En español | Jeff Jordy used online dating services off and on for years after his divorce. Dating services like Match.com, eHarmony, and OurTime have all flitted across his phone or computer screen at one time or another.
Personal experience and input from friends have helped him determine which dating apps work best for him. But there are many more options available than when he entered the dating scene 15 years ago.
You “learn their differences and what kind of people might be on them and if it's a good fit,” says Jordy, 59, of Nashville, Tennessee.
A growing number of singles are turning to online dating options, especially during the pandemic — when meeting in person might wait until you think there’s a spark due to the risk of risk of COVID-19 transmission. Data tracker Apptopia reported that in July 2021 there were 1.2 million more people using the top 50 dating apps than during the same month the previous year.
Dating apps and sites run the gamut from free to paid, and many offer free versions but charge a fee for all the bells and whistles. Since the pandemic began, many of these apps have added enhanced communication options, including video chat, designed to address the fact that daters are now less inclined to meet in person, at least at first.
There are apps for general audiences and those aimed at singles over 50, while others try to match daters who are religious or those in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's your guide to some of the options.
Dating sites for adults 50+
Available as an app and accessible from a laptop or desktop, OurTime prioritizes local profiles before showing long-distance ones, and it's free to sign up and start browsing. With a free account users can click the “Flirt” button to let singles know they're interested, read their profiles and edit their own profile. However, users need a paid membership to connect with others on the platform. Extra profile upgrades that make OurTime unique include the ability to send virtual gifts, like a picture of a rose, or having a profile boosted in searches to make it easier to find. Six-month plans start at $90.
Targeting users age 50 and above, SilverSingles takes a different approach from swipe-based apps, which ask users to make initial choices primarily based on a photo, or other services where users choose their own match. With SilverSingles users answer a personality quiz and receive three to seven hand-selected matches a day, according to the website. There's also a downloadable app if you prefer to browse on your smartphone and a desktop option. Silver Singles requires a membership after the trial period ends. Packages start at $27.95 per month for a 12-month period.
Dating apps for a general audience
This dating app gives women all the power to make the first move. Bumble is swipe-based, so users swipe right on profile photos they like. If a woman swipes on a man and he swipes on her as well, it's a match. In heterosexual matches, women have 24 hours to message their match before the connection expires. In same-sex matches, either party has 24 hours to message, and then the other has another 24 hours to respond before the connection expires. Bumble also offers Bumble BFF, a friendship matchmaking site, and Bumble Biz for networking. Bumble is free to download and free to use core features, but upgrades — like boosting your profile so more local singles see it — come with a fee. Upgraded plans include Bumble Boost, which costs $24.99 per month and Bumble Premium which costs $39.99 per month, and offer extra features like allowing users to rematch with expired matches, see who has liked you and extending matches by another 24 hours.
4. Coffee Meets Bagel
CMB encourages users to make real connections by limiting the number of profiles you can like per day to five. Users have only seven days after matching to meet up in real life, putting a stop to ghosting, or having someone disappear completely or stop responding to messages. Coffee Meets Bagel says it handpicks suggested profiles for viewing each day based on its algorithm, which uses nine parameters to come up with curated matches. Like most of the dating apps, it's free to download and use the basic services, but premium upgrades like additional matches and profile boosting come with a cost. Coffee Meets Bagel uses “beans” to purchase profile upgrades, and depending on any promotions or sales, the starting cost for additional beans is as little as $1.99. However, to really make a difference and increase the number of profiles you can like per day, you'll more likely end up spending $25-$30 per month.
A classic, trusted dating site for users of all ages where, according to eHarmony's website, someone finds love every 14 minutes. The sign-up process is lengthy, according to a review from Mashable, with lots of personality questions to fill out, but it helps find good matches and those who are interested in long-term relationships. The least expensive plan starts at $7.95 per month for 12 months, but costs depend on length of sign-up and whether the site is running a promotion. Some say you can spend as much as $200 for one year. The price comes with a guarantee: find someone you love in three months or get another three months free of charge.
6. Facebook Dating
With Facebook Dating, you needn't worry that all of your friends will see you looking for love. Facebook Dating doesn't display on your personal Facebook page, and you create an entirely separate profile for the dating experience. But to make things easier, the platform mocks up a suggested profile by pulling photos and information from your personal page and highlights users who have groups and events in common with your own. Like Bumble, when you like someone, you're matched if they like you back, but there's no swiping involved. Just tap the “heart,” or the “X” button if you want to skip someone. Once you're matched you'll be notified, and either person can send the first message. Be aware that Facebook Dating is only offered through the app, and has no desktop version. And keep in mind that Facebook Dating may appeal to older daters more than some other apps, since 37 percent of Facebook users are over 45, according to consumer data company Statista. For now at least, Facebook Dating is free and doesn't have ads, either.
Facebook also offers interest-based dating groups (Jordy has joined several, including one for vegetarians and another for mindful living). Other dating groups on Facebook include those for people who are recently divorced or for meeting other singles in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Users can join these dating groups for free using their personal Facebook profiles and post, comment and interact.
Interests and hobbies are central to Hinge, which aims to go beyond looks when matching people. Personality questions and likes and dislikes help users choose who to connect with. Michele Herrmann, a former Match.com profile consultant, uses Hinge and likes the app's question format, which asks users about their interests and displays that information prominently. Instead of swiping, Hinge also features an “x” or “skip” button at the bottom of each profile, making accidental profile rejections less likely. Hinge's motto “designed to be deleted,” makes it clear that it's aiming for those who are seeking a relationship rather than a hookup. The app notes that three out of four of its users want to go on a second date and in 2017 it was the most-mentioned dating app in The New York Times wedding section. Hinge costs $19.99 per month cost, although the longer you sign up for, the cheaper the monthly payment.
This granddaddy of dating services is 25 years old. But it's not considered outdated and also has a downloadable app along with a browser-based platform. And Match.com comes with a guarantee: The company promises that those with a paid subscription who don't find a serious relationship within six months will get an additional six months of service for free. Once a user fills out a personality and interest questionnaire, Match will suggest curated potential partners. Most of the communication features require a paid subscription, and plans start at $18.99 per month for 12 months.
OkCupid was created in 2004 by a group of friends from Harvard University. The app features options for users to choose from 22 gender options (including gender noncomforming, gender fluid, intersex and transgender) and 13 orientation options (like heteroflexible, queer and questioning), making it LGBTQ+ friendly. Users are shown curated matches based on personality questions and interests, and OkCupid says they make 90 million matches each year. OkCupid's basic services are free to use, and upgraded features start at $7.99 per month for three months.
One of the most popular dating apps, Tinder was once known as a hookup app for people not looking for long-term commitment. But for many people over 50 Tinder has become a more traditional way to meet and connect. Tinder is swipe-based, like a lot of other apps, meaning you swipe right on a person's profile when you like how they look and to connect. Some additional profile details like age, gender and a short bio may help you decide as well. While Tinder is used by people of all ages and many users will be younger, the app allows users to set an age range to help focus searches. While it's free to download and get started, be aware that Tinder has a tiered payment system that costs more for adults over the age of 30, and profile upgrades and additional features also come with additional charges. Tinder Plus, which allows unlimited likes and has extras — including 5 Super Likes per day, rewind last swipe and more, costs $19.99 per month for those over the age of 30.
Zoosk started out as one of the first dating apps to integrate with Facebook in 2007, although now there's Facebook Dating. Zoosk doesn't require users to fill out all their profile information, making long-lasting connections less likely than short-term dating or hookups. Sign in with your Google or Facebook account for ease of use, but know you're giving up personal information from your social media accounts to log in that way. Scroll through profiles instead of swiping while on the app, and use the paid subscription to unlock the ability to send messages to matches. Pricing starts at $12.49 per month.
Dating services based on religion
A niche dating service for Jewish singles, JDate offers both a website and a smartphone app. JDate's website says each profile is reviewed by their customer care team with the goal of building Jewish communities and ensuring culture and tradition last for generations. JDate sends curated matches to users, but also allows them to browse other profiles. Prices start at $19.99 per month for six months.
ChristianMingle is the dating service designed for “single men and women looking for a God-centered relationship,” according to the website. Like JDate, ChristianMingle features extensive profiles and sends potential matches each day, but only up to seven. Profile setup is free, but chatting with other members and meeting matches requires a subscription starting at $29.99 per month.
Apps for LGBTQ+ daters
A swipe-based dating app, HER was created for LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary singles. Like other swipe-based apps, users view another person's photo and profile details before deciding whether to swipe right (a yes) or left (a no). If the same person also swipes right on your profile, it's a match, and the dating app will let you know. Like most swipe-based apps that allow users to see more profile information by clicking on a photo before making a decision, HER offers a short, optional bio section with details about age, occupation and hobbies. HER says the site features safety moderators and bills itself as a “social and dating” app, so it's good for finding friendship, too. Although the core features like swiping and chatting are free, HER also offers premium paid memberships that allow users to remove ads and undo skips. Users can go incognito if they're not ready to be out, change locations and set filters for age and other characteristics if they have a “type."
Created for gay men, Grindr welcomes a “diverse and inclusive community,” according to an email statement. Grindr is swipe-based, and advertises its ability to match users quickly. Unlike some dating apps, Grindr allows matches to share photos and audio messages in-app, meaning users don't have to use another medium like Snapchat or Facebook to share additional images. This is also part of Grindr's attraction for those looking for casual sex instead of long-term commitment: It's easy to share photos, decide whether there's an attraction and meet up. Grindr's key features are free to download and use, but upgraded profiles start at $24.99. To help nurture and welcome the gay community, Grinder also created a series just for older singles called "Old Gays” on YouTube, a combination of funny and serious videos.