Guardian Soulmates Review

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In this review I’m going to be taking a look at Guardian Soulmates, a popular dating site from the Guardian.

It will probably come as no surprise to you that this dating site is dominated by Guardian readers, whom according the Guardians own readers profile are: affluent, food and drink aficionados, well-traveled and finance-savvy.

If these traits are appealing to you, then read on. If not, the UK’s largest dating site for professionals – eHarmony will definitely be a better choice.

eHarmony UK Free Trial

About Guardian Soulmates

First launched back in 2004 – Guardian Soulmates is an online dating site run by the Guardian newspaper. The site has a loyal following or members, mainly acquired through extensive advertising on the Guardians own website.

But this loyalty was put to the test in early 2011, after a major site re-design left many members very unhappy. But this was two years ago now, and it appears that they are putting their troubles behind them, as the site continues to grow and attracts members from all over the country.

Site members vary in age from 18 to 85 years old. But you’ll find the largest number of members in the 25 to 55 age group.

Members on the site are seeking a mix of friendship, relationships, and casual affairs. But the numbers definitely fall in favour of those seeking relationships for the longer term. If all you are after is a little fun without the commitment, then there are other dating sites that would be better suited to your needs.

A Soulmates Story

Creating Your Profile

There’s not a whole lot to say about the signup process. As you can see from the form below, only a few basic details are needed to register your account.

Guardian Soulmates Signup Form

Once you’re registered on the site, it’s time to fill out your profile. You will need to complete at least 50% of your profile before you start appearing in searches on the site. So don’t be lazy here, else you may never be discovered.

There is nothing unusual about the questions asked; all of the typical descriptive questions are there – such as your height, hair colour, eye colour, body type, star sign, relationship status, want children, have children already etc.

You will also find a box where you have a maximum of 2000 characters to tell everyone about yourself. This is your sales pitch, so don’t rush it and risk losing out. Another box asks you to enter what it is you’re looking for in a partner, again there’s a limit of 2000 characters; but try not to come across as to ridged here, this is always a huge turnoff.

You can also upload a photo, or a whole bunch of them. If you prefer, you can leave it blank, but profiles without a photo tend to lose out when it comes to clicks and contact.

Although you are prompted to subscribe to the service at every opportunity, there is no need to do so just yet. You can browse member profiles on the site, read their profile descriptions and view their photos without needing to pay. It’s definitely best to test the waters first before diving in head first, even if you do have more money than sense.

Features You’ll Find

The website itself is probably one of the nicest designed websites I have ever seen. It’s free from clutter and unnecessary cheesy features like winks, ice breakers and virtual gifts; it’s also highly intuitive and easy on the eyes.

There’s a feature called “Your Matches”, where they use the criteria that you select in the ‘Who you’re looking for’ page to create a list of Soulmates that are deemed to be most compatible with you. For each individual criteria, such as age or height, you can choose to set how important these criteria are to you; and if they are also important to other site members, then you will be matched together. It’s nothing like the psychological approach you will find on, but it does act as a filter.

Their standard find tool allows you to easily search all members based on their age, location and proximity to you. What’s also nice is that you can select when they were last online. This gives you an indication to the activity levels on the site. As often many dating sites keep profiles online just to bump up the numbers, even if they have not logged in for over a year.

You can hide members that you would rather not appear in your searches, and also block members from contacting you. There’s also an option to recommend members to your friends, just in case you happen to stumble across someone you think they would like.

There is also basic support for mobile devices. However it’s only via the mobile browser, so no iPhone or Android Apps at this time.

The Traffic Test

I always like to perform a traffic test before paying to use any dating service. It would be annoying to pay, only then to discover that there are hardly any members on the site that are living in your area.

If I perform a quick – not too picky – search for females in my local county, between the ages of 25 and 33, and who have been active in the last month; just over 80 profiles are returned. If I then refine this list to only those members who have been active in the last week, it’s reduced to 35.

35 is a fairly small number when compared to, but this is a niche focused dating site after all, so actually the numbers are not too bad.

I would definitely recommend doing a search for your local area before paying for a subscription. Since each region is going to vary. But London stands tall at the top of the charts.

The Scam Test

Online dating is a billion dollar business for the companies behind the dating sites, and the vast majority of these businesses care more about making money from you, than helping you to find your soul mate. In fact, it’s better for them financially if you don’t find anyone. I’ve seen many dating sites using pseudo profiles, automated messages and winks to try and trick people into signing up. Their scams are harder to spot than those that originate from Nigeria.

But you can test if the dating site is above board by simply leaving your profile description blank, and not uploading a photo for the first 7 days. Reals users will not message members without a description in their profile, and without a photo. So if you do receive messages in this time, they are most likely generated automatically or from human scammers.

Unfortunately on Soulmates you do have to fill out 50% of your profile before you will appear in searches. But I can tell you that in the 3 months I’ve had my profile active on Guardian Soulmates, I’ve not yet received a single message that I suspected to be a scam. That said, I’m sure there are some floating around on Guardian Soulmates, so beware of any message that sounds too good to be true.

Membership Prices

It’s free to join (just like all dating sites), but as a free member all you can really do is browse profiles, read descriptions and view photos. If you want to initiate contact, or read any messages you may receive, then you will need to subscribe. The costs for Guardian Soulmates in 2013 are:

£96.00 per month for a 6 month membership
£64.00 per month for a 3 month membership
£32.00 per month for a 1 month membership

Subscriber benefits are also outlined below:
Guardian Soulmates Subscriber Benefits

Like many dating sites, your subscription will be automatically renewed after your initial membership period. They say that this is so you can continue to enjoy subscriber benefits from month to month. But we all know that it’s really because they want to enjoy us improving their own bank balance from month to month. So I recommend cancelling the renewal as soon as possible, then simply renewing manually if you decide to stay for longer.

Good and Bad Points

goodAffluent members, mainly readers of the Guardian

goodVery well designed and intuitive website

goodThe site is optimized for mobile devices

goodLarge membership base

badIt’s not particularly cheap

badAutomated membership renewals

To Conclude

If you enjoy spending your time with a fine wine, good conversation, visiting beautiful cities, and appreciating the arts; then Guardian Soulmates is possibly a great match to you.

It’s easy to use, has a very reasonable number of members, and the company appears to be operating above board. It is expensive, but this helps to ensure that all but the most serious of daters signup.

But what about the competition? Guardian Soulmates is not the only dating site that targets the more affluent member, eHarmony also falls into this category. They also have a lot more members, and they keep the prices high (just like Soulmates) to try to ensure that only those who are serious about finding someone will join up.

But at the end the day the choice is yours, you should know what you want better than anybody.

So are you really looking for someone who is affluent, well-traveled, finance-savvy, food & drink aficionado, dedicated follower of fashion, lover of the arts?

eHarmony UK Free Trial


  1. moomoo says

    I agree-waste of time. 4 dates. 2 pretentious twats looking for a fling. 1 confessed to cheating on his pregnant wife and getting another woman pregnant. Another, I discovered after I dated him, was accused of pretty serious domestic violence towards his wife and had started to try to be controlling towards me. I sent 2 messages to Soulmates about this after dumping him…no reply…he remained on the site. Never, ever again.

  2. Ra Ray says

    As an “older” person trying out GSM who is interested in finding someone my age or younger, life has taught me and through friends that large age differences have only as much import on a couples’ success as it matters to them. Cultural differences are often more challenging.
    To dismiss an older man or older woman based solely on age may be as unwise and rigid as a criterion based on what cut of jeans one wears. Life is complicated and wide-ranging. That’s to be celebrated.

  3. says

    I am also a member of GSM. I am 38 and totally agree with those who have been approached by men aged 10 years older.

    I tend to be extremely blunt when I am approached by these old men. For example, I would inform them that I am not their soulmate nor their match.

    Or, my gut feeling says they are not the right soulmate. Once, I was confronted by someone when I said I was not his match. I just simply said the gut feeling said no. What else can these old men do to me? Nothing. Which the profile had done.

    My username describes my profession ie. data scientist. So far, I have not been approached by the profiles who are 10 years older than me. They do peep on my profile occasionally but do nothing. I am simply too intelligent for them to be their soulmate, I presume. They are men after all. Their pride is their number 1 priority. My username helps me a lot.

    Another experience was I was asked for my underwear. Or, I was asked to provide a photo of me wearing a tight T-shirt with only my underwear. I told him off and blocked that paedo off my profile.

    Young men tend to look for flings. This applies to those aged 25 to 35. Or, their profile has less than 3 photos of themselves.

    Those men with 9 photos in their profiles and aged 35 or above tend to be serious.

    I go for those aged 40 or above as they tend to be mature and serious about dating. They tend to have more than 3 photos. And, they like to show off the photos of them holding babies or with children.

    I would go for profiles like that because it shows that they are serious.

  4. DoNotRecommend says

    I would not recommend GSM if you are a woman over the age of 30. I’m 35, joined up for 6 months. I last did online dating when I was around 32-33, and I’m noticing a huge difference now. In real life I get approach by pretty hot guys in their late 20s. On GSM it’s pretty much only men 40+ or even 50+ who are even checking out my profile. I went out with a couple of guys who were in their early 40s (to be honest I thought they looked like late 40s in person). I don’t mind dating someone in their early 40s as long as they are open to also dating women their own age, but I will not go out with someone who is willing to date someone 16 years younger, but not someone their own age!

    I tried to lower my standards…Messaged some normal looking guys in their mid-to late 30s. Most of them did not even bother to read my message. Wow! So these supposedly left-wing, liberal, open-minded guys are looking to pair up with women who are much younger! The site is full of guys looking to date women 5-20 years younger than themselves. I guess they want a breeding machine who dotes on them rather than an equal partner and a good relationship. Very disheartening! And the sad thing is…after 6 months, all the same guys are still there! It’s sad to see they are so delusional and really missing out their chance on meeting someone really great for them. I have realised that I’m meeting better guys just by going out and even on OK Cupid, so why why pay GSM. It has seriously made me enraged, angry, and sad. Don’t waste your money!!

    • Shelley says

      Completely with you on your points . I’ve just deleted my account as it was a complete waste of time and agree- the men are delusional – not as they appear at all and really not very similar to their profile claims. Overall I found the (often ugly) men to be looking for some fictional woman – young, beautiful and subservient. It made me shudder

  5. Adrian says

    I joined for 6 months with the best intentions,but was truly left cynical and hard bitten after the experience. It was just a parade of tedious,and unimaginative women who all (and I mean 95-98%) seemed to think that good food/wine/cheese/country walks/brunch/travelling were the key facets that make up a personality?! So few mentions of actual interests,or natural quirky signs of an attitude beyond bland Home Counties-to middle class urban centre London migrants,that despite signing up to a rather pricey site,still stood by traditional mores and never made a first or proactive move in contacting and maintaining a dialogue. Left me feeling that everyone on it was unattractive,and I’ve been happy to remain dating in the ‘offline’ world since.Avoid! :)

    • DoNotRecommend says

      Why can’t food/wine/cheese etc. be someone’s actual interests?? I happen to be extremely passionate about food. But I guess to you this is tedious. Just curious….what kind of things would tick your interest then? How special does one have to be?
      It’s hard to judge someone just by a few paragraphs they have written…Do you really think that the women you meet ‘offline’ would write any better profiles??
      In any case, I agree with you about GSM. It’s horrid. From a mid-30s woman’s perspective it is just full of delusional, ageist men! Or perhaps they just all think that my wine and cheese-loving ways are far too boring…but the thing is that I have no aspirations to climb Mount Everest, to jump off from airplanes, or any of the sort.

  6. Amy says

    Despite the mainly negative reviews for Guardian Soulmates, I eventually found my soul mate and couldn’t be happier. I’m now starting 2015 with an awesome guy by my side :)

  7. Katy says

    What an awful dating site! If you enjoy being ripped off and taken for a fool, then Guardian Soulmates will make you feel right at home. Not sure where to turn next?

  8. Frank says

    Having had my membership terminated without warning and no explanation what I am beginning to realise is that if you stop ongoing payments then your membership is terminated and you are refunded immediately. This then allows them to be under no obligation to explain.

  9. _lacklustre says

    I subscribed to this site and was delighted with the responses from women in all walks of life. I was looking in the 50-65 age group and my subscription was terminated without warning and without recourse with Soulmates saying that I had breached the Terms & Conditions – just that – not the actual transgression. How odd. I’m a Guardian reader myself and feel rather put out that I am considered a “sinner” on the site as I have no idea what I have done or no opportunity to apologise. I’m never comfortable with the establishment so I’m probably better off not being a member.

  10. Bellamy says

    I agree with most comments above. Really disappointing site. Full of pretentious men who would not date neither look at any women their age. Unless you’re much younger you’re pretty invisible. And yes, they have long lists of requirements. One guy said boot cut jeans just won’t do it for him. Any more to say…?

    • nina says

      i couldnt agree more with the age discrimination comment. it seems men feel entitled to only look at much younger women (10 to 20 years younger). Unless you are a celebrity such age gaps are rare in real life. so they are bound to fail and women to not find a match their age. if these men were well educated and or intelligent they wouldn’t shoot themselves in the foot like that. CCl these men dont really want to meet someone they are just dreaming about meeting much younger female partners – one may wonder why and what that means about them (the vast majority of them, there are some exceptions) but is all really very off putting

  11. says

    Wow, must have been the same men l had contact with! I would not recommend this site either. Full of men wanting much younger women and as so many have said alreadt the men l found to be pretentious and dishonest. Shame it was a big dissappointment. Also Im dyslexic, not the best at spelling. Even after explaining that l was mocked horribly. Just plain snobby actually.

    • says

      I sent the above message to guardian to make they awear ,because I joined to dating site to meet someone hopfulley for long term relastionship, but had me repley from them and the man still online .
      I meet man called Robert from Mill Hill( he is American) online end of last year .I only meet him just ones for coffee for half an hour(he was in hurry to leave), and he just wanted to came to my home and not meet out, but I am old even alarm bells started ringing ,so asked him if he was married he SAID NO, of course I’m not silly, but wanted to meet out few time and go from there, but then was in India for 6 weeks no contact from him whiles away .Wen I got back he started message me and I just wanted meet he out, he angered to meet tonight ,but then sent message I have meet someone else, that’s fine happens, few minutes later sent me another message saying HIS WIFE IS NOT WORKING TONIGHT SO CAN’T MEET ,So point is gut feeling was wright.

  12. Tracy says

    I took out a six month membership in October 2011. I chose not to post a picture. I had quite a few e mail exchanges with interesting men and 10 dates. All were potential matches and genuine and interesting people. The worst, but amusing, issue that i encountered were fibs about height, weight, age and some very out of date photos. No sparks but good fun and really encouraging. Then in December I met the love of my life. We were engaged by April and married in October. I was his first date and needless to say we are both extremely grateful to Soulmates. For us both life really has begun at 50!

  13. Anonymous Guy says

    Guardian Soulmates is in my experience full of pretentious individuals, my ex-partner being one of them. On I met several really lovely, beautiful and unpretentious people, but it did take quite some time to wade through the profiles of members who hadn’t been active on the site in years.

  14. Olivia says

    I was a soulmate for 6 months. whilst none of the dates that i had were terribly unpleasant, there was a very distinct feeling of awkwardness about it. the guys i met all seemed a little too similar, and somewhat pretentious. one guy who emailed after our forth date told me he only wanted a casual relationship, he could have said so sooner…

  15. Beth says

    A good friend of mine met her husband through Guardian Soulmates, they are very happy together! I’ve signed up just recently and exchanged some interesting emails. I do hope some of my friends luck rubs off on me. Fingers and toes crossed!

  16. Wispa says

    I joined for 3 months after a bank holiday special offer. I deleted my profile after 6 weeks. Full of older men seeking Amelie! Was just a very boring site full of similar men who, I fear, have little to offer, which is perhaps why they seek such unrealistic magnificence. Exchanged a few emails, even had a date who let himself down by calling my teen kids baggage and general use of bad language! Otherwise, Nice emails went unanswered and limited profile views. Bad luck perhaps? I don’t know… But I just had a feeling…

  17. Fee says

    I joined Soulmates and paid something like £64 or so for 3 months. I thought it must be good to cost that much, wrong! I am constantly sent numerous profiles that are nothing like I asked for. Smokers when I said non-smokers; living close by – living hundreds of miles away; etc. etc., Most don’t have photographs so you are expected to ask them for one! I’m busy and don’t have time for all this. I wrote to them and told them that they hadn’t delivered what I expected and paid for and asked to cancel my membership before the next payment is due. I was told I could cancel but they would continue taking my money!!! If that’s not a con, then what is? Time to take these theives to task is what I am thinking. They are abusing lonely people looking for love and it’s a disgrace!

  18. LondonViolet says

    I found Guardian Soulmates quite boring. Generally, a lot of the men I was interested in didn’t reply to my messages. Then I’d get messages from men 5-10 years older.
    I think my main criticism is that quite a lot of the men want women their age or younger/much younger – meaning that women who want to date men their own age are ‘filtered out’, leaving older men. It’s the lack of choice and implicit pretentions that I really noticed. I would like to have the opportunity to date men my age AND have the option of older men if I so wish. I also find the ‘filtering’ of hair colour, job, height etc etc, puts barriers where in real life there may not be any (as with age). It’s hugely middle-class, ok, maybe this is obvious, but it made me feel uncomfortable at times.
    But overall, it’s the lack of movement the site has; it just wasn’t easy to get a date, and I’ve since moved onto another site and really seen the difference, maybe because it doesn’t have such pretentions and tight filters that can be favoursome to men.
    As below, I tend to be considered as attractive in real life. But somehow not on GSM. There’s more to life than what you do and what you look like. And certainly what paper you read.

  19. pippilongstocking says

    Guardian Soulwaste is really dire for the following reasons:
    #1 I swapped numbers with with 4 blokes who messaged me avidly saying how much they wanted to meet me and how attractive they thought I was and then;
    1 cancelled the first date 3 times & didn’t bother to rearrange
    2 didn’t reply when I asked when they wanted to meet up
    1 turned up but there was no chemistry

    #2 No one I sent a message to replied.

    In real life, though I am not everyone’s cup of tea I do get told that I am attractive and fun to be with but obviously not enough so for the men of GS. They have extra high standards.

    Basically if you want to be messaged avidly by a bunch of older, really pretentious men who aren’t actually that good looking and then rejected by the same men then give it a go.

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