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“I recently broke up with someone and was out of the loop with swiping,” she explains.
“A few days went by after downloading the app and I wasn’t getting any matches.
I figured if I could see the matches, I could at least see who was swiping on me.
Even if I wasn’t attracted to that person, it gave me some validation that I wasn’t a monster.” However, paying for Bumble didn’t improve her actual experience on the app.
She says having the freedom to use an app without fear of being exposed introduced her to people she wouldn’t have met if she hadn’t known they were into her first.
“I hooked up with two guys separately that were younger than my age range, so I would not have seen them if I had not paid for the app and saw that they liked me first,” she says.
The practice has a long history: Ok Cupid rolled out its A-List feature as early as 2009, before Tinder and Bumble even existed.
They offer perks like read receipts, the ability to see who’s already swiped right, and a temporary “boost” that automatically puts you at the top of the pile for a certain amount of time.
Those I talked to who’ve used premium versions of free dating apps didn’t have a singular reason for doing so — their motivations ranged from wanting to expand their location-based potential matches to avoiding the stigma of being discovered by Facebook friends on a kink-friendly app in a conservative town.