Match.com vs. eHarmony
Written: Jan 5, 2008 (Updated Aug 24, 2010)
This review will compare my experiences with Match.com and eHarmony.com. In my opinion, although eHarmony can seem painfully slow, it is far superior to Match.com if you want a lasting relationship.
I am a 48 year old widow of about a year and a half who had been out of the dating world for 25 years. Eventually I felt like I wanted to go out and meet guys with the goal of settling down and re-marrying at some point. I had been very happy being married, and wanted to repeat the experience. Like so many others, I had few opportunities to meet single men, and didn't even really know how to date in the 2000s.
After careful thought and consideration, I took the plunge and joined both Match.com and eHarmony.com about a year ago. Both sites require you to complete copious amounts of information about yourself and what you are looking for in a mate. Obviously the more you put into those answers, the better. Match's were extensive, but eHarmony's were even more so. I won't go into all that here since so many others have done a great job describing that process.
Skip forward - I completed the profiles and paid my money. I started getting deluged with guys from Match immediately. eHarmony - not so much. I found one or two eHarmony guys right away, but I didn't feel like they were particularly good matches for me and we never left the online communication part. So I never actually had a date at that time with an eHarmony guy.
In the mean time, if I had wanted to talk with 20 men at a time on Match, I could have. I was inundated. BUT... a lot of those guys didn't interest me in the least. Their own profiles were sadly lacking in details about themselves and overflowing with pictures of them on/next to their beloved Harley. (Harley girl, I ain't!) I kept getting handed guys MUCH older and MUCH younger (even though I had specified a narrow age range) and several who had never been married or who listed themselves as "currently separated" - something I absolutely wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, and had listed that in my preferences. So why I continued to see profiles like that is still a mystery to me. Because of that, I looked at many many men, but was only interested in a handful. I did date a couple of Match men with bad results, but one even worked out for a few months before we decided to just be best friends. During the dating part of our relationship, I went off Match and eHarmony both for several months.
So skip forward a few months, and I was once again ready to think about dating someone. I jumped back on Match right away, then really had to think about going back to eHarmony since I had had such a neutral experience the first time around. BUT in the months since the last time, I realized that although I really like instant gratification - and thus like things to progress quickly - it's not necessarily a good thing for me in the dating world - although it's admittedly great for the ego. I made a note to self about that, but continued as I had been. The Match connections go very quickly. You're online talking just as fast as you'd like, can search all the profiles online as many times as you like and can wink at or talk to anyone your heart desires and who sounds interesting. Again, I thought this better suited my sincere lack of patience, but I found out that was a double-edged sword. Things were actually progressing TOO fast without enough time to get to know the other person before I felt I was being pressured into meeting in person, sometimes as soon as the next day. Don't get me wrong - it was flattering that so many men wanted to meet me. In the long run, however, I found out that so many of the men on Match had a lot of baggage about ex-wives that I didn't have, and many were absolutely not interested in anything beyond a casual relationship - even if their profile said they were. I dated two different men who I really hit it off with but with whom it didn't work because they truly didn't want the things I wanted. And the only way to really know that ahead of time with Match is if they are articulate writers and express themselves well in the profile they create, which is pretty much all just "free writing" about specifically given topics.
So there I was, back at break-speed on Match and going slowly on eHarmony. I did communicate with a couple of men on eHarmony right away, but using their guided communication methodology, which generally takes a couple of days before you're actually conversing online with anyone in your own words. Note that any time during this guided communication period (and after of course) you or the person you're exchanging questions with can close the match for any reason. That can be a little ego bruising, but it does save you from wasting your time talking with someone who has discovered a deal breaker in what you've already answered. I was chatting online with a couple of eHarmony men while pursuing a couple of dates with Match men. I met a Match man for a date, and once again things turned to mush right away. Another bad Match date, and I was getting disgusted and depressed.
So being the introspective person I am, I started thinking about what I could do differently to make the next outcome better. You know the adage - "If you keep doing the things you've always done, you get the results you've always gotten." That's when I got serious about eHarmony and dedicated to doing exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do, which was slow things down a lot. eHarmony certainly operates in that mode, especially as compared to Match. I had noted that situation to myself earlier, but was now ready to pay attention to changing things up a bit.
Seems like it didn't take me too long or talking online with too many guys before I literally found the love of my life, who I will marry in a few months. In the spirit of going slowly, I wouldn't talk on the phone with him until we had gone through the guided communication and emailed over and over for 8 days. Then another 8 days of talking on the phone finally resulted in me agreeing to meet him in person. With all that background between us already, it didn't take long for us to fall in love, and I truly believe one of the reasons was eHarmony's methodologies related to going slowly - deliberately - at a reasonable, albeit sometimes painful pace. In this faster-than-a-speeding-bullet world, this seems sort of counterintuitive, doesn't it? But maybe it's more like the dating I used to do 25 years ago when we didn't have the internet and instant communication.
To summarize, I have nothing against Match really. You will certainly have access to many many individuals of all shapes, sizes, political persuasions, ages, whatever. If you need a date for Saturday night, I can almost guarantee you can get one. As far as whether it'll be a good match for you, I can only say that from my experience, it may not be. But if you want to add some excitement to your dating life and make yourself feel like you're appealing to the opposite sex, this is certainly one way to go. But for me, my success came from going slowly and letting things develop over a much longer period of time. I recognize everyone is not looking for a long-term relationship, and for these people, Match may be something good. My experience with eHarmony makes me think that the folks there have a higher percentage of individuals looking for something long term. Just a hunch.
Whatever you decide, best of luck in your search for your mate. There's someone for everyone out there if you don't give up.
January 2010 - As I mentioned above, at the time I wrote this review, I was engaged to someone I met on eHarmony. We married just over a year ago, and he is truly and sincerely the love of my life. He is someone I would not have ever met had it not for our mutual online experience. In the 2+ years we've known each other, we have never had a fight or exchanged a cross word. Both of us repeatedly tell the other how we've never been happier. He adores my kids, and sends me love notes from work every single day.
I'd still tell people to try any other online dating experience they think sounds interesting, but eHarmony was the one for me!
Update August 2010. OK, this is getting to sound so sappy. Still married to the love of my life, who adopted my 3 children 2 months ago. (Their natural dad passed away 4 years ago.) He didn't have any kids of his own before this, so it's fabulous. I know plenty of people have bad things to say about eH. As for me, I'm just grateful every day that they matched me with someone so terrific!