Though the average age of marriage in the United States keeps creeping’ closer to the 30s—with men 29. 2 and women at 27.1—one fact remains true: most people want to get married one day. It goes without saying that dating apps have fundamentally changed the way people approach meeting the right person, making it equal-parts better and harder, depending on which site you choose to invest your time and energy in.
If you’re in the camp of singles who doesn’t just want a relationship, but the relationship, it’s vital to be as selective about online dating apps as you are about the people you invite into your heart or bed, or both. As psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. explains, being picky means you’re dangling your line in the right lake of people who want what you want. “ If you are at that point in your life where you have made the decision to find your husband or wife, it can be impractical, a waste of time, and discouraging to be on dating sites that cater to not primarily the marriage-minded,” she continues.
If you’re hoping to meet someone who could (finally!) be that someone, here, top relationship experts give their recommendations for the best dating sites for the most serious of relationships: marriage.
Dr. Thomas shares of all of the dating sites for folks who are hankering to get hitched, eHarmony leads the pack. This is mainly due to an important factor: their unique—and time-consuming—method of matching. It’s not as easy as entering your email address at 4 p.m. and going on a date by 7 with eHarmony, rather, they take the process seriously and require their members to put in effort, time and consideration. “eHarmony uses a lengthy, in-depth questionnaire the members fill out which is based on a scientific approach to finding compatible partners,” Dr. Thomas continues. “eHarmony uses the completed questionnaires to find compatible matches based on serious relationship qualities including relationship values, exclusivity, altruism, social values, agreeableness, accommodation, conscientiousness, and religious values.”
For an upgraded rate, you can also utilized their guided communication option which suggests the best ways to open the lines of chit-chat and flirting. This can be helpful for those who end up in the same ‘Hi,’ ‘Hi, how are you?’ ‘Good, you?’ discussions that lead nowhere.
Read our full eHarmony Review
Executive Editor and Founder of Cupid’s Pulse, Lori Bizzoco says If you are looking for a the real, real, real deal, Elite Singles claims to have the most marriage-minded and educated singles. According to their public data, their members are past the age of 30 and they have at least a college degree. “The singles on Elite have spent time on their careers and are now looking to settle down and take the next step in life,” she continues. She thinks part of the reason this site is a go-to for those seeking relationships is the fact you have to fill out a 200-question personality test to help them match you. That’s a commitment in itself!
Read our full Elite Singles Review
If you’re on Team Monogamy, you’ve definitely paid attention to the ads detailing the success and benefits of marriage. Though we can’t exactly back up the claim that 1 in 5 marriages came from Match—there are hundreds of positive reviews that give it merit for those seeking long-term relationships. Dr. Thomas says one of the greatest aspects of Match is its large membership, which gives you better odds for meeting your right person. They also approach dating from various angles: recommending matches, allowing you to save searches, in-person group dating in large metros, and the ability to communicate via voice or text straight through their site. Your ability to ‘make it’ on Match boils down to your effort level and how smart you are at weeding through the pool to find those who are seriously on the same pages as you are. “If you decide to join Match, make sure you only select or agree to matches who specify they are looking for a serious, long-term relationship leading to marriage or that they are at least open to marriage,” Dr. Thomas adds.
Read our full Match.com Review
In an ideal world, you would meet the love of your life through a friend. It might not be as easy as that with the digital realm of love affairs, but Hinge has given a modern upgrade to the matchmaking process, according to relationship expert Susan Trombetti. “It’s almost like your friend connected you which is an old fashioned way to meet people. It’s very private and your friend’s on facebook don’t know you have been connected to their friend unless someone tells them,” she explains. “You get to see the person’s real name, their job, and a little more about them giving you the idea that you aren’t dating so blind.” Generally speaking, Trombetti says members here are relationship-minded, and ready for a partner, not a playmate.
Read our full Hinge Review
It might not be the first site you think of when the end goal is marriage, but it’s the open-minded aspect of OkCupid that makes it a recommendation, according to Dr. Thomas. No matter what you’re looking for or what orientation you identify with, OkCupid welcomes you, your kink and hopefully, your soon-to-be-partner. You can find hook-ups here, but you’ll find the most accuracy by filling out the survey answers. This helps OKC know what you’re specifically in the market for: “OkCupid offers appealing profiles and uses an algorithm that puts the most viable members to the top so you can easily see who you might be the most compatible with. To put you to the top, updating your profile frequently can get you more noticed and contacted by other members,” she adds.
Read our full OkCupid Review
Wanna make the first move, ladies? Or more to the point: you don’t want a stream of weirdos sending you inappropriate pictures? Trombetti shares Bumble allows women to take control of their searching, and helps to alleviate some of the pressure men sometimes feel making the first move. “There isn’t a lot of investment in creating a profile like some of the online dating sites that shall remain nameless. People are used to swiping at this point, and that’s what you do… swipe,” she continues. “It’s a more upscale version of Tinder.” Consider this the laid-back approach to husband-or-wife shopping.
There are plenty of other examples in the niche market, but dating expert Todd Vandehey says these are among the best. Here’s why they work for those who want to put a ring on it: “You’ll find that the people you are matched with will have similar interests and relationship objectives,” he continues. This doesn’t mean it’ll happen right away or without meeting some duds, but rather, you’ll come across people who identify with your religion or perhaps, are in the age range you’re looking to be date. If you want to earn some great dates that lead to something bigger, it’s okay to be upfront about what you want—but don’t put on the pressure too soon, Vandehey warns. “Sometimes, ironically, the best way to get married is to meet people and enjoy the relationships you have and see where they go without putting a lot of pressure on marriage. You may weed out someone amazing based on their profile if you all you are focusing on is wedding bells.”
Read our full OurTime Review or JDate Review
How to Pick the Right Dating Site If You Want to Get Married
Figuring out which serious-dating website or app is a lot like narrowing down your matches. With so many fishes in the digital universe, how do you catch the one that will result in a dream come true? The key to figuring out which platform will keep you engaged, result in matches and hopefully help you find your way off dating apps, is to be strategic. Each platform utilizes various features — from algorithms to interfaces — that are great for some folks, and not so good for others. Here, how to figure out which dating site for the marriage-minded is right for you:
If religion matters to you, pick JDate or eHarmony.
Though eHarmony doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, it’s well known within the industry as the spot for those who value religion. It’s a step down from say, Christian Mingle, but their philosophy and matching is based on values. They also don’t allow homosexual members to join eHarmony, as the site is intended only for the heterosexual community (as an aside, they do have a destination for the LGBTQ, just not on eHarmony). Though non-Jewish folks can join JDate, the idea is that you would be open to converting if it was important to your partner. When you imagine your future family and you picture attending church and other rituals, you should start your spouse search on one of these sites that put religion at the forefront.
If you are 100 percent dedicated to find Mr or Mrs right, pick Match.
There’s a reason why Match has been around, well, forever. With a vast user base and a pricing model that forces singles to get serious, Match has resulted in more marriages than any other platform. If you are truly, really, incredibly ready to get hitched, your effort is best spent on this dating site. But a word to the wise: Match doesn’t make it easy and that’s the point. Messages are often long, profiles are meant to be super-robust, and many users say it’s a full-time job to keep up. When you put in the time and you are strategic about your searching, chances are high you will find compatibility.
If you want a more laid-back approach, consider Hinge.
This doesn’t mean that you can be totally hands-off, but you can have a less serious experience by utilizing Hinge. Here, you don’t pay for the service but you do have to be more thoughtful with your opening one-liner. Hinge forces you to comment on a photo or a profile question response, and it dings you if you aren’t replying. This is a great way to ease into the serious-dating territory, especially if your job is uber-demanding or you often forget to engage online.