The first step in getting my friend Phoebe back into the online dating universe is deciding on which sites to start the search. I’m thinking three in total. Which dating site is not on my list?
Now, you may be thinking, why not? After all, their commercials say they are responsible for more marriages than any other online dating site. My response: show me the numbers eHarmony. Match.com claims basically the same thing and you can’t both be right.
Another question you may be wanting to ask me… didn’t you meet a long term boyfriend on eHarmony? Why yes, yes I did. eHarmony did “work” for me, but I also cheated. I only filled out my personality questionnaire to the bare minimum required to start communicating with matches. Back then, I think it was less than 70%. Also, eHarmony sets up a structured system of communication, allowing members to send predetermined multiple choice questions to matches. You answer the questions, send them back and your matches can decide if they want to send more questions based on whether or not they like your answers. This is all before you have an actual conversation. An example of a question would be: On a Saturday night would you rather, read a book, go dancing, watch a movie, or cook a romantic meal? Personally, I hated the multiple choice questions. Well, eHarmony, I love to read, dance, watch movies and cook romantic meals. Now what? (Luckily, they had an opt out button which would allow you to skip straight to messaging. An option I usually chose.)
In my humble opinion, eHarmony is great if you believe that love and compatibility can be found through mathematical equations. While I was on eHarmony, my ex was under my “hidden matches.” He lived too far, was shorter than I listed under my preferences and if I’d left things up to eHarmony alone, I never would have met him. Likewise, my current boyfriend wouldn’t have been a match on eHarmony either. He’s too young, outside of my religious preference, his career was on a list of deal-breakers, oh and did I mention he is three years younger than I am? I doubt he would have even been under hidden matches.
While I think it’s important to have a list of qualities you want in a partner, some boundaries are too restrictive. And we may think we know what we want (someone at least six feet tall, older, with a career that is safe and offers travels benefits), but in reality, the traits you fall in love with are far less concrete. You may weed someone out on eHarmony because he’d rather read a book on Saturday night instead of cooking a romantic meal, and totally miss out on listening to an audio book while rolling homemade tortellini with the love of your life.
Bottom line: eHarmony can work. In fact, it may be perfect for you. But if you’re like me, and trying to list your all time favorite food (when it in fact depends on your ever changing mood), drives you nuts, eHarmony may not be for you. And because it doesn’t let you search, your soul-mate may just be floating out there somewhere, just beyond the reach of your thousand plus worded compatibility questionnaire. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take on Phoebe’s behalf… at least not right now, anyway.