Has Anyone Tried E-Harmony? Or, What Mom Wants for Christmas

After a long discussion with my mother over what she wants for Christmas, she finally rammed down my throat, in no uncertain terms, that she wants to pay fifty bucks a month for her unmarried daughter to join E-Harmony. Just so someday she can pay seventy-five bucks a head for a wedding.

Has anyone tried it? Is it really worth the money? I’m a little leery of it, myself, but I can see the possible benefits. I’m willing to admit I’m lonely, but something deep down inside me screams that I’m not that lonely.

So, opinions? Testimonials? Anything? Thanks!

There was an article in the Washington Post yesterday that reviewed several dating sites, and they were fairly unimpressed with eHarmony. They also mentioned that it had ties to Focus on the Family, Dr. Dobson’s group, which makes me a little nervous.

I think at one point earlier this year half of my posts were about e-harmony. E-harmony, at the same time my matchmaker and bete noire. I preface my comments by saying I am a 30-year-old divorced male, non-smoker, only slightly religious. For you, YMMV on these comments. A lot.

The good points:

  1. It’s the best-run dating site I’ve been on. Of course, since the other two sites I was on were totally shite, that might not be saying much. But when I had a billing problem it was fixed within 15 minutes.
  2. The 500-question personality quiz they have you answer seems extremely daunting at first. But go ahead and fill it out. Even you don’t end up paying for the service, it makes you think about what it is you are looking for in a relationship. And it tends to weed out the people who are thinking about signing up for a lark.
  3. I met five women through e-harmony (in five months of being on the site) and not once did I think “Wow, she and I have nothing in common.” Though only I really hit it off with only one of the five, I never had a bad date. (I’ve seen Dopers post with completely the opposite experience, so be warned.) To me, the matching system seems to work well.
  4. You don’t get a lot of matches right away. But that’s good, especially for someone like me who’s very busy and shy. I didn’t feel like, with the other sites, I had to wade through a couple hundred profiles and then “cold-call” one of them. You get to learn a little about someone before e-mailing them for the first time. It used to be that you couldn’t even see someone’s picture before you reached the e-mail stage–I liked that. I might not have dated one or two of the women if I’d known what they looked like (yes, I’m a man, hear my shallowness) and that would have been my loss.

Now for the bad points.

  1. For me, the male:female ratio at e-harmony is great. I’d say it’s about 3:1. For you, obviously not so good.
  2. If you think your mom rams “commitment” down your throat, be glad she never said the word “soulmate,” e-harmony’s favored buzzword. E-harmony isn’t a dating site so much as a relationship site, and they hit you with that at every turn.
  3. I wish they wouldn’t throw everybody who fills out the personality test into the match pool. I had no idea they did that until a few Dopers here mentioned they filled out the test for fun and then got e-mailed with matches. It’s disheartening to send out replies to the uninterested.
  4. I didn’t know about the Focus on the Family connection, but I’m not surprised. It’s a heterosexual-only, no “variations,” monogamy only spoken here site. I don’t like that. But, if heterosexual monogamy is your thing, you won’t go wrong looking there. (Although I have to say that the site doesn’t appear particularly religious, and I think FotF wouldn’t be happy about that.)
  5. Most of all, though luckily it didn’t happen to me, e-harmony can really throw you a heartbreaker–if they decide that there are no “suitable matches” for you, they won’t give you any. Granted, they will refund your money in that event, but good God, if that had happened to me, I’d probably join a monastery. Just as bad would be what happened to a friend of mine, who got three matches–one never replied to her, and the other two were “complete freaks,” as she put it. And that would be forty dollars for that experience, thank you very much.

In the end, I’m not sure what I’d tell your mom if I were you. In many ways, e-harmony is a great site. The idea of getting only a few targeted matches at a time, then going through a preliminary phase before being able to openly e-mail someone, is brilliant, especially for someone a little shy like me. If only it didn’t bollux it up with its harebrained ideas about “soulmates” and its rampant celebrations of white-bread marital bliss, it’d be darned near perfect. I hate it as it is. It sucks. I’ll probably get back on it next year, because there’s nothing else better out there.

Anyway, there are other ways to meet people on the Internet. I see that your sig line quotes one of my favorite authors…so, how YOU doin’, Draelin? :wink:

Their only real connection to the Focus on the Family organization, as far as I know, is that the founder of E-harmony, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, is a friend of Focus founder Dr. James Dobson, and a sometime guest on his show.

I don’t think any money changes hands between the two organizations, but I could be wrong on that point.

I met my SO on an online personals site. Our first conversation was 5 hours long. we fell in love on our first date. it was all very fairy tale. :slight_smile: so go ahead I say, have fun! but take a look at other personals sites too.

I know nothing about the site except that they have really obnoxious radio commercials. Just had to point that out.

The way I read this, it means 3 men for every woman, which in the real world is pretty terrible for us men.

Unfortunately, with many other sites running a ratio of 10 or more men for every woman, in relative terms this ratio really is “great”… :frowning:

:smack: D’oh!!! I wrote that whole long post, and messed that up…

My experience would tell me that there is one man for every three women on e-harmony. I kid you not. The first time I was on e-harmony, I got 36 matches in three months; the second time, 27 in two. The women who I’ve heard talk about e-harmony, both IRL and on this board, usually get about a third of that; one of my friends got three, and I’ve heard more than one woman here say they got none. I am no prize trophy (I’m still single, aren’t I? :frowning: ) and the women, I’m sure, are all worthy partners, so how else could you account for it?

Plus, and pardon my informality, but e-harmony is, like, sooo not a guy site. I think the people who write the e-harmony explanatory information also write sappy movies for the Lifetime Movie Network. It’s all “emotions” and “feelings” and Dr. Phil hooey. I think a lot of guys would be turned off by it. Me, I just suppress my gag reflex and hit “submit reply.” [sub]Kinda like this board sometimes…[/sub]

I have no personal experience with the site, but I met my wife through the alternative newspaper personals here in San Diego (The Reader…oddly enough).

I’m male and was looking for a mainstream, monogamous relationship, and the reason I used the personals was the low cost. In fact, it was free for me. They charged the women who answered my ad. I wasn’t worried about getting attacked by some woman (in fact, isn’t that every guy’s fantasy?) and I had faith that I could weed out the wrong ones on the phone. Almost every woman I went out with worked a swing/ night shift at one of several hospitals in the city as a nurse, doctor, or other type of position. Not even one was ugly and only one would I describe as being a “bad date”.

Ultimately, it was the best decision I could have made and I’ve been married now for more than 6 years and love it more every day. In the Internet age, these sites are relatively cheap compared to the old “Great Expectations” model of having to pay $100s a month to go look at video tapes of potential matches. If I was doing it all over again and was single, I would probably try e-Harmony first and risk the money…

Honestly, I’d try another online personals site. Obviously, this depends on your personal values, but eHarmony is very… relationshippy, as others have said, and although I’m straight, it bothers me that they allow no other orientation. While this might not make a difference in the sorts of men signing up, it might skew the selection to people who aren’t bothered by that, which distresses me. Granted, the site does seem better run (as evinced, I’m sure, by the high fees to join) than others, but I kind of like the run of people on other sites better. The Spring Street personals are run through a wide variety of other sites (The Onion, Salon.com, Bust.com, etc) and are fun (not to mention free to browse around, post a profile, and be contacted, although you pay for credits to contact people), or Yahoo has a big personals site.

I think it’s a lot of fun to mess around with the online personals. I’ve gone out with, I dunno, maybe five people, and had what you could call relationships with two of them - pretty good odds, I think, and it was a lot of fun hooting over other people’s ads if nothing else. There are plenty of non-losers out there doing it, but honestly I think the other services are more fun than eHarmony. I just did the personality test with the sort-of trial thing you get over there for free, and the whole thing seemed to be what I’d do if I were looking to get married right now, meaning within a year. And that’s totally not what I’m looking for, and it sounds like you aren’t really looking for it either. Just don’t count out the online personals as something only for the truly desperate - they can be a lot of fun.

I met my fiancee on Match.com. It’s got a huge membership, so chances of meeting someone are improved. And if you let the other members contact you first, then it won’t cost you a dime.

Drawbacks aren’t unusual for a dating site: there’s a wide variety of reasons for using the service, some just want dates, others just sex, and yet others are looking for long-term relationships. And there’s little screening… ladybug has a long list of horror stories about people she met on the service before finding me.

I was only using the service for about two months before I took my profile down. And it didn’t take me very long before realizing there’s two rules you should never break:

1 - Insist on a picture. Don’t put it off.

2 - Talk to the person on the phone before meeting them in person.

Other advice that serves well: If you meet the person and find out that they have downright lied about something basic, like their marital status, or profession, or provided you with a photo of someone else, break it off right away. No second chances.

(I’m not talking about slightly understating their weight, or overstating their fitness, but something important, like claiming they’re 5’2" and 102 lb when they’re really 5’8" and 200 lb, or that they’re single or divorced when they’re actually married. One girl provided me with a 10 year old photo, but she looked basically the same, just a little heavier… but I forgave that.)

Also, set up a yahoo or hotmail account for email correspondance. Don’t use your ISP account’s email, in case you find yourself needing to avoid someone. That way, you can just change your email address, and pass on the new address to the folks you want to keep in touch with.

The stigma of meeting someone with a personal ad is long, long gone thanks to the internet. I’ve been with the same woman for fourteen years, married for ten of them so I never got the chance to try them. Several of my friends have, however, and all of them have had some success. In fact, one of my pals is getting married on Saturday to someone who he met on matchmaker.com. If you’re just looking to get laid, the personals are a gold mine if my friends and acquaintences are typical. If I was single I would be all over the i-net personals.


The thing that really bugged the snot out of me about e-Harmony during my free period was that they let people control their pictures too much.

I understand that some people just don’t have a way to get them a picture to put on the site, but then I just generally don’t deal with those people.

On e-Harmony, they do ALL the matching, period. PERIOD. You can’t choose people with pictures, or anything at all, really. Some of the women also choose to reveal their picture only after four emails or whatever, as if that were going to make a difference. There’s no possible way I’d be so enamored through four emails that the picture doesn’t make any difference any more.

If I don’t think the woman is cute, it’s over. To continue on would only be leading her on, and essentially lying. I’ve done it before, and I wasn’t the one hurt the most. I refuse to do it again.

I emailed the staff about this, but of course got nowhere.

They do at least match you with people with the same interests and so on, but I started to wonder if I’d filled out that survey a little lopsided, and didn’t know how to go back. Do you have to just pretend to be a different person and start over?

I fell into the category of “no match at this time”.

Basically they were telling me I’d die alone. Unique but alone. Other than that I’ve heard positive things.

I have some time to kill before a party, and so I just completed the personality profile survey (actually it was done fairly well, I must admit - I particularly liked those questions where you choose the most descriptive and the least descriptive of the following four statements - I’d like to see the algorithms and weighted scorings behind those). The profile it produced did a pretty decent job in reflecting my personality (or at least what I view it as)

Alas, I too got the “no matches” message, but this isn’t too great a surprise as there are few single women in beautiful down-town Long Island, and even fewer that seem to want anything to do with me… :frowning: