I have the same opinion as you: I am not fond of infinite scroll. Tough, with time, this might change.
In his blog post The End of Pagination, Jeff Atwood makes the point that
Above all else, you should strive to make pagination irrelevant because the user never has to look at more than a few items to find what they need
This satement does not quite holds in the context of online dating where the user is likely to go back and forth quite a bit with the search results.
So my advice would be: whatever choice you end up with, make it easy to the user to browse a profile page, go back to the results page, browse a new profile page, go back to results, and so on. I would also try different browsing habits: either do this scenario with only one tab open, or by opening a new tab when checking a profile page. (this opens two questions. One: is it easy to open a profile link in a new page by middle clicking. Watch out for this kind of behaviour. Two: should you be able to go back with a link to the results page once you opened a profile in a new tab? Because in this case you cannot hit the browser back button.)
Jeff Atwood also points out some of the drawbacks of endless pagination, or infinite scroll:
- The scroll bar, the user's moral compass of "how much more is there?"
doesn't work in endless pagination because it is effectively infinite.
You'll need an alternate method of providing that crucial feedback,
perhaps as a simple percent loaded text docked at the bottom of the
- Endless pagination should not break deep linking. Even without the
concept of a "page", users should be able to clearly and obviously
link to any specific item in the list. Clicking the browser forward or
back button should preserve the user's position in the endless
scrolling stream, perhaps using pushState.
- Clicking the browser forward or back button should preserve the user's
position in the endless scrolling stream, perhaps using pushState.
- Pagination may be a bad user experience, but it's essential for web
spiders. Don't neglect to accommodate web search engines with a
traditional paging scheme, too, or perhaps a Sitemap.
- Provide visible feedback when you're dynamically loading new items in
the list, so the user can tell that new items are coming, and their
browser isn't hung – and that they haven't reached the bottom yet.
- Remember that the user won't be able to reach the footer (or the
header) any more, because items keep appearing as they scroll down in
the river of endless content. So either move to static headers and
footers, or perhaps use the explicit "load more" button instead of
loading new content automatically.