Is Paying for Online Dating Worth It?

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USA Today says that 1 in 3 marriages now start online.

So with my worries for my future expiring ovaries (haha) I thought I might as well give it a whirl.  Vancouver is notorious for being a difficult-to-date city because the women are all fiercely independent and the men tend to be standoffish and aloof.  Just check out this now infamous article titled “Do Vancouver Men Suck?” in Vancouver Magazine.

In between finishing up school and working, it's quite difficult to go out and meet people with my current lifestyle.   So I thought why not check out what's available online, via my favourite communication modality, the World Wide Web, aka the Internets.

Yes, I have resorted to finding “love” online LOL since the terribly heart breaking break up. I have tried a variety of modalities, from eharmony, match.com, and plenty of fish. The only ones I haven't tried are OK Cupid and Craigslist lol. I don't think I will do Craigslist though, though I have heard of some friends of friends meeting their significant others on the online classifieds.

Is Paying for Online Dating Worth It?I have heard good success stories (meaning long term relationships and even marriage) from eharmony and plenty of fish, but not really from match.com.

Although I haven't had much success so far, I have met a number of guys.  Some have been not my type, some have been nice, some seem perverted, and some seemed to be non-commital.

Here's a break down of the two major paying websites and the free website (plenty of fish) which started it roots, in of all places, Vancouver.

Match.com

The cost is $34.99 or so per month and if you purchase it in bundles (e.g. a few months at a time) it is cheaper.  It is free to subscribe and scope out people but to actually chat with people, you have to subscribe and pay.  I met a number of guys on this site (yes, I was on a dating rampage) but I found that most guys weren't my type when I met them in person I guess.  They also say you are 97% compatible with so-and-so but I have no idea how they match the compatibility because it seems like a load of crap.  The tricky thing is that they automatically subscribe you for another month if you don't click on a button that tells them you don't want to be auto-billed.

eHarmony

eHarmony is more expensive than match.com (try about double the price).  For a three month subscription it is about $120 (and that's with a coupon code I found lol).  You have to answer a questionnaire that takes a long time to answer but I find that the matches they “matched me up” with include people with similar interests to me and who seemed like they were the male version of me.  People on this site tend to be more serious-relationship minded.  I have lot of friends who seemed to have really “met their match” on eharmony and seem very compatible.  The thing is you don't get to search around and look for people.  Eharmony does the picking and sends you a few (or none) daily depending on how stringent your criteria are.  Like, dating someone from California is out of the question for me, I'm sorry lol.

Plenty of Fish

Finally the free one that gets all the buzz.  The only downside to plenty of fish is that there are a lot of creepy people on here and you're going to get bombarded with creepy messages.  However, there are some nice people on here and I know two friends who have met some great guys who they are going out with now/ married to on here.  The other downside is that people who are not even log in or registered on POF can creep on your pictures and your profile haha.

The verdict?

Although this is a small sample size/ experiment, and I've only been at this for a few months, I think it still depends on how picky you are and what you're looking for.  According to Your Tango, paying is more effective.  With Plenty of Fish you get much more selection but you have to weed out the people much more because of the volume of people.  I think if you're on the better looking scale (lol, like both of my friends who have found great guys from it), you might stand a better chance because no one bothers to read what you write, to be honest.  People who are on paying websites (like match.com or eharmony) tend to be more serious about relationships rather than hooking up.

Single Readers (or in-relationship-readers) have you tried any of these? Do you think paying for online dating is worth it?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

8 Comments

  1. Koala on July 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    It’s been a while, so maybe it’s not as relevant anymore, but I had used Lavalife. Joining was free, and you could let someone know you were interested with a smile or something without paying. Initiating an actual conversation cost money but responding didn’t, so typically the men paid for the service and the women didn’t.

    For me at the time, it was win-win. I wasn’t going to pay for online dating, and the LL guys seemed to have more going on for them then the PoF guys.



  2. Madame on July 29, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Great post and good luck on the online dating! I had never really been great at the dating scene and was generally a late bloomer in that field of life, but I did meet my boyfriend on plenty of fish. I’m still embarrassed to tell the truth of how my boyfriend and I met, so only a handful of people know the true story. We’ve been together for almost 4 years now.

    I agree that with what you said about the non-paying sites, you will definitely have a lot of creepers and perverts, so just use common sense. I also agree that people are definitely looking for more a more serious relationship when they pay for the services. My cousins used match.com and I believe she met her current boyfriend on there as well.



  3. BeachBoy on July 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Met my girlfriend online (well she found me) and after almost 5 years together, we’re having our baby in a few days… So online dating does work 🙂
    I haven’t used the sites you mention because in Quebec we do everything different, and even the dating sites are different and many target mostly french-speakers.
    Good luck!!
    It will always feel a little weird to say you have met your boy/girl-friend online, but you get over it eventually.



  4. Cassie on July 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    If you had asked me years ago, I would have said paid all the way. My first experience with online dating was the free version (plenty of fish), and it was an absolute gong show. I switched over to lava life for a couple months, dated a nice guy for a month or so, then just kind of grew apart. I ran into him a year later, and we’re actually friends now.

    My current relationship of 2.5 years actually started with free online dating on plenty of fish again. The second time around I used every filter I could on that site (blocking members that have messaged other girls for hookups in the past – priceless). I was really straightforward in my profile, said what I was/wasn’t interested in, and I ended up finding exactly what I was looking for 🙂 Realistically, both options can yield good results.



  5. Simon on August 1, 2013 at 4:29 am

    Call me old-skul, but I really do not think I would pay for an online dating service, given, it might yield better results and have more controls but let’s face it, even with those there is no guarantee you’ll be meeting prince/princess charming there. Free version works just fine for me, it might take some time but I have met pretty decent people that way, well, hasn’t yielded the love of my life yet so even with my whining I might start paying sometime 🙂



  6. Young on August 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

    @Simon- Or maybe you’re just being too picky? 😉 I HATE DATING!!! hahaha.



  7. Young on August 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

    @Cassie- Yay!! Great to hear. Hmm maybe I will succumb and go back on that again.



  8. Valerie on August 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Is paying to online dating worth it?

    I would have called myself a “professional online dater”. I have used e-harmony, christianmingle, christian cafe, seniordate, match, lavalife, millionairematch, and oh my so many more.

    I started online dating long before it was a trend, I started with Christian Cafe 10 years ago. In those days being in the internet was like being a spy, no one wanted to reveal themselves. Furthermore the pickings were few and far between. Because I am a Christian, I preferred to find men that were like minded, but I found them to be very picky.

    I got fed up online dating for a while and actually dated a crazy man for 3 years, recklessly got married, and then got divorced after 20 months of pure hell. Then I went back to online dating because finding men anywhere to date was a joke. Even men in church were aloof. So off I went into the land of online dating. Well what a change, and I must say not for the good either. If the men weren’t perverted, they were from Africa posing as nice gorgeous white men. They would quickly romance you, tell you they loved you, and then ask for money. They always had a story of being stuck in Africa with their one child. And to top it off I was paying customer. Christian Cafe, Christian Mingle, and to come to think of it e-harmony as well.

    The most disappointing thing was I met some really nice men, and some really, really perverted men on these Christian dating sites. I even flew to Kitchner Ontario to meet a pervert. ( l went crazy for a while after my marriage broke up) 🙂

    From my personal experience and lots of it, I found that men seem to think online dating is a free booty call, online prostitution, I truly believe that. Every single man, Christian or not wanted a booty call, they all wanted sex, even when I set that up from the first call, or chat. I would do that to see what their personal values were….wrong!

    Out of all the dating sites I found e-harmony to be the best. Yes that questionaire was long, and the dates were rare, and yes I met a few men that were a version of myself. I was even matched with a man that was a short as myself, not good.
    I read a book about the creator of e-harmony. He was a christian counsellor who got fed up with counselling couples who were unevenly matched. So he created e-harmony and the huge questionaire. However its very expensive, and its computer generated.

    Long, long, long story short, I met my new husband of 20 months, on POF, plenty of fish. The day we met, was the day we were both so fed up with online dating. We went on for the last time to close off our profiles. I happen to see his picture, to which I must say I saw many times, clicked on his profile but his picture made him look like a dork, so I always passed by. Funny thing was, I copied his profile and made a female version of it.
    That Sunday he had just got back from a ferry trip to Nanaimo after being stood up, and I was dumped on that Friday after dating a man for a month.
    We chatted online for 20 mins, went to talking on the phone for 30 mins, and the next thing i knew I was driving like a mad woman out to Coquitlam; and we have been together ever since, we got married January 21, 2012.

    All I can say after all that, is I am so blessed not to be doing online dating, ever again. It’s lonely and its risky. I got date raped by a teacher.

    If anything, I would stick with eharmony, its the safest.



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