TOP 10 Best Dating Sites for Casual or Serious Relationships

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  • DatingforLove
  • Jan 27, 2024

It's the ideal time to get yourself out there and date ahead of the season of cozy fireside nights in and walks in the park as the leaves fall.

To help you meet your match, we've rounded up the best dating sites out there, including the best for long-term relationships and mature singles.

Whether you are getting back on the dating scene after a breakup or just looking for something casual, dating sites are one of the best ways to find yourself a match.

Online dating opens you up to a huge demographic of singles from all over the world looking for the same things as you.

We're playing matchmaker and have rounded up the best dating sites for professionals, and mature singles, as well as for casual and faith-based dating.

1. Adult Friend Finder

Not everyone on the dating scene is looking for long-term connections; casual and short-term arrangements are also a big part of the online dating world.

Adult Friend Finder is the best dating website to go if this is something you are looking for, with open and transparent users looking to connect.

You can do a lot with the site without paying for a membership, including messaging users, replying to emails, and visiting chat rooms.

But you can access more user content and join in more chat room discussions with a membership, which starts at $14.95 per month for 12 months or $24.95 for a monthly membership.

2. Ashley Madison

Ashley Madison is a breath of fresh air for single or attached folks experiencing a sex slump. This exciting dating site and app offer tons of opportunities to mingle, match, flirt, and hook up discreetly. Over 80 million profiles await you on Ashley Madison, and it’s free to create an anonymous account.

Ashley Madison is known as an affair site, but it’s also a common choice for married people in open relationships. For one thing, the majority of Ashley Madison members are married, so there is pretty much zero risk of encountering a negative reaction about dating or hooking up while married on the platform.

Ashley Madison provides members with plenty of tools to keep their dating lives discreet, whether you’re seeking an affair or keeping your relationship open. Photo blurring and anonymity audits reduce the risk of a friend or acquaintance finding you on the site or app, and a password-protected photo vault gives you the power to show yourself off to the people you trust. And if you are on the down low, the panic button will instantly navigate you away from Ashley Madison if you need to make a quick escape.

3. Seeking

Seeking is described as a luxury dating site for those looking to meet successful, wealthy, and attractive people. It has over 40 million members across 130+ countries worldwide.

It's free to sign up and start 'browsing' but if you want to contact someone you'll need to sign up to the platform and pay $50 to get verified.

The community has been described as 'super active' and the verification process is thorough, so you'll have peace of mind that people are who they say they are.

4. Zoosk

In 2007, Zoosk took a page out of social media’s playbook and began developing fun communication and matching features that would keep singles engaged from the moment they signed up.

Zoosk offers multiple avenues to romance so it shouldn’t be too hard to get into the groove and meet an interesting person. Young adults enjoy swiping through photos in the Carousel, chatting with members in the Online Now section, and using the search filters to find promising date candidates.

It’s free to send likes, smiles, and replies on Zoosk, but only premium members can send unsolicited messages and virtual gifts to their online crushes. Many Zoosk couples say that the subscription plan was worth it because it gave them the freedom to pursue love and get in touch with that special someone.

5. Ok Cupid

OkCupid is a free dating site and app where singles can chat as much as they like without paying any membership fees or using any tokens. You don’t even have to match with a person to send them a greeting. However, your online crush will have to like your dating profile to send a response and continue the conversation.

Since 2004, OkCupid has attracted millions of users and established a diverse and active dating pool where young people can thrive.

As a free dating app, OkCupid is a go-to wingman for singles on a budget. Some are just looking for a casual hookup, while others are more interested in something serious. Luckily, OkCupid requires users to state what they’re looking for, and it also asks a flurry of personal questions to get to the heart of who someone is.

OkCupid provides compatibility ratings to help singles focus on people who share their values and goals, and its match algorithm is responsible for making 91 million matches every year.

6. Match

Match is at the top of the online dating industry when it comes to inspiring deep and loving relationships. This dating site and app has spent nearly 30 years developing a personality-driven matchmaking system, and Match Group has countless success stories to its name.

Once you’ve completed your Match profile, you’ll receive custom match suggestions that highlight common interests and shared values. You can also use the search tools to see who’s online and meets your standards. It’s free to send likes or winks to anyone on the Match website or app; however, free members can only message people in their Top Picks list. You’ll need to subscribe to a monthly plan to get full access to your inbox.

Match tends to attract more mature and relationship-oriented people because it’s not completely free, and that can work to your benefit if you’re looking to settle down with a compatible partner.

7. Elite Singles

EliteSingles is an online dating site designed to help single professionals meet a compatible match on their level. Its potential match list is brimful with doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and other high-profile individuals.

Over 82% of EliteSingles members have graduated from college, and over 90% say they’re looking for a long-term relationship or marriage.

We’ve ranked EliteSingles as one of the best free dating sites for serious relationships because it offers a high-caliber membership base and sophisticated matchmaking features. However, the EliteSingles free membership does not include unlimited chatting, so singles will need a premium plan if they’re serious about meeting a potential partner here.

8. eHarmony

Since its launch in 2000, eharmony has become a champion of love in the online dating world. This premier dating platform uses psychological principles to identify true compatibility between two people.

The eharmony dating profile is full of personal information about a person’s goals, quirks, values, and lifestyle. Plus, if you both have taken the Compatibility Quiz, the online dating website will provide a breakdown of your compatibility in terms of your communication styles, relationship habits, and life motivations.

A free eharmony account includes some guided communication options, including the ability to share icebreaker quizzes. Members can also send a smile or a video date invitation to kick things off and test the dating waters.

9. POF

Plenty of Fish (POF) began in 2003 as a Canadian dating site that promised free communication to all users — and it swiftly became a global sensation.

The POF community now includes over 150 million users in 20 countries, and its members make over 57 million matches every week. Plenty of Fish has been heralded as the best dating app for conversations because it doesn’t require users to pay anything or make a match to send a message.

All you have to do is create your free dating profile and add a photo of yourself to be eligible for free communication on the POF dating site and app.

Plenty of Fish has created a dating free-for-all, and that can be a good thing for casual daters as well as committed relationship seekers. You’re surrounded by date options and can chat with anybody you fancy, so it’s pretty easy to send out a lot of flirty messages at once and see what conversations come of it.

10. Lava Life

Lavalife got started as a phone dating company in 1987, and it shifted gears to online dating in 2001, becoming an early pioneer of this space. This tech-savvy team endeavors to “make dating fun again” and “help singles click” by offering search tools and matching features that focus on common interests and backgrounds.

Today, the Lavalife dating website and app connect millions of members in the U.S. and Canada.

All new Lavalife members automatically receive a seven-day free trial, so it’s possible to get your chat on and meet someone special without paying for the online dating service.

Lavalife is an old-school dating tool, but it has worked for singles looking for new connections and date opportunities.

What’s the Difference Between “Talking,” “Hooking Up,” “Dating,” and “Being in a Relationship?”

Online dating has blurred the lines of romance somewhat, and that can be confusing for a new person just getting their bearings in the swiping scene. You’ll quickly discover that online daters all have different goals, priorities, and comfort levels.

Some singles are fine with just talking online for weeks and months. You may exchange lengthy messages every day, but that doesn’t mean you’re dating or in a relationship. You’re basically in online dating purgatory, and the only way to move forward is by going on an actual first date with your pen pal.

Once you’ve met in person, you may find your love interest seems more interested in hooking up than building a relationship. If they’re only after sex and not a serious commitment, you’ll likely spot some indications such as not really talking about themselves or planning dates at bars, coffee shops, or other cheap and casual venues.

Singles who are looking for a serious or casual relationship are more likely to ask a lot of personal questions and plan dates at restaurants, festivals, and places where it’s easy to talk for a long time.

Can I Search by Type of Relationship on Dating Sites?

Not every dating site and app will offer search filters by type of relationship. Some don’t even require this to be listed in a dating profile. Popular dating sites like Adultfriendfinder, Match, Seeking, and Ashleymadison offer a lot of advanced search filters depend more on algorithms than search tools to pair like-minded singles. You may be able to set some date criteria for your swiping experience on apps, but you don’t control who shows up on your screen as a potential match.

How Do I Know Which Casual Dating Site to Choose?

Singles have to use their best judgment to figure out which dating sites and apps will work best for them. Reading reviews and top-best lists can help give insight into what an online dating experience is like, but you’ll probably have to create a dating profile on a few different platforms before figuring out which one is best for your budget, location, and dating style.

For instance, if you want to talk to as many people as possible, a popular dating site like Adultfriendfinder will be your best bet. However, if you want to narrow your dating options to a select few, then Seeking and POF may appeal more to you.