The Best Dating Apps For finding a Serious Relationship
Not all daters are the same. Believe it or not, not everyone wants a hookup. Yet, over the years online dating apps have seemed to develop a bit of a stigma that they are mostly for finding flings.
With the worlds most popular dating apps being Tinder and Bumble, that makes sense. But not everyone is interested in the slot machine approach that an app like Tinder provides.
If you are one of those people that wants more than meaningless encounters, don’t fear, there are a bunch of dating apps out there catered to you.
Whether you’re just getting started looking for something a little less casual, or you’re set on finding the one to settle down with, this list will take a look at 2021’s best dating apps for finding a relationship.
Best Dating App For Marriage and serious relationships: eHarmony
eHarmony boasts that it’s responsible for a whopping 4% of all marriages in the US. To put that in perspective, eHarmony has worked out that on average 237 people get married after meeting on eHarmony…every single day!
So, we know that it works. But is it right for you? If you are serious about finding the one, and willing to put the work (and the money) in then I believe eHarmony is right at the top of the list in terms of finding a serious partner. Its track record speaks for itself.
I say you better be willing to put in the effort, because eHarmony’s sign up process will take you more than a couple of minutes. It includes a fairly in depth process but it is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I personally see this as a massive advantage, because not only does it help you find like-minded individuals, it deters people who aren’t serious enough about finding a relationship to put in the effort.
The sign up process should take you between 10-30 minutes, depending on how in depth you answer. eHarmony uses this data to match you with users with the most compatibility for a long-term relationship. The sign up process is as follows:
There is also a fairly heavy focus on religion, with a mostly Christian user base. So if you’re ready to settle down with someone with similar religious values to you, eHarmony could be more up your alley than some of the other apps on this list.
eHarmony isn’t only an app, it is originally most known for its website. Either platforms are extremely easy to use, so if the idea of complicated algorithms and “smart matches” kind of freaks you out, then try eHarmony’s free version and I’m confident you’ll see it’s very user friendly.
What You Should Know Before trying eHarmony:
Best For: Serious daters ready to settle down and put in the effort.
Not For: Someone not quite ready to find the “one”.
eHarmony offers three different membership options, premium light, premium plus and premium extra. All offer the exact same features, the only difference is the length of subscription and price. eHarmony also allows you to pay upfront or in instalments.
- Light (6 months) – $65.90/month
- Plus (12 months) – $45.90/month
- Extra (24 months) – $35.90/month
What Paid Membership Gets You: eHarmony’s free version unfortunately gives you some pretty major hurdles, even when it comes to actually communicating with someone.
Some of the features that are unlocked once upgrading include unlimited matches, viewing all users photos, enhanced search features and unlimited communication.
I feel the free version should be used to get an idea of the user interface and see if you feel it’s right for you. But the free trial allows you to do so, without the limitations. But if you’re looking for a free app with decent capabilities, eHarmony probably isn’t for you.
- Very easy to use
- The highest success rate in finding a partner historically
- Questionnaire does a lot of the work for you in helping finding like-minded individuals
- Profiles and user interface look nice
- Above average price and lengthy sign up process deter not so serious daters and scammers
- If you’re not satisfied after 3 month, the next 3 months are free…
- Above average price
- History of not being the most welcome to the LGBTQ+ community, which has been changing in recent years
- Major limitations on free version
Most Similar To: Match, Christian Cafe
Final Thoughts: According to eHarmony, 71% of females and 69% of males will find their future spouse on eHarmony within their first year. Those stats are amazing and why eHarmony is one of the best dating apps for relationships. So what that means is that if you are adamant on finding the one and settling down, then eHarmony’s prices seem a lot more affordable. But if you’re still unsure, maybe download the free version of eHarmony to get a feel for things before deciding.
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Best Dating App For Career-Driven Professionals: Elite Singles
Elite Singles is all about the career-driven, college educated, affluent, or all of the above. However that may sound to some, there is plenty of research to indicate that people on average end up seeking out partners from similar backgrounds than themselves.
Also, it works! Elite Singles creates 2000 new couples every month. For a niche dating site, those numbers aren’t something to ignore.
So if you’re college or university educated and your career is important to you, perhaps Elite Singles is your best bet in finding a likeminded long-term partner.
It might feel a little strange categorising yourself as intellectual or affluent, but if you’ve been to college/university and take your career seriously, then you’re pretty similar to 80% of its user base.
The price as well indicates users have a decent disposable income. So if you’re serious about finding a serious relationship with someone on a similar path to you, then perhaps forking out the fairly substantial monthly amount will be worth it.
For a dating app tailored towards users with disposable income, you might be wondering how the app is able to keep out people pretending to be someone they’re not. Well profiles are manually checked upon sign up. Elite Singles also implements a state of the art fraud detection software.
The algorithm works by matching users based on answers of an in depth personality test in the sign up process. This further helps like-minded daters get matched. The sign up process is as follows:
Elite Singles is a little more serious than an app like Hinge, yet perhaps a little more laid back than eHarmony. Most of its user base is ranging from 26 to 44 years old, with a focus definitely being on a serious relationship, but less on marriage.
The app is free to explore, build a profile and get matches, but once again, in order to actually communicate and see all user photos you will need to upgrade to a monthly membership.
The fact that in order to have full use of the app you need to pay a decent amount can actually be seen as a good thing. That, along with manual verification of profiles and fraud detection can help you be sure that there will really only be serious daters on the platform.
What You Should Know Before trying Elite Singles:
Best For: Someone in their 30’s serious about their career and looking for a serious relationship with someone on a similar path.
Not For: Someone just looking to see what the “talent pool” of the elite looks like.
- 3 months – $209.85 total ($69.95/month)
- 6 months – $323.70 total ($53.95/month)
- 12 months – $479.40 total ($39.95/month)
What Paid Membership Gets You: Paying allows you to send unlimited messages, view all user photos as well as be frequently suggested to other profiles. If you end up upgrading to a premium membership for 6 or 12 months, you will also be able to see which users have viewed your profile, get 20 extra matches per day and leave comments on profiles and photos.
- Many like minded people
- Low chance of scammers/catfishing compared to free apps
- High success rate in matching partners
- Fast growing
- Reports of matches appearing outside of preferred distance range
- Distance filter starts at 50 miles
Most Similar To: Match, Hinge
Final Thoughts: The fact that people from similar backgrounds tend to drift to each other romantically should be enough to tell you that Elite Singles is successful in match making. So if you’re educated, career driven and have the disposable income to afford to be part of the “elite” group of daters, then definitely give it a try.
Best Dating App For All Different Types Of Relationships: Match
Whether you’re looking for someone to settle down with or you are just jumping back into the dating game after a while, Match and its massive user base will have something (and someone) for you.
It definitely has more of a focus on long-term relationships than apps like Hinge, but you will still see a much wider variety of commitment preparedness compared to eHarmony.
The reason you can be confident there will be something for you is that Match has been operating since 1995. Within that time it has amassed a user base of 10,000,000 paying members, one of the largest user bases of a dating app out there. The positives of this are obvious, but on the flip side, this could mean exploring through a few profiles that might not be your cup of tea before you find that gem.
In my opinion, Match is definitely one of the best dating apps for relationships. Match is also confident that it is, because if you don’t find a partner within your first 6 months of downloading the app, your next 6 months is free. So it must have a fairly stellar track record.
The app works by allowing you to scroll through profiles that share similar interests or preferences to you, so you will always have an icebreaker to help open the conversation. You can decide to initiate a conversation with anyone, and don’t have to wait for a match to do so.
Over time Match’s algorithm learns about you and your activity by monitoring your behaviors. So basically, the more you use it the more it learns what you like, in such a large dating pool this is definitely a big plus.
What You SHould Know Before trying Match:
Best For: A relationship seeker also wanting to get an idea of what’s out there
Not For: Someone who has privacy issues, or doesn’t like people messaging you that you haven’t already expressed interest in
- 3 months – $77.97 total ($25.99 /month)
- 6 months – $137.94 total ($22.99 /month)
- 12 months – $239.88 total ($19.99 /monthly)
What Paid Membership Gets You: Once again, the main limitation with Match’s free version is the ability to freely send messages back and forth. So once you pay you will unlock the ability to message anyone. There is a further paid premium tier which isn’t much expensive than above, and unlocks features such as a monthly boost.
- One of the biggest user base of any dating app
- More chance of finding someone if you are looking for a relationship but also open minded
- Much larger pool, less accurate/pinpointed in finding someone you would like, compared to other apps
- Higher chance of scammers getting lost in the shuffle of massive user base
- Not much of a discount the more membership months you purchase
Most Similar To: Hinge, eHarmony
Final Thoughts: If you’re new to the online dating game and are ready to spend some money but not fork out a premium price for other apps, Match might be the best way to get started. Start off with the free version and if you want to upgrade, roughly $25 a week isn’t bad.
Best Dating App for those 50 and over: Silver Singles
The big drawing card for Silver Singles compared to other apps on this list is that users don’t have to face the daunting task of navigating through mostly young users.
If you’re fresh out of a divorce and want to have some no strings attached fun, Silver Singles may not be for you, (maybe check out Adult Friend Finder or SugarDaddie.com instead). Silver Singles is intended for users finding their forever partner.
Are you completely new to the online dating world? Well, this might be the place to at least start. That’s because its stringent sign up process keeps the creeps out. Also, it’s extremely easy to use! That includes the ability to use Silver Singles on a web browser, as well as the app on your phone, tablet or even smart watch. Here’s an overview of the web browser version:
The sign up process includes a very in depth personality test which is used to help send 5 compatible matches to users on a daily basis. Rather than some other popular dating apps, Silver Singles is very calculated in its approach. Hence why it’s rapidly growing worldwide and one of the best dating apps for relationships..
On the free version you will be able to get matching suggestions and can send smiles, but you are fairly limited when it comes to actual communication. But starting for free might be best for you to dip your toes in.
One thing to note is that even though the app is intended for over 50’s, people who are younger won’t be blocked from joining. So you may find a small percentage of users younger than 50. After all, some people are into older guys and girls!
What You Should Know Before trying Silver Singles:
Best For: Those in their 50’s looking for dates or their forever partner
Not For: Generally those under 50
- 3 months – $149.85 total ($49.95 /month)
- 6 months – $227.70 total ($37.95 /month)
- 12 months – $335.40 ($27.95 /month)
What Paid Membership Gets You: Once upgrading to one of the above memberships, you will have unlimited communication, get read receipts on messages, be able to see who viewed your profile, view your own personality test results and receive 20 extra ‘wildcard’ matches per day.
- Don’t have to wade through a mostly younger crowd
- Sign up process deters scammers
- Smaller user base compared to other apps, but many more people in the 50+ age group than other apps
Most Similar To: eHarmony, Match
Final Thoughts: If you happen to be above 50 and have been even slightly freaked out at the prospect of downloading an online dating app, then get started with the free version of Silver Singles. Because almost everyone will be in the exact same boat as you. Silver Singles is definitely my pick for anyone 50 or over.
Best Dating App For Those Sick Of Tinder: Hinge
Hinge, the app that’s designed to be deleted, well at least that’s what its creators say. But is it really an app that can help you find the one? Well, the simple answer is yes, with a few caveats. Let’s take a look.
If you want to take an in-depth look at the mechanics of the Hinge app and exactly how it can work for you, check out the article ‘How Does Hinge Work?’
Hinge is a perfect stepping stone from Bumble or Tinder if you are looking for something a little more serious. With that being said, compared to the other apps on this list, Hinge would probably include the most users who are looking for a hookup, there is even a preference saying that you are just searching for ‘something casual’.
Even though this may turn off some people, I had to include Hinge on this list as it’s a perfect happy medium for someone looking to move on from Tinder, but maybe not quite ready for marriage.
With a predominantly younger user base you might be wondering about the success of finding an actual relationship. Well, it is reported that 3 out of 4 first dates from Hinge will lead to a second. For someone looking for dates and not just flings, those are stats that you can’t ignore.
The apps functionality is quite similar to other dating apps like Tinder or Bumble with the common mutual liking necessary to communicate. Yet the point of difference is that instead of endlessly swiping, you are prompted to rather like parts of the users profile.
So instead of just blindly liking someone, you can like a certain photo, or an answer to a question on his or her profile. To increase your chances of a match even more, you are able to add a written comment along with the like.
This serves as a perfect icebreaker. Rather than just saying hi, or asking how their day was, you have a lot more material on Hinge to work with. I personally have found this leads to more organically flowing conversations.
The other difference to other dating apps is the amount of likes users receive per day. With Hinge you will receive 10 likes per day to spend how you wish. They will be topped up everyday at 4am.
You can even add in ‘deal breakers’, which will exclude anyone that doesn’t match your preference. For example, if you don’t like smokers, you can filter them out.
Hinge also offers a daily ‘most compatible’ user that its algorithm determined you would like. The smart algorithm is based off your profile info as well as your behavior.
The sign up process is fairly straightforward. You will answer your own virtues, vitals and vices. These basically just include some personal basic information, your education/work and even your stance on drinking, smoking and even drug use. The sign up process is as follows:
What You Should Know Before trying Hinge:
Best For: Someone in their 20’s and 30’s looking to move on from Tinder
Not For: Someone 50+ wanting a serious relationship
- 1 month – $19.99 total
- 3 months – $39.99 total ($13.33/month)
- 6 months -$59.99 total ($9.99/month)
What Paid Membership Gets You: Hinge is yet another app that you can easily get a lot out of, without spending a cent. Although like the others, there is a monthly paid subscription model. Upgrading to become a ‘preferred member’ will allow users to see who has liked them already, have extra preferences and unlimited likes.
- Less sleazy people than Tinder
- Easy sign up process
- Can easily use without spending any money
- Advanced filtering capabilities allows you to find likeminded partners
- Very limited barriers of entry means there are more people just looking for fling/not taking it seriously
Most Similar To: Coffee Meets Bagel, OkCupid
Final Thoughts: If you are currently using Tinder and have found yourself even slightly thinking that Tinder is a tad sleazy for you, get on Hinge. I personally use Hinge and have found it to be one of the better apps in ways of sparking up flowing conversations with high user activity.
Best Dating App For Liberals: OkCupid
OkCupid is a dating app for young liberals looking for a like-minded partner. OkCupid is basically your safe space for dating, being extremely welcoming to everyone and not tolerating any hate.
With 12 different gender identities and 20 sexual orientations to select from, you can rest easy knowing that OkCupid is all about acceptance
Other than the liberal focus, there isn’t all that much that makes OkCupid stand out from other apps like Hinge, or even Bumble. But I include it on this list because if you are a little more open minded when it comes to what you are open to, but finding someone with similar value is of the highest importance to you, then OkCupid can be a great place to find love.
OkCupid isn’t just for relationships, hence why it may be for the more open minded. You can select what you are actually open to when setting up your profile, these selections include: hook up, new friends, short term dating and long term dating.
The sign up also includes answering 15 questions including deal breakers. For example, you may be asked to answer “would you date someone who keeps a gun in the house?” As you can probably tell, these questions allow users to get a feel on whether they see eye to eye with that person, rather than just working off a couple of photos.
What You Should Know Before trying OkCupid:
Best For: Young liberals who are open minded when it comes to finding a partner
Not For: Conservatives ready to settle down
What Paid Membership Gets You: There are two different paid subscription levels, basic and premium. With the basic membership you can see who likes you, get read receipts, remove ads and see other profile attractiveness scores.
With the premium membership you will get the above functions as well as an additional daily ‘autoboost’, making your profile one of the highest viewed in your area for a period of time each day.
- 1 month – $9.95 total
- 3 months – $23.85 total ($7.95/month)
- 6 months – $29.70 total ($4.95/month)
- 1 month – $24.90 total
- 3 months – $68.70 total ($22.90/month)
- 6 months – $119.40 total ($19.90/month)
- Questionnaire and user base ensures you can find a likeminded person (if you’re liberal)
- Less chance of someone surprising you with conflicting views down the line
- If you’re more conservative you could feel a little out of place
- Those serious about finding a relationship may have to weed out ones looking for a fling
Most Similar To: Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel
Final Thoughts: OkCupid has been running for 14 years and is still going strong. In a saturated market it seems to have found its niche. So if you’re a young, free spirited individual, give it a try.
Best Dating App For Those Who Don’t Like Making Decisions: Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel, or CMB, is all about taking away the ability of endlessly swiping, helping users focus on quantity over quality. Rather than sifting through thousands of profiles you receive a limited number of highly compatible suggestions per day.
This allows users to focus on the match in front of them, rather than swiping onto the next. In a world where online dating users are spending up to 14 hours per week swiping, this approach is refreshing.
Coffee Meets Bagel works by sending users a limited number of ‘bagels’ per day. A ‘bagel’ is just CMB language for a potential match. So you will be someone else’s bagel too. You can then make contact with these users, and the following day at midday, you will receive a fresh batch of bagels.
These matches are highly filtered using CMB’s smart algorithm. Using factors such as your preferences and your activity to only serve the most compatible bagels. Every swipe will help the app learn more about you and your preferences, so you can rest assured that your daily bagels will only improve over time.
You can also use the ‘discover’ tab to explore other bagels who may fall just outside of your set preferences. If you want to express your interest in any of these users you will have to do so using a ‘bean’.
Beans are Coffee Meets Bagel currency. They allow you to unlock particular features and are earned for everyday tasks just like logging in. You can always buy more at the bean store too.
The best news about CMB is that you can get away with communicating quite freely without paying. The premium subscription allows certain features to unlock, but if you want to message people and get your daily bagels, the free version is more than enough.
Sign up is also extremely easy. Rather than complicated and long questionnaires, CMB relies more on your activity to learn about what you like. The sign up process is as follows:
What You should know before trying Coffee Meets Bagel:
Best For: Someone who is sick of the current online dating climate and would prefer quality over quantity
Not For: Someone who likes control and choosing their own matches.
- 1 month – $35 total
- 3 months – $75 total ($25/month)
- 6 months – $120 total ($20/month)
What Paid Membership Gets You: The paid subscription version of Coffee Meets Bagel is called CMB premium. As mentioned earlier, it is very doable to get a lot out of CMB without spending a cent. If you decide to upgrade to a monthly subscription, you will unlock a few extra features.
You will see things like user activity reports which lets you know how often they send the first message and get access to features like ‘skip the line’ which allows you to be suggested to more people more often. You will also receive 6000 ‘beans’ per month. If you decide to purchase more, you will receive 15% more if you are a premium member.
- You can get away with never upgrading to a premium version
- Easy sign up means that you will navigate through some blank profiles with minimal information
- Limited chances per day
- A little bit smaller pool of users compared to apps like eHarmony, Match and Hinge
Most Similar To: Hinge, Match
Final Thoughts: Coffee Meets Bagel is a perfect next step from apps like Tinder or Bumble. If you want something slightly more serious, are sick of the game-like approach of other dating apps and you don’t want to spend much money, give Coffee Meets Bagel a go.
Best Dating App For Christians: Christian Cafe
If you’re Christian and want to find another Christian, using a dating app owned by Christians, well then you should definitely try Christian Café! In all seriousness, Christian Cafe should be at the top of the list if you’re seeking a serious relationship and your faith is very important to you.
Keep in mind that Christian Cafe is a niche dating app, with many other competitors in the Christian dating game, yet it has a decent user base of 2 million users worldwide, half of which coming from the U.S.
If you are looking for a serious relationship you will be surrounded by people in the same boat. Majority of users are looking for a serious relationship or marriage. Christian Café isn’t strictly for relationship seekers, even though the majority of users are. If you are looking for fellowship, support or guidance, Christian Café caters to you as well.
I believe Christian Café can help give you that extra sense of security, as any inappropriate behavior whatsoever is not tolerated. So you can rest assured knowing that if any users are being creeps and not exactly following a Christian way of life, then they will be booted.
This even applies to anyone suggesting a “casual” encounter. So to reiterate, if you are looking for something serious, you can be sure you won’t be running into sleazy comments.
Unfortunately to some, Christian Café discourages users to join if they are still legally married, so take this into account if you are going through a separation. But I believe there will be many users in a similar position.
You’re better off mostly using the web application. The app has a few limitations compared to the desktop/web version. Although the app still does the trick, especially on the go. Signing up will also have to be done on a web browser (don’t worry, your phone is fine). The sign up process is as follows:
What You Should Know Before Trying Christian Cafe:
You can communicate with other Christian Café users by sending ‘winks’ to show your interest in them, or even going directly to messaging via email. You will only be able to email users directly if you have upgraded from the free version. Although, there is a 10 day free trial (use link below) in which you will be able to access all the features included in premium.
Christian Café uses a smart algorithm to find users that would be most compatible with you. This is called the QuickMatch feature. The algorithm works by taking into account users answers from the sign up process and helps match them with others.
Best For: Christian people of all ages looking for a relationship
Not For: Non Christians, or those looking for a fling
- 10 Day Free Trial
- 2 weeks – $34.97 total ($69.94/month)
- 1 month – $44.97 total
- 3 months – $69.97 total ($23.32/month)
- 6 months – $109.97 total ($18.32/month)
What Paid Membership Gets You: You won’t be able to send winks or emails without upgrading. You also will be unable to send your contact details as email addresses and phone numbers are automatically blurred unless you are a paid user.
- Very easy sign up process
- You can use for the trial, get email addresses of users you fancy and then stop paying
- Strict guidelines means no unwanted people looking for the wrong things
- Strictly likeminded people
- One of the only places to be certain everyone is Christian
- Owned by Christians that understand you
- Pretty unattractive user interface, especially on web
- Have to pay for number of months upfront, can’t pay monthly
- If you are strictly looking for a relationship, you may run into some users who are rather looking for fellowship, support or advice
Most Similar To: eHarmony, Match
Final Thoughts: Christian Café is kind of like that little restaurant that from the outside might not look that appealing, but the food is spectacular. Even though the user interface looks a little old school, the fact is that Christian Café is successful in matching likeminded, faith based individuals.
Best Dating App For Lesbian Relationships: HER
A traditionally heterosexual dating app can be a little daunting for people from the LGBTQI+ world. That’s why HER is one of the most popular and fastest growing location based dating apps in the world.
HER is a place for womxn to connect and find love. There seems to be more of a focus on relationships rather than just hooking up. So if you are a womxn (cis, trans or non-binary) who’s lesbian, bi or bi-curious, you might be better off going straight to an app like HER, rather than other well rounded apps that are “inclusive”.
HER is currently only available in USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, UK and Netherlands, although there are over 1 million members in the U.S. alone. This shows how a relatively new app has had some consistent growth, meaning more members joining everyday.
HER works quite similar to other dating apps requiring a mutual match before a conversation goes down. Using HER, you can scroll through and like users on the ‘meet’ section of the app, if they like you too a conversation will start.
All conversations will run through the ‘chat’ section of the app. Profiles shown in the ‘meet’ section are based off your preferences selected when signing up and age.
The sign up process is fairly limited and easy, meaning that compared to some of the other apps on this list there are less interests or icebreakers to work off. This can be a good thing as you are going in blind and getting to know someone, rather than not matching with someone just because they don’t like the same TV show as you.
HER is also known for holding events worldwide for Bi, lesbian and queer womxn to connect worldwide. Since 2015 there have been many events in many different areas around the world. So keep an eye on the ‘feed’ section of the app to keep updated on any upcoming events in your area.
What you should know before trying her:
Best For: Someone bi, bi-curious, lesbian or queer looking for something a little more serious
Not For: Someone who doesn’t identify as a woman
What Paid Membership Gets You: The free version of HER allows you to still send and receive messages, so it’s not a bad place to start. When you upgrade to a paid monthly membership you will unlock features such as seeing who’s online now, see who already liked you, change location, unlimited swipes, read receipts and rewind (if you accidentally swipe the wrong way).
- 1 month – $14.99
6 months – $71.99 total ($11.99/month)
12 months – $89.99 total ($7.49/month)
- No messages from heterosexuals or couples looking to spice things up
- If you’re a little bi-curious and would feel uncomfortable saying so on a more traditional app, HER means you will be surrounded by strictly like-minded people
- Rather than being inclusive it is strictly for lesbians
- Easy sign up
- Events are an extra way for you to connect
- Quick and easy sign up process means more users who aren’t serious about finding a relationship
Most Similar To: OkCupid, Hinge
Final Thoughts: HER is establishing itself as the best lesbian dating app in the world. Not only that, but it’s just a place for likeminded womxn to connect. If you’re over flings and want to find something a little more serious, get started on the free version of HER.