It worked for me and one of my best friends
Jan 25, 2007
I was surprised to find so many negative reviews about e-Harmony posted here. My experience was different (and ended happily) so perhaps it's to be expected I'd leave a positive review.
Since prior reviewers have excellently described the "how eHarmony works" process in-depth, I won't cover the same ground. Instead I'll just contribute some of my own personal experience to the mix.
I signed up for e-Harmony on Valentine's Day 2005 as a gift to myself, during one of their "3 months for the price of 1" specials. Regular price was, at that time, $50 a month I believe. So that broke down to roughly $17 a month, certainly reasonable in my estimation. I heard a friend complain about the higher cost of eHarmony, the same one who thinks nothing of plunking down $5 for a latte twice a day. So, you do the math...and figure out the priorities in your life, whether it comes to love or anything else.
I've heard some people complain about the in-depth questionnaire required for eHarmony membership, but I appreciated this extra step and hoped the men who took the time to complete it might be of higher caliber than some I'd encountered on other dating sites. I suspect eHarmony's higher price and lengthy questionnaire probably weeds out some time-wasters, mind-gamers, and those just seeking one-night stands. I doubt folks would have the patience to wade through all those questions and essays if they are only looking for a quickie. To me, that was a selling point on the service.
In my case I didn't want to limit love's possibilities so I set my preferences to "worldwide." My first match was a guy living in the Arctic Circle, who raced sled dogs, so that gave me a good chuckle. Another one living in wild west made chain-mail for a living. Both seemed pretty neat and interesting, in the brief correspondence we had. I think it's vitally important to keep a sense of humor during this whole process. (If you can't laugh about life and love, then maybe you're taking it all too seriously!)
Three days after joining e-Harmony, I was matched with a third man who lived in Canada (I'm in the U.S.). From the beginning, we both sensed the 'click' and began a torrent of correspondence that lasted until we were finally able to meet in person 5 months later. Our biggest challenge for us, obviously, was distance. But there's really no excuse in this day and age for not staying in contact with the right person that's what phones and free VoIP (Google Talk/Skype) are for!
Yes, E-harmony "guides" your initial correspondence with matches, which may annoy some people.You can choose the questions to send your matches, however. You can also "fast track" and skip all the canned stuff if you want. I want to mention that because some prior reviewers have stated or implied that you have to go at a snail's pace with eHarmony in total control not true. That is the default option, but you can choose to go to direct communication with any match who agrees.
Anyway, I continued reviewing the matches I received, and communicated briefly with a few others. The closest match was still several hundred miles from me (and I lived in a large metro region). Ultimately it was clear that the Canadian gent was the "love of my life" and eventually I removed my profile from further consideration. Now, fast forward ahead: My husband moved to the U.S. after our wedding and we will shortly celebrate our one-year anniversary.
I've heard eHarmony is one of the sites that favors men in the statistics. I suspect this is true we compared notes and discovered my husband had hundreds of matches and I had maybe about a dozen during the same time frame. This is in contrast to most sites, I believe. So the big E may be a better bet for guys. Apparently, there are a lot fewer guys seeking serious relationships (eHarmony is definitely marriage-oriented) and I suspect their clientele may be statistically older than average.
As for compatibility, hub and I are well-suited on all the major points. I didn't personally meet any of the other men or get past early e-mail correspondence with them, so I can't speak to the quality nor accuracy of the other matches. But think of it like the Powerball - you only need one winning ticket, right?
To those who speculate about the quality of online matches: I guess one way to test the waters would be to subscribe to an online service, but also hit the local bars/clubs every week for six months, and then compare/contrast the quality of the people you encounter. For those of us who arent bar-hoppers though, that isn't really an option.
There are numerous reviews on all the major matchmaking services, so I thought the best advice I could here give might be general:
Pix's Steps to Online Dating Success
1. Invest Wisely
Eharmony constantly runs specials. Usually 3 months for the price of one. That's one way to circumvent the higher prices and that's what I did. No reason to pay full price (just do a search for eHarmony coupon codes on Google). The 3-for-1 special is a frequent deal, so just wait until it rolls around again to join. The same probably applies to other dating subscription sites. Think of it another way: if you don't pay full price at one site, then maybe you can afford to try two sites instead of one. Vastly increasing your odds overall, and offering a good chance to contrast/compare the services. (And if you're totally broke or just plain cheap, "OK Cupid" (www.okcupid.com) is a decent site that has some cool people and fun time-wasting quizzes/activities). Might as well join OK Cupid either way, since it's free...again bump the odds. And maybe make some friends in the process.
2. If You Set Your Preferences to Worldwide, Then Mean It!
My husband said other women he corresponded with online at eHarmony and on other sites were very inflexible didn't want to meet him halfway, share any call expenses or efforts, and/or stated in no uncertain terms they weren't willing to move even for the right guy (so why did they ever set preferences beyond their own zip code?) Anyway, their loss was my gain. I got a handsome, successful, wonderful guy thanks to their inflexibility. Many of these are probably the same gals griping that there are no decent men left.
So guys or gals, if you aren't willing to consider moving AT ALL, you'd be better off dating through a local service where you live. Yes, I realize most people have careers nowadays, and family living nearby, and it's tough to take that leap of faith. My husband left a long-term successful corporate job and his relatives to join me. And I was just as willing to leave my job, etc. to move to Canada. Ultimately we made the decision together that was best for BOTH of us. Life and love is a risk, period. That's what makes it all so interesting.
It's basic statistics. Fact: You will greatly increase your potential matches by not limiting yourself geographically, or at least not too severely. Seems simple enough, but I suspect that some who complain about lack of matches are those who limited themselves to a very small area (10 miles or less? Come on now...) That rather defeats the point of the Internet, doesn't it? You can always meet local people, of course not all of them, but those with common interests if you go to the right places and hang out long enough. Why rule out the thousands of those worldwide who might be even better matches for you?
3. Put Real Effort into Your Profile
I agree that a photo is important, and we each put up a couple of casual photos on our profiles. Shallow or not, physical attraction is important. My husband said a bigger turn-off to him than no photos was when women had empty profiles or just stated "will complete later" in response to every question. He thought if they were too lazy to complete a profile to find the "love of their life," then what kind of partner would they make anyway? He closed those matches up front. As I recall, I did the same on men who couldn't be bothered with completing a profile. As one previous reviewer noted, "...if the match who initially contacted me had had a compelling profile in her own words, I might have subscribed to contact her." Exactly my point!
My husband said my profile stood out because it was detailed, thorough, and unique. His was exceptional in my eyes, too. We both put real time and effort into our profiles. If you aren't a good writer, get a talented friend to help you out here. This is your first and only chance to make an initial impression.
Same goes for the photos get a quality recent one. The photos that really crack me up on dating sites (and are surprisingly common) are where someone has put up a photo that was obviously them with their arm around their ex, but they've cut or blacked out the other person's face. They picked the photo out of sheer laziness or the fact that it's the only photo in existence where they look decent because they are wearing a tux or nice gown for some fancy occasion. Does that really incite confidence in a prospective new partner? Please give all this stuff some serious thought before you embark on a quest for a lifelong partner.
To address previous reviewers' cynical comments and concerns about eHarmony in particular, neither my husband or me are religious conservatives, we're only one year apart in age, and I'm a career woman who certainly wasn't looking for a man to take care of me. If people want to be firm about certain requirements in a prospective partner, they need to state these up front in their profile, as the "must haves" and "can't stand" lists eHarmony provides are just templates/guides, and don't cover everything under the sun. I did state some non-negotiables right in my profile, and it not only saved me and probably some other folks time and effort, but it also let me know which of the guys that contacted me hadn't really read my profile. I knew they were just "spamming" every contact by the content of their notes and I didn't waste my time with them.
4. Don't Be Lazy
Take responsibility for your own profile and the results it reaps. I'm kind of amazed and amused by the prevailing attitude that someone at eHarmony (or any dating agency for that matter) should be able to push a button and spit someone's future spouse into their lap, without that client actually taking any time or making any effort whatsoever. But that seems to be the gist in many of these matchmaking reviews. Somebody apparently "owes" some of these folks a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse. Umm...hello? Selling yourself to strangers is harder than pushing any product door-to-door. Nobody is going to write your profile for you (although I might, if you paid me enough...LOL) - I guess I just don't have a lot of patience for those who obviously put no real time or serious effort into this pursuit and then whine about the dismal results.
(And to the earlier reviewer who blamed eHarmony for her stalker, I don't think that's entirely fair. For one thing, eHarmony keeps your personal contact information confidential until *you* choose to give it out, so the only way the man could have contacted you in real life was if you gave him that info. yourself. Which you obviously did because you said you met him in person. So how exactly does that translate into eHarmony's fault? Surely you could just as easily attract a stalker while grocery shopping or getting your car serviced, since you are so incredibly beautiful, as you pointed out up front in your review).
To sum up, I'm glad I gifted myself with eHarmony and the chance for lifelong love and happiness. But if I hadn't set my preferences to "worldwide", written a profile with some real substance, and met someone halfway initially, I would have never met nor married my husband. I encourage other singles to broaden their horizons and reach out however far it takes. True love shouldn't be limited by geographical boundaries.
P.S.: I know for a fact my experience isn't a total fluke, either one of my oldest friends in U.K. joined eHarmony after my experience, now he's engaged to an American woman and they are getting married soon, and he will immigrate over. He had anticipated being a lifelong bachelor once he passed his late thirties (so did my husband.) No, before anyone asks/insinuates, I don't work for eHarmony, I don't know anyone who does, and I'm just as amused/put-off by the "conservative meddling/matchmaking Christian grandpa" image of Neil Warren as many people.
All I can say is that it worked for me, and now for another couple I know. Like almost anything in life, what you take away is probably directly proportionate to what you put in (and in this case I mean effort, not money!)