PROS / eHarmony has a detailed profile-making process to help you get better matches.
CONS / If eHarmony can't find matches for you, you can’t do anything else on the website.
VERDICT / For a detailed and on-the-dot match, eHarmony is a great service.
eHarmony offers a managed approach to online dating based on your personality inventory. You may learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible and have the opportunity to share the information with matches selected for you by eHarmony. With an ongoing national ad campaign, a well-developed site, and consistent focus on lasting relationship results, eHarmony is well respected in the field.
With this service, it’s about quality rather than quantity. It is difficult to gauge the potential dating pool at eHarmony because you will only see matches selected for you by the service, and these are limited to about nine at any one time. Though you may not be able to assess quantity, you may assess quality with these matches. You can receive matches before paying the membership fee, but you must join to see photographs.
The eHarmony profile is one of the most extensive found on any online dating site. Think of it as a multiple-choice test with a couple of short open responses thrown in. It's important to be particularly thoughtful when you answer the open-ended questions.
You won’t write an essay about yourself, commonly done on other online dating profiles, so these answers are the only original statements potential matches will see. Along with information about yourself, you will also define your "must haves" and "can’t stands." You choose from intangibles like "verbal intimacy" and "spirit of volunteerism" for required traits and from a host of negatives like "hypocrites," "flirts" and "television junkies" for deal breakers.
If you rush through questions, eHarmony will not let you proceed with the profile. At the top of the screen a note will appear stating that rushing through the process has a negative impact, and you'll have to review or change your answers before moving on.
One drawback to the profile maker is that if eHarmony does not like your answers, you will be told they have no matches for you and you can’t move any further. Other sites will suggest matches that might work and generally keep the process going, even if there are no obvious matches.
The searching and matching functions are different from most online dating sites because eHarmony manages both of these features for you. It will only match you with singles that match your profile and will not allow you to search for matches on your own.
Communication replaces searching and matching on eHarmony. You may choose from two types of communication: standard (guided) and fast track (open). eHarmony was founded on the guided communication method, but has added the second option for those who are comfortable with writing emails to their matches at the beginning of the process and thereby circumventing the multiple-choice question and answer phase.
If you opt for guided communication, you may express interest in one of your matches and select five multiple-choice questions for him or her to answer. If your match answers, you will receive their answers and a set of questions to answer in return. You may select one of the pre-written answers or answer in your own words. After two rounds of this type of exchange, you may move to open communication.
Alternately, you may choose to request a secure telephone call at any step in the online process. And, at any point, you may choose to put communication on hold or close it.
eHarmony offers a fundamentally different approach to online dating than many competing online dating websites: it’s all a matter of who takes the reins. If you feel more comfortable with the managed approach, eHarmony is for you, but if you want to do the choosing, look to the rest of our online dating site reviews.