When I decided to give online dating a serious shot, I started looking for the best dating sites for relationships because I didn’t want to waste my time on casual hookups and flaky chats. I wanted to meet a long-term partner, and I needed a dating service that would have my back.
I created multiple dating profiles and spent my free time swiping and chatting and matching — and sometimes struggling with online dating burnout. But all that hard work and persistence paid off when I met my perfect match on a dating app. We’ve been together over a year now and couldn’t be happier with how our online dating story ended.
I know a lot of single people are hoping to have an online dating experience like mine — but they don’t know where to start. Here’s a breakdown of the best dating sites for relationship seekers who are ready for the real thing.
Best Overall Dating Sites for Relationships
Tired of playing games? Then you should use a dating site or app that takes romance seriously and has a proven track record. We’ve ranked the top dating platforms that go beyond the surface to build meaningful connections between like-minded people.
- Match is the world's longest running dating site
- The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
- Match is available in 50 countries and 15 languages
Match is at the top of our list of the best dating sites for relationships because it has been around longer and has more success stories than any other dating service. Its matchmaking system assists serious daters in the search for love.
This isn’t your typical superficial swiping app. The Match algorithm identifies common interests and compatibility factors in age, background, and lifestyle. Its match ratings have proven effective at predicting which couples will hit it off and have the potential to get in a real relationship.
Our Match.com full review goes into greater detail about why this online dating site and app is worth exploring, especially if you want a quality partner.
- Over 2 million monthly users
- Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
- Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits
As you can tell from its name, Elite Singles caters to the upper class of the dating world. This dating platform attracts doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from all over the world. Over 82% of its users have graduated from college, and they’re not messing around in the dating scene.
Single professionals are often single-minded when seeking a potential partner for life. They know their value and want someone who is on their level. Elite Singles can help by raising the bar with its premium features.
Only a paid member can send messages and view photos on Elite Singles. That means this exclusive dating club is populated by individuals who are determined, love-driven, and financially stable.
- Send messages to premium members for free
- Over 3 million messages sent a day
- Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts
Zoosk launched in 2007 as an online dating app that mimicked the look and feel of popular social media sites. It offered a fun way to match and chat with local singles, and it soon grew into an international sensation. Today, Zoosk has over 40 million members in 80 countries.
Thanks to its behavioral matchmaking system, Zoosk can guide a single person to a potential date who meets specific dating criteria and has that mysterious X-factor. The algorithm determines “your type” based on your browsing habits and like history, so the more people you interact with, the more accurate your match suggestions will be.
- Over 2 million people have found love here
- Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
- Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals
The founding mission of eharmony is to strengthen marriage and lower the national divorce rate. This online dating site has based its matchmaking system on psychology and is responsible for uniting over 2 million couples in the U.S.
Serious daters should take the time to complete the 80-question Compatibility Quiz to make sure they get the best results from eharmony. The personality test uses psychology to determine how couples stack up in terms of their communication styles and lifestyle habits.
Your answers to questions like “why are you single?” and “what qualities do you look for in a partner” will determine which dating profiles appear in your potential match list. The eharmony formula digs deep to identify true compatibility and set the foundation for a lasting relationship.
- For singles interested in God-centered relationships
- Over 3.5 million monthly users around the world
- Available as an app on Google Play and the App Store
ChristianMingle unites singles in the Christian community. The dating site’s central purpose is to inspire Christian relationships and marriages, and it carries the hopes of millions of good Christian men and women.
Since 2001, ChristianMingle has become one of the most popular Christian dating sites in the world. According to a study, ChristianMingle is responsible for matching almost one-third of married Christian couples who met online.
“I knew from the get go that we had instant connection and chemistry,” said Kaleigh, who met her husband on ChristianMingle. “It didn’t take long to realize that he was the one I was going to marry.”
- One of the largest Black singles networks in existence
- Straightforward search and matching features
- Use Tokens to appear higher in search results
BlackPeopleMeet offers a great way to diversify your date prospects and meet people who share similar values, backgrounds, and cultural awareness. Black and biracial singles have flocked to this niche dating network over the last 20 years, and it is recognized as being the largest Black dating site and app in North America.
You don’t have to be any particular race or have a certain skin color to join BlackPeopleMeet. It doesn’t shut the door on anyone with honest romantic intentions. However, the majority of singles in the BPM are people of color, so you better be open to Black dating or interracial dating if you choose to mingle here.
Online dating has sparked a rise in interracial marriage in the U.S., and BlackPeopleMeet has been at the forefront of that movement since 2002.
- Free, unlimited communication for everyone
- Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
- Over 91 million connections every year
OkCupid launched in 2004 as a completely free online dating site, and it hasn’t wavered from its freemium model over the last two decades.
It’s free to create an OkCupid dating profile, answer match questions, and send messages to OkCupid users, and there isn’t any pressure to upgrade — unless you’re just dying to know who has viewed your profile. An A-List subscription can give a premium member a boost in visibility, ad-free browsing, and access to more search filters, but it’s not necessary to upgrade to meet people and pick up a date.
OkCupid boasts inspiring over 50,000 first dates every week, and it has received multiple mentions in The New York Times wedding section.
- Free registration, searches, and messaging
- The Chemistry Test creates a compatibility framework
- Over 1 billion messages sent per month
Plenty of Fish is a popular online dating app where singles have free rein. A single person can send messages to anyone online for free — with no mutual matching required. Plus, during the pandemic Plenty of Fish launched a video chat feature to help online daters bridge the divide that social distancing created.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to meet someone new and build a romantic relationship on this dating site and app. The POF community has over 150 million members around the world, and its matchmaking formula is responsible for creating approximately 57 million matches every month.
Whether you’re a young adult, a single mom, or a senior single, you can dive into this diverse dating pool to find a potential partner who understands where you’re coming from.
- Supports active daters in 190+ countries
- The swiping system creates over 12 million matches per day
- Tinder Plus members have unlimited likes and 5 Super Likes
Tinder is a powerhouse in the online dating scene. The dating app invented swipe-based matching in 2012 and has sparked over 43 billion matches since then.
Tinder is particularly popular among young adults — over half its members are under 25 — so perhaps that is why it has the reputation of a casual hookup app. However, when Michelle Obama said in a podcast that you can’t Tinder your way to love, many Tinder couples came out of the woodwork to say that’s exactly what they did.
“Found my boyfriend of 2.5+ years on Tinder. We bought a condo this summer and are currently looking at engagement rings,” said Ashlen on Twitter. “I think I did just fine off Tinder.”
- A feminist dating app puts singles on equal footing
- 60% of Bumble matches turn into dates
- Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF spark non-romantic connections
Bumble, aka the feminist dating app, has revolutionized online dating by giving a single woman the ability to be the gatekeeper of her inbox. When a man and woman match on Bumble, only the single woman has First Move Privilege, meaning she has 24 hours to send the first message or the match will disappear.
In 2020, Bumble surpassed 100 million users and cemented its place as one of the most popular dating apps of all time.
Bumble users are, by and large, playing the dating game for keeps. About 85% of users say they want to find a long term relationship on the app, and fewer than 4% say they’re interested in a casual hookup. This is a serious place to meet someone new and build a connection based on mutual respect and shared interests.
Best Senior Dating Sites for Relationships
Older adults may wonder if the online dating scene is for them or if it’s too late to find love again. Well, the following senior dating sites prove that there isn’t an age limit on love, and a mature relationship could be right around the corner.
- An exclusively senior membership base
- Over 800,000 monthly users worldwide
- App available for free on Google Play
SilverSingles is an online dating site dedicated to meeting the social needs and romantic interests of the over-50 crowd. Its curated matching system takes an individual’s preferences into account and provides compatibility ratings on every dating profile.
Online daters can highlight their lifestyle in their dating profile and indicate whether they’re a single parent, college educated, or deeply religious. These sections are not required, but every detail is helpful to the match algorithm.
It’s free to join SilverSingles, but only a premium member can view photos and send messages here.
- Open to straight, gay, and lesbian singles over 50
- Free match recommendations and conversation starters
- Use Tokens to promote your profile and send virtual gifts
OurTime is a dating website and app that appeals to older adults who are tired of being alone and don’t want to play games. The dating service’s straightforward search and matching tools can put a senior dater on the fast track to romance.
Over the years, OurTime has proven to be a relationship expert with a lot of valuable tools to assist a single person looking for love and marriage. Its many success stories are proof of its ability to change people’s lives.
“I just want to thank you so very much,” said a Californian woman in an OurTime testimonial. “Over two years ago I met my love here and he has made all of the difference in my life.”
- Doesn't allow members under 45
- Available as a dating app in Google Play
- Dating advice and safety tips shared by senior daters
Since 2003, SeniorMatch has gotten rave reviews as an online dating site and app for older singles (50 and up). The platform has over 1 million members, and it has received more than 36,600 testimonials from happy couples who may never have met otherwise.
One senior man said he fell in love with the second woman he messaged on SeniorMatch. They spent a few days texting before they met in person and cemented their relationship. Now they are engaged and looking forward to a future together. “We cannot deny the sheer joy and love we feel for each other,” he said.
Every month, SeniorMatch inspires 1.6 million conversations between older adults. Those private chats have the potential to inspire a first date and lead to a lasting relationship.
Best LGBT Dating Sites for Relationships
Online dating has been a net positive for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s allowed singles who are closeted to explore their sexuality, and it’s allowed gay and lesbian daters to seek same-sex matches without having to step foot in a loud bar or club. According to recent survey data, something like 60% of gay couples now meet online.
We’re willing to bet the following two LGBT dating apps have something to do with that remarkable online dating success rate.
- A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
- Queer events get users connecting IRL
- The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking
HER is a delightful dating app designed by women for women. It currently has over 5 million members worldwide and is one of the most popular and powerful matchmakers for lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer women.
The HER app has distinguished itself from the average lesbian hookup app by screening new members, deleting fake profiles, and promoting LGBT events. Its goal is to foster authentic connections between women who share a common interest and relationship goal.
Many lesbian couples have shared their love story in a #WeMetOnHER post, and it’s touching to see a rainbow of relationships that can trace their histories back to a single message or match on HER.
- Social networking for gay, bi, trans, and queer men
- Location-based matches spark instant chemistry
- Grindr Equality advocates for LGBTQ+ interests on the global stage
Grindr has the reputation of a hookup app, but its fast-paced matchmaking can actually lead to a lasting relationship or marriage as well. Gay singles can dive into the local dating scene with a free membership, and they can be as choosy as they like when swiping on dating profiles.
Since 2009, Grindr has been a gay dating hot spot, and it is unrivalled in terms of sheer size. The Grindr membership base currently tops off at 27 million guys, and it sees over 3.8 million visits per day.
More than 84% of Grindr users say they have fallen in love with a person they met on the dating app, and about 55% say they think it’s possible to find true love in their Grindr matches.
How Do Dating Sites for Relationships Actually Work?
Online dating isn’t rocket science. First you complete your online dating profile — filling out every section available — and then you start searching for potential matches based on your dating criteria.
If you see someone you like, then you can use the free communication tools to get in touch. Sometimes free members can only send a virtual like or icebreaker question. Fortunately, free dating sites like OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Coffee Meets Bagel allow members to send private messages right off the bat.
- Men can leave a message to anyone they fancy
- A sophisticated match algorithm developed by Harvard math majors
- The site and app facilitate over 50,000 dates every week
OkCupid is a popular dating service where chatting is a freebie. Members exchange millions of messages a day as a result.
Online dating sites often provide match recommendations or compatibility ratings to help direct your attention to the most promising dates in town. And you can also use search tools or match filters to further narrow your list of potential matches.
Are Dating Sites for Relationships Safe to Use?
Yes, online dating is a safe way to meet a new person and create a romantic relationship. You just have to exercise caution and make sure your online crush is trustworthy.
Some dating sites and apps offer profile verification tools to help individuals build trust with one another online, but it’s always a good idea to go one step further to verify whether your date is who he or she says. That may mean doing some Facebook stalking or Googling to find out what you can. You may even want to conduct a background check to see if that person has a criminal record.
It’s also a good idea to vet date prospects on a video call, phone call, or coffee date. Never agree to a first date in a private location, and always have an exit strategy in mind.
How Do I Choose the Best Dating Site for Relationships?
Choosing the absolute best dating site is difficult because it depends heavily on where you are, who you’re looking for, and what type of dater you are. It’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all answer. For example, sometimes apps flourish in big cities, but do not have a foothold in rural areas.
Our dating experts have ranked Match as the best overall dating site because it has a broad and diverse following. But it’s hardly a sure thing. Match.com has seen the most success among singles in their 30s and 40s, and it has been largely ignored by 20-somethings on a budget.
- In-depth matching appeals to women with high standards
- Only premium members can send private messages to one another
- An established singles network in 50 countries worldwide
You should do your research into the online dating scene to find out which sites and apps have been successful in the past and worked for singles like you. Reading reviews like ours is a good place to start. We have ranked the best dating sites for teenagers and the best dating sites for seniors to make sure everyone can find where they fit in the online dating world.
Can You Search by “Relationships” on the Best Dating Sites?
Most dating apps do not have a search filter by relationship type or relationship status for the simple reason that not everyone is looking for just one thing. Some singles are open to all types of relationships, and some want to start off casually and get more serious as time goes on and the connection deepens. Some singles don’t even know what they want when they create a dating profile.
Romantic relationships are not always so clear cut in the online dating scene. That’s why it’s best to ask a person and not an online dating profile about his or her intentions. Serious daters tend not to shy away from the “what are you looking for” conversation because they want to be on the same page and start building toward the future. So just ask the question and see what happens.
Serious Dating Sites Can Get Singles Closer to Love & Marriage
Online dating can make a huge difference in your love life by introducing you to people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. But you can’t expect it to work miracles overnight. It takes time, patience, and practice to really get the hang of how online dating works and how you can make it work for you.
Even the best dating sites for relationships cannot guarantee that every mutual match or first date will lead to a serious relationship. They can only give singles the opportunity to network, chat, build meaningful connections — and hope that luck is on their side.
Believe me, when you find the right person, all those hours of swiping will seem well worth it. Best of luck!