Think back to when you were fresh out of college at the ripe ‘ole age of 21. Legal to drink, ready for a good time, and not thinking twice about who you would one day marry. Fast forward to 30, and you’re ready to reconsider having a partner to travel with, to perhaps sign a lease with, and maybe even marry. As you inch toward 40, babies are on the brain—and on a fertility schedule. And if you happen to find yourself newly single post-divorce at 60? Diving back into unfamiliar dating territory is a whole different challenge.
Not all periods of our life are created equal, but they’re all essential to our personal growth as it relates to finding love. After all, before you can join together with another human with a forever-and-ever attitude, you have to work through your own demons to ensure your foster a healthy, dynamic relationship. Much like not all people are created equally (or will float your boat), certain dating apps and websites are better for various age brackets than others. If you aren’t smart about which swiping number you invest your thumbs into, you can end up empty-handed, according to relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse Lori Bizzoco. “The majority of singles are looking to meet someone their age as a partner or companion. If that is the case with you, then it’s important to know which sites cater to which demographic so that you can maximize your chance of meeting someone,” she continues. “After all, you don’t want to be on a college site if you are turning 50 next week. You want to make the opportunity to find someone as realistic and painless as possible.”
So what should you join and download? These, according to the professionals:
Best Dating Site for Ages 18 to 25: Tinder and Zoosk
It’s a tie for this large sector of the singles population, according to Bizzoco. Both are free and easy to use, making them a smart bet for those who would like to meet someone, but aren’t in rush to make it official anytime soon. Since they both have large networks, they’re also smart for the nomadic backpacking crowd, since their international footprints are larger compared to other destinations on the web. Bizzoco says in general, Tinder tends to skew younger with a median age of 26, making it a no-brainer for the just-out-of-college crowd that is looking to mingle, mate and perhaps allow it to turn into something more.
Bizzoco is also a fan of Zoosk since it features an easy set-up, clean design and doesn’t require a lengthy questionnaire like other competitors. “Zoosk is effective because it customizes your matches with its ‘Dating Insight’ feature by gathering information based on your behavior, who looks at your profile and who you interact with. That data is then analyzed to determine style,” she explains. If you’re hoping for something a bit more on the serious side, Zoosk could be a better choice than Tinder. To gain attention on this mega site? Bizzoco says to mention something about the person’s profile, since that warrants a 25 percent higher chance of response.
Read our full Zoosk Review
Best Dating Site for Ages 25 to 30: OkCupid
As you enter your mid-20s and prepare to turn 30, your priorities begin to shift. While you’re still masterminding your career and focusing on creating the lifestyle you want, you’re also starting to think more profoundly about relationships. Having a partner to share your successes and pitfalls with becomes more appealing, and you’re likely growing tiresome of the endless happy hour meet-ups that don’t lead anywhere. For those in this in-between age bracket, Bizzoco suggests OkCupid, since it’s one of the few dating sites that allows users to interact with one another without paying a premium price. Unlike Tinder, OkCupid is often considered a hub for mature singles who are open to starting to something new and meaningful, while still keeping their options open. You’d likely be ready to get off the site if you wanted to, but only for the right person. If you want to maximize results on OKC, Bizzoco recommends answering as many questions as you can tolerate because the more you answer, the more the site can assess your personality and provide more accurate matches.
Read our full OkCupid Review
Best Dating Site for Over 30: Elite Singles
By this decade, you’re fully ready for the real thing. And you’re likely starting to worry if you’ll ever stumble across the right person. Women consider their fertile futures, while men are prepared to step away from the bachelor life in exchange for a man cave downstairs. Even with all of these visions of marriage and babies on the brain, your career is likely at its peak, and it’s important to you to maintain your upward progression. Bizzoco suggests Elite Singles for this demographic since it caters to working professionals who still want love. It’s different than other destinations, since it isn’t about digesting various profiles, but rather allowing the site to do the hard work for you. How do they do this? You complete a personality test based on your attractions and preferences, and Elite Singles hand-picks matches for you that match your must-haves. People here want a committed relationship, and they don’t have time to mess around. That’s why it’s only a smart choice for you if you share that determination to make something work long-term. “When using this site, I would keep in mind that even though it’s not exclusive to working professionals, that group makes up the majority of members, being ages 33 to 50. If you fall outside of those ages or that group, I would suggest considering another dating site,” she adds.
Read our full Elite Singles Review
Best Dating Site For Over 40: Match.com
Perhaps you didn’t meet the love of your life yet, or you’re fresh out of a divorce that left you feel shaky. You’re not ready—or interested—in something casual, and you want to ensure who you are dating is a quality human. Enter the legendary Match.com. Bizzoco explains for those who want to take it slow and value personality and depth above all other things, there is no comparison to Match. In fact, she notes they’re so confident in their service that they guarantee you’ll find someone in six months. If you don’t, they’ll give you six months free. “That seems like a pretty good deal, especially if you’re skeptical about your chances of finding love. In addition, instead of asking you to rate yourself like other dating sites do, they instead ask you questions about your life, such as hobbies and interests,” she explains.
People in the 40 to 50 age group are determined to meet someone, and Bizzoco says with 35 million members, your odds are higher. Especially since their data and information goes far beyond surface level, and touches on day-to-day habits and lifestyle choices. “Match is effective because you’re not just giving information about yourself. You get to specify the traits that you’d like to see in a potential partner. For example, if you don’t want to date a smoker, you won’t get any potential matches that had that indicated in their profile,” she explains. “If you are determined to find a partner, my tip would be to be patient and go through your potential matches, as tedious as it may seem.”
Read our full Match.com review
Best Dating Site For Over 50: eHarmony
Most singles in this group are new to dating following a divorce or the death of their partner. With the challenge of rejoining a scene they left long ago, coupled with emotional baggage and perhaps, self-esteem issues or depression, Bizzoco says it’s smarter to target your attention toward a more reputable site that won’t waste your time or money. Eharmony requires credit card info to sign up and requires dozens of questions to complete before you’re welcomed into the site. They also curate your matches and limit how many you receive per day, making it a more guided communication process that helps users get to the bottom of what they want out of a relationship, without being too complicated, Bizzoco adds. If technology isn’t your strong suit, the variety of ways you can interact with someone—through video chat, playing various question-answer games and others—can make it more fun to get through the learning curve. To have fun—and perhaps meet someone you could love—Bizzoco says to be authentic with your communication. “You don’t want to waste people’s time by being ingenuine and sending the same type of messages over and over. People can smell that from miles away,” she explains. “Pay attention to what your match is saying and build a conversation around that.”
Read our full eHarmony Review
Best Dating Site For Over 60: OurTime
Now that you’re considered a senior citizen and are part of the retiree crowd, your approach to dating is that much more different. And while it might not seem like a big stretch from 50, plenty can happen in terms of your energy levels, health and interests as you grow closer to your silver years. In fact, you might not even want romantic love, but rather a travel buddy, making OurTime your best bet for this portion of your life. Bizzoco shares it’s great for a senior crowd since it caters specifically to singles looking for everyone from companions and travel partners to serious relationships. “Older singles can use this platform knowing that they can find matches who are at their maturity level in life,” she explains. “OurTime is effective because the site contains a great deal of information without being too overwhelming. Additionally, it organizes all the interest you have shown in others and vice versa.”
If you want to actually find what you’re in the market for, Bizzoco says you have to go for it! And don’t be afraid to be honest about what you really want—no matter how ridiculous or far fetched it might seem. “Expect the unexpected. More and more, older singles are looking to go out and have fun and may not necessarily be looking for a serious relationship,” she continues. “Be open to whatever may come your way.”
Read our full Ourtime Review
How to Choose the Right Dating Site For Your Age Group
You already know that certain dating apps are better suited for those under 30 — and those who are over the hill. You also know that some finding-love networks are built for a serious relationship, while others are more for a quick romp on demand. But when you’re in the process of trying to meet your one-and-only — or your right-about-now — it can be tough to decipher between the many options available. The good news is you can find a place to swipe, message and connect no matter how many birthday candles you last blew out. Here, our recommendations on how to choose the right dating site based on your age:
If you’re in your mid-twenties, consider OkCupid.
Apart from Match and eHarmony, OkCupid is one of the longest-lasting dating communities out there. This means it has a robust, eclectic and trustworthy member base. Even so, it definitely leans less serious than its older competitors that are hyper-focused on creating marriages. If you’re in your mid-twenties and you’re ready for a relationship but you probably don’t want to walk down the aisle for a few years, put your aces toward OkCupid. You can easily meet a variety of different singles, helping you to weed out what you really want in a long-term partner — and what you can pass on.
If you are ready to get married, think about Elite Singles or Match.
Everyone arrives at the decision to end their bachelorhood at different times. While some men meet an incredible partner they know they’d be stupid to pass on, others grow tired of the game, and just crave someone to come home to. Whatever caused you to think more seriously about marriage, it’s in your best interest to focus your efforts. What does this mean? Don’t waste time swiping. Instead, pay the membership fee to match with other folks who are just as serious as you are about ‘I do.’ Our top picks include Elite Singles and Match, both of which foster a commitment-forward mindset.
If you’re a grandparent, choose OurTime.
Regardless if you’re divorced or widowed, finding love past the age of 60 can be difficult. Not only are you less mobile than you were decades before, but the pool inevitably becomes thinner. For silver foxes who want an equal partnership — and to date someone around their age — OurTime is a great dating community to join. Not only does it cater to this type of crowd, but it even includes a minimum age requirement to ensure you’re only chatting with folks within your generational bucket. There is no deadline to finding love for the second, third or even the first time.