15 of the Best Online Dating Apps to Find Relationships Ashley Mateo 3/11/2021. Flirting with potential paramours over an online dating app might be the best way to get to know someone. Choosing the best dating app for a long-term relationship is the first step, but that’s when the hard work really begins. You’re looking for The One – but so is your future perfect match. That means you need to present your “best self” in a genuine, attractive and compelling way – so your photos and profile need to be on point.
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Hoping to dip your feet back into the dating world after a prolonged period of practicing social distancing? If matching with a potential new partner in the'before times' was complicated—adding a global pandemic to the mix has made it even trickier to find that spark or connection. During this new normal, flirting with potential paramours over an online dating app might be the best way to get to know someone.
But the truth is, online dating can feel overwhelming. It’s not just having to make judgements based off a couple of photos and one-line bios, or the awkwardness of sending direct messages (or DMs) to strangers only to be ghosted. The sheer number of apps and users can make simply swiping seem like a daunting task.
In fact, the online dating audience is expected to grow to 37.5 million users by 2023, according to data from Statista. And by 2040, eHarmony predicts that 70 percent of couples will have started their relationships online. It's possible to make that dating world feel manageable, though—you just have to find the right app. For example, there are niche platforms specifically for those who love farming, bacon, or even beard-stroking (yes, seriously).
So if you’re looking to make a broader connection with, say, someone over 50, newly dating after divorce, hoping for a virtual video date, or are searching for a relationship, these online dating apps (some, even free) cover all the bases.
Match is the most popular online dating app in 17 states according to PCMag’s survey of 2,000 people. As one of the OG dating services (it’s moved from website-only to a website and app), Match has a specific appeal to those between 45 and 65 looking for a serious relationship; additional research by SurveyMonkey found that 58 percent of adults 45-54 years old use Match, more than double the percent who use Tinder. You can download it for free, although that will restrict you to browsing; if you want to actually message potential partners, subscriptions start at $21.99 a month.
Dating apps aren’t just for millenials; 20 percent of internet users between the ages of 55 to 64 have used a dating app or service, according to a poll from technology and research company Morning Consult. OurTime turns the idea of hookup culture on its head; instead, it encourages users to search for pen pals, friends, dates, long-term relationshipsand marriage partners. The free-to-download app lets you send emails, flirt, and match with potential partners, and a premium subscription ($38 per month) allows for additional features like the ability to see who has liked your profile.
Bumble set itself apart from all the other dating services crowding the app store by requiring women to make the first move once a match is made. You also only get 24 hours to send a message, unless you invest in a Boost membership, which starts at $10.99 for a week. Women love the app because it cuts down on the number of unsolicited messages, and men love it—in fact, 58 percent of the respondents who preferred Bumble in PCMag’s survey were guys—because it takes some of the pressure off initiating. Plus, once you find somebody you're interested in, you have the option of going on a video date in-app.
Tinder may have brought on'hookup culture,' but it’s still one of the top dating apps in the U.S. It has about 8 million users, the most of any other dating app surveyed by Statista. That means you have a pretty solid chance of eventually matching with someone who piques your interest—even if it takes a lot of left-swiping to get there. The app is free, but you can access premium features like Tinder Plus starting around $9.99 a month.
5. Plenty of Fish
Another one of the original dating websites-turned-apps with an eye towards finding a relationship, POF had 90 million users in its heydey. It’s still popular (Statista ranked it as number two), and the app claims you’re 2.7 times more likely to enter a conversation in your first 24 hours than on other apps. In polling its female users, the app found that 44 percent were single mothers—and that they find a partner 10 percent faster than the average user. Download and swipe for free, and upgrade to add more photos or show up first to potential partners starting at $19.99.
After filling in the app’s questionnaire and prompts (think standard icebreakers like:“my biggest pet peeve is…” and“my go-to karaoke song is…”), Hinge will start matching you with users who share common interests. The algorithm also serves you with your“Most Compatible” matches—who you’re eight times more likely to go out with, they say. And not only does the app show you how many people have liked you, it also tells you what they liked about you, making it easy to start a conversation.
OKCupid’s algorithm uses a series of questions to determine what“percentage” you’ll match with any of its five million users. That compatibility-driven focus is especially appealing to women, who made up 58 percent of the respondents who preferred this app in PCMag’s poll. It’s also super inclusive, offering 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations so you can define yourself however you want and match with exactly who you’re looking for.
Originally a Facebook app, Zoosk is now one of the largest dating sites out there, with over 30 million downloads since its launch in 2007. Today, it has over a million active users, according to Statista—and 500,000 of those are paying members, which means more than half of the users are seriously committed to find a match. Instead of forcing you to fill out a lengthy questionnaire, the app’s algorithm notes who you’re interacting with to better serve up potential matches.
At this point, eHarmony is a household name. It’s Match’s biggest competitor, and it’s two largest age groups are 30- to 44-year-olds and 55- to 64-year-olds. The sign-up process—which includes a very detailed, 150-question questionnaire—is a journey, but the brand once claimed to be responsible for creating 4% of marriages in the U.S. Plus, premium subscription members have the option to go on a video date before meeting in person.
10. Coffee Meets Bagel
Everyday at noon, Coffee Meets Bagel will curate and send you quality matches—or'bagels' as they call them—selected by its algorithm. With no swiping involved and a limited daily selection, this app is designed not to overwhelm. Plus, the in-depth profiles and'ice-breaker' questions encourage meaningful conversation, making this app perfect for those looking to start serious relationships.
With more than 14 million users, Hily stands for'Hey, I like you!' The app uses AI to continuously improve matchmaking, and has features like Hily stories to help you better capture who you are. The app is free, with an optional subscription for an ad-free and incognito-mode experience.
If you're looking for fellow Black singles who share your interests, BLK is a dating app that specializes in finding that connection in their community of users. With over 4 million downloads, the free app lets you match and chat with potential partners. Or, upgrade to a premium membership ($10 per month) for an ad-free experience, a boosted profile, unlimited number of likes, and the ability to'rewind' by giving somebody a second chance.
Got a crush on that cute neighbor but don't know his or her name? Regularly make eye contact with someone while walking your dog but haven't initiated conversation? Happn is a dating app that can help make those seemingly lost connections a reality. By using the location on your phone, you can match with people also on the app who are nearby. With over 100 million users worldwide, chances are you might just find your neighborhood crush.
Created by queer women, this LGBTQ+ dating app (and social platform) is for women and nonbinary people who want to find love in a safe space. For their 6 million users, HER provides in-app communities and hosted events to help encourage those sparks to fly.
15. Inner Circle
If you're serious about finding your other half and want to avoid the swiping into the void, Inner Circle requires all users to accept'The Date Better Pledge' that details a commitment to be'respectful, reliable, and inclusive.' The app provides detailed profiles, unique filters, and conversation prompts—so you can avoid the dreaded one-liner'hey' messages.
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With so many dating apps out there, it can be really difficult to choose which one is best. As a dating coach, I will often take on a client only to find that they have been dating on an outdated site or app for years. No wonder they aren’t getting any results! Dating apps are tools and in order to be the most effective, you need to be using the right one. Here is my recommended list for the best dating apps for relationships.
7 Best Online Dating Apps For Serious Relationships
#7 – OkCupid
Summary Of OkCupid:
OkCupid is best for users under the age of 35. It attracts this age group because of its progressive outlook on dating. For example, they offer the ability to select among multiple different genders as well as sexual orientations. Another reason it attracts a younger crowd is that you can use all it’s features 100% for free.
Best Dating App For Finding A Relationship Free
OkCupid is more of a traditional platform in the sense that you don’t swipe for matches, which limits your viewing to only one at a time. Instead, you can run a search using your filters (like height, religion, etc.) and see all the men that meet your criteria at once. This can really speed up the process filtering process.
How To Use OkCupid For Serious Relationships:
Better Filtering and Screening:
OkCupid is one of the best dating apps for relationships because it allows access to longer profiles. This gives you more information on potential matches without having to small talk text them as much, like you would on Bumble or Tinder. Since OKCupid also allows you to search for all matches at once, you can easily filter and message the men you are interested in the most.
May Attract More Serious Minded Young People
Many people in the younger age group are tired of swiping. They don’t want to go on dates with people who don’t match up with their lifestyles. This means that people who are tired of the quick dating scene that is Tinder and Bumble will look for an alternative, more “serious” minded site and likely turn to OKCupid.
If you’re ok with spending some extra time reading longer profiles, OKCupid can make it easier to filter for high-quality matches and increase your chance of finding a real relationship.
An interesting fact about OkCupid is that according to DatingSiteReviews,“In the wedding section of the New York Times, OkCupid is the most mentioned dating app.”
Word of Warning
One thing I will mention here (and this is the same for Match.com) is that you dont’ want to get too caught up in arbitrary filters. Giving people a chance even if they don’t meet your minimum height requirement or don’t eat the same ice cream as you can really boost your chances of meeting a high-quality man. So, don’t go too crazy on the filters!
Related: 10 Most Important Dating Tips for Women
#6 – Match Mobile
Summary Of Match:
Match Mobile is the dating app version of the traditional dating site, match.com. According to statistics, this dating app is best for users aged 24-38 (DatingSiteReviews). But, my personal experience with clients on this site has determined that you should be between 30-60 to get good results. I wouldn’t recommend this app if you’re under the age of 30. Instead, you should try OKCupid (above).
Match has been around for a really long time (since 1995) and some people might think this is a bad thing. I once suggested using this site to one of my clients and she freaked out saying that “no one has been on there since 2004!”
My client was dead wrong.
Millions of people use this dating site and it continues to be one of the most popular dating apps.
How To Use OkCupid For Serious Relationships:
Statistics from DatingSiteReviews show that “91% of Match members have attended college” and that “income and ‘wants kids’ are the most important criteria. This is great news for anyone looking to score a real relationship from a dating app.
Paid Subscription Leads To Higher Barrier of Entry
Match also requires a paid subscription in order to message other members. This is a great way to filter out spam, catfishers and people looking for casual flings. It also means that the average Match subscriber has a little extra money to spare, making them more likely to be financially stable.
Allows You To Search For All Suitable Matches At Once (No Swiping)
Just like OKCupid, Match allows you to search for all suitable matches upfront, and it has much longer profiles than Tinder or Bumble. This means you can do a much better job at filtering out potential matches and you don’t have to spend time swiping! The other great thing about match is that you can run a search for men in your criteria before you pay for a subscription. This allows you to take a look at the available pool of matches before jumping in with a paid subscriptions.
I highly recommend this as one of the best dating apps for relationships if you are within the age group stated above.
#5 – The League
Summary Of The League
The League is an excellent choice for highly educated professionals. As soon as you land on their website, the first thing you’ll read is:
“Are your standards too high? Keep them that way!”
Their whole schtick is that they only accept the best looking, best-educated, and highest quality matches. In order to make sure all their matches are meeting their strict criteria, all members are put on a waitlist to have their profile vetted. If you’re in, great! If not, tough luck because they don’t accept any payments to bypass the waitlist.
I find this app is best for users between the ages of 22 and 35. If you’re older than that, I’d just give it a try for a month to see if it’s worth it.
This app does not allow you to swipe freely like Tinder or Bumble and you cannot search for members openly. You are only given 5 matches a day that are selected by the League’s algorithm.
How To Use The League for Serious Relationships:
Great for Time Saving
The League chooses matches for you based on your criteria. If you’re a busy professional this is a good way to filter for high-quality matches without investing the time yourself.
The only downside of this system is that you have to wait for them to give you your 5 matches per day. If you don’t like any of them, you have to wait until the next day. Although you’re not doing any work to find these matches, it can extend the dating process by weeks or months if you are picky.
Much Higher-Quality Matches
The League is great if you’re highly educated or very successful and looking for a partner who shares the same qualities. The vetting process is not perfect, but it does weed out a lot of the fluff. Since it has a paid subscription model and the vetting process is so strict, it does attract people who are more relationship-minded and not just looking for a fling.
#4 – Facebook Dating
Summary Of Facebook Dating
Facebook Dating is a new addition to Facebook that just launched in 2019. It is still gaining in popularity but I would recommend it for all ages at this point. Especially since it’s free and easy to use if you already have Facebook.
You don’t have to download a new app to use it, you can simply access it via your Facebook app. All you have to do is hit the hamburger (three lines) menu button on your app and select “dating”. Here’s what it looks like:
Then, you will go through the process of creating your profile.
The dating app is completely independent of your Facebook profile. It will not show your dating activity to friends or family on Facebook.
How To Use Facebook Dating For Serious Relationships:
Filters Based On Preferences and Interest
Ok, I know its creepy that Facebook knows so much about us, but if it can get you a real relationship, that’s not so bad, right?
Facebook uses the interests and preferences of each person to send you suggested matches for who they think might be a good fit. Other dating sites like eHarmony and EliteSingles claim to do this as well, but we all know that Facebook has the most accurate representation of who we are as people. So technically their algorithm for finding like-minded matches should be spot on.
Facebook dating is still very new to the dating world so time will tell how effective it is at matching people up. For now all of its features are free so it’s worth a shot.
#3- Coffee Meets Bagel
Summary Of Coffee Meets Bagel
Ever since Tinder took the dating world by storm, many people quickly grew tired of the swiping model. It often lead to casual hookups rather than more serious relationships. Both Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel are marketed as dating apps for relationships, not hookups. This means they do not rely on the swiping method.
The Coffee Meets Bagel website specifically states:
“It’s the meaningful dating app for people who are sick of swiping.”
This is another app that uses an algorithm to match people based on similar criteria and preferences.
Coffee meets bagel works well for people under 35 who live in more populated cities. For some reason it is also very popular in the Asian community so if you are Asian yourself or looking for an Asian partner, this is the best app to be on.
How To Use Coffee Meets Bagel for Serious Relationships
Limited Number of Matches
Coffee Meets Bagel limits the amount of people you can like per day. This encourages you to really look at each match individually. You can see if you might have a connection rather than endless swiping to see “just one more.”
Encourages The Dating Process To Move Forward
Coffee meets bagel also has a countdown system that only allows you to chat back and forth on the app for 7 days. After the 7 days are up, the conversation will expire. This encourages people to actually meet up and go on dates rather than creating penpals.
#2 – Bumble
Summary Of Bumble
Now, Bumble is the only one that I have on this list that uses the traditional “endless swiping” method but it still has less of a hookup culture than Tinder. Bumble markets itself as being a place to have deeper connections, while Tinder markets itself for quick hookups.
The profiles on Bumble are short and you must swipe and match people before you can talk to them. Women initiate all conversations by being required to send the first icebreaker.
The reason I put Bumble on here as one of the best dating apps for relationships is because it is so popular. This app is the second most popular app (after Tinder) so the number of options for high-quality matches are endless.
Pretty much anyone that you’ll find on any of the other dating apps I mentioned will have tried Tinder and then also Bumble.
This makes it a great choice for people who live in less populated cities.
How To Use Bumble For Serious Relationships
Best For Lower Populated Cities
Since Bumble uses the endless swiping and the short profile method, it can be a little harder to filter out the fluff and find someone that is serious. This is why I only suggest using Bumble if you live in a smaller city (less populated) or have tried some of the other options on this list and had no luck.
Related: How To Write A Good Online Dating Profile: The Do’s And Don’ts
Best App For Endless Options
Bumble works in your favor in terms of numbers. There are many, many people on it and if you keep swiping and talking to people, you are bound to find someone.
The only problem with this is that it can get time-consuming really quickly, so use this one with some caution. As a dating coach, the biggest reason why people are single is that they get too tired of online dating and they give up. Pushing it aside year after year. Bumble has the potential to make you feel that “dating fatigue” much faster.
Summary Of Hinge
Best Dating App For Relationship
We made it to number one! Hinge is the absolute best dating app for relationships because it was specifically built with that in mind. The CEO and founder of Hinge has stated that he wanted Hinge to be like the serious relationship version of dating apps. Much like Match was for serious relationships and Plenty Of Fish was for casual relationships, he wanted it to be the opposite of apps like Tinder and Bumble.
Years later, Hinge has taken off and is becoming one of the most popular dating apps out there. It definitely tops the list for best dating apps for relationships.
Related: How To Delete Tinder Permanently And Get On With Your Life
How To Use Hinge For Serious Relationships
Best Dating App For Marriage
Doesn’t Rely on Swiping
Hinge doesn’t use the swiping model, and instead you can interact directly with people’s profiles. You can send them a like on their photo, or answer one of their many “prompts”. The prompts are conversation starters that encourage people to connect on a deeper level rather than just starting things with a “hey, what’s up” like you might get on Tinder or Bumble.
Gaining In Popularity
Although traditional sites like OkCupid and Match still have millions of users, the the growing trend for dating is gravitating towards phone apps. Since phone apps have had the culture of quick swiping/hookups, Hinge is actively trying to change that. They are trying to mesh the convenience of the phone app with more serious dating. Bcause of this, it has really taken off in the past few years and I can see it continue to gain popularity as the years go by.
How To Find Serious Relationships Using Dating Apps
The hardest part about dating online is that it is time consuming and emotionally draining.
The best way to increase your chances of success is to make sure you’re doing everything you can to attract high-quality matches. If you need help with this, check out my Free Guide: “How To Attract Higher-Quality Men” by clicking here.
Thanks for checking out my list on the best dating apps for relationships. If you need help with getting better at online dating, feel free to check out these related posts: