9 Best Free Dating Sites That Work For Serious Relationships

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9 Best Free Dating Sites That Work For Serious Relationships

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the world of online dating, you’ll know that hookup culture overpowers meaningful dating every time. But there comes a time in most people’s life where they want more than just a one-night fling.

For serious, meaningful connections, you need dating sites that work, and certain apps just won’t cut it anymore.

You need to be able to show off your personality and find someone with similar interests, not just upload selfies and hope someone who is judging you solely off your looks ends up being your soulmate.

If you’re looking for something long-term, there are plenty of dating sites that claim to generate true love. But a lot of these sites have expensive memberships and pricey premium features. Even the ones with free sign-ups love to trick you by getting you all set up before telling you it costs extra to send messages or see your matches.

If you have cash to spare, the price of love might be worth paying a membership fee but if not, you need a free site that knows that true love is priceless. 

Here are the best free dating sites for serious relationships.

RELATED: How To Find The Love Of Your Life On A Dating App

These 9 apps and sites focus less on draining your bank account and more on filling your heart. They’re 100 percent free to join, use, match, and chat with prospective partners.

Of course, a couple of them feature premium options if you want to remove daily match limits or expand your options, but you don’t really need any of these extra features to still have a good shot at finding love without spending a penny. 

1. OkCupid

OkCupid focuses on building a meaningful connection with someone who shares the same views as you. It’s often considered quite a left-leaning app due to its emphasis on social justice, but this ensures you don’t end up on a date with someone who opposes every political view you have.

You get the chance to create a detailed profile that requires thought, instead of simply uploading your most attractive photos and writing a witty bio that gets you swipes.

With questions like, “Should the government require children to be vaccinated for preventable diseases?” featured among the matching quizzes, this site is all about getting deep, quick. The addition of 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations makes it a safer space for non-binary and queer individuals to find love while using the pronouns they prefer.

But politics isn’t the only matching factor here — OkCupid really gets to grips with your dating style via its questions so you’re matched with people looking for the same thing as you. 

Sign up for OkCupid.

2. The Inner Circle

If you’re career-driven and business-minded, casual dating and time-consuming swiping probably isn’t something you can fit into your hectic schedule. The Inner Circle matches young career-savvy singles to ambitious partners so you can become the next power couple in your city.

The site looks like one big advertisement for a polo club, with glamorous couples in black ties and cocktail dresses. If online dating isn’t entirely your thing, you can even attend the real-life events run by The Inner Circle.

The application process is rigorous, though, so take it as seriously as you would if you were applying to a job! Membership is not something that is given to just anyone. You must link your Facebook and LinkedIn profile to be approved.

Sign up for The Inner Circle.

3. Bumble

Bumble strikes a balance between meaningless hookup and instant relationship by offering a service that is as serious or casual as you make it. The app addresses some of the gender imbalances we see across other dating sites by prioritizing the needs of women.

Women have to message first, which makes this a good choice for men who are tired of gender norms that expect them to make the first move. It’s also empowering for ladies who are unafraid of telling a guy what they want.

Because of this feature, the app filters out a lot the types of guys that are perpetuating the one-night stand mentality seen on other apps, making it better for those who at least want a few good dates.

Once you match with someone, women have 24 hours to send the first message, which means things can move at a good pace... and there’s less time-wasters. But other than that, Bumble profiles do lack detail and personalization, so the matching process is, unfortunately, still quite heavily based on how you look in your pictures.

Sign up for Bumble.

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4. Coffee Meets Bagel 

This site is all about the slow-and-steady approach, making it a great option for those who get overwhelmed by dating.

Taking its name from the most chilled first date idea there is, the site links you with millions of worldwide users in a totally non-intimidating way. You get just one match a day, so you really get to take your time deciding if or how you want to message them.

Once you’re matched, you even get a question prompt based on their profile, like “Ask Paul about his recent vacation in Europe?” or “Ask Susan about her job as a nurse?” so you don’t even have to come up with the first line.

If you're feeling more outgoing, there’s always an option to find more matches via the Discover tab. You have 7 days to message your match so you keep the ball rolling without having the pressure of Bumble’s 24-hour limit. 

Sign up for Coffee Meets Bagel.

5. Plenty of Fish

Established in 2005, this site has raked in over 90 million users looking to dive into love since its launch. It’s a no-nonsense approach to dating that prioritizes traditional relationship needs over the confusing no-strings-attached world of modern dating.

Profiles are lengthy and detailed, featuring questionnaires about psychology, relationship needs, sex, and hobbies. A single questionnaire contains around 100 questions, so you can have access to more information about your matches than some people get after months of dating.

Because the site is so detailed, it’s a popular choice for people over 30, divorcees, and single parents who aren't in the mood to mess around. The only downside of the site is since the site has been around for 15 years, it’s in serious need of an update.

But once you get past the outdated interface, the obvious bot accounts, and the matches that have been inactive for 10 years, you still have a good chance at finding love. 

Sign up for Plenty of Fish.

6. HER

Since apps like Tinder can be filled with creepy men who fetishize queer women, the world of online dating is often disappointing for lesbian, bisexual and queer women.

HER is an app by LGBTQ women, for LGBTQ women that has amassed almost 5 million users since 2015. Last year, it revamped its minimalistic profiles to include more detailed questions about gender orientation, relationship preferences, hobbies, zodiac signs, dietary habits, and much more.

This is all in an effort to help you find a more worthwhile match that will last beyond a couple of casual dates.

The app is also filled with LGBTQ+ news stories and information about events in your area that will help you expand your circle. Even if you don’t find love on the app, it never hurts to make some like-minded friends who have had similar experiences to you. 

Sign up for HER.

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RELATED: 5 Best Dating Sites For LGBT Singles Looking For Love

7. Lumen

Dating in your 50s is no easy task when there’s nowhere to go to meet singles in your age. Lumen is an app specifically made for adventurous singles over 50 to meet like-minded matches.

“Mature dating” is often just a euphemism for boring, dry connections, but Lumen really makes sure to read your interests so you’re finding more than just companionship. With over 350,000 users worldwide, Lumen is filled with singles from all walks of life who, though they might be older on the dating scene, are young at heart.

Aside from simply linking you with people your age, Lumen makes sure that you’re really getting to know your matches by prioritizing conversation. Your opening message is required to be at least 50 characters long, which encourages interesting icebreakers and more meaningful chats. 

Sign up for Lumen.

8. Hinge

Hinge labels itself as the dating app that’s “designed to be deleted,” and works on the premise that no one looking for a serious relationship actually wants to be dating online.

You fill your profile with personalized relationship needs and quirky prompts that really show off your personality. You can filter your matches by height, religion, ethnicity, drinking habits, and more.

You get to present yourself as seriously or hilariously as you want so that your matches get a sense of who they’re talking to. The algorithm works hard to only show you people whose profile matches yours, so you don’t waste time swiping through hundreds of profiles of people you’d never go for in real life.

Unlike a lot of other dating apps, you get to see who likes you and choose whether or not to message them, so it cuts through some of the messing about, waiting for a match. 

Sign up for Hinge.

9. Happn

Every good romance movie starts with an enviable meet-cute that would never happen in real life. They end up sitting together on a train, they both reach for the same order at a coffee shop, or they bump into one another with shopping carts at the grocery store.

In reality, we let moments like these slip by us every day because we’re way too awkward to strike up a romance with a stranger. Happn allows you to check out users who have crossed your path in a way that’s way less scary than slipping your number to a mysterious stranger.

If you keep seeing the same attractive person walking around your neighborhood, look for them on this app. It uses an approximate location to link with singles in your area and only shows where you’ve crossed paths, so you don’t have to worry about privacy.

It’s great for busy people who want to connect with someone without spending hours hanging out in bars for the right person.

Sign up for Happn.

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Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.