eHarmony Review

Before launching eHarmony, Dr. Neil Clark Warren worked for several years as a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor. In his practise, he noted that a large number of those marriages that failed (or had significant problems), often had two personalities that were very different.

Based on his work, he believed that persons that had similar personalities were likely to be better matches for each other. And he also believed that there were certain characteristics that could predict compatibility and could therefore lead to better relationships.

He also thought that there had to be a way to improve the ways in which we go about finding compatible partners, as the traditional ways (through friends, at work, at yoga class, in church, etc.) were like a badly designed lottery. Based on this, he was inspired to create a medium where people could be matched based on compatibility. This saw the birth of eHarmony in 2000.

Today, eHarmony is perhaps the most detailed and meticulous online dating service out there. It tries hard to understand your personality and then match you with similar personalities. As a result, setting up an eHarmony profile requires commitment and time. eHarmony is for the die-hard soul-mate seekers.

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You start creating a profile by providing the basics such as your gender, what gender you’re interested in, date of birth, your location, etc. You are then off to the lengthy questionnaire. This consists of about 250 questions. In many cases, you will be asked a question such as: How well does the word ‘warm’ describe you. You will have 7 options (or gradients) for the answer from: ‘not at all’ to ‘very well’ (or similar).

You will be asked questions such as: to what extent do you think you are clever, dominant, outgoing, quarrelsome, stable, energetic, predictable, affectionate, etc., and how well the words: content, patient, passionate, caring, genuine, vivacious, wise, bossy, etc., describe you.

You will be asked to state to what degree you agree with the following statements: I do things according to plan, I take time out for others, I feel unable to deal with things, I love to help others, I seek adventure, I often leave a mess in my room, I enjoy intellectual conversation, I get stressed out easily, and several others.

You will also be asked about your interest in: watching movies, listening to music, watching TV, reading, parties, dining out, travelling, shopping, family, talking with friends, religious community, conversation, religious faith, hosting/entertaining, church involvement, etc.

Other questions you will get are: How well does each of the following describe you: I try to accommodate the other person's position, I try to understand the other person, I try to be respectful of all opinions different from my own, I try to resolve conflict well, I am looking for a long-term relationship that will ultimately lead to marriage, etc.

And there are a number of other questions, but let’s not spoil the fun and reveal any more here.

You then set the level of education, occupation, income and height you prefer in a partner. You select your own physical appearance and answer how important the attractiveness of your partner is. You set your ethnicity, religion, smoking and drinking habits. You are asked to write about something you are you passionate about (up to 650 characters), describe two or three things that you most enjoy doing with your leisure time, and three things you are grateful for.

You are then asked how important your match's religion is, and you can set what religions you want to be matched with. You select how often you are ok with your partner drinking and smoking, what ethnicities you want to be matched with and how important your match’s education, income, age and distance are to you. You select age range and distance of people you are interested in. You are also asked if you want kids and whether you are open to meeting someone who already has kids.

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You then upload pictures (with the option to add text to the pictures). You have now completed the basic setup and eharmony will now start to match you with other users. You would probably have spent about 60 minutes up to this point. Btw, you can take as long as you need to complete the setup as your answers will be automatically saved.

Although you can start receiving matches by now, your profile is not yet complete. There are a few more pieces of information you can add, such as the most important thing you’re looking for in a person, state who the most influential person in your life has been, 3 of your best life skills, 5 things you can’t live without, political views, favourite books, sports, music, movies, shows, etc.

Then there is a separate question section consisting of 586 additional questions (!!). Btw, answering any of these is voluntary, but the more questions you answer, the more information eHarmony has to feed into its matching algorithm.

Here are two sample questions: What’s on your bucket list? 1) Skydiving, 2) Starting a family, or 3) Travelling the world. If you found £30,000 in a bag in your backyard, what would you do? 1) Keep it, 2) Begrudgingly call the police, or 3) Leave it there and see who comes for it. You also have the option to explain your answers.

You have now finally completed your profile - phew! It’s a rather meticulous process full of details and topics you probably don’t think much about on a day-to-day basis. It may have taken you about an hour and a half to get across the finishing line.

You will now receive daily emails with new matches. In other words, eHarmony does the searching for you, and you therefore do not have the option to search yourself. eHarmony doesn’t send you all matches in one go, but feeds these to you over time.

The matches you receive are screened and selected by eHarmony based on its opinion of compatibility. eHarmony claims that the matching model eliminates 99.7% of people who are not compatible with you. eHarmony also claims to have studied differences in compatibility between US and UK, and that they have created a separate algorithm for British singles.

When you check out someone’s profile, you get to see their ‘About Me’ profile which contains pictures, location, age, profession and education. You don’t get to see the answers to their every question, but you get to see a good amount of selected data. You also have an activity feature that notifies you when one of your matches updates their profile.

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If you see someone you like you can either send that person a smile (same as ‘wink’ on other dating websites), or you can start the formal communication process called Guided Communication.

To start communicating with a match, you will be taken through the Guided Communication. Both parties are anonymous throughout this process. You first read through their About Me page. If you are interested in a person, you will then be asked to select 5 questions (from a pre-selected list of questions) to send to this person. If your match is interested in you, your match will then answer your 5 questions and select 5 questions for you.

Next step is then to exchange 10 Must Haves and 10 Can’t Stands from a list. These are basically things you need in a partner and deal-breakers in a relationship.

The final step of this Guided Communication is to exchange 3 open-ended questions. The idea is that this should allow you to understand particulars about the other person. You can create your own questions or you can select questions from a list.

When you are through this step, you can now communicate freely via what’s called Open Communication by sending any messages you want. This is still anonymous. From here you can take it to the next step, which is typically either a phone (or video) chat or a meetup.

You can also skip through the Guided Communication steps directly into the Open Communication with a match. Should you wish to, you can request FastTrack communication.

After you have answered the question in the setup process, you will get what is called The Book of You. This is a detailed assessment of your personality. You will be evaluated across 5 dimensions: agreeableness, openness, emotional stability, conscientiousness and extraversion. The Book of You will describe your personality from each dimension, it will describe how each dimension shapes your interaction with others as well as describing both positive and negative responses other people may have towards you on each of the dimensions.

eHarmony also has a feature called What If?, which can come in handy if you don’t receive enough matches on a daily basis. This gives you a selection of up to 30 candidates every day that are for the most part compatible with you, but are outside one or more of your preferences. Meaning, these are people you normally wouldn’t have been matched with, but because they are very close to being compatible with you, you get a chance to meet them. You get to see the profiles one by one, but before you get to see the next one, you have to decide whether you want to communicate with the first one.

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eHarmony also has something called eH Advice, which provides dating and relationship advice, and tips on how to be more successful on eHarmony. eH Advice also includes a blog that publishes articles from eHarmony experts' take on dating, relationships and the science of love.

 

How is it different?

eHarmony is more detailed and comprehensive than just about any other dating website or app. To set up a profile properly on eHarmony will require not only about 90 minutes or more of your time, but also a good amount of personal reflection and thought.

eHarmony will try to collect more than 250 data-points from you to create your profile. It meticulously attempts to screen your personality across attributes such as agreeableness, openness, emotional stability, extraversion, temperament, curiosity, intellect, etc. No other established online dating service goes as far into the details as eHarmony does. It then matches users based on compatibility, according to a pre-set scientific formula.

Your matches will also be selected for you. There is no option to find or search for potential dates yourselves, because eHarmony will do this automatically and send these to your inbox.

Who uses the site?

In addition, eHarmony is also potentially one of the most well presented online dating service. It is very well thought-through and developed. It also focuses 100% on one niche, which are those people that are very serious about finding a long-term partner.

Pretty much all the users you will find on eHarmony are looking for a long-term relationship, and many are also marriage-bound. The daters on eHarmony are normally serious and committed about finding the right one. They have already invested significant time in their profile setup and also paid a handsome fee to be included.

Many of the users you meet will be Christian or have strong beliefs and morals. You may also find people who are keen to start a family.

The average user on eHarmony is 39 years old, which is a bit older than what you find on many other dating services. People on eHarmony are often ready to settle down and as a result, tend to be older on average than the persons interested in casual dating.

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Design and Functionality

The design of the desktop / laptop version is very professional, sleek and modern. It is probably one of the best designed online dating sites available. The graphics, buttons and tools are easy to see, text and data is easy to process, colours go well together and the overall aesthetical experience is very pleasant. Similarly, the functionality of the desktop / laptop version is simple and good. It’s easy to navigate between the different functions, and the layout is logical and intuitive. For instance, a person’s profile (the About Me section) is laid out over three easy-to-digest pages.

Although one has to provide an exhausting amount of information through the setup process before eHarmony is happy, the process is easy to follow and well organised as it is not all boring box-ticking and drop-down-menu-clicking. Instead, you get one question per page and several updates on how far along the process you are. You can also take a break at any time and come back to pick up where one left off.

The design of the app is also very good, and it is very similar to that of the desktop / laptop version. Colours, text and graphics are the same and the app is overall very nice to look at.

Functionality is also very good as the app is easy to navigate and logical. Although eHarmony has limited functions (after the profile is set up at least), and therefore should be easy to navigate, eHarmony has still done a pretty good job at creating a simple interface. Particularly by displaying the menu at the bottom of all pages, it makes navigation easy.

 

What do you get with the free version?

eHarmony is a subscription based dating service, and therefore what you get with the free version is only a small taste of the full experience.
 

With the free version, you will be able to set up an account, go through all the setup questions and based on this get ‘The Book of You’ that attempts to explain your personality and who you are. If you want to get a feel for how the site works and looks, and also see if there are enough matches in your area, the free version may indeed be helpful.

But you will not be able to communicate with other members and therefore you will not be able to set up any dates or meet anyone. To communicate and meet people, you will have to become a paid member.

The Costs

eHarmony gives you four options for length (and cost) of membership. You can choose between 1, 3, 6 and 12 month membership plans. The prices for these memberships are listed in the table.

From time to time, eHarmony offers what’s called ‘Free Communication’ days, meaning that during these periods, you are able to communicate with matches for free. Please see the Special Offers section for information about these and other special offers.

In addition, eHaromony has a 14-day cancellation policy. This means that you are entitled to use their services for free for 14 days. See the next section for more information.

In addition to the two membership plans, there is something called eH+. This is a personalised service where you will be paired up with a professional matchmaker that will guide you through the process and help you find compatible matches. The matchmaker will hand-pick matches for you, make introductions and ‘hold your hand’ throughout the process. The annual cost of this service is $5,000. Should this be of interest to you, you can email an eH+ representative at ehplussales@eharmony.com.

You can also choose from two different membership levels; Basic and Total Connect memberships. What separates these two memberships are different features. With the Total Connect package you have all the features of the Basic package, but in addition you will be able to call your matches via SecureCall, which enables you to call a match without revealing your number. You will also get the Premium Bok of You, which is a deeper personality assessment than what you receive from The Book of You.

 

How to cancel your membership?

eHarmony does offer payment plans on some of their longer memberships. This enables you to spread out the cost through several payments instead of making one full payment upfront. The 12 month Basic plan, and the 6 and 12 month TotalConnect plans can be billed in 3 instalments, while the other plans need to be paid in full upfront.

Unless you cancel your membership before it ends, it will be automatically renewed and you will be re-billed for a new subscription on the same terms as the old one (except for the 12 month TotalConnect plan which renews into a 1 month TotalConnect plan at a monthly price of £7.95).

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You can cancel your subscription at any time, but you will not be entitled to a refund for any un-used periods. To cancel, you need to go to Settings, then Account Settings, and then click or touch Cancel My Subscription or Close Account, and provide the information requested. If you cancel your subscription instead of closing your account, you still get to use the account for the remainder of the paid term.

You may also cancel your subscription by sending a notice of cancellation to: eHarmony UK, Ltd., Attn: Cancellations, BM Box 5904, London WC1N 3XX. This notice will be effective upon receipt by eHarmony. You will need to include the e-mail address associated with your eHarmony account in this notice.

However, you are entitled to cancel - for any reason - the agreement within 14 calendar days after the confirmation of your first subscription (not renewals), and receive a full refund. You cancel by following the steps above.

Please note that if you purchase a subscription on an instalment payment basis, your ability to cancel your membership as described above will be available to you only once your final instalment payment has been paid.

If your subscription was purchased through a third party account, such as iTunes or Amazon, the subscription must be cancelled through the third party provider. 

Statistics

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Available in which countries?

eHarmony is available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Singapore, and Japan.

eHarmony has approximately 35 million users worldwide.  

 

LGBT

Initially, it was not possible to seek same-sex partners on eHarmony. eHarmony has always wanted to be exclusively for heterosexual dating and has also historically had a Christian and monogamous focus. It never wanted to allow for same-sex dating. However..

Because of eHarmony's lack of same-sex dating options, someone filed a lawsuits claiming that eHarmony violated laws that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. eHarmony settled the lawsuit, and as part of the settlement, it launched a partner website called Compatible Partners. Compatible Partners is similar to eHarmony but for same-sex relationships. Later, eHarmony has also been required to allow for same-sex dating on eHarmony.

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However, if you are looking for a same-sex relationship, eHarmony will disappoint you because the pool of LGBT users is minimal. You may perhaps find what you are looking for on Compatible Partners.

 

Pros

  • Good for those who are looking for a long-term relationship and potentially marriage
  • Very large user base with more than 2.5 million UK users
  • Screens members against public sex offender registries
  • Matches users based on compatibility across several personality dimensions
  • eHarmony members (that are paying members) have spent significant time and money to join the service, hence most of these users are committed and active
  • You get a good understanding of your date before you meet him or her
  • eHarmony offers payment plans
  • Almost no scammers or fake profiles (since you cannot search for profiles)
  • Enables you to remain anonymous throughout the process
  • Very nice design of both the website and the app
  • Good and quick customer service

Cons

  • Although eHarmony has about 2.5 million users in the UK, less than 10% of these are paying members that can communicate with each other
  • It is very time-consuming to set up a profile
  • It can also take a while from when you receive a match until you actually go on the first date
  • eHarmony presents matches to you - you can't perform your own manual searches
  • Automatic renewal of subscription unless you terminate membership before it ends
  • You cannot communicate with anyone other than those you’ve been matched with
  • The service is relatively expensive compared to other dating sites
  • Difficult to gauge whether a user is a paid member or not
  • Not LGTB friendly
 

History

eHarmony was launched by Neil Clark Warren in 2000. It was then a website that tried to improve marriages and relationships that already existed. It soon thereafter evolved to become a dating service.

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In 2004, eHarmony was granted a patent for its Compatibility Matching System.

eHarmony was responsible for 43,000 marriages in the United States in 2007.

eHarmony was sued in 2007 on grounds that it violated laws that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

eHarmony was launched in the UK in 2008.

To set up a profile, one would have to go through over 400 questions. This was reduced to about 250 questions in 2008.

In 2010, it settled the 2007 class action lawsuit about same-sex partners in 2010, and launched Compatible Partners that allowed for same-sex dating.

The first eHarmony app was released t in 2010.

It was estimated in 2010 that on average 542 eHarmony members got married every day in the United States - because of eHarmony.

In 2012 eHarmony was in financial difficulty. Dr. Neil Clarke Warren came back as CEO and since then the company has been turned around.

In 2013, eHarmony launched eH+, the service that teams users up with a professional dating counsellor for $5,000 per year.

It was estimated in 2015 that 2 million marriages have happened due to matchmaking by eHarmony. The divorce rate for these marriages was estimated at less than 4%.

According to Google, eHarmony was the fifth most search online dating service in 2015.

In 2016, eHarmony entered into the job search industry with Elevated Careers, which has the goal of matching people with jobs that fulfil them.

 

Privacy / Safety

The information you submit when you create a profile will only be shared with your matches and nobody else. This means that it will not automatically be available for anyone who enters the site. In addition, your photos will also only be made available to people that in addition to being matched with you - have also become paid members.

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You can at any time stop communicating with a match by choosing to ‘close’ the match. Your profile will be removed from their matches list and they will therefore be unable to communicate with you. You also have the option to limit which members can see your personality test results.

Only members that are matches are able to send you messages and otherwise communicate with you, so you will not be getting any message from members that are not already matched with you.

Should you feel that a member is behaving inappropriately, you can report this member to eHarmony. You can use this email address: matchconcerns@eharmony.com.

eHarmony also screens members against public sex offender registries. If someone is found to be on any of these lists, they will be removed from eHarmony services. 

 

Other

eHarmony claims to have forged more than 72,000 relationships in the United Kingdom.

After answering the lengthy questionnaire, some would-be users are not accepted to become members of eHarmony. This happens to as many as 20% of applicants. This is the case if the user is currently married or has been married several times, is under the minimum age of 18, provides inconsistent answers in the profile, is identified as possibly having severe depression, and a few other criteria.

The time from when people are matched on eHarmony to when they marry is on average 1.8 years. The husbands are on average 2.39 years older that their wives.

The matching process that takes place to match users requires almost 1 billion calculations.

eHarmony has a religious undertone – there are lots of religious questions, also lots of questions about being monogamous.

If you sign up and complete the questionnaire but do not become a paid member, you will often receive offers after a week or two to become a paid member at a substantial discount.

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