In many ways, online dating is now just regular dating. What started as a niche hobby has turned into a huge enterprise, promising Happily Ever Afters even when in-person meetings aren’t possible. It’s no wonder, then, that online dating numbers are still on the rise after all these years, with 35 million people signed up in 2019 and a projected 37.5 million by 2023.
With such a big industry, there's a multitude of online dating apps to fill every specific style and taste, from pricy outfits guaranteeing forever to free phone apps that may have humbler goals. The question is: Should you pay for online dating? What are the benefits of using a premium service or premium tier of a dating app? Is it worth the perks of more matches, more communication methods, and more options?
Of course, one thing to consider is what you’ll be paying to access a premium dating site tier. Sometimes an app charges as little as $10 a month for a certain perk, but that price can go up to $35 depending on which app you’re using and what you want to do. So before you decide whether or not to make the leap to premium, read below to find out the pros and cons of paying for online dating.
Whether Tinder or Bumble, Match.com or Christian Mingle, practically every online dating site or app has some kind of paid option. A few, like Match.com and eHarmony, offer initial free trials but no unpaid use after that time period. However, most other apps have a baseline “free” function that you can use as long as you want while you’re single and looking. That said, if you do choose to load up the credit card, you can get a world of benefits.
On some dating apps, the premium tier opens up a bunch of new features, like the ability to send more messages and bag more matches. Coffee Meets Bagel, for example, has a premium feature that lets users have a longer conversation through the app before they meet, so you can really get to know your future sweetheart. Tinder Plus also gives users the chance for more matches, and premium users have reported getting matches more quickly than on a free account.
OKCupid, another popular dating app, doesn’t function as much on likes, so its premium paid option goes in a different direction. When users pay for OkCupid, they can get more search options to narrow down candidates as well as read receipts on messages and even further psychological insight into their potential partner.
In short, whatever online dating app you’re looking into, chances are there are some great benefits behind the paywall that can help you get more matches, have better conversations, and even snag more dates. But that’s not the last word.
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Buyer beware: Just because you’ve paid for a premium dating account and can get more matches doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more and better dates. For one thing, just because you can narrow your search parameters on OKCupid, this doesn’t mean you’ll find The One more easily—in fact, you might just end up cutting them out of your search results accidentally.
Likewise, it’s something of a myth that the most serious users tend to use paid-only dating sites like eHarmony. In reality, these paying people only think they’re getting better matches. Every site has its fair share of people looking for their soul mate, as well as people simply looking for a one night stand. To judge someone’s intentions and really get to know them, you have to, well, get to know them. There’s no fee for that.
Keep in mind, too, that there are lots of absolutely free things you can do to up your chances of getting better dates. For one, giving your online profile some spring cleaning can really help attract like-minded people, and so can putting yourself out there and sending a well-crafted message or a cheeky like. You might even want to get a friend to help you vet your profile. An extra pair of eyes never hurts!
There are lots of benefits to paying for an online dating app, including more matches and messaging options. But before you decide to pay for one, think about if you really need those extra perks. This will depend on what you’re looking for and your own personal taste, but there might be some free strategies you can use to find a date that will work just as well.
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