TL;DR: eharmony is no , but they’re not either. If you can ignore the slower pace, it’s where marriage-minded individuals can go to find people who take dating as seriously as they do — and where it’s okay to be a hopeless romantic.
It’s always something, isn’t it? If you’re not catching feelings for people who just want to hook up, you’re six months deep having the “What are we?” conversation with someone who is definitely too old to still be playing games.
Maybe you’re just plain tired of going through breakup after breakup with people you thought you were gonna marry.
Yeah, well, 10 million other people are tired of the same things, and they’ve put their love lives in the hands of eharmony: the site that claims to make a love connection every 14 minutes. If you’ve been nervous about online dating, this is one place where you’re almost guaranteed to find good intentions.
If you’re worried about the stigma that, for whatever out-of-date reason, surrounds online dating, we’re telling you to reevaluate. Dating IRL and leaving everything to fate clearly hasn’t been working either, or you wouldn’t have clicked on this. Sorry, but real life isn’t like Sex and the City where you casually bump in to a long term partner at a coffee shop or art gallery.
Technology has now made it possible to meet people you may have never known existed and who want the same thing as you, which opens up your dating pool significantly. eharmony’s membership pool consists of singles who reside in all 50 U.S. states and more than 200 countries worldwide, making up around 5 million visitors per month. That’s a bit behind competitors like Match, Plenty of Fish, and Zoosk, but not a low number by any means. Where they lack in numbers, they make up for in a seamless and extremely personalized user experience, which continues to be perfected since the site’s debut in 2000.
And that’s clearly something users hold near and dear, because they keep coming back. In 2013, in creating marriages compared to other dating sites, and is apparently responsible for creating They’re pretty confident in their matchmaking abilities, too, because they that if you’re not satisfied in three months, they’ll give you another three months for free. And honestly, it’s comforting to know that this shit works. (Don’t believe us? Read these success stories and weep, y’all.)
While most competing sites have made upgrades and tried to keep up with social media or internet trends, eharmony has maintained a pretty consistent message. But if you used eharmony 10 years ago, you might not recognize it today (in a good way): The app has been totally modernized to appeal to people who want something more mature than Hinge, but still like the clean, one-person-at-a-time look of swiping apps.
Making a profile: Honesty is a must, guys
The landing page used to feature your typical heterosexual hipster couple, which was more nauseating than inspirational. Now, you’re greeted with more inclusive headshots of men and women.
The compatibility quiz takes around 20 minutes to complete. There are 70 questions in total (down from 100-something questions a few years ago), which seems intimidating — but I guess getting down into the nitty gritty is how to make sure you really know someone.
The questions are pretty standard and are similar to what most other in-depth dating sites will ask. You’ll give yourself a rating on prompts like “I’m an honest partner,” with sliding scale choices like “This describes me well,” to “Doesn’t describe me at all.” On paper, asking deep questions like these right off the bat makes total sense when pairing two people together — but they’re so basic and annoying. Who wants to answer “Are you emotionally stable?” with “No, doesn’t describe me at all”? I am 100% aware I’m the most sensitive, ridiculous crybaby in the world, but do I want to admit that I suck at dealing with arguments like an adult? Hard nope.
Admitting that you have problems in a certain area is key to eharmony matching you with someone who complements you.
Unless people have an extremely realistic sense of self, I feel like these answers just can’t be telling. Everyone would love to rate themselves the highest on patience and romantic and the lowest on selfishness, but if these people were perfect and had zero problems in relationships, they wouldn’t need online dating in the first place.
Just remember that the right person will except your quirks and flaws. As much as you’d like to lie to feel better about yourself, you know deep down that’s not the way to a healthy relationship. Admitting that you have problems in a certain area is key to eharmony matching you with someone who complements you. And finding someone who makes up for what you lack is better in the long run, even if it’s hard to come to terms with at times.
Reddit user criswell writes:
“I met my wife on eharmony. I’d definitely recommend it. Now, the caveat is that you need to be painfully honest on their questionnaire if you want good results. Most of my friends whom this hasn’t worked for are quite delusional about themselves and, thus, don’t find very good matches.”
Just be honest about your communication skills, or your next relationship is gonna look like this:
Scattered through the mushy stuff are questions that are actually fun to answer — but still super important. These are questions that potential matches can see your answers to and serve as a fun conversation starter or an easy way to tell if you would get along. They’ll be anything from “Do dogs go to heaven?” to “If you woke up with a fever on the morning of an important meeting, what would you do?” Basically, they’re trying to find out about your work ethic, political preferences, what you value in life, and other quirky things that I honestly think matter just as much as communication and patience.
eharmony does a really nice job of making it all look modern and not too jumbled, which is an issue I’ve come across on a lot of other dating sites. Having a lot of features can be fun, but not when there are notifications popping up for things you didn’t even know existed. A calming color scheme and minimalistic layout is the way to go, and eharmony nailed it.
You even have the option to put your favorite TV shows, music, sports, and more on your profile, and the redesign cleans it up into a really nice, modern app view.
I do have one bone to pick with eharmony during these profile questions, though: They served me questions about church and God when I specifically said I wasn’t religious. And it’s not just the questions that were the issue — it was the selection of responses.
eharmony does have a history of being conservative though, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Questions like these are of course perfect for users who marked themselves as Christian, but can be off-putting for those who aren’t.
Finding a match
Finding the right one takes time. eharmony is trying to find you someone to spend your life with, and that’s something that can’t be half-assed or rushed. Unless your life is eerily similar to a rom com, weeding out all of the non-compatible ones may take a few weeks — or months. It may get frustrating, but “slow and steady wins the race” is the mindset to have here. If it seems to be taking a while, that doesn’t mean it’s never gonna work — that’s how it is for everyone.
The matchmaking process can be sped up by taking a look at your compatibility score. For every person you come across, a color-coded graphic will show which wants or needs you have in common, based on answers to the questionnaire. The categories include things like, “What is our driving force?” and “How do we organize everyday life?” If one person is focused on kids and a family and someone else is focused on a career and traveling, the mismatch will be obvious.
Something unique about eharmony is that there’s no search feature. At all. Unlike Match, it won’t even let you browse a list of who’s nearby outside of the matches they’ve picked for you. Each day, you’ll get a new batch of matches, which is fine if you’ve made good decisions in the past, but bad if one day’s batch happens to be full of people you’re not interested in.
On the bright side, matches you do get are very likely to want to talk to you, as you’re clearly compatible and have things in common — and you won’t be getting random “heys” from a million random people that you’d never talk to. (eharmony also monitors each user’s site activity very closely, so the chance of getting nasty opening messages about your favorite position in bed is minimal.)
eharmony monitors user’s site activity, so the chance of getting nasty opening messages about your favorite position in bed is minimal.
You don’t have to match with someone to talk to them, though, and you’ll notice this when names and faces you’ve never seen before end up in your inbox. In the message section, you can think of your own opening line, send a pre-made icebreaker question (if you’re not smooth on your own), or simply send a smile, which is like poking on Facebook. The environment is low pressure and nothing like the terrifying message section of Tinder, but when 20+ people are sending smiles or generic questions that they didn’t think of themselves, it can get a bit impersonal. And remember: “Hi” is not an exciting opening line for anyone to read. That is how my five year old cousins iMessage me on their parents’ iPad.
10 million users seems like a decent dating pool, but you probably won’t be making a match every hour like you are on a swiping app. eharmony wants things to be slowed down here, and the algorithm doesn’t want you to choose the people you always choose. If you went filter crazy when choosing criteria for potential matches and gave extreme answers on the sliding scales, a few log-in sessions will likely only produce tumbleweeds.
Branching out from your “type” can be uncomfortable, but you won’t regret it. Reddit user danigirl did, and it worked:
“I took a chance on eHarmony during a free-weekend (I had no intention of paying). I matched with 12 guys and proceeded to go through the automated motions very quickly. At the first chance eHarmony allowed me to communicate I sent my email address, asking them to reach out if interested. Long story short, met with with 10 of the 12 guys on first dates, none progressed to second date. But the 11th guy we continued to email for a month before finally meeting (our schedules sucked). Went on 4 dates (from very innocent, building up to dinner and sex), and became inseparable after that. Been married now for 5 years, together for 7. Don’t know why it worked for us. Maybe because we stopped looking for the ‘next best’ and decided to honestly give it a solid chance. Maybe because we were both brutally honest with what we exactly wanted and discovered we were both fairly well matched… but not perfectly. Did I run marathons, no. Was he 6′ tall, hell no! Lol. We had to look past both our ‘ideals’ and just enjoy the journey in getting to know someone who was pretty terrific.”
The social distancing measures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic made dating infinitely more difficult than it already was. If drone dates aren’t your thing, eharmony’s new Video Date feature attempts to keep first dates alive if you’re stuck at home. Launched in April 2020, eharmony users can video call with matches without switching to a third party like Zoom — or prematurely ask for a phone number to FaceTime. Seeing someone in a video before meeting them IRL is smart anyway: Though a phone call is nice for hearing their voice, video dating gives you a peek at their gestures, their natural reactions to your jokes, and a better overall sense of how the chemistry might be when you do meet. Think of it as reducing your chances of being stuck at a restaurant with someone who’s absolutely insufferable in person.
There is technically a free option, but it’s pretty worthless
With a free account, you can answer all of the personality questions, make a profile, and see your matches. That’s it. You can’t talk to anyone. I guess this is a nice way to see what your potential options are and what’s out there before you pay, and to see if eharmony actually knows what you’re looking for before you fork over that $30 per month.
Prices fluctuate frequently and depend on how long you’re subscribing for, but they’re always one of the priciest dating sites out there. Here’s a tentative price breakdown, which literally just depends on when you happen to sign up:
12 months: $7.95-$19.95/month
6 months: $29.95-$13.95/month
3 months: $32.95-$39.95/month
As a general rule, membership prices get lower the longer your commitment to the site is. Which makes sense, because a strong connection probably won’t magically appear in just one month.
Still, that all gets to be pretty pricey when added up, and there are probably so many good, genuine people out there not signing up due to the mere fact that they need that $200 elsewhere. I guess it’s an easy way to know that most potential matches would be serious, as I highly doubt someone just looking for a hookup wants to drop this much money on a one night stand.
And eharmony has that guarantee, remember? If you’re not satisfied in three months, they’ll give you three months for free. They’re basically saying that your money will be worth it because you’ll find someone in three months, or you’ll get an extra three months to find someone without dropping a cent. That’s a pretty good incentive, I would say — and you won’t care about that little monthly fee when you have a wedding to plan.
Good for: People who want to marry the next person they date
If you cry at episodes of The Bachelor, eharmony might be the place for you. Dating online and opening up to strangers takes courage, and users wouldn’t be doing that if they were looking for anything other than the real deal. Obviously eharmony isn’t the only dating site used to find a spouse, but it is pretty much the only site that is specifically dedicated to long-term relationships, and pretty much the only site that offers any type of stats on the marriages they’re responsible for. When you think of eharmony, you think of marriage. And so does everyone else — that’s the point.
When you think of eharmony, you think of marriage — and so does everyone else.
Though some of their profile building is on the old-fashioned side, I have to hand it to their web developers: The site actually looks nice, and this was a pleasant surprise. If you’re someone who appreciates a minimalistic design and needs those clean aesthetics to accept the site as legit, you’ll be totally fine on eharmony. You’ll easily be able to find all of the stuff you need, with clear labels and sensible placements of notifications. It’s design-forward enough for the young people who need modernization, but organized and simple enough for non-tech savvy people to get a handle on how it works.
Bad for: Impatient, progressive people, or those looking for a fling
This should be clear by now, but eharmony is not the place to find a friends with benefits situation or non-committal fling. Just because you’re bored with Tinder does not mean eharmony is the next step. Don’t come on here thinking you can weasel your way out of being serious and find someone on here who’s also just trying to mess around. They probably exist, but that’s the exact thing that the majority of users fear — so let’s not even risk giving someone the wrong idea.
Just because you’re bored with Tinder does not mean eharmony is the next step.
Many users on here are divorced, have children, or have been involved in a serious long term relationship in the past — AKA they did not come here just to chit chat and get attention. After a failed relationship, the last thing they want is to be hurt again, and if you know that you’re not ready to do the whole monogamy thing, do everyone a favor and try Hinge or Bumble instead. Matches are going to expect you to open up, be vulnerable, and really think hard about whether you can see a future with them. If that sounds gross to you, don’t try to force it. You won’t have fun, and neither will your matches who you led on.
Like I mentioned earlier, eharmony has a weird way of shifting to the conservative side of things, and even used to primarily market to a Christian clientele. You can see how that wouldn’t exactly be endearing to POC or anyone who skews more liberal.
The questionnaire and profile building are completely in your hands, but after that, the whole matching thing is pretty out of your control. There are no search options or the ability to browse who’s in the area, which completely leaves everything in the hands of eharmony — so no, you won’t have 10 new matches to look forward to every time you log on. Yes, they clearly know what they’re doing and their marriage statistics are impressive, but it feels like you’re just sitting around and waiting for your soulmate to pop up, and it can get frustrating.
Also, it’s just plain expensive. Though I’m a cynic, I’m also a hopeless romantic. But unless money weren’t an object at all, the last thing I’d be spending 40 bucks a month on is a dating site that barely lets me control who I see. To be fair, I’m still relatively young and not yet looking for marriage, so if that’s what’s missing in your life, I can see why the price isn’t an issue. But for now, I’d rather spend that $40 on cheap wine for myself.
And then there’s the whole “not being LGBTQI+ friendly” thing
Truth be told, eharmony hasn’t always felt like a welcoming place to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Following a 2010 lawsuit, their gay and lesbian spin-off site Compatibility Partners has been folded into eharmony’s overall site, but users on Reddit as recently as 2019 say that it still seems more geared toward straight people.
The site has made some progressive changes since Neil Warren, the founder and former CEO, was in charge. Same-sex matching can be done directly on eharmony’s site without being forwarded elsewhere. (Note: As of early 2020, eharmony is jointly run by a three-person executive team (CCO, CFO, and COO) rather than a single CEO position.)
While some users won’t care about this (because it doesn’t affect them), users who take marriage equality seriously may not be into paying for a site that took so long to make inclusivity a priority.
Fast-paced apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are obvious competitors, and though Hinge is definitely a step up from the hookup atmosphere that Tinder and Bumble give off, it’s certainly not where you go to find a person to marry. So yes, they’re competitors, but also not really.
Match and OkCupid are the biggest competitors IMO, and probably what you’ll see everyone comparing eharmony to if you do any research on your own. Both of those give significantly more freedom when it comes to “playing the field” and browsing tons of nearby people and have the ability to match with profiles even if their algorithm didn’t suggest it. That could be better or worse, depending on how much help you think you need in the choosing area. (If your dating history has a pattern of life-ruining people who your parents hate, maybe sitting back and letting eharmony do the selecting is a good change of pace.) I personally like Match better, but when researching on Reddit, I saw a pretty even amount of people mentioning liking eharmony over Match (then saying other other one “sucks”) and vice versa. To each their own, I guess.
The final verdict
If you’re tired of having your feelings f*cked with, eharmony is your best bet when it comes to finding someone who wants something just as serious. Because the process is so drawn out and calculated, you might want to sit down and really think about if you want a long term relationship or if you genuinely want marriage ASAP, because eharmony is a lot of time and money that you’re not going to be happy about losing if you’re not on it for the right reasons.
You can’t expect to make multiple matches a day. Not being able to browse the dating pool at all will probably be a new concept to most, and having extremely limited freedom can definitely turn into a pain. But it’s clear that the people you’ve picked by yourself in the past weren’t the right choices, so it may be time to sit back and let eharmony take the wheel.
With a younger, more progressive generation blazing toward the marriage part of life, dating sites that were previously “old-fashioned” need to make an inclusive environment a priority. It’s totally understandable if you can’t get past the conservative vibe, but know that eharmony is actively working to appeal to groups past cisgendered straight people.
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