(WSPA) – In the world of love, what once was a stigma is now the norm: online dating.

In fact, there are so many dating apps nowadays, 1500 worldwide, the difficult choice can be which one is right for you.

Therefore, 7NEWS got real-world advice from people who have found their forever Valentine.

Gracie and Jackson Eubanks in Spartanburg met on Hinge less than two years ago and both were skeptical before they signed up, but that quickly changed.

“It just feels like I’ve known her forever. It doesn’t even feel that’s how you met. It just feels like I’ve known her,” Jackson said.

“We even say that when we are talking to people it’s like, we met on a dating app. You were a stranger but it does feel like we’ve known each other for so much longer than that,” Gracie said.

The young couple got married in January, becoming another Hinge App success story that supports their motto: “designed to be deleted.”

Top dating apps

7NEWS reached out to the other top dating apps in America:

  • Hinge calls itself “love scientists” and said it is built on a “Nobel-Prize-winning algorithm” to help you find promising dates.
  • Tinder is known for more casual dating and made dating apps more user-friendly with the “swipe.”
  • Bumble lets women make the first move. The app also offers safety features like photo verification, voice call and video chat, so users don’t have to share personal information, and a “private detector” that uses artificial intelligence to detect and blur lewd/nude images and then alerts the recipient who can choose to view, delete or report the photo.
  • OkCupid boasts 200 million matches a year in the U.S.
  • eHarmony one of the first dating sites, says it makes a match every 14 minutes. It said it is the “#1 trusted dating app.”  The company said more than 2 million people have found love on eHarmony.

Dating app guides

However, don’t take their word for it.

There are plenty of dating site or app guides to help you narrow down the search, whether you want a broad range or one of the highly specific dating apps like “Silver Singles” for people over 50, or apps that focus on race or gender.  

Just search “dating app guides” in your browser and read up on the options to choose what sounds right for you.  Also, check the privacy of any app before you download it.  

Use caution

The most important thing of course is safety, so if you do use a dating app, you would be wise to communicate via that app for as long as it takes to really feel comfortable with someone before you give them your cell phone number.

Always make sure that the first date is in a public place.

App users also said, whatever you do, it’s important to put your own intentions in check.

People like Julia Eargle in Spartanburg, who have tried Hinge, Tinder and Bumble admit, not everyone who is on the apps is really looking for a lasting relationship.

“To be completely honest, I kind of like having the validation. But that’s an example of, I’m not really in the right mindset to be on them, so I probably shouldn’t be,” Eargle said.

Many also warn to watch out for people who lie on their profile or look at yours and try to be exactly what you say you want.

“Most men are going to look at profiles so they know what you want in a woman they know what you want in a man, so they are going to sell you that dream to get with you if you look the part of what they want,” warned Quasha Beason who is a former user of the app BLK.

Success stats

A study out of Stanford University finds nearly 40% of couples nowadays meet first online, making dating sites the most common way couples connect.

To break that down further, 2020 data compiled by FinancesOnline.com found dating apps lead to:

  • 77% of users going on a date
  • 39% progressing to a committed relationship
  • 49% are looking for an exclusive partner
  • 23% casual sex
  • and yes, 7% to cheat

Susan Kimbrell in Gaffney was so skeptical when she downloaded a dating app, she gave it one month, and listened to warnings from many.

“A friend at church said when I first joined the app, well let me just tell you right now, they’re not all Christian and they’re not all single. And that was true,” she said, after seeing a photo of a man with his wedding ring on.  

Despite that experience, Kimbrell credits Christian Mingle with finding her soul mate, Randy.

“She didn’t know what she was getting herself into,” Randy said, with a smile.

It was a second chance at love for both, who met in their 50s.  And after chatting on the app for a few days, the first date sealed the deal.

“Finally he said, you want to meet for dinner?  And so this was halfway between our two homes and so this was the location 8 years ago, January 31,” she said referring to The Pizza House in Chesnee where 7NEWS met up with them as they celebrated the anniversary of a date that went very well.

“Yes it did because we were engaged on March 20 and married on May 23,” Kimbrell with a smile said.  

Both the Kimbrells and the Eubanks were once skeptics, but are now comfortable sharing their online beginnings, knowing their stories can inspire others.

“It just couldn’t have gone any better, so I think more people should know about this. Because really good things do come out of it,” Gracie Eubanks said.