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eHarmony is a dating website where you take their critically-acclaimed "personality profile" and you're instantly matched with people in your area, or wherever you choose.

Essentially, you complete somewhere around 14 to 16 pages of endless questions which, of course, make you question yourself more than anything. Its inherent flaw being that most people tend to outright lie about themselves.

At the end of the questions, you fill out information pertaining to yourself, and you're supposed to be presented a list of matches, whether or not this actually occurs I am not aware. For those of you like me who fall into the lucky 20%, you will receive this message:

"eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive testing of married individuals. One of the requirements for it to work successfully is for participants to fall into our rigorously defined profiles. If we aren't able to match a user well using these profiles, the most considerate approach is to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish and enjoy happy, lasting relationships that we choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching system is not suitable for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply would not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand that we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.

You can still receive your free personality profile by clicking here."

Of course, clicking here will present you with your profile, which just so happens to have worded interpretations to your responses. Worthless. My inability to establish a working relationship has been verified by a computer. Official time to stop trying: now.

How it Works

eHarmony matches people based on their compatibility in, as the radio ads say, 29 categories, chosen based on a fairly extensive study and their founder's clinical experience. The eHarmony web site is a bit short on details of the matching algorithm, but Neil Clark Warren--their shrink-founder and spokeshead--provides more in a slightly overpriced book: Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons. I make fun of it and him only for effect; it's not bad reading.

eHarmony's 29 dimensions are as follows:

  • Screening Dimensions: good character (honesty and trustworthiness); good self-conception (liking and understanding yourself); absence of red flags (addictions, lying, cheating); anger management (neither blowing up nor being passive aggressive); obstreperousness (being a psycho anatomical euphemism); understandings about family (kids? no kids?); family background (can you get along with the inlaws?).
    The other dimensions are negotiable, although most should match; these "screening" dimensions should not be negotiable.
  • Core Personal Dimensions: intellect, energy level, spirituality, education, appearance, sense of humor, mood management, traditional vs. nontraditional personality, ambition, sexual drive, artistic passion, values, industriousness, curiosity, vitality vs. security, autonomy vs. closeness.
    These are qualities that are almost impossible to change. The particular score doesn't matter--you needn't be Super Smart, for instance--but most of them should match; if you're Super Smart, your partner should be, too.
  • Skills that can be developed: communication, conflict resolution, sociability.
  • Qualities that can be developed: adaptibility, kindness, dominance vs. submissiveness.
Flagging any of the first five "screening" dimensions in eHarmony's online test automatically knock you out of the matching database: marriage isn't the way to fix depression, anger, or addiction. I suspect that this is the source of scuzzy's experience; I got the same message a couple of years ago when I was rather depressed.

Not feeling quite ready for Actual Commitment, I haven't yet used eHarmony seriously. I was impressed, though, when I re-joined this last year and filled out the profile: there are some amazing young women out there, hiding. Someday, when the time is right, I'll find one.

e-Harmony just isn't worth your money.

So today my three month subscription to e-harmony ended. I had picked eharmony on the recommendation of an older friend who was having a lot of success with it. I guess I should have thought about it a bit more though since he is in his late 30s and better looking than me to boot, so it is natural that he had more luck than I did.

On eharmony you don't browse for people, instead you are matched up with them. In my time there I was matched up with about 60 women. Of those sixty I ultimately ended up going on exactly zero dates.

E-harmony seems to actually have very few women in the correct age range for me, which is about 22 to 28. Most of the ones younger than me closed me out instantly, never responded to my requests for communication, or closed me out upon my initial request. I will admit I closed out a few of them instantly myself. Those that I did close out were all very much out of my league. I am honest with myself and am not going to waste my time chasing down extremely attractive women. Lets face it, there are a 100 other guys chasing them down and I would just be wasting my time.

Most of the girls I was matched with and did communicate with were listed as being 28-30. From their pictures I would think that most of them were lying about their age. The majority of them I would have guessed as about 5 years older, some even older than that. A few of them did actually look to be the age they listed, but in the end it ended up being fruitless.

Honestly even if they were telling the truth about their ages I still think that 28-30 is too old for me anyway. Yes I know I am turning 29 in a couple months, but I can count the number of dates I have been on with girls older than 21 on one hand and still have a thumb left over. Women my own age often seem incredibly old to me, I don't seem to connect with them, and honestly I often feel like I don't have much to offer them anyway. A feeling that I never seem to have about the ones in the 20-24 range that I am hoping for.

I did notice a couple of very strange things in common with the girls they did match me with. A full 40 percent were named with some variation of either Sarah or Katie. Roughly half of them worked in child care, and I got far more redheads than a random selection would have produced. The child care thing was a sort of a revelation to me that I hadn't thought about before, it makes total sense though. As for the Sarahs, Katies, and redheads. Well, most of the women/girls I have dated and/or been seriously interested have been either Sarahs or Katies. And of course the two number one women for me of all time were a red haired Sarah and a red haired Katie respectively. Perhaps names and hair color are more related to behavior and development than I thought they might be, since it seems odd that the computer matching would match me up highly with the names and (rare) hair color I was most fond of. And of course the number 3 most common name they gave me was Carrie, which is not a name I have any particular fondness for, but does place highly in my list of ex-girlfriends.

So, to recap. Eharmony is a waste of money and many of the women are lying about their age. My last disastrous craigslist date turned out better than eharmony did, because at least that only wasted my time for one day and not for 3 months.

My main beef with eHarmony is that it does not provide same-sex matching services.

Why not?

Dr. Warren, the founder of eHarmony, is an evangelical Christian. However, he claims that eHarmony lacks the data necessary to successfully match gay and lesbian couples. Apparently, heterosexual couples and homosexual couples are so extremely different in their relationship dynamics that using the same data they use to match men and women to match two individuals of the same gender would result in a very poor quality of match. This, according to Dr. Warren.

Dr. Warren also states that same-sex marriage is "illegal in most states" and eHarmony "doesn't really want to participate in something that's illegal". However, eHarmony Canada doesn't provide same-sex matching services either, and same-sex marriage is perfectly legal there. In fact, eHarmony could be said to be discriminating against that segment of the population that demands those services, and in doing so would in fact be participating in something that's illegal in some parts. In fact, eHarmony has been sued in Los Angeles Superior Court already.

Now, it is my firm belief that friends of gays should show their solidarity with their LGBTQ friends and family by not enlisting the services of eHarmony.

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