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Match.com is one of the most popular dating sites available and has millions of users worldwide looking for dates, relationships and, ultimately, happiness.
But, with just as many free dating sites, is it really worth paying for, and how much should you realistically budget for the average time it takes to find a partner?
Let's unpick the pros and cons of Match to help you choose whether investing in love is money well spent or an unnecessary part of your budget you can spend on better things.
There are several reasons it is highly preferable to pay for a quality dating service than spend hours on a free but spammy dating app - we'll take a look at those shortly.
However, with incomes squeezed and living costs rising, how much return do you get from an investment in dating?
The answer is that when we pay for a dating site, it makes all sorts of changes to the way we think, the way we date, and the value we ascribe to the subscription we're paying for:
Don't get us wrong - there are some fantastic free dating sites. Still, there is also a profound difference between the quality and quantity of people you're likely to meet and the viability of that connection to turn into a real-life partnership.
Let's have a quick recap of the prices (psst, you can find all this info in our more detailed dating site reviews, too!).
The current Match.com subscription service looks like this:
You can also find discount codes and offers from time to time, but those are the standard rates at the time of writing. What's pretty obvious is that a longer-term subscription is better value for money!
If you sign up for six months, you pay £9.99 a month, or £59.94 altogether, compared to £59.97 for a three-month subscription at £19.99 a month - that's pretty much three extra months of online dating for a grand sum of minus three pence.
Less than £10 a month isn't nothing, and we're very aware that many of us are trying to reduce unnecessary outgoings - but it's also equivalent to about two Starbucks coffees, so if you have the spending capacity, a six-month account is the most affordable.
It's also important to think realistically about how long you need to find a date or meet someone you can see as part of your life.
While meeting an ideal husband or wife in 30 days isn't unheard of, it's pretty unlikely, so a longer, cheaper membership is usually a better deal all around.
Match.com has been around for years, and it has hundreds of amazing success stories and testimonials you can visit on the site to learn how other users started exactly where you are now and have moved on leaps and bounds in the years since.
It also has tons of data that can be valuable in learning what works and what doesn't and helps the service match you with other members who fit your dating profile in terms of age, appearance, location, interests, personality, and characteristics.
Here are a few quick statistics to get you started:
Interesting reading! The takeaway is that the demographics are huge and varied. Whether you have kids or none, want to party the night away or snuggle at home, or are 25 or 50, you'll be able to find somebody on Match.com.
So, what can you expect when you join the platform if you decide that digital dating is worth a go? It all starts with signing up and filling in details about yourself, your life, and what you want from a relationship.
Building a basic profile takes a couple of minutes, but if you want the best possible matches and compatible suggestions, we'd recommend taking plenty of time to be specific and set clear parameters about who you want to be introduced to.
Match.com questionnaires are pretty fun, so you can get stuck in building your own virtual dream date, and always be honest and provide extra details where relevant since it's this information the platform uses to find suitable matches.
Make sure to add a photo - you'll be prompted to do this straight away.
Profile pictures are hugely important because nobody can decide whether they feel a spark of chemistry without knowing what you look like! And, let's face it, you're not likely to be keen on meeting someone who won't show you their face beforehand.
From there, your profile is moderated, which takes about 15 minutes.
Yes, it's a pain, but it's absolutely necessary. Moderators manually review your photo to be sure it's authentic, and you haven't screen-grabbed a random stock image to try and pass for someone you're not.
Once you've been approved, you're good to go.
You can send winks as icebreakers, play online games to try and find compatible matches, or wait for a few suggestions to come your way that tick all your boxes.
The biggest advantage of Match.com is that, because it's such an established and experienced online dating service and charges reasonable subscription fees, it also has the resources to invest in innovation and upgrades.
You can immediately notice the contrast between a freebie dating site since Match has all sorts of tools to help you find suitable profiles and update your questionnaire responses.
Match suggestions look at in-depth metrics such as aspirations and relationship goals rather than who happens to be relatively near you and in the same age bracket.
Other plus points include decent navigation functions and a range of games and features to narrow down your matches.
There are several other benefits to consider that make Match.com a competitive choice.
The key is that the service levels you get are far superior to any low-cost or free dating site, and it's all designed to provide just the level of support you'd like on your dating journey.
Keen to find advice about how to write a great dating profile, attend events, and get stuck into messaging your matches? Great - you have all the resources you need.
If you're the opposite kind of dater and prefer a casual experience, browsing local profiles at your leisure, striking up a chat when the mood takes you, or waiting to see who might be interested, that's equally fine.
Match.com is a good bet, and it's been one of the most popular dating sites for several years for all of these reasons!