The number of people who report having tried online dating is approximately 50 million in the U.S. (www.statisticbrain.com). Several studies have been conducted to explore the demographics of the users, average amount of money spent on services, number of matches resulting in long-term relationships, marriage, etc. In a recent study completed by Consumer Reports, they found that “online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce
the intended result if you use it well—and persevere” (April, 2017). As online dating continues to become more and more common, there have been a number of companies offering a multitude of niche online dating services. The most lucrative of which, aimed at wealthy singles, who are willing to pay a service to minimize the time and effort needed to meet potential partners online.
Online dating services and dating apps (e.g., Match, OkCupid, tinder, Hinge, etc.) generally require that the user create an online dating profile, writing a bit about themselves, their interests, and what they’re seeking in a potential mate. In addition, users are either encouraged or required to provide a photograph of themselves. Once their profile is complete, the “painful and time-consuming” search can begin. This includes monitoring the account for expressions of interest, inbox messages, and/or chat requests.
For those willing and able to pay for it, they can have someone else write their profile, monitor their messages, respond to messages, and even make arrangements for a date to meet in person. These services are marketed as: online dating consultants, virtual dating assistants, personal dating assistants, outsourced dating services, online dating assistant, and my favorite—online dating concierge services.
You might be wondering what’s included in such services. They offer multi-tiered options, depending on how much one is willing to spend. The more basic packages include a profile written by professional writers, a photo session—which may or may not provide slightly retouched photos (some even provide professionals to appear with you in photos, giving the illusion that you’re out with friends). Once the profile is professionally written and the photos are expertly staged and polished, they use various algorithms, keyword analyses, and search tools to scan profiles for the “exact traits” you’re looking for in a person to date. They will even provide hours of phone coaching to help you navigate through your real-time interactions and give dating advice (e.g., Tell you what to say next in a text message…). Packages like these start around $380/month ranging up to $2,000/month for added services and benefits.
One of the more popular websites, personaldatingassistant.com, caters only to heterosexual males, and provides the following as a description of their services:
We manage your online dating profile
We send out laser targeted, personalized introductions on your behalf
We gamify the process, and generate profile views, resulting in more interest, matches, and inbound messages
We follow up, suggest a get together, and get her contact info. Setting you up right for the in-person date
The rest, is up to you.
If you’re like me, you might be asking yourself, “Isn’t she going to be upset when she finds out that you didn’t write the profile and you’re not the person she’s been talking to online before meeting?” No judgements about dating assistance services—in fact, there are dating sites like Tawkify and ItsJustLunch that use professional match makers to help you find your ideal mate and offer varying degrees of dating advice and coaching. However, with those services, both of the individuals are aware of the service being utilized. The issue of note here is that one of the persons involved is completely unaware that there is even a third-party service being utilized, as with the aforementioned example.
In the F.A.Q. section on personaldatingassistants.com, one user asked: Do the women know I am using your service? And the response was:
“No, and they will never know unless you tell them.
Further, we don’t recommend that you tell a woman that you used our service until you’re sure that she’s very much into you.
It’s highly unlikely that a girl who is in love with you would leave you just because the first few messages she received before you’d even met in person weren’t sent by you. However, a woman who just met you for the first time and is still forming an early impression of you is likely to be turned off by it.”
I agree—a person is generally turned off when they learn that they’ve been misled, misinformed, deceived, hoodwinked, bamboozled or—dare I say, lied to in any manner.
Open and honest communication is the foundation for a healthy relationship. Getting a professional to help you write your profile is somewhat common. There have been many clients that I’ve worked with who have struggled with online dating and I have helped them create and/or polish their profile. The key word there is helped. I didn’t write it for them. Moreover, I believe that online services that use experts to find the best possible match for you are great. Matchmakers have been used for centuries; and modern-day matchmakers are generally in the business because they have a talent for matching individuals and derive great joy in helping others find love. That’s wonderful.
On a final note, if you truly do not have the time—or interest to prioritize the time for online dating, it’s highly unlikely that you have the time to create and sustain an intimate relationship. My suggestion for busy professionals who are struggling to find time to date is this: outsource other daily tasks; pay for service professionals that can take responsibilities off of your plate; hire a personal assistant for time-consuming errands—not your love life.