Date

I’m actually sad to say I never had the chance to use an online dating website. Unfortunately I got engaged in 2000 right when it became “normal” to get on Match.com or sign up for “It’s Just Lunch”. I should have taken advantage of this technology post divorce in 2009, but instead I slid right into an (unhealthy)  “on and off again” situation and missed out on swiping to meet strangers for coffee or cocktails. I secretly envied my friends that had an excel spreadsheet of new dates from the various websites and dating  apps. I remember helping them write witty profiles, take flattering photos, and laugh endlessly at some of the candidates out there (I didn’t laugh at the photos, just the verbiage. I’m not mean). Fast forward to 2022- now not having experience on a dating app is like not having your ears pierced. There are so many popular and legit sites that it’s utterly intimidating for a newly single adult to navigate through the differences of each one. But don’t worry- you don’t need to embarrass yourself by asking the 20 something’s at work if tinder is better than hinge – we have deciphered the differences for you. And you might not be ready to sign up yet, but eventually you will probably be ready to date- to find the “one” or to find a one night stand. But either way, that’s an app for that. Let’s take a look at the options out there (and be sure to check out our blog on “online dating vocabulary” so you can date like a pro). 

Tinder: Quantity definitely rules here. This is usually the first place people sign up and although it was once known for “hook up’s”, it is now a standard place to find dates, friendships, and LTR’s (long term relationships). The profiles (description about a person) are very brief so you have to make decisions quickly and you have little information to start an initial conversation. You might miss some great candidates because their photo’s didn’t do them justice or they weren’t funny enough in 8 sentences. The age range ends at 55 so it doesn’t necessarily cater to mature adults. But this site is so popular that you can change your location as soon as your plane lands and have multiple options before you leave baggage claim. 

Bumble: This is the one everyone has heard of and it’s been called “Tinder for women” or ” Tinder’s more polite and gentle sister”.  This app requires women to message FIRST (in hetero situations) and if the guy doesn’t respond in 24 hours he loses his chance for contact. This can be a bit limiting for men with unusually busy lives but people tend to like the sense of urgency. For women, the advantage is you don’t need to deal with feeling bad for not responding to people you don’t consider a match. There is no age limit but it’s not a site that caters to older adults looking for a relationship. There is no reason to not “try it”, especially because it was developed by a woman and former Tinder employee, so cheers to that~

OkCupid:This is a very popular site with long profiles and a personality test that provides a “match/enemy” percentage ratio  on profiles to help you gauge compatibility. Similar to Tinder (and owned by the same company) it’s based on swiping and eliminating the ability to contact a user without matching with them. They claim this lowers the number of fake profiles people receive which might not seem important now….but after a few months you will understand the value. This site is more popular for adults 50+ than Tinder,  and has millions of users around the world. They don’t claim to be a site for “older adults” but their membership is so widely active it works for all age ranges. Note to self: I have seen articles claiming it’s a good site for people identifying as “queer” or looking for a “non-monogomous” relationship. I am just delivering the news. 

Hinge:I initially thought the name sounded dirty….but then it became arguably the most popular site for adults AND a friend met her fiance on it. Hmmm…. When it was first launched it was based on connections from mutual friends on facebook but it has since changed models. They now aim to make profiles engaging and longer than before and even have a section where you can list deal breakers–for example: alcohol consumption, religion, interest in having (more) kids. Ther current slogan is “designed to be deleted”, so if you are looking for a long term relationship you should try this one. (clarification: designed for you to delete the app from your phone because you are in a relationship). But I still think it sounds dirty. eHarmony:No searching or swiping on this site. You fill out a questionnaire that uses a “compatibility matching system”  to analyze 29  dimensions of compatibility for a strong marriage. This site boasts to have the highest success rate for marriages and you can get started for free, but to have full access it’s possibly the most expensive site at $60 a month. You will want this full plan to see who has viewed your profile and send custom messages. It’s a small price to pay if you’ve sowed all your single oats and are ready for a commitment. True story: one of my close friends took the compatibility quiz and it matched her with her ex husband! I find this to be impressive  on some level but also humorous. 

Match.com:This well known site has a free version but the consensus is that you need to pay for a subscription to meet your dream date. Some people say that paying for the subscription means you might be desperate- but at my age I beg to dHinge:I initially thought the name sounded dirty….but then it became arguably the most popular site for adults AND a friend met her fiance on it. Hmmm…. When it was first launched it was based on connections from mutual friends on facebook but it has since changed models. They now aim to make profiles engaging and longer than before and even have a section where you can list deal breakers–for example: alcohol consumption, religion, interest in having (more) kids. Ther current slogan is “designed to be deleted”, so if you are looking for a long term relationship you should try this one. (clarification: designed for you to delete the app from your phone because you are in a relationship). But I still think it sounds dirty. 

eHarmony:No searching or swiping on this site. You fill out a questionnaire that uses a “compatibility matching system”  to analyze 29  dimensions of compatibility for a strong marriage. This site boasts to have the highest success rate for marriages and you can get started for free, but to have full access it’s possibly the most expensive site at $60 a month. You will want this full plan to see who has viewed your profile and send custom messages. It’s a small price to pay if you’ve sowed all your single oats and are ready for a commitment. True story: one of my close friends took the compatibility quiz and it matched her with her ex husband! I find this to be impressive  on some level but also humorous. 

Match.com:This well known site has a free version but the consensus is that you need to pay for a subscription to meet your dream date. Some people say that paying for the subscription means you might be desperate- but at my age I beg to differ. I think paying a premium means I’m serious about finding a long term relationship and it might not waste my time as much as a free site? 15 million members from at least 25 different countries proves it is still a player in the industry. 91% have college degrees (do they make you prove it?) and 44% are single parents. The membership is typically  around $30 a month but discounted if you commit to 6 months or more. If you sign up you will appreciate the efficiency of “match words” and don’t forget to check out the platinum package to have your own dating concierge. We fancy like that. 

Plenty of Fish: This site bases matches on an algorithm that scientists are supposedly “constantly updating”. I do give them credit for  attempting to stop people over 30 from contacting 18-21 year olds, so props to them for the science. They use a “Relationship Chemistry Predictor” which is a questionnaire with 70+ questions about your personality, sensibilities, and compatibilities. Truth be told, this site has made me laugh more than any other site. It also has been known for scams and bots (fake robots acting as humans). Yikes!Our Time:Maybe you have seen commercials for this one with super good looking men with gray hair (but their goatee is still brown?). This site caters to the 50+ year old  user that wants to find a casual date or serious relationship. it has a basic interface and still uses the “swipe” method so you can still feel like a young whippersnapper. 

Happn:This app matches you with people located near you. A friend that tried it claims it doesn’t really give accurate info saying, ” I didn’t leave home all day and it said I had crossed paths with 30 potential matches in the last 3 hours”. Tinder and other apps give you proximity information so I don’t see how this app can compete. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps I will try it the next time I’m single. 

The League: “Elite dating app” that requires an application where you provide job title, college info, LinkedIn profile, etc… They must be successful because there are waiting lists in bigger cities (but supposedly you can expedite that process with some elite cash). Their acceptance rate is 20%-30% depending on the city and they use humans to scrutinize every application (no bots). They now include singles over the age of 40 but the median age of users is 28. I probably would have tried this app when I was younger (if they even accepted me). 

So there you have at it! You can sign up and just start looking for fun, even if you aren’t ready to date. My only non-expert advice is this–don’t judge people too harshly on their photos. It might be a good sign if someone isn’t taking themselves too seriously or posing like a model. Personally, I think most men look better “in person” than in photos anyway…and some of the prettiest women I know aren’t necessarily photogenic. And just remember that no matter what your kids tell you, your’e not too old for this. Maybe too old for a tick tock dance, but not too old for online dating. 

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