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eHarmony is one of the original dating websites, with a vast US membership and hundreds of marriages to its name. So, is the original still the best if you're looking for love in the States?
eHarmony always feels a bit like my mature aunt, who knows that I just want an easy, fast and cheap date - but that my heart is set on meeting my dream guy who's going to sweep me off my feet and want to grow old with me. This isn't a gimmicky, bells and whistles dating service - it's about authentic people, meaningful matches, and long-term love - and just as that sounds a little less intense than the whirlwind of casual dating, it's precisely what it needs to be.
I'm not a massive fan of the lengthy personality questionnaire (and still have no idea what the brain mapping questions are or which picture I should be choosing to indicate that I'm a hell of a catch!). But, as much as eHarmony takes the longest to register with and is one of the priciest dating sites out there, it remains a dedicated service that probably gives me a much better chance of meeting my fabled prince charming than most mainstream dating platforms out there.
“Massive US membership, with men and women seeking meaningful, long-term relationships. If you're serious about love, so is eHarmony.”
eHarmony has been around a long time and might be one of the best-known dating websites globally, within the realm of long-term relationships and finding commitment. With that in mind, I'm not going to pretend to be surprised that the usability is spot on!
The big drawback, which I was expecting, is the long compatibility quiz. I do mean long; it took me a good 20 minutes to run through all the questions. The thing is, I know why it's there and the purpose it serves. eHarmony has platforms in over 200 countries, has almost a perfect 50/50 gender split, around 29 million men and women just in the states. It also claims some impressive numbers when it comes to members who met on eHarmony, and went on to get married (I happen to know one of those couples, too!).
While the quiz feels pretty laborious, it's not all length questions for your profile. Still, it is a personality mapping exercise that enables eHarmony to make precise matches based not just on what you think you're looking for - but on who they believe is right for you!
Now, we all know that's an algorithm at work rather than a person flicking through profiles and making hand-picked recommendations. Still, it's one of the most accurate and trusted platforms out there, so if you're going to put time and money into a dating site to get a long-term relationship out of it, that 20 minutes becomes a little less of a chore.
I also wish that the quiz had automatic question completion, and flicked to the next once you've answered - you have to manually select the Continue button, which I think adds to the 'homework' feel of the process.
Once you're done with the quiz, you get straight onto your homepage - which is nicely laid out, with gently contrasting colors that make it easy to navigate the site. All your key features are available with one click along the top toolbar, and it isn't jumbled or over-complicated to use.
The only issue here is that you have to have a premium account to be able to use most of the features, and although you get to see your matches straight away, the images are blurred out - so you're not going to get much benefit from a free account!
Prices on eHarmony are also some of the steepest on the dating market. That said, the cost tends to put off even the most persistent of spammers, and you'll be hard-pressed to find any profiles on the platform that aren't authentic - so perhaps the price is a good thing!
What does leave me a little stumped is how I have matches without a profile photo or a name? Those are all mandatory fields, so how you get around those registration questions is a secret I expect I'll never learn the answer to...
It's expensive, it takes longer to register than most sites, and you need to have a premium account to get any use from your membership. The thing is that if we're talking about value for money when it comes to the dating game, it's about a lot more than a monthly subscription cost - it's about whether a platform has the membership and the algorithm to recommend folks who you stand a real chance of having a relationship with.
When you're seeking commitment and love, I'd say eHarmony is a worthwhile investment. It really is an investment - of time, energy, and money - so if you're serious about finding the love of your life, you can expect to spend a little time filling in all the profile information and looking through the match suggestions you're sent.
There is little doubt in my mind that with a vast US membership, eHarmony is one of the best possible platforms to find a guy or girl who you can see yourself settling down with. So, if that's what you're after, it's a winner.
Anything a little more casual, or that falls into a 'niche' dating category? Perhaps not.
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