You're correct 99 times out of 100 or 5 times out of a hundred).

    So, to me, this says one of two things about POF:

    (1) Either POF has drawn a considerable (outside the norm) number of creeps who prey on younger members; or
    (2) Marcus is an outright Saint, who won't even tolerate the remotest possibility of wrongdoing.

    You be the judge.
  29. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    Well, I think there's a lot of yardage in between those two goal posts. I think Marcus doesn't have very good programmers, AND he has a unique attitude about relationships, AND he is running a mostly free site, hence lots of jerks do sign up, AND not enough women sign up in relation to jerks. As for Sainthood for anyone including Marcus, even if I could vote, I wouldn't.
    Observer likes this.
  30. Observer Well-Known Member

    In my opinion:
    #1 - Not a bad idea. Having (mostly) women bombarded with sex-related messages as an initial message turns many off and away from online dating as I understand it. The devil is in how this will be handled. Clearly saying something like "the outfit in picture #2 looks really sexy" would be a dangerous thing to say.

    #2 - I think this is stupid. Though it's true in most cases, I can think of plenty of situations where the age gap is greater and there's a lasting relationship. One Canadian senator in his 70s is married to a woman in her 20s, for example. And they've been together for longer than many other marriages.

    #3 - GOOD. To me, profiles with 'seeking intimate encounters' were more of a trap/annoyance than anything else because of all the people who checked off "cannot contact me if they have contacted someone seeking intimate encounters". When I was on POF, I would browse profiles and just respond whenever I found something about the woman that was interesting. Many times it was just feedback or commentary. I usually wouldn't pay attention to what they're 'seeking'... because in my experience, half of the time people don't know what the hell they are really seeking.
    I argued on the POF forum that if they're gonna have this, then I should be able to filter out the prudes who have this checked off when searching so I don't get a list of profiles that I can't contact.
    It was an interesting discussion. I had a couple of women basically agreeing that they wouldn't want me contacting them... YET at the same time they still wanted their profiles to show up in my search list... which I pointed out was contradictory/hypocritical.
    It's good to know that this bullshitty aspect of POF won't be around when I decide to get back on the site.
  31. duncan New Member

    I agree, Observer, especially with No. 3. Periodically, I would go browsing within a 50-mile radius just to see what's out there, not paying attention to what they were seeking. I thought I might recognize someone I know, and also I was interested to see how they presented themselves in their profiles.

    I ran across the profile of a woman who said she was looking for an "intimate encounter", yet she said in her mail settings that to message her you could not be looking for an intimate encounter, or even have messaged another user looking for an intimate encounter. I tried to send her a message asking why would she be looking for an intimate encounter, yet didn't want to receive messages from anyone looking for the same thing she was looking for.

    The message was blocked. Then it dawned on me that, in attempting to message her, I was messaging a user looking for an intimate encounter, and she was blocking my message. Now, any attempt to contact other women who have this block in their mail settings doesn't go thru. It's a rap sheet that stays with you.

    If she was one of those horny men trying to contact other horny men, as Marcus has said of the intimate encounters crowd, the guy that was behind that profile was sure using poor bait.
  32. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    Actually, duncan, you would have had to do that several times more with other I.E. women to have been punished. If you read the forums in POF, you would know both that in the bad old days when I.E. was allowed, that to trip the permanent block, you would have to initiate contact to four or five I.E. people, not just one. Also, you would know that the default mail setting for everyone is to block those who have done that.

    And actually, the fact that the person who created that profile left that parameter in place, suggests that they were exactly what Marcus was talking about: a fake, just there to yank chains.

    And the guy who set it up wasn't "using poor bait," if he got you to "bite," unless you think very poorly of yourself.

    So sorry, I have to support the other side in your case. But since the whole I.E. mess has been eliminated now, it really doesn't matter any more.
  33. duncan New Member

    I don't see that being the case at all, igor. Why would a guy set up a fake profile just to yank chains and block messages? Marcus wasn't explicit on what he meant, but I assumed he was talking about horny men using an attractive woman as a front to lure a guy into a message, probably to receive nude pictures of the guy. If he used an unattractive woman the guy wouldn't get any messages. And Marcus said the I.E. horny men were after messages from other guys. If you're looking for messages there's no point in blocking them.

    I saw this very same woman on datehookup after this and I sent her a message explaining what she had done on POF. Obviously she wasn't a front for some horny guy. The message went thru but she never answered.

    As for the forums in POF I never read them. Maybe Marcus lays out a lot of his rules there.
  34. igorfrankensteen Well-Known Member

    I have seen it many many times. There are people in this world who get a kick, a sense of power, from upsetting other people, from getting away with lying to them, you name it.

    There are some who occasionally BRAG about how they posted as a female, and got a bunch of guys to bite and write to them. It makes them feel as though they got one over on guys who might otherwise qualify as competition, even as more attractive than they are.

    Others pretend that they are out to prove that 'women have it easier than men,' because when they put up a female profile with a hot picture they stole from somewhere, they get lots of guys writing to them, but when they post a muddy pic of themselves, the women DON'T line up to worship at their feet.

    You would be amazed, obviously.
    Observer likes this.
  35. betterman Member

    I think a lot of the guys who are making fake profiles pretending to be women aren't doing it for any other reason than to see what types of messages these guys are sending. At least years ago when I made a fake profile those were my intentions. The profile got deleted by POF though because I think some guys who were writing were unhappy I didn't respond to them lol. I didn't respond to anyone, it was strictly for research purposes.
  36. thebugisback Well-Known Member

    So betterman, what did your research reveal?
  37. Observer Well-Known Member

    ^^^ I did the same test Bug.

    My conclusions is that if you're a skinny and short woman, you will get all kinds of guys hitting on you. If you're tall and skinny, you'll still get many guys, just not as many. Being short and fat is substantially worse. And the worst combo is tall and fat.

    Also having a picture is better than no picture

    And I would say women DO have it easier overall since 3/4 of the time, it's men having to think of ways to break the ice.
    Kaya likes this.
  38. badone Well-Known Member

    As we all know what Markus does with his site is what he feels works best.
    Online dating has changed through technology that I cant even keep up with anymore.
    Once upon a time online dating was fun, and the forums were a friendlier place to make lasting connections.

    It is currently my opinion that POF has turned into a pick up site, along with a plethora of similar free sites.
    They have all lost their reliability, and integrity they may have once had. Im shying away from returning.
    I feel the age restriction is a good step towards helping regain some of that site integrity.

    An increase in female membership will be seen when it once again becomes a friendly atmosphere.
    The forums once did help this happen, and the poetry threads did provoke lots of e-mails.
    I met and dated several members that found me there when I first joined.
    The days of quality connections seem to be over, yet I have hope.
    Change takes time, and maybe the integrity I once found will return.
    However it will not be from an age restriction alone.
    Kaya likes this.
  39. mickeyfinn New Member

    the word hypocrite springs to mind, doesn't want POF to be used as an hook up site, but is quite happy to take the advertising revenue from sites that do.
  40. JohnT New Member

    Isn't the age limit illegal.
    I recall the discrimination based on Religion, Race or Age were against the law.
    What would you think if he prohibited people of ethnicities from contacting each other?
    What would you think if he prohibited people of different religions from contacting each other?

    But the truth is, it's all about money. As an older man, I am hit with a barrage of ads advertising sites where younger women seek older men while I am on POF. There's at least one ad on every POF page I navigate to. Isn't that what he's really after? Revenue from these ad's?

    And oh by the way, the limit really is only in place for Men, Women can contact any age they wish. So Cougars can still use POF. I guess there's no money to be made from getting them to click on an ad.

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