When entrepreneur Matt Connolly's mother asked, "Why don't you help me find my knight in shining armor?" he was glad to help. But as he researched online dating, he wasn't impressed.
"(It) has such a bad stigma," said Connolly, who lives in the U.K. "My mom is in her 60s, and as we were … talking, I thought, 'Could it be possible to have a website where adult children could encourage our parents to meet someone new, someone special?'" So he created myLovelyParent (mylovelyparent.com), which launched in October. It is active in many countries, including the U.S. At press time, the site is free the first three months. (Below is an edited version of our conversation.)
Q: How is this different from other online dating sites?
A: I designed it to be incredibly easy to use … without losing charm or functionality. The journey starts with the adult child. They start the profile. I did this last week with my mum. It was a beautiful moment. I'm asked to give a description about my mum — I have to give five key words — then a personalized email gets sent to her. Then she gets the invitation. It's saying, "Come to this site and see what Matt has written about you," and if you want to go on the journey of online dating, it's entirely your choice. Then I am able to go onto the site and see profiles that match who I think my mom would be interested in … (and I can) recommend them to my mom, so when she becomes a member of the site, she now can see the profiles of everybody on the site, as well as the recommendations from me.
Q: Do the adult kids reach out to the potential mates?
A: No, that's only done between the parents.
Q: What kind of feedback have you gotten from clients?
A: I got the most wonderful email from a lady in the U.S. She said, "Thank you so much, because no matter what happens with dating, it was worth it just to read what my son wrote about me. I've never heard this from my child." And it's true: When do we ever say these things about our parents?