Best Dating Sites For Serious Relationships

keyboard with a heart button

Online dating is more popular than ever before. But with 59 percent of people viewing online dating as a good way to meet people, why are the best dating sites for serious relationships seemingly so hard to find? Fortunately, there are more of these dating sites out there than you probably realize. While low-commitment apps like Tinder receive the most media attention, there is certainly no shortage of dating sites for serious relationships.

Before jumping into the world of online dating, it's important to understand what you're seeking. For some people, online dating is just a diversion from casually meeting people at a bar or coffee shop. For others, these platforms represent a fast-track to meeting the love of their life and walking down the aisle. On the one hand, online dating does correlate with stronger, happier marriages. But searching for these committed relationships through the wrong dating site will lead you nowhere.

The Intriguing World Of Online Dating

heart shaped of a couple in a silhouette

This rise in online dating has divided experts into two camps: those who believe these platforms allow for more diverse, authentic connections between individuals and those who believe it stunts our social skills and relationships. In a sense, both of these groups are probably right.

While apps like Tinder may inspire shallow interactions with strangers (though the app has continuously rebranded itself to be more about building actual relationships), plenty of the best dating sites for serious relationships do the opposite. Many of the individuals on these websites understand that building a relationship takes more than chatting online. Online dating may begin on a phone or computer, but it must move into the real world to be successful.

Is Online Dating Right For Everyone?

couple smelling a red rose

Whether you believe in finding true love online or not, internet dating isn't for everyone. But this method of meeting people also requires minimal investment, so many people dip their toes into online dating just to test it out. Even if you're skeptical of the whole premise, creating a profile and checking out the prospects won't hurt.

For those who are low on time, online dating can be one of the most effective ways to meet people. In reality, these websites and apps are just a numbers game. You can swipe through dozens of profiles in a matter of minutes. Try to get a cursory understanding of that many people at a party, and you'll be there for hours. Of course, liking someone's profile doesn't mean you'll click in real life. But if you're someone who feels like they never meet anyone new, online dating may be a great option.

​How We Reviewed

couple and heart balloon

When it comes to the best dating sites for serious relationships, you probably know not to turn to Tinder. But beyond that, the options are practically endless. To help you navigate the intimidating world of online dating, we've created a list of the best places to find a committed relationship.

For our list of the best dating sites for serious relationships, we looked for platforms that either boasted high success rates or advertised relationships as their goal. Some of these websites have desktop versions, but with the popularity of smartphones, most are mobile-friendly, so we also included some dating apps. We then looked at key features offered by each dating site, as well as common complaints. Finally, we compared pricing structures for each of these websites or apps.

Should You Pay For A Dating Site Membership?

kissing couple

Paying for a dating service may seem unnecessary. But if you want to access the full features of the best dating sites for serious relationships, you will probably have to pay a fee. Fortunately, most dating platforms offer free trials or basic plans that cost nothing. Some, however, block users from using basic features like messaging if they don't subscribe.

If you are serious about buckling down and finding someone you connect with, paying for a dating site membership might be worth it. But if you plan to casually check in on your profile when you're feeling lonely, then paying for one of these subscriptions is a good way to hemorrhage money. With some dating site memberships costing as much as $30 to $60 per month, using one of these services can add up.

The 10 Best Dating Sites For Serious Relationships

couple smiling

With so many dating sites to choose from, you can easily tailor your online dating experience. Some websites and apps are mostly for casual meet-ups, while others claim to connect you to your future spouse. Whatever you're looking for in your love life, there's a dating platform to help.

When using any of the best dating sites for serious relationships, it's important to remember that you often get what you give. If you want to make an intimate connection with someone online, you need to ensure that your profile truly represents who you are.

1. eHarmony


eHarmony famously markets itself as having the highest marriage rates of any online dating platform. Whether or not this is actually true, eHarmony is still one of the best dating sites for serious relationships based on numbers alone. This platform was created by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and boasts a "scientific matching system" as the reason for its success. However, in the U.K. eHarmony was recently prohibited from using this claim to promote their services.

eHarmony and its founder have also found themselves in hot water over the company's Christian affiliation and comments on same-sex marriage. When signing up for eHarmony, you may notice that you cannot select man-seeking-man or woman-seeking-woman. eHarmony runs another dating site geared toward gay and lesbian singles, called Compatible Partners. But this clear division means eHarmony is not one of the best dating sites for serious relationships (or any relationship) if you aren't decidedly gay or straight.

While eHarmony does offer a free version of its services, reviewers call this version "pretty worthless." eHarmony's paid services vary in cost depending on your subscription terms. But one month on the site can cost as much as $50 to $60. The website does offer a three-month guarantee, though. If after three months you aren't satisfied, they will give you an additional three months for free.

2. Match.com


Match.com is another of the best dating sites for serious relationships. This dating platform was largely responsible for the advent of the modern dating profile. Match.com profiles are built around sharing photos, surveys, and personal writing sections that showcase the user. Of course, that doesn't mean that all users of the site are entirely honest in portraying themselves online. But this is, unfortunately, an issue on all of the best dating sites for serious relationships.

One of the most common complaints about Match.com is the number of suspected fake profiles on the site. Some users claim that these profiles are created by the company itself to lure in unsuspecting new users. In 2018, Match.com was even served with a class action lawsuit over the accused use of fake profiles to bring free users onto their subscription service. However, this lawsuit was later dismissed. Match.com is also not the only dating site filled with fake profiles, though their situation has been most prevalent in the media.

You can try out Match.com with a free seven-day trial. But after that runs out, you will need to pay a monthly subscription to access the platform. While subscription prices vary, Match.com typically charges between $20 and $30 per month.

​3. OkCupid


While all of the best dating sites for serious relationships are open to singles of all demographics, OkCupid is definitely the most hip and trendy. OkCupid is also the most welcoming to LGBTQ individuals out of all the major dating sites currently available. Their desktop website even prominently features same-sex couples throughout its design.

Unfortunately, OkCupid is also home to countless fake profiles. In addition, some users claim that catfishing, the process of using another person's photo on your own profile, is common on this dating platform. There are also some claims that OkCupid isn't actually one of the best dating sites for serious relationships, despite its advertising, because it features plenty of users looking for zero-commitment hookups.

OkCupid's free version gives you full reign over viewing and messaging other users, which far outdoes most other sites' free versions. But if you'd like to see who is liking your profile, you will need to upgrade your membership. However, compared to some of the other best dating sites for serious relationships, OkCupid is pretty affordable. Monthly membership fees range from around $10 to $20, depending on the length of your subscription.

​4. EliteSingles


If you're unfamiliar with many of the best dating sites for serious relationships, there's a good chance you haven't heard about EliteSingles. While the name can come across as a bit, well, elitist, this dating platform is great for professional, educated singles seeking a relationship with a peer. The average users of EliteSingles certainly aren't old. But they do tend to be more mature and established than those on some of the other best dating sites for serious relationships.

EliteSingles doesn't offer a free-for-all search system for its users. This might be a con for those who like to trawl through dating profiles for hours on end. But it can certainly help those singles who are overwhelmed by the world of internet dating. Instead, EliteSingles offers curated access to other users it feels will make a good match.

EliteSingles offers a basic free membership with limited features. But if you want to take the plunge into a premium membership, it's going to cost a bit. Depending on the length of your membership, EliteSingles charges between $35 and $70 per month to use their full service. Out of all the best dating sites for serious relationships, EliteSingles is one of the most expensive.

The Man's Guide to Women

The Man's Guide to Women: Scientifically Proven Secrets from the Love Lab About What Women Really Want
  • The Man s Guide to Women Scientifically Proven Secrets from the Love Lab about What Women Really Want
  • John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman Ph.D., Douglas Abrams, Rachel Carlton Abrams M.D., Lara Love Hardin
  • Publisher: Rodale Books
  • Hardcover: 224 pages

​5. Hinge


Hinge is not a dating website, but an app. This dating platform brands itself as "design to be deleted." According to the Hinge website, the app's goal is to get you off Hinge (and in a committed relationship) as quickly as possible. This is a great slogan, but is it really effective?

Hinge offers a dating app platform different from Tinder or other swiping programs. Instead, your dating profile on Hinge works more like social media. Potential suitors comment on your photos and posts and can see who you're connected to in real life. While this might be too invasive for some online daters, for others it's a great way to broaden their social horizons.

Hinge does offer a free trial for new users that lasts for an impressive three months. And after that trial is over, the monthly membership fee is only $7. For the price of around two coffees, Hinge proves to be a worthy competitor against some of the best dating sites for serious relationships.

​6. Coffee Meets Bagel​


Another app built on connecting users to friends-of-friends is Coffee Meets Bagel. Like Hinge, this dating platform looks at your mutual connections through social media and connects you to people just outside of your current social circle. But the Coffee Meets Bagel app offers a slightly more curated approach to dating.

Instead of looking through profiles yourself, Coffee Meets Bagel sets you up on a digital meet-up with one match per day. The app offers icebreaker conversation starters for the two of you to answer. If you hit it off, great. And if not, a new match will be in your inbox in 24 hours. Coffee Meets Bagel is also one of the best dating sites for serious relationships when it comes to the number of women using the app.

Coffee Meets Bagel's core service is entirely free, which is a big bonus for those on a budget. However, you can unlock additional features by subscribing to a premium membership for around $30 to $40 per month. Unlike apps that place basic features behind paywalls, though, the app is 100-percent usable without paying for this subscription.

​7. Bumble


Bumble started out as a dating app, but now also maintains a desktop version of their platform. While Bumble is one of the best dating sites for serious relationships, you can also use different features of Bumble to connect with business contacts and new friends. But romantic connections are still the bread-and-butter of Bumble's platform.

The Bumble feature that sets it apart from the other best dating sites for serious relationships is that women always make the first move. Unless you're pursuing a same-sex relationship, in which case anyone can make the first move. While heterosexual women are technically able to make the first move on any dating platform, oftentimes the men do. Bumble claims to help give women more control over their online dating interactions by providing this feature.

Bumble's basic services are available for free. However, they do have a premium membership called Bumble Boost that costs between $10 and $25 per month. This membership offers bonus features like rematching and longer match queues. But it isn't necessary to use the app.

​8. Once


Once is another dating app built on curated access to the platform's other users. When using Once, you are paired up with one match per day. During those 24 hours, though, you won't receive messages or be swiping through other profiles. You have the full attention of your match until the 24 hours is up or you both decide to move forward.

In 2018, Once also launched a rating system for male users. Women using the app can now leave reviews for men they've chatted with. The idea behind this feature is allowing women to freely warn each other about another user's inappropriate behavior. While the system is certainly not perfect, many women enjoy the reassurance that comes with this added information.

The Once app is free to use, making it one of the best dating sites for serious relationships if you're on a tight budget.

What Makes Love Last

What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • John Gottman Ph.D., Nan Silver
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Edition no. 0 (09/10/2013)
  • Paperback: 304 pages

​9. The League


Compared to many of the other best dating sites for serious relationships, The League feels like an exclusive club. To begin using The League, you must first be approved. The League requires your LinkedIn profile information, which helps them confirm your identity and block colleagues. You can also choose to connect your Facebook to block friends and family.

The League is built around rewarding users who utilize the app for meaningful connections. Those who "like" every profile but never hold a meaningful conversation will drop in the algorithm. Users who don't respond to messages or act inappropriately will promptly be removed. The League also protects your profile information from anyone who doesn't meet your exact specifications.

The League offers three tiers of service: Guest, Member, and Owner. If you are a Guest, you can access the app's free version. Members pay $30 to $100 per month and can access extra perks throughout the month. Owners, though, pay a whopping $80 to $200 per month and gain even more access to potential matches.

​10. Zoosk


Compared to some of the other dating apps out there, Zoosk really goes back to basics. There are no gimmicks like only being able to match with one person per day or needing to keep your rating up. Instead, Zoosk is an updated version of the classic dating websites like Match.com or eHarmony.

Zoosk's platform accommodates users who want to do anything and everything to get a match, as well as those who prefer the matches to come to them. You can choose to mass-message other singles or have the app's algorithm send matches straight to you. Plus, you don't have to worry about passing a detailed exam and background check just to get accepted by Zoosk.

When it comes to cost, Zoosk is pretty pricey when you compare it to some of the other best dating sites for serious relationships. While you can access some basic features for free, to experience the full app you will need a paid membership. Zoosk memberships cost between $30 and $60 per month.

​Where Will You Find True Love?

man and woman holding heartboards

When browsing our list of the best dating sites for serious relationships, remember that each of these sites targets different singles. If you're a professional looking for someone who understands the stress of work, then EliteSingles should be your first stop. But if you want the chance to expand your social circle and see what connections blossom, Hinge or Coffee Meets Bagel may serve you best.

Finding love online might feel like a lost cause. But with more and more relationships starting digitally, internet dating can actually be a great way to meet someone. Choosing one of the best dating sites for serious relationships, rather than one marketed toward flings and hook-ups, is the first step. And whichever of these dating platforms you choose, don't forget that love often appears when and where you least expect it.

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