TLDR: There’s no room for games on EliteSingles, a mature dating site for educated singles looking for a partner who understands the 9-to-5 lifestyle. Unfortunately, the site’s snooty tendencies and failure to back claims may be its downfall.
It doesn’t matter what year you graduated — dating in college is almost always a nightmare. Aside from the 15 percent of people who can thank their alma mater for putting their future spouse on the same campus, most of the degree-holding population is sent into the real world alone.
Dating doesn’t get better once you’re freed from the shackles of exams and extracurriculars: Finding a potential boo who can sync with your 9-to-5 lifestyle and understand that no, you can’t go to the bar on a Sunday night, doesn’t automatically come with aging past 30.
EliteSingles is a dating site aiming to create a mature dating pool for educated professionals — that is, without skimping out on romance and sending you on the most boring date of your life. For those unwilling to budge when it comes to their partner’s educational values and career goals, EliteSingles attempts to offer more specificity where eharmony and Match leave off.
As surface-level as they seem, money, work ethic, and professional schedules are things that can make or break a serious relationship. Finding a cute person with similar interests to yours is one thing, but finding someone you’d feel comfortable having a joint bank account with is harder.
We talked to Maria Ivanik, a marketing manager at Elite Singles, to get the user base stats for 2019, and you’re in luck: EliteSingles has 170,000 active users who want to find the same exact thing that you do.
However, the site gets a lot of shit for being more focused on the percentage of college degrees than it is on the actual connections being made on the site. Is the high price point worth it to find a romantic partner who understands when it’s time to buckle down, or is EliteSingles just snooty with no statistics to back it up?
Making a profile requires a lot of patience, but it’s gotten better
As if there were any doubt before, the profile setup process convinced me that we are far from the instant gratification world of Tinder or Hinge. You’ll need to carve out at least half an hour if you want to contemplate each question and give a thoughtful answer, especially for the open-ended ones.
But we can get behind a lengthy questionnaire. The more the site knows about you, the more likely it’ll be able to find you a good match, right?
Unfortunately, EliteSingles’ extended questionnaire isn’t long because it has some magical compatibility thing that no other dating sites have dared to attempt. It’s just long — and awkward at times.
It’s basically a more boring equivalent of the Myers-Briggs personality test.
Questions asking you to determine how “strong” or “logical” or “selfish” you are seem difficult to answer. (“I consider myself to be industrious.” What the actual hell does that mean?) No one wants to give themselves a bad rating on communication skills or make themselves look problematic when they’re trying to attract someone — even if they’re well aware of any shortcomings. It’s the equivalent of choosing the unflattering double-chin photo as your main profile picture.
Unfortunately, these are the type of lies that a fancy encryption service or a quick Google search of a name can’t fix, and vague phrasing like “I don’t get overwhelmed by things” makes it way too easy to pose as a ~perfect~ partner.
It doesn’t help that there are about 30 of these “I consider myself to be this” questions. The repetitive phrasing is just asking for people to zoom through hitting “mostly applies” to get it over with, and it’s basically a more boring equivalent of the Myers-Briggs personality test.
This cluster of unlimited self-descriptors is just asking for cocky people to hype themselves up:
If you’re worried that you’re talking too much about yourself, there is another one of these bubble-style questions that lets you specify what you’re looking for in a relationship. Options include ability to communicate, sexual compatibility, similar family plans, and kindness. There’s also one about hobbies, and the options are pleasantly robust — choose from running, charity work, live music, photography, and a ton more.
Thankfully, the whole process isn’t as drab as it used to be. The aesthetics, user interface, and inquiries themselves got a modern makeover in late 2018. Once a tedious sequence of checking boxes in giant lists (straight up college exam style), questions and self-rating statements are given one at a time. The boring stuff is also broken up by more fun questions like “Do you like sleeping with the window open?” and “Which of these foods would you like the best?”
Questions about whether you prefer big or small social gatherings, your ideal place to live, and what you’re thankful for give the test a friendly feel, and they can make great conversation starters.
A mobile app was finally added to the App Store and Google Play Store, though the reviews are disheartening.
50 miles is the shortest option available in the distance filter. For some, a 50-mile difference is a considerable commitment — especially for a first date. This also makes it near impossible to narrow things down in cities that are filled with professionals, like New York. (The entire island of , and just try to date someone who lives in Queens while you live in Brooklyn. It’s essentially long distance.)
Keeping in line with the EliteSingles mantra, you’ll also be asked to disclose your job title, type of degree, and income bracket. This seems like a breeding ground for scammers and sugar daddy-seekers, and EliteSingles claims to manually verify accounts to ensure that your data isn’t at risk.
However, if you want to lie and say you’re a doctor, it probably won’t be flagged. This isn’t inherently an EliteSingles problem: People can lie about their profession on any dating site (like that guy on Match.com who claimed to be a millionaire and then scammed $80,000 from the woman he was talking to). But it seems like a site that has an entire ethos built around careers and salaries would be the first to ensure that users are being connected with other users who meet those qualifications.
Anyway, 45 minutes later, you’ll have taken probably the longest online dating self-survey ever and will receive an analysis of how each of the five categories applies your life.
Finding a match
The site matches singles based on that huge 30-minute personality assessment you just took, which is modeled after the Five Factor Model theory. After the more black-and-white factors (like the age, occupation, and location you asked for), are factored in, the algorithm recommends up to seven matches per day. It’ll even show you how compatible you are (a score of 100 being a 100% match), as well as what things you have in common.
This means that unlike sites like OkCupid and Match, you can’t peruse the pool for potential love interests and instead have to wait until EliteSingles delivers matches to you. But once EliteSingles sends you someone who sparks you interest, you get a pretty well-rounded view of who they are as a person — and finally get to see the purpose of that painful questionnaire come to fruition.
While this could be good for those who don’t have the time to constantly scroll through a dating site and are looking for more of a matchmaker service, those who have grown accustomed to filling the time with swiping through an app in search of a date may become a bit antsy. However, the hands-off approach does seem to be more fitting for the person with a crazy work schedule. The last thing you need is even more messages in your inbox from every single person who sends you a wink.
EliteSingles ins’t all waiting around, though. “Visitor notifications” show you who’s been creepin’ on your profile, and it’s a lot easier to make the first move when you already know someone’s interested.
The “Have you met” feature is EliteSingles’ way of trying to get you to expand your comfort zone a bit (or a way to make up for the fact that their questionnaire probably isn’t rendering accurate portrayals of everyone, anyway). It’s basically a pool of candidates that fall slightly outside of your pre-chosen match filters, but still might be a good match for you in the eyes of EliteSingles. Because sometimes we just don’t know what the hell we want or need until it hits us in the face.
As you’ll see in a more in-depth critique later, this section is kind of laughable — because it sounds like EliteSingles doesn’t pay attention to your filters, anyway.
Pricing makes it look like a really snobby club
No one expects a good dating site to be free. A service that could potentially speed up the miserable quest for a soulmate — using a unique algorithm that took years to create and perfect — should totally come at a price.
But there’s nothing modern or groundbreaking enough about EliteSingles to make paying $240 a year worthwhile, and slapping “elite” in the title doesn’t automatically make it worth more than its competitors. The onslaught of bad reviews that come with a simple Google search (yikes, @ SiteJabber) don’t exactly help. There is a free version, but you’ll have to pay if you want to message anyone, view member photos, or use read receipts.
Prices are as follows:
12 months: $39.95/month
6 months: $53.95/month
3 months: 69.95/month
Though EliteSingles lowered its prices in 2019 (thank you), the only dating site with prices even close to this high is eharmony. When you’re responsible for 4% of marriages in the U.S., you can be expensive. Match.com’s user base dwarves that of EliteSingles and still isn’t this expensive. But EliteSingles says that it produces over 1,000 matches per month, which is vague but offers hope nevertheless.
Room for improvement: Down the elitism, up the authenticity
The footing of EliteSingles isn’t inherently bad. Wanting your life partner to be educated, share your career goals, and have the skills to provide for you or a family doesn’t make you a bad person. Money and work ethic are two huge real-world things that can drive a wedge between a couple.
The name “EliteSingles” is questionable on its own. There are a lot better ways to describe driven or career-oriented people than “elite.” But we digress.
That SSL encryption and fraud detection technology may work to weed out scammers, but it isn’t stopping people from being dishonest on their profiles. Who knows how many people are stretching their education or salary to seem more “elite?” Looking at reviews posted by users themselves, lying about the level of degree is way more common than Elite Singles probably likes to admit.
So let’s get this straight: EliteSingles charges this crazy premium fee to introduce people with similar educational and career backgrounds, judges profiles by whether the user marked having a degree, then does nothing to verify whether the person actually has this piece of paper or not. The whole concept seems problematic.
Reddit user 3SHEETS2IT puts the sentiment it into two sentences:
“If you’re Elite, go meet woman of your class at social gatherings suitable for your status.
Elite Singles screams that you THINK you’re important, but not only aren’t, but that you’re a sucker.”
While the depth of the personality analysis is appreciated, we’re not completely sold on the accuracy of the results. No one wants to say it, but people bend the truth when they need to look good — and a questionnaire that basically asks you to rate how good of a partner you are is bound to make people treat it like a damn resume. People are filling this out knowing their answers are meant to make them appear attractive, and everyone would rather say they’re perfect than admit why past relationships didn’t work and what they need to work on.
While the EliteSingles personality test may be able to find out who you’re compatible with, it doesn’t focus much on who you’re attracted to. The heart wants what it wants, but the personality test seems so in-depth that it ignores the physical aspects you asked for. Granted, a lot of the questions are really lame and superficial, and it’s what’s on the inside that counts — but mutual attraction and passion (not even sex, but also sex) are pretty crucial in a happy relationship. The flip side to this, of course, is that if you’ve been unlucky in love, perhaps you could use some help with selecting potential dates whom you may not have considered previously.
Bad for: People who need control and anyone under 25
What’s the point of filling out this massive questionnaire if your matches aren’t checking off every single damn box?
There will always be those people who aren’t satisfied with a dating site’s suggestions — it’s easier for them to blame the algorithm than it is to admit that they might be the problem. But it’s worrisome that reviews from multiple EliteSingles users mention that their suggested matches didn’t match the age range, job type, or location that they selected when creating a profile. Finding the perfect person when you’re not trying to fly 300 miles to go on a date is apparently a tall order.
Sure, basing someone’s potential as a romantic partner on their salary can be shallow if you take it too far. But relating to their education history or career can dodge a lot of money-related bullets and guarantees that huge shared experience, and it’s the reason most of the users are paying for this “premium” site in the first place. The lax recommendations will be even worse for people who want to be proactive about their search, as there are no options to search profiles or set preferences.
Datingsitesreviews.com user Jjm wrote:
“Don’t waste your money!! I wish I had read the reviews before I joined Elite Singles. Anything but Elite. I too would only receive one or two “matches” a day. Most of these profiles had no photos and were over a hundred miles away! My profile was rarely viewed, and many times it was viewed by someone clear across the country and not the type of person I was looking for. Remember, you have no control. You can’t search or look up profiles. They also control who sees your profile. Customer Service is a joke. You cannot call anyone, emails are responded to days later from someone in another country. They are form answers that keep telling you how to use the website and “relax” your search criteria! This website is comparable to driving 200 miles away, putting a blindfold on and walking into a bar.”
If you think it’s weird that people refer to themselves as “elite” in the first place, you’ll hate this site.
Good for: Mature singles who don’t have a type
If you’ve had your fair share of immature, half-assed relationships, you understand how draining it is to find someone who understands your goals — or how hard it is to babysit a partner whose work ethic isn’t up to par. Despite the large window for exaggeration, EliteSingles could give hope to a lot of people who are tired of the broad dating pools on other sites.
Reddit user Mekroval writes:
“If you’re looking for slightly older but more educated women, I’ve found that EliteSingles has been a pretty good investment. It’s pricier than the other sites, but seems to attract a higher degree (no pun intended) of women with advanced degrees or who are successful in their fields of interest. You’ll also have the benefit of finding a slightly older pool of women, who are closer to your age, compared to sites like Match.com or CMB which tend to skew quite a bit younger.”
The fact that EliteSingles has a reputation for showing you profiles outside of your responses doesn’t have to be all bad. Narrowing your playing field to a specific type never works out, anyway — as long as someone has the work ethic that you asked for, then why not let the algorithm set you up on a virtual blind date? Working professionals don’t have time to sit down and swipe through all of those nearby singles, anyway.
EliteSingles’ prices may be bogus, but they’re high enough to weed out most people who aren’t taking online dating seriously.
The possibility of getting mixed up with a catfish causes a lot of hesitation from people new to online dating. (Throwback to the Match.com scammer we mentioned a few paragraphs ago.) Most of the upstanding sites are still littered with fake accounts, and no one with a busy career wants to spend time sifting through that BS. EliteSingles claims to manually verify their profiles to avoid fake accounts using SSL encryption and fraud detection technology. User reviews also have next-to-no mention of fake or dead accounts.
Worried about catching feelings for someone who just wants to be friends with benefits? EliteSingles’ prices may be bogus, but they’re high enough to weed out most people who aren’t taking online dating seriously. No one looking for a casual hook up is going to want to shell out this much money per month when they could get on Tinder for free.
Among the dissatisfied users were some glimmers of hope. Deb from datingsitesreviews.com wrote:
“What can I say. I was a little hesitant at first as like eharmony, Elite Singles supplies you with matches after you fill out a lengthy profile. I live in a fairly major city so a lot of matches were sent my way. […] This was my first try at online dating and overall it was a good experience. I have met several men through Elite Singles and am currently dating one of them now. I was hesitant at first as my girl friends have used other dating services with mixed results. They complained about scammers and the poor choice in men. I think you will find them on all services just like in real life. You just have to know what signs to look for and play it smart. […] In the end I am glad I choose this service.”
City dwellers can blow off some steam after the work week at IRL events. EliteSingles partners with CitySwoon, a company that hosts speed dating at local bars and lounges. If nothing else, you could meet some other working singles who understand the need for happy hour.
On its face, EliteSingles seems like a good idea. The way it hones in on successful professionals who haven’t had success in the romance department is unique and will resonate with working people who just want someone who understands their lifestyle. Its call for educated singles and its high prices also have a better chance at weeding out people who aren’t taking dating seriously, while Match.com or even eharmony may be littered with the occasional hook-up seeker.
The site was easy to navigate and the personality assessment was a cool (albeit annoying) feature that helps you learn a little bit about yourself.
But is the humdrum sign-up process worth the results it renders? Meh.
The fact that you have to fill out the entire test and PAY before you’re able to see what the site’s all about could easily be a deterrent for some eager or impatient singles. It’s a lot of awkward and frankly unnecessary questions that seem like they were thrown in simply to make the site look deeper. Plus, user reviews make it pretty apparent that the site’s algorithm doesn’t even listen to your criteria anyway.
But hey: EliteSingles boasts over 13 million members worldwide, claiming that an average 2,000 couples pair off every month. Neither of those are small numbers, so if you’re willing to put in the time to fill out a profile and risk weeding through some less-than-ideal matches or an annoying customer service experience, who knows, you may land on a gem.