The economics of serial dating

Personally, I would have spent my money a little differently, but OK:

To start with, Anna is signed up on three dating sites — eHarmony, Match and JDate. Each costs around $30 a month. She also had her profile photos taken professionally, at a one-time cost of $200 — and she says the number of guys contacting her has gone way up since getting the photos, “like night and day,” she says. In fact, she got an e-mail from a guy who hadn’t responded to an e-mail Anna sent before she’d updated her photo. Occasionally she’ll go out on a set-up or on a totally blind date, but that’s rare. And she tried speed-dating once ($30) but says it was “annoying.” Even so, at the going rate, Anna’s spent $1,310 in the last year just to dive into the crowded pool of eager and available singles.

I’ve been writing about my online dating adventures for the book and while they’re entertaining in retrospect, I think I probably spent over $1,000 during the two-year span when I was signing up for the free sites and the paid ones. The dating sites I’ve tried (with the exclusion of JDate) can add up. I remember sites costing about $30 a month, but it can be more if you try just a few months at a time. This doesn’t even account for the time you spend communicating with matches that are sent to your inbox and getting ready for the dates, as Anna’s story illustrates.

The financial aspects of single life almost never come up in stories about them – either when singles are dating or if they’re not actively pursuing courtship.  So much about our couple-centric culture is about supporting other people that the presumption seems to be that if you’re a bachelor or bachelorette, you’re probably just rolling in the dough. Or if you don’t have any money, it’s because you’re irresponsible and not married and it’s somehow your fault.

If I’m supposed to spend $2000 on professional headshots to date online, my vote is no thanks, I think I’d rather go visit my single friends in other cities and maybe find a beach to dig my toes into on a coast somewhere.

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