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Have you been in so many dead-end relationships you’ve lost count? Or the concept of online dating itself feels foreign and unappealing? Are you more of a serious—and perhaps, serial—monogamist who just hasn’t managed to get it right, yet? You may think digital matchmaking isn’t for you, but before you throw out the idea, give eHarmony a chance. In many ways this 18-year-old dating site and app has maintained a distinctive approach to helping people find the love of their life. From their lengthy sign-up process to catered matches, eHarmony boasts its ability to foster marriages… not hookups. While it is not LGBTQ friendly—they have a separate dating site for gays and lesbians—for heterosexual bachelors and bachelorettes who are ready to tie the knot, it might be a solid choice. If you’re ready to make an investment and a commitment to your romantic pursuits, here’s what you need to know about eHarmony.
How to Sign Up:
You can join via their Apple or Android app, but our recommendation is to make yourself some dinner, treat yourself to a hefty pour of your poison of choice… and get comfortable on your laptop or desktop. Though most other dating apps only require a hot second to become a member, eHarmony’s 150-questionnaire attempts to reveal the heart of what you’re looking for and what you value in a relationship.
In addition to what you would expect when filling out a dating profile, you’ll also be prompted to respond to various statements and decide how much you relate. An example might be ‘I’m happiest in the morning’ or ‘I value quality time over affection’—and so on. The reason eHarmony is a stickler for an intensive sign-up process is the fact they don’t allow their users to search. We’ll get to that later, but it’s important to note how important these questions are to really reap the most reward from this particular site. If you think more than one hundred questions is a lot, you’ll be shocked that up until 2017, eHarmony asked 450. Yep, that’s right: 450.
Also, if you identify as gay or bixsexual, eHarmony won’t allow you to get through the first step, which requires emails, date of birth and what you’re looking for. Instead, they’ll direct you to their sister site, Compatible Partners.
Last but not least: there are a few differences between ‘Basic’ and ‘Total Connect’ in terms of membership. The upgraded one (a.k.a. Total Connect) allows you to make a phone call through your profile, without giving away your digits. It also gives you access to extended profiles for your matches—but since you’ll have lots of info already, it might not be necessary.
What to Expect With eHarmony
Much like the various relationship you have throughout your life, the experience of every dating site will offer something different and teach you something new about love and yourself. Though some aspects of eHarmony are not to be discounted, others receive poor reviews. Here’s the good and the bad, from dating experts:
Pro: Profiles and messages are thorough.
While relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse, Lori Bizzoco says it can be a drawback for some people, the investigative sign-up process usually means poinpointed matches. Once you’ve completed the personality deep-dive, the questions continue, as you set-up your profile. Bizzoco says these are a bit more fun, and provide an easy way to strike up a conversation. “Unlike the initial questionnaire, these questions are available for matches to see on your profile and lend more personality so that you avoid the generic feeling other dating profiles can lend. Quirky questions like ‘Do you believe dogs go to heaven?’ are great icebreakers to help you push past the nerves of that first conversation,” she explains.
All of this effort is worth it, since hey, it could lead to a lifetime of happiness. Because the people who join the site are not only willing to pay to be a member, but they are willing to take the time required to complete a profile, you can bet you’ll receive much more than a ‘Hi’ when they message you.
Pro: It’s backed by science.
eHarmony didn’t just create a dating website, implement an hour-long sign-up process and hope for the best. Rather, it was founded by psychologist Dr. Neil Clark, who studied what brings two people together extensively. Over the decades, they have remained loyal, never changing their method to fit modern dating trends. Since they have solidified themselves as the destination for people who are in the market for marriage, it’s promising to have data and science to back their claims. “Dr. Clark did much research to discover what characteristics could best predict compatibility in love relationships which led to eHarmony’s compatibility matching system,” explains fellow psychologist, Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D.
Pro: Matches are limited.
Though this is another ‘pro’ that could be perceived as a ‘con’—intent plays a big factor in which way a dater swings on limited matches. Though some people are fine with endless swiping and prefer options, Bizzoco shares others get burnout fast. Most folks who want a boyfriend or girlfriend though? They’re in the latter camp. “Singles often complain that they get overwhelmed with too many options and sometimes skip past matches without even giving them a chance,” she continues. When you are paired with someone for more significant reasons than your age or your location, you might feel more compelled to chat with them and understand who they are. “While it might be frustrating on a low-match day to not have many options, it allows more time to give each match that comes a look beyond their profile picture,” she shares.
Con: They are not inclusive.
The most common and critiqued downfall of eHarmony is the fact there are not options for same-sex relationships. Especially as many companies are changing policies and plans to support anyone and everyone, eHarmony is often criticized for remaining purely heterosexual. There are other ways the site is polarizing too, since it has the reputation of being only for those seeking a wedding ring…. right now. Eligible men and women who want to date for a few years and figure out the future may shy away from the platform. “eHarmony has a separate platform for LGBTQ+ connections, which is great, but it’s pretty limiting for those who are open to either sex. eHarmony has the reputation of long-term serious relationships, but some singles feel that it should not exclude the flexibility with which many people approach dating,” Bizzoco adds.
Con: The questions make it easy to lie.
It’s natural for anyone to feel exhausted after answering twenty questions—much less 150. But apart from the minutes and brainpower, Bizzoco also says there are ways eHarmony could improve the question process to make it more authentic. Because of certain sentence structures and propositions, she notes many singles could be tempted to lie, since not everything is as black and white as eHarmony seems to believe. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to exaggerate our best accomplishments and features; it is totally normal. But, of course, you don’t want to lie because this could lead to poor matches,” she explains. “The problem with the way some of the questions are phrased is that it almost encourages you to fudge a little. How one person defines ‘emotionally stable’ varies, and it’s natural to err to conservatism when answering questions that ask something like that.”
Con: You can’t see any profiles outside of your matches.
It’s one thing to be given a set number of matches based on your personality test, but it is another to limit any interaction unless you are paired together. Like Coffee Meets Bagel, eHarmony only allows you to interact and see profiles they recommend to you. If you aren’t into the matches of the day? You’ll have to check back in tomorrow to see if another piques your interest. “Some singles like to have the freedom of exploring different types of potential partners, otherwise, it feels like they are only qualified to date someone who fits the dating site’s algorithm,” she explains.
Dr. Thomas explains many users can become frustrated after many months on the site. “At first, there can be several matches received per day, but that may decrease over time which can get discouraging for the member,” she shares.
What Users Are Saying
Considering they have been around the longest, it’s no surprise eHarmony has a plethora of reviews. Though many are admittedly pretty stellar—considering eHarmony has led the pack in creating marriages for years—some aren’t exactly keen on their methodology. Here, a few noteworthy to read through:
Tips for Success on eHarmony
If you’re going to put down your credit card and bare your soul, you better be 100 percent in. For new members joining eHarmony, dating experts share there are certain strategies and advice that can make the experience better. From how to strengthen conversations with dates to managing that extended profile, get started with these:
Take the time—and be honest.
It might go without saying, but Bizzoco says the number one best way to be successful on eHarmony is to be completely honest. Even if it doesn’t always put you in the best, most attractive and perfect light. “That question about emotional stability? If you are depressive, admit that. It’s far better to be honest and have fewer results than to lie and end up in a relationship that hurts you because of your dishonesty,” she continues. “This means being just as honest with yourself as you would be with your future spouse. Being truthful for each of those 149 questions is difficult, painful, and frightening, but eHarmony believes that it’s worth it.”
Don’t be afraid to show your personality.
Especially since eHarmony is all about developing a ‘for better or worse’ relationship, Bizzoco stresses more than just authenticity, but personality. It’s second-nature to discuss your work accomplishments, but what will set you apart (and attract the right person) is how well you illustrate who you are as a human. “Be quirky, funny, giggly, sarcastic. People are drawn to those differences we’re so often scared to share,” she adds.
This also could mean switching it up every once in a while, since Dr. Thomas share eHarmony recommends periodically posting new photos of yourself or picking new questions to feature on your profile. Even if you aren’t saying ‘yes’ to all of your daily matches, checking-in daily will keep your profile active and help the site better learn exactly who you are in the market for, she iterates.
If you’re looking for a fling, a one-night stand or a friends with benefits set-up… eHarmony isn’t for you. Bizzoco says until you’re ready for the real deal, it isn’t worth the investment to join this dating site. For those are ready and willing, she says to approach the site with a long-term lens. “When you are answering the questionnaire and thinking about your future partner, be specific about your personal long-term goals, Kids? Farm? Traveling? Health concerns? Be realistic,” she continues. “What does your perfect future look like? When you start meeting your matches, both you and your date will know pretty quickly if they will fit into that picture.”