The experts tell us that January and February are the busiest months out of the entire year for online dating, and that this week in particular is their busiest week. If you're looking for love online in 2014, where can you find the best deals?
As an online dater myself, HowAboutWe is by far my favorite service. Not only do you get to suggest dates ideas right up front ("How about we... go sledding at the golf course and warm up with hot cocoa at a local cafe after?") but you're never left wondering if admitting to "a few extra pounds" will banish you to no-man's-land. Blessedly free from body hangups by allowing photos to speak for themselves, activity-focused from the start, and $45 off with promo code DATESFORALL, which takes a 3-month membership down to just $9, HowAboutWe gets my gold star.
By far the heavyweight of the online dating space, Match.com has gone so far as to pinpoint the exact minute that singles were most likely to join the site: Sunday January 5, 2014 at 8:57pm. Okay, so maybe that was yesterday, but the wave of potential dates rolls all the way through the end of February. The upside to Match.com is that since it's one of the most popular sites, if not THE most popular, there are plenty of profiles to look through. The thing that I don't like, however, is that everyone has a different idea for what certain body types actually mean. I know all too well what it's like to agonize between choosing "curvy" and "a few extra pounds" to describe myself in a dating profile, and we all set up unrealistic expectations for ourselves when we are allowed to filter by body type. Of course your dream guy is "athletic and toned", and that's certainly a nice set of pictures you get back in the search results, but you're probably filtering out a lot of guys you really would date in real life. Sorry girls, but we can't all marry Bradley Cooper. That goes for guys who only search for "slender" girls, too. None of us are that picky in the real world. Still, the dating pool here is undeniably deeper than at most other paid dating sites. If Match.com is for you, click through our link to score 20% off their dating services.
Another high volume and high profile site, eHarmony largely has the same pros and cons as Match.com - too much emphasis on body type, too easy to get trapped in a filter bubble or find yourself outside of someone else's. However, also like Match, its popularity means that there is no shortage of profiles to browse. The only deal we found uses promo code JANUARY2014 to take $72 off a 12-month subscription for $167.40, which works out to $13.95 per month.
OKCupid makes their site a lot of fun with games and quizzes, and best of all, the site is completely free to join. No "join free but you have to pay if you actually want to have a conversation" gimmicks here. The only con to OkCupid, in my opinion, is that "free" is a really low barrier to entry, so the quality of potential dates is sometimes questionable. Forking over a few dollars may represent a greater cost, but it's also a way to commit to an idea and ultimately weeds out some of the chaff.
We know you have online dating stories - I know I do! Share your stories and tips in the comments, and if you know of any great online dating deals, be sure to share those too!