Gone are the days when a subscription to an online dating site came with a free, complimentary stigma.
According to the latest data from Match.com, almost half of singles in the U.S have tried online dating and it’s safe to say most people won’t raise an eyebrow if they find out a couple met via an online dating service or an app.
The only problem is that with new services appearing almost every day, choosing which platform to use can feel like a gruelling search to find ‘the one’.
The era of Tinder is coming to a close
“I credit Tinder with removing the stigma of online dating, but people are starting to get a little bored of the swipe and are looking for an alternative. I’ve spoken with a lot of Tinder users and although you’ll find the occasional love story, generally the feedback is vastly negative.”
Do you know who your tinder date really is? #KnowBeforeYouGo #DateSafer #TGIF #TinderNightmares #BumbleFail
5:25 PM – 6 Jan 2017
“Believe it or not there is such a thing as an online dating comparison site called Queek’d which is fantastic – think of it as the GoCompare of the dating world.
“Remember to take geographical location into account. It could be the greatest app in the world but if no one lives within 100 miles of you then there’s not really much point.”
Cut to the chase
“I’ve spoken to a lot of female app users and the feedback I hear is always the same – ‘everyone seems to just want a pen pal’. If you want to meet someone then just ask them out and make it happen.
“I think both men and women make that mistake, too much talking and not enough face to face interaction. Online dating should only ever be the means of an introduction.”
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Paul Thomas Bell’s round-up of the best dating apps for download
The quick-let’s-go-on-a-date-right-this-second one
Now dating app
“I absolutely love this idea and it’s one that I hope really takes off. It’s all about dating ‘now’. No more pen pals, if you’ve got a few hours to kill let users know where and when you’re free and just make it happen.”
The one for men who prefer IRL to online
“This one really struck a chord with me. I love Founder Blair Waller’s determination to get people online to get them offline. The app is taking Edinburgh by storm and it’s established ties to some of the the city’s top venues making dating more fun and that little bit safer as well.”
The personality-driven one
“This one is really simple which I guess is what I love about it. Every conversation starts as a jigsaw and with every message you send a piece is removed. There’s something about the mystery and the big reveal that I just love about this – simple but original.”
The visual one
“This is one of the more interesting apps I’ve come across as it seems to be more focused on quality than quantity. It gives users the opportunity to decide what’s important to them in a date (or a mate) and then design their own personalized filtration to make sure they meet exactly the type of person they want to.”
The limitless one
This app is designed to help women take control of the online dating process by ensuring they make the first move before any conversation can take place. Bell sees it more from a man’s perspective, however. “It’s Tinder without the swipe limits.”
The best dating sites
It’s not all about apps. Here are some of the best dating sites on the ‘net.
The scientific one
With an emphasis on finding a long term partner, eHarmony requires users to fill out a detailed questionnaire upon signing up which is then used to match you with someone deeply compatible.
The original one
Match.com is all about ‘loving your imperfections’ if you believe the ads. It’s at the pricey end (£29.99 a month, to be precise) but with a bold claim to have led to more dates, relationships and marriages than any other app or site, you might think it’s worth stumping up the dosh.
The mathsy one
OkCupid is driven by an maths-based matching system that the creators of the site are fiercely proud of. Not everybody’s convinced that forty eight boffins crunching numbers in L.A can really lay claim to being modern day cupids but then, it’s free, so there’s no harm in finding out.