January 14th, 2009
Here is a list of sites that cater specifically for people looking for marriage/ long term relationships. You can also compare their various prices and features below. Serious dating sites are often more expensive than standard dating sites and they often encourage people to sign up for longer and take their time. This tends to deter scammers and time wasters from the sites. Many serious dating sites also use compatibility testing to help you find matches.
The sites reviewed in this post are:
- eHarmony USA and eHarmony UK – the world’s most famous compatibility matching site
- Parship – very detailed psychometric compatibility matching in the UK and Europe
- Shaadi.com – the world’s most famous Asian matrimonial site
MatchAffinity- UK site with a personality test and personal date coaching by phone included in the price
The original and most well-known of the compatibility testing sites, This site, created by a Christian psychologist, is extremely popular among people regardless of their religion (or lack thereof) and the sites cater for all (heterosexual) people who want to find long-term relationships, regardless of their views on gender roles, etc. They report an extremely high number of marriages but are very exclusive: people who don’t appear serious enough are turned away as well as people who, for some reason or another, are deemed to be impossible to match on the site.
If you survive the lengthy sign up process and their patented personality test (one of the most detailed and involved in the business), you will find that you must let the site deliver matches for you. Be sure to spend time actually doing the test properly, or you may well be disappointed. A lot of thought went into the test and the theory behind it, but whether you agree with the good doctor’s view on life is up to you. eHarmony has had its share of controversy, as their compatibility test did not originally allow gay daters to parttake. Having recently lost a lawsuit, eHarmony came out (heh heh) with a gay site as well, but it’s debatable how much effort they’ve put into it.
Originally a German site, this site is huge all over Europe and is making a name for itself in the UK as the preferred serious relationship site for high calibre professionals. Parship has taken compatibility testing to new heights: their test is extremely involved and once you’ve struggled through it, you can order an in-depth personality analysis based on your results. To be honest, of all the tests I’ve taken, this one seemed the most likely to be accurate (although the eHarmony one was actually not too bad). However, I didn’t like Parship’s system of not showing me photos of my matches till I’ve paid up. Call me shallow, but I like to see the goods before I commit and pay. It’s bad enough not being able to search for matches myself. If you like a slower paced, more in depth way of searching for your true love, though, you might find this refreshing. It does encourage a certain type of committed dater to join.
There is a Gay Parship site as well that is very popular, especially in the lesbian community.
The newish site from match.com is designed to compete with the likes of eHarmony. It is an international site that splits off into a different site per country. It has a mediocre compatibility test that is the same as the DatingDirectAffinity test (they got bought out by Match) but it does let you search for your own matches (a big plus on serious dating sites). Its biggest draw is the fact that it offers a lot of support to its users in the form of instructional videos and actual live date coaching by phone. Once you subscribe and pay, you can access this service, which I’m sure will be a big plus for anyone new to online dating or the world of dating in general.
This Indian Matrimonial site is the most popular of its kind in the world. Its main appeal is for people looking for marriage, although I would hazard a guess and say some people on it may be looking for far less serious stuff. The site is all about taking control of your love life (as opposed to having it arranged by your parents) and so you can easily search for your own matches as well as receive matches based on a simple two-way matching system. The site is less “heavy” than most marriage sites and offers chat features, horoscopes and other fun features.
Serious dating sites are often more expensive than standard dating sites. It’s not hard to see why a dating company would want to encourage you to pay more and sign up for longer (many marriage dating sites only offer subscription packages starting at 3 months and above), but what’s in it for you as a member?
The higher cost and longer membership is supposed to deter less serious daters from joining the site. If you only wanted to try things out or get a date for a weekend, why pay more when you could try a cheap/free site instead? Scammers, too, are somewhat put off by the higher cost, although some steal/fake credit cards so wouldn’t pay anyway. They can be put off by other things (see below).
Does it work? The short answer is yes. On the whole, serious dating sites do attract people who are more committed to, well, committing. There are generally slightly older daters (30s and above) and a larger percentage of women than you’d find on a standard site. It’s no guarantee that you’ll find someone you love, but it does make the numbers work in your favour a bit more.
As mentioned above, another feature is personality / compatibility testing. Serious dating sites like to remind you of the fact that looks aren’t everything and that you should rely on other factors to choose a long-time partner. They often do this by making you take a personality test and then delivering you matches based on the results. Some of these tests are better designed than others and there’s never really guarantee you’ll be sent people who are 100% compatible with you.
For a totally free dating site that offers compatibility matching, try OKcupid . It’s like a cross between a social networking site and a dating site and offers a robust matching system based on thousands of user-submitted questions. It’s quite a young site and caters for people who want everything from a husband/wife to casual sex, so might not be suitable, but hey, it’s free.
Another free site that’s a cross between social networking and dating is Mingles.com – a growing international site with a simple design and a fun community. It doesn’t offer compatibility matching, nor does it market itself solely to serious daters, but the crowd on there seem friendly and many are looking for ultimate marriage.
I’ve already written about personality tests and my opinion of them in this blog, so I shan’t go on about this again, but for me, the attraction of these sort of sites is not the test itself, but the audience they attract. However, there are plenty of people out there who love being sent matches by a “scientific” system and many who have married as a result, so who knows? I do like being able to choose my own matches, though, rather than rely on someone else to do it all the time.
Entry Filed under: Online Dating Site Reviews