A leading matchmaking site for those seeking a truly serious relationship with a compatible partner in every sense. eHarmony has developed its own personality matching system that is designed to help you find your soul mate.
eHarmony is one of the world's oldest online dating sites. Considering that it came out in 1998, one is inclined to view it as a dinosaur in comparison to the newer sites. And considering how high its membership fees are, one might even wonder whether it has gone the way of the prehistoric beast.
The answer is: eHarmony is very much alive and kicking, and it's doing quite well to boot! So you've got to give credit to them - they must be doing something really, really right. After all, no business survives for over thirteen years unless it manages to offer a product or service that consumers want and are willing to pay for.
So the question then becomes: What exactly does eHarmony offer its customers, and which customers is eHarmony most suited to?
A little bit of History
eHarmony is the brainchild of Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist with 35 years of experience in his field. At the time of eHarmony's launching, people were still sitting on the fence when it came to online dating - it was a new thing, a new beast in the dating world, and there was a bit of stigma attached to the whole thing.
A decade later, online dating is ubiquitous; it's no different than going to the mall for a bit of shopping or having a meal at a fine-dining restaurant. Its acceptance has been largely due to a shift in work patterns (we're working longer and harder, with most of us more or less confined to our offices on the weekdays) and the fact that social media platforms have made online communications so much easier - both of these trends mean that online dating allows us to increase our chances of finding a potential partner exponentially.
The registration process is a pretty standard affair where you provide the details you normally would if you were to register at any dating website. When you get into the site, the layout is user-friendly, simple but quietly sophisticated. In other words, it doesn't try to get too complicated and it goes down as smoothly as ice-cold lemonade on a blistering summer day.
Once you've registered and entered the site proper, you get to the one thing that distinguishes eHarmony from the other dating sites: its Relationship Questionnaire, essentially a huge, staggering personality test with over 13 sections and containing more than 200 questions. It is this questionnaire that sets eHarmony apart from the pack. Consider this: There are people who know about this test yet have never set foot in eHarmony.
Like most dating sites, you only get the goodies after you sign up for a paid membership. But the great thing about eHarmony is that you can take the test without signing up. This comprehensive personality test is definitely worth taking, even if you eventually decide not to go for a paid membership. You might come out of the experience knowing a little bit more about yourself and what you're looking for in a partner. Just be sure that you can allocate at least 30-45 minutes for the test. You probably want to make sure you've finished all your projects and assignments for the day before giving it your undivided attention. You can save and return to it at a later date, but if you're in the mood for some soul-searching, why not just complete it in one go?
Once you've completed the test, you'll get results in the form of ‘29 Dimensions of Compatibility', which will be used to calculate your compatibility with other eHarmony members. For example, based on the questions you answered in the questionnaire, your results might show that you're compatible with someone who shares the same core spiritual beliefs or someone who has a more impulsive side and who loves living life on the go.
And here we come to yet another difference: On eHarmony, you don't get to browse through the various members' profiles. Instead, eHarmony will use a special algorithm to match you with potential partners that it thinks are the most suitable for you, based on your test results. They say that those couples who share certain core compatibility traits, upon which it's matching system works, are "statistically" more likely to form a successful relationship.
This has both its good and bad side. It is great for people who don't have the time or inclination to go through a whole bunch of profiles just to find a handful of people they might be compatible with; with eHarmony, you get results delivered to your virtual door. In a way, you can think of eHarmony as a very specialized recruiting agency, one that helps you weed out the not-right-for-you candidates and leaves the quality ones for you to go through.
The bad side of it is some people actually like to browse through pictures and profiles. There's a lot more variety in doing so, and you get to look at a wider range of potential partners. These users know, of course, that not every profile will appeal to them, but it is the whole browsing experience that interests them. Furthermore, while you're not going to get the opposite sex version of yourself on eHarmony (which might be a nightmare for some of your friends), you might find the matching process constraining, especially if you're a sensible khaki-wearing social worker looking for a girl with tattoos who enjoys living on the wild side.
Speed of Matching
Don't expect to be flooded with a sea of profiles immediately. If you're lucky, you might get a handful of matches. But most people will probably have to wait a few days before seeing their first few matches come in, and, as always, it varies. Some people have found that they get monthly matches in the single or double digits while others easily hit the three figures.
In addition to your personality questionnaire, you can also provide "personal preferences" and "nice-to-haves". In this section those with strong preferences can state any conditions that their potential partner should meet. For example, being of certain religious belief or being within a certain height range. While this can save time in reviewing unsuitable profiles, remember that adding too many constraints will significantly reduce the number of matches available to you. My advice here is to review some of your initial matches and fine tune your settings afterwards if you feel the need.
Be aware that if you choose to remain a free member, you wouldn't be able to view their pictures nor reply to any of your matches.
Breaking the Ice
Once you've joined as a paid member, eHarmony provides you with the option of using what it calls “Guided Communication” as icebreakers. It basically involves both parties answering a set of informative questions. This is great in today's fast-paced world. Going through the answer allows you to get a better feel for the other person before you decide to invest more of your time and effort into establishing a potential relationship.
Not everyone is going to be accepted into eHarmony. If you've been married several times, have emotional disorders, or you're just plain not heterosexual, you probably don't stand a chance of being accepted (incidentally, this is not because they are homophobic, it's because their entire "matching platform" is based on data gathered from successfully married heterosexual couples). Note: If you're not heterosexual, you can join EHarmony's other site, Compatible Partners.
In regards to the fees, yes, eHarmony is pricey. The minimum package (the Basic Plan, allowing viewing and communicating) will set you back $119.85, and runs for no less than 3 months. It's the BMW of the dating world: expensive, sleek, well-made, and everyone knows the name. But if you're concerned about cost, try visiting our “promotions” page regularly; you're bound see coupons that can offer significant savings in fees, whether you're just joining or intending to renew your membership. Another thing to look-out for is eHarmony's “free communication weekends”. These special-offers are a regular occurrence and allow non-paying members to briefly communicate with their matches.
The Digital Age
EHarmony hasn't remained stagnant in terms of technology. It has reinvented itself quite a few times. As of the end of 2010, you can find eHarmony mobile apps for three platforms: iPhone, iPod, and Android. And if you're feeling a bit apprehensive about filling in a questionnaire that will take upwards of half-an-hour of your time, the Relationship Questionnaire created for these devices takes just 10 minutes (approximately). Perfect for those with short attention spans!
At the end of the day, the good thing about eHarmony is that it doesn't purport to be more than it is: an online dating site for people who are serious about finding a potential life partner. It is not for people looking for a casual fling, summer romance, or a one-night stand. Like any company in the market, eHarmony has developed a product for a particular customer demographic. And the fact that it is still as robust as ever shows that it has determined what its customers want, and has developed just the right product for them. If you're serious about finding a life-long partner, you might want to give eHarmony a go. Your future partner could be less than a hundred clicks of the mouse away.
By Tara Miller
- High-Quality members: Most eHarmony members have spent time and money to join the site, so they are pretty serious about finding a potential partner. So if you’re looking to tie the knot in the foreseeable future...
- Diversity of members: eHarmony has several million members and operates in over 150 countries - with numbers like those, you should find at least one potential soul mate out there.
- Excellent success rates: You’ve probably already seen or read about the figures and statistics on eHarmony success rate with marriages. Yes, you have.
- Comprehensive Personality Test: You might have thought you knew about all the things you want in a partner - eHarmony’s massive personality test helps you turn those thoughts into words. You might even learn a new thing or two about yourself.
- Guided Communication - Breaking the ice has never been so easy. Get to know the other person better before investing your precious time.
- User-friendly Website - Although eHarmony doesn’t advertise this feature, the fact of the matter is that whatever improves your experience in the whole online dating process is a good thing. eHarmony’s easy and uncluttered user interface is one of those things.
- Expensive - eHarmony definitely ranks among the most expensive online dating sites out there. The minimum package runs for 3-months, not 1-month as most other sites.
- No search function - There are no profiles to search for. eHarmony provides you with members that match the compatibility results you get from its personality test.
- Limited Communications - Similarly, you cannot communicate with anyone else other than with the members you’ve been matched with.
- Possibility of not being accepted - EHarmony will turn some people away, based on the results of their personality test. They might even turn you away while you’re doing the test.