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26 Best Dating Apps for a Relationship in 2023 & Secrets to Find Your One!

With so many using the internet to hook up, how can you find love online? With the best dating apps for a relationship, you’ll find your one and only love.

Best Dating Apps for a Relationship

Dating is hard. If you’ve already tried all the popular dating apps, never clicked with anyone your friends set you up with, and experienced enough bad dates that you could write a book about it, you probably feel ready to give up. But you shouldn’t throw in the towel until you try the best dating apps for finding real relationships.

From apps for gay couples to people who want to skip past the talking phase entirely, there’s something for everyone. [Read: The talking stage – what it is, how long it lasts, and signs and ways to get past it]

Remember, knowing what the best dating apps for a relationship are can help guide you in the right direction and give you a better dating experience, but you need to do the work as well. Even the world’s best dating app cannot guarantee a relationship if you’re going about it in the wrong way. 

[Read: 30 best and worst words to describe yourself online and catch anyone’s eye]

Can dating apps actually help you find love?

Over the years, dating apps have completely revolutionized the dating world. And yet, they’ve garnered a bad reputation for being sleazy places for people to find quick hookups. And yeah, lots of people do use dating apps for hookups. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dating apps for people looking for love.

In fact, there are loads of people who meet their forever love on dating apps! Studies show that approximately 39% of heterosexual couples found each other online, and the number is only growing. And it makes sense.

On dating apps, you’re exposed to people in your area who come with a handy quick description. While it’s not entirely foolproof, it does allow you to only interact with people who you know you share things in common with. And when you narrow your search for love down, your chances of finding it are far greater.

If you’ve never used a dating app to find a partner, now is the time to try!

Best dating apps for a relationship

There are a lot of dating apps out there. Some of which we’re sure you’ve heard of, others maybe not, but some are better than others if you want a promising relationship. 

We can’t promise that these dating apps will help you find your dream partner because you do need to put in your own effort and be patient. However, these apps do offer specific benefits for those seeking a relationship. [Read: 30 tips to help you win at online dating]

1. OkCupid

OkCupid offers both free and premium versions, both of which have a fair amount of success. This is an app that seems to cater to those who are more left-leaning politically though, so keep that in mind.

This app really puts a lot of weight on important questions about beliefs, political stances, and current events.

It offers an algorithm that matches you based on answers to thoughtful questions about real issues, not surface-level inquiries. It lets you avoid people you’ll certainly argue with. [Read: Millennials – what makes one and 20 common traits of the digital nomad gen]

2. Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is one of the lowest-pressure dating apps. It lets you input your preferences and does a lot of work for you so you don’t need to spend a ton of time on the app until you want to chat with someone. 

This is a slower-moving app with a smaller pool of options so you can take your time. You don’t need 20 matches now, but a few that have a lot of potential.

Along with that, this app encourages interactions. After a week, matches disappear. This doesn’t rush you like the 24-hour limit on Bumble but also pushes you out of your comfort zone in a relatively fair time limit. If you’re someone who hates wasting your time swiping, this could be the best option for you. [Read: Should you try online dating? The guide to decide if it’s for you]

3. Match

If you’re looking for the best dating apps for a relationship, you should know that this was essentially the beginning of online dating! It still seems to offer the most matches.

It also guarantees you’ll find someone in six months or you get six months free. That is a nice cushion. 

And on top of that, it also allows you to apply preferences and deal breakers. Don’t like smoking or want kids someday? You don’t have to waste time with matches who disagree with you. [Read: How to write a dating profile – 18 must-know tips to stand apart]

4. Hinge

This app pulls some features from Bumble and Tinder but molds them into a more serious format. It limits your matches and scrolling so you aren’t just swiping on people all day.

It also offers unique prompts to answer on your profile to help start conversations. Hinge is also more inclusive of all pronouns and gender identities than other options. 

This app seems to have an atmosphere of no pressure. This is an app for more than hookups based on its tagline, “designed to be deleted.” It also doesn’t push you into a relationship. It really encourages connection. That’s why they keep up with you by asking if you’ve met and if you’re going on a second date.

5. eHarmony

eHarmony is a dating app you’ve probably heard of for a while. At least everyone’s parents have heard of or tried it.

Most of the features are locked behind a paywall. However, the monthly subscription could be worth it to you for the in-depth compatibility quiz that they have you complete when you sign up. Just answer 80 questions, and you could potentially be matched with the love of your life.

6. HER

Dating apps can be used by anyone, but using apps that are more specific to your preferences will save you time. That’s where HER comes in to save the day for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer women, and non-binary people.

Sign in with your Facebook or Instagram account, and you’ll get matched with women in your area. This is one of the best dating apps for a relationship or friendship, so keep an open mind.

7. Thursday

“Get off your phone and meet real people.” You might’ve heard this from friends and family members who don’t use dating apps, but now there’s a dating app that agrees with those people.

No matter what, every message and match is deleted every Thursday evening. So if you match with someone you really like, you better go on a date with them before next Thursday!

8. Bumble

Bumble has gotten quite popular in recent years for good reason! The focus of this app is on its women users. After matching with someone, only the woman can start the conversation. And she only has 24 hours to do so.

So, women, don’t worry. You won’t have any f-boys hitting you up and ruining the dating-app experience for you. [Read: Bumble BFF – what it is, the right bios, and how to meet a real life bestie

9. OurTime

Love can hit you at any time in your life. OurTime knows that, which is why they’re a dating app specifically designed for people over 50.

Whether you’re looking for love, marriage, companionship, or even just friendship, you won’t have to deal with any douchey 20-something-year-olds [Read: Dating after divorce – must-do’s for stress free dating]

10. Jdate

You’ve no doubt heard of Christian dating sites, but what about Jewish dating sites? If you’re wanting to settle down with someone who shares the same religious beliefs as you, Jdate is the place to be.

You’ll never have to have that awkward religious-belief-debate here, so you can really focus on getting to know your matches. [Read: 67 must-knows to get engaged and before and after secrets no one tells you]

11. Once

It can be hard to find the love of your life on Tinder, when there are hundreds of new potential matches just a swipe away. Once does away with that and instead gives you one perfect match a day.

It’s up to you to give them the chance that maybe you wouldn’t on Tinder. They say that love comes in unexpected forms.

12. Stir

Dating can be hard as a single parent. Stir has taken care of that by tailoring itself to single parents. This is one of the best dating apps for finding a relationship if there are children in the picture.

Now if only it could take care of your kids on date night! [Read: Dating as a single parent – 56 must-knows to date a single mom or dad]

13. BLK

BLK is a dating app for black people who want to find the love of their life within their community.

And that’s what they want to do, foster a community of love, happiness, and freedom of self-expression. Doesn’t that sound like such a great place to find the love of your life?

14. HILY

HILY *or Hey, I Like You* is seriously committed to finding your soulmate. They use AI to learn about you, your interests, preferences, and priorities. And then, they use all of that to pair you with people you’re actually compatible with. [Read: How to tell your crush you like them – the 20 best low-risk methods]

15. Elite Singles

If you have a college degree and a successful career, it’s safe to say that you know what you want out of life and you go for it.

Of course, you want a life-partner who has the same values as you. On Elite Singles, you can meet likewise successful people who are just as serious about finding The One as you are.

16. Zoosk

Zoosk is another dating app that learns about you so that they can work hard to bring you the best matches they can.

They encourage people to look for any kind of relationship, so whether you’re looking for your future spouse or future BFF, they’ll help you.

17. The League

Similar to Elite Singles, The League is about pairing people who are driven, ambitious, and want the same in their partners.

If you have high standards, they want you to keep them that way! That’s how you find the person of your dreams, after all. [Read: 45 secrets to get a boyfriend and tips to find the perfect man of your dreams]

18. Tinder

Sure, we’ve had one or two things to say about Tinder so far. But, as bad as its hook-up reputation can be, it can also be an unlikely likely place to find the love of your life.

Don’t think so? Tell that to the 27% of newlyweds in 2022 that met on Tinder! So, sure, you might come across some people who aren’t as serious about love as you. But, you could also find your future spouse. Personally, we like those odds.

How to use these apps to your advantage

As we said, even the best dating apps for a relationship are only as good as how you use them. Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely rid all the lying, cheating, and non-committal people from any platform, so it’s up to you to be diligent about your matches.

There are two things you really need to pay attention to when it comes to online dating: the people you match with and how you present yourself.

How to avoid the duds and match with genuine people

It’s hard to look at one profile out of many and decipher whether they’re genuinely looking for a match or if they’re looking for a one-night stand. But, it’s not totally impossible.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll only be talking to people who might actually be willing to meet your parents one day! [Read: 18 signs it’s time and ways to prepare your partner to meet the parents]

1. Their pictures tell a story

Take notice of the plural pictures. If someone has one photo on their profile that’s just a half-naked mirror selfie, they’re probably not looking for anything of depth. However, if someone has multiple photos that show their hobbies, their friends, their pets, and other things that clearly matter to them, they’re a winner.

Someone who provides a visual slideshow of their life on dating apps is there for a relationship. They’re someone who is willing to be open and vulnerable for the sake of finding love. That’s someone you can trust with a first date.

2. An original bio

If you’ve ever used any dating app, you know there are a few copy-and-paste bios that you’ll come across over and over again. A person who isn’t serious about finding love won’t put a lot of thought into their bio and will instead just leave it blank or fill it with something generic.

But someone who puts thought into it and reveals a bit about who they are? That’s someone who’s on the app for the same reason as you—to find love. Bonus points if they make you laugh. [Read: How to make someone laugh over text – 18 secrets fun texters know]

3. They genuinely want to get to know you

People who want a situationship and people who are looking to settle down do the same thing: they start by asking you questions about yourself. But there’s a key difference between the two.

The noncommittal former will only be asking you questions to pass the time until they can invite you over to their place. They’ll generally seem a bit detached, and talking to them might be awkward at first because they don’t care all that much about you.

Whereas the latter will genuinely seem interested in you. They’ll ask you follow-up questions and share similar thoughts or stories. The conversations between you two will flow as if you’ve already known each other for years. That’s all because they’re just as interested in fostering a connection with you as you are with them.

4. No rush

Let’s face it, the goal of a dating app is to stop using it as quickly as possible. At some point, your conversations with your matches will move off the app. But it’s how soon they want to do that that tells you about their intentions.

If someone asks to move the conversation onto another app, like Instagram or Snapchat on the same day you two match, they’re unlikely to be looking for anything serious. [Read: The single’s guide to flirting on Instagram and how couples end up cheating]

However, someone who is genuine about finding love will take all the time you both need before moving things further. They know that serious connections can’t be rushed, and they’re patient enough to wait before swapping socials or going on the first date.

5. Consistent communication

And no, consistently only messaging you late in the evening does not count! You should be focusing on the person who consistently messages you throughout the day, not the person who only hits you up at night.

One is carving time out of their busy day to talk to you because they like you. The other is looking for no-strings-attached fun with the first person who replies! [Read: No strings attached relationship – how to have it, end it, ad 35 NSA rules]

How to make your profile look like partner-material

Now you know what to look for. But how are other people looking at you? Here are the things you need to do to show the dating-app world that you’re looking for love:

1. Use photos that focus on your life, not your appearance

Everything on your profile is a potential conversation starter. If all the photos on your profile are selfies, people don’t have much more to go on than your physical looks. But if you post photos that summarize your interests and your lifestyle, you put yourself out there as a strong partner candidate.

You’ll also attract way more people who want to know more about you than people who just want to know more about your body.

2. Be charming and honest in your bio

The people swiping left or right on you have no idea who you are, so your bio is really your chance to shine! Write down some information about yourself, what you like to do, and the kind of partner you’re looking for.

If you’re stuck for ideas, some things you can mention include: your dream vacation spot, your favorite thing to do at the end of the week, something on your bucket list, or the strengths and good qualities that you can bring to a relationship. If you’re a mean chef, say so!

3. Ask questions

You’ve matched with someone, and they said “Hi”—what do you do now? Well, the number one rule to keep in mind is to ask questions.

Don’t interrogate them, but try your best to get to know them. There are some general questions you can ask to get to know someone, or you can look at their profile to get inspiration for questions.

As long as you don’t make the conversations all about you, you should be fine.

[Read: 17 new dating app terms and their meanings for easy online dating]

Now, as much as we all have our preferences, you have yours. When looking for the best dating apps for a relationship, take your time, be patient, and keep an open mind.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...