For some folks, the idea of trying to meet a romantic partner is altogether terrifying. Frankly, it’s hard enough to try and work past personal limitations like self-confidence without having to worry about being especially clever or rich, things that tend to be pointed out as optimal traits for potential partners. And with modern social technology, comparing yourself to attractive Insta celebs & strangers has become yet another pitfall on the road to self-love.
But surprisingly, it’s this same growth in technology that’s spawned dating options for even the most introverted among us. These dating websites & apps have done a great job of growing the sense of community necessary for some people to feel confident in themselves & what they offer to potential romantic partners. But, at the same time, it can be hard to choose from the hundreds of apps and sites out there, which is why we’ve taken the initiative to put together this list. While it may not contain every top site on the Web today, there’s definitely more than enough here for you to have a shot at finding love. So, let’s dig in!
Mate 1 tried to be the ultimate dating resource, promoting itself as being open to all walks of life, meaning that the LBGTQ+ community should have plenty of luck here as well. Men, women, single, widowed…whatever it might be, Mate 1 is open to your participation.
Registration is pretty straightforward, with typical options to craft your member profile being offered before you enter the site itself. Once inside, you can add a few additional profile items, our favorite of which was the “Voice Profile” feature. The ability to record a voice intro to your profile really gives members a chance to make things more personalized, something we very much appreciate.
A fact that we found surprising was that Mate 1 reportedly has over 31 million users, no mean feat for any site of this type. A part of this has to do with the fact that signup & profiles are free for women. The site ostensibly does this to try and keep their gender ratios balanced, a move we appreciate. When paired with their openness to all sorts of individuals, it’s no wonder they have such a large user base.
Something we were less than enthused by was the site’s design. You can tell that they haven’t put a ton of work into making it visually appealing, which oftentimes leaves visitors struggling to read some of the smaller sections of text. While not an issue that’s large enough to keep us away, it was definitely frequent enough to be mentioned here.
We should warn you that Mate 1 tends to be primarily pay-to-play, with just a few free features sprinkled in to entice you. Luckily, if you aren’t looking to get too deep into their payment options, Mate 1 does offer a 3-day trial membership for a little less than $3. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the site’s offering without really breaking the bank.
Luckily, this less-than-ideal design doesn’t carry over Mate 1’s mobile offerings. Instead, this multi-platform app seems to be streamlined & fully-featured. Mate 1 also claims that roughly 75% of their member traffic happens from mobile devices, which can only mean that it’s the more popular option.
As one of the larger dating sites in existence nowadays, Mate 1 has been steadily providing a high level of service for what many would call an introductory price point. We’re wholly convinced that if you give Mate 1 a shot, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.
Easily the site with the most history on this list, eHarmony has been running nonstop since early 2000.
One of eHarmony’s strongest offerings is their scientific approach to matching individuals. This was originally pioneered by a group of engineers & statisticians, including Dr. Neil Clark Warren, notable as a clinical psychologist and relationship counselor. Together with these researchers, Dr. Warren used data from over 5000 married couples, in an attempt to see if they could track marriage success based on key values and specific personality traits. These original statistical models eventually formed the basis for the multiple matching algorithms found on eHarmony, and are pretty much unparalleled in the online dating community.
Profile creation & registration are also a bit more thorough than some of eHarmony’s contemporaries, taking around 10 or 10 minutes to complete. New users should prepare themselves of a long list of questions & quizzes, designed to lock in with the site’s complicated series of matching algorithms that we touched on above. Concepts here range from opinions on emotional intimacy, your values concerning romantic entanglements, religious beliefs, your preferred types of received affection, and just about anything else you could think of.
While it’s probably obvious at this point that some parts of eHarmony are a bit convoluted, one part that’s about as basic as can be is the messaging function. It does exactly what you’d expect it to do: send messages. If you’ve yet to upgrade to a premium option, you’ll unfortunately only be able to send “winks.”
One negative worth pointing out about eHarmony is that thanks to the paywall, members are confronted with the inability to look for users outside of the list of matches suggested by the site. Indeed, without at least a trial membership, you’re left with whatever eHarmony thinks is good for you. This means no options to view member photos, no real way to reach out to premium members, and a load of other limitations.
With payment, however, you can craft really decent searches here, including options for location, preference, and much more. While this more or less makes eHarmony 100% pay-to-play, they offer a heck of a lot in terms of value.
Due to their hi-tech approach to matches, along with their reputable history and many testimonials, we’re convinced that eHarmony is a very legitimate dating option on the market, one that provides exactly what it advertises.
Third, on our list, today is Passions Network, a “lo-fi” website that’s actually one of a collection of websites owned by the Passions Network. This means that by signing up here, you’ll be in essence signing up for multiple dating sites under their company umbrella, a fact that not everyone is altogether comfortable with allowing.
When we mentioned that Passions Network is lo-fi, what we meant is that their design looks straight out of 2005. Instead of a slick graphical interface, visitors are left with a simple top-orientated text bar listing the site’s various options. While not the most important component of a dating site, it can oftentimes belay a lack of quality below the surface.
As we continued our tour of the site, we noticed that below the main site links, there are additional links for social groups. Passions Network hosts message boards in addition to their more typical dating offerings, with groups for things like “Looking to date” “Marriage minded”, “Something relaxed”, and quite a few additional titles. We’re always pumped when we see dating sites trying to bolster their online communities, as it makes for a much richer dating pool.
Another offering on Passions Network that’s a little less common was their link to “Books”. Normally when we see this, the books contained within pertain to dating for the most part. However, in the case of Passions Network, we saw everything from books on chess to the Harry Potter boxed set. As we continued to check this out, we realized that the reason for such a variety is that the site lets its users make book recommendations, and then uses these as another way to match potential partners. While not the most focused dating feature here, it’s definitely a great way to strike up conversations with users.
While Passions Network offers a lot of the same stuff found on other mainstream dating sites, it also includes some novel features that can really make online dating more engaging & fun. While it’s not going to win any awards for design, Passions Network could definitely help you find a romantic partner.