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Why does eHarmony think I am destined for a life of loneliness?
March 14, 2007 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Why does eHarmony think I am destined for a life of loneliness?

I saw the ad for the free personality test on eHarmony, and as a complete addict of internet personality quizzes I just couldn't resist. At the end, along with my results, they told me that they thought it was only fair to let me know early that I was part of the 3% of the population that they couldn't help with their dating services.

What!? Does anyone who works for eHarmony (or just happens to know) have any idea what I could have said during this quiz that would put me in this category? Why do they think I am destined for loneliness?
posted by thebrokenmuse to Grab Bag (39 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Please -- don't worry!! I've heard this story from countless friends and acquaintances. eHarmony is a mainstream, hetero, marriage-focused, Christian-founded service. Anything out of the ordinary goes into the weirdo category. Don't worry -- be proud.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:09 PM on March 14, 2007


Atheist? If so, that's why.
posted by birdie birdington at 10:09 PM on March 14, 2007


wikipedia to the answer:
The services offered by eHarmony are consistent with the values of Conservative Christianity.
Unless you fit into the white-bread moral-majority norm, eHarmony will not attempt to help you.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:14 PM on March 14, 2007


Hey, I'm one of the 97% they do take, and I'm still destined for a life of loneliness. I'm getting nowhere. Consider your money saved.
posted by clh at 10:15 PM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


The most exact answer you will get. (That's the eHarmony patent.)
posted by reflection at 10:30 PM on March 14, 2007


It's pretty clear from the careful choice of language in their commercials that they bias their services towards conservative, marriage-oriented, judeo-christian persons.

A quick google search for eHarmony + complaints seems to back up this general trend. (It also turns up some complaints about their billing structure)
posted by Crosius at 10:33 PM on March 14, 2007


Unless you fit into the white-bread moral-majority norm, eHarmony will not attempt to help you.

It don't think it's quite that simple. I'm as left-leaning agnostic as they come, and when I took the test on a lark a couple of years ago, the system accepted me (and immediately sent matches!). A few of the matches they sent were also clearly lefty agnostic types (and -- really flying in the face of the "right-wing Christians only" theory -- one guy openly stated he was a marketer for a major adult entertainment company), though some were wildly off-base polar opposites (the guy who said he hated books and hated cities was an amusing match for me, I thought).

Not saying that eHarmony isn't geared in a more narrow direction, but I think it's a more complex metric than automatically filtering out anyone who isn't a self-identified conservative Christian.
posted by scody at 10:36 PM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


If eHarmony won't take you, you could always try OKCupid; I can tell you that there are definitely a lot of folks who do not fall into the "conservative, marriage-oriented, judeo-christian" category there.

If eH. really does blackball you for athiesm or being uninterested in marriage or heterosexual relations, I wonder about where they get that 97% figure, since it seems a bit high. At any given time, I suspect that more than 3% of the U.S. population falls into one of those groups...but maybe I just have a social circle that's way, way outside the fat part of the bell curve.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:40 PM on March 14, 2007


If eH. really does blackball you for athiesm or being uninterested in marriage or heterosexual relations

They do definitely blackball for anything other than hetero matches -- they're (semi-)open about that. But again, if they took my agnostic, not-necessarily-interested-in-marriage self (and I forgot to mention earlier, but they also took someone else I know who in fact runs an organization for atheists!), then they evidently don't blackball based solely on those criteria.
posted by scody at 10:54 PM on March 14, 2007


Sorry to keep posting, but this has actually piqued my interest. I wonder if the answer is here (also from the wikipedia entry):

Factors "which may limit a user from experiencing eHarmony's matchmaking service to the fullest" include: still being married, 3 or more previous failed marriages resulting in divorce, severe depression and being under the age of 21.

Now that I think about the eH questionaire, there were a fair number of questions that seemed like slight variations of questions on screening tests for depression or anxiety (I even recall thinking at one point, "huh, I would have really answered this differently a few years ago when I was depressed"). So maybe one of the factors built into the test is to screen for depression, and so anyone who scores too high on that count gets bumped out? (It also seemed like they scored for introversion/extroversion, so I wonder if they screen out for being "too" introverted.)

Although with the "3 or more failed marriages" factor, I think it's great that they'd evidently turn down Newt Gingrich.
posted by scody at 11:07 PM on March 14, 2007


Someone told me that you have to be divorced, not separated (or similar) for Harmony to accept you. So with the advice above, just tailor your profile so that you're a divorced happy religious heterosexual looking to marry and you'll be fine.
posted by b33j at 11:12 PM on March 14, 2007


I think that the "severe depression" definitely hit the nail on the head. I am not depressed anymore, but was in the past and a lot of the questions were of the "have you ever been..." variety. I am also agnostic. Thank you everybody, I feel a lot less hopless now!
posted by thebrokenmuse at 11:19 PM on March 14, 2007


I doubt it's outright blackballing, probably more along the lines of, most people who use the service (one explicitly geared toward creating lasting heterosexual marriage, and one which has in the past been heavily promoted in the Evangelical community) *happen* to match up well with people with similar backgrounds and spiritual ideas. If your background and religion are different, it shouldn't be surprising that the service doesn't always "work". In fact, it's preventing you from wasting your time by "matching" you with people almost certain to be incompatible.
posted by SuperNova at 11:27 PM on March 14, 2007


I did this same test several years ago and had the same result as you. I have a gf now - I found her online. A friend gave me her msn address and we started talking...

eHarmony sucks.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 11:56 PM on March 14, 2007


Are there any other more reasonable dating sites?
I've tried match.com it's so-so.
posted by summerbt at 12:16 AM on March 15, 2007


I've known several couples that met on eharmony, and all of them are left-leaning and agnostic. Make of that what you will.

I did this same test several years ago and had the same result as you. I have a gf now - I found her online. A friend gave me her msn address and we started talking...

eHarmony sucks.
posted by Sonic_Molson


Maybe so, but neither has to do with the other.
posted by justgary at 1:23 AM on March 15, 2007


I just took the quiz to see what would happen. I somehow got through it. Here are the highlights of my 'matches':

For favorite books, two had the DaVinci code, one said she doesn't read, one is in school so reads textbooks, and the only one that actually reads lives 3 hours away.

The matches that live within a reasonable distance generally enjoy the following:
Watching TV
Going to movies
Talking on cell phones
Shopping
TYPING IN ALL CAPS

All of them are Christian (which I am not), save for one.

I don't think you are missing much by failing the quiz.
posted by bh at 4:13 AM on March 15, 2007


I've heard that not wanting children + being an atheist is the kiss of death, at least for male applicants.
posted by availablelight at 4:21 AM on March 15, 2007


There was a fairly long interview with the founder in either NY Mag or NY Times (though I cannot find it right now). The author got similar results as you, and the eHarmony guy had a few sensible (or at least "sucking up") reasons for it. He suggested that the author was very smart and would probably have a hard time finding someone such a large general dating site as eHarmony.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:37 AM on March 15, 2007


ah, silly me, it was The Atlantic Monthly. Even though it's flattery, I can see how it might be true that this limits your chances of finding someone on the site. FYI, I am not saying that people on eHarmony are dumb.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:43 AM on March 15, 2007


So I am somewhat lapsed Catholic, but should theoretically fit their "typical" profile. However, I got the same response, who knows why but I felt terrible about it! I do think there system just does not know what to do with people who are unique. In my case the artistic socially liberal Catholic guy!

Tried a bunch of other on-line services, went on a few dates that were a waste of my time. Gave up. Met a friend of a friend at a bar (of all places, since I am not a bar guy)...now I am married for going on five months.

So yeah forget E-Harmony. Try the other services, but if they don't work just remember on-line dating doesn't work for everyone. Sometimes you just gotta do stuff you normally wouldn't do.
posted by UMDirector at 5:03 AM on March 15, 2007


I've had this happen to two people I know.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:48 AM on March 15, 2007


I've had this happen to two people I know. And they're both relatively conservative if not fundies (OK, one's an atheist libertarian type, one's kind of a lapsed Catholic) ... I did it out of curiosity and it never did give me a match in my area, the first guy it suggested lived in India and the next couple were Muslims in other states. I guess that's what I get for saying that religion and location don't matter.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:51 AM on March 15, 2007


If eH. really does blackball you for athiesm or being uninterested in marriage or heterosexual relations, I wonder about where they get that 97% figure, since it seems a bit high. At any given time, I suspect that more than 3% of the U.S. population falls into one of those groups...but maybe I just have a social circle that's way, way outside the fat part of the bell curve.

It's not 97% of the population that's straight, Christian, perky and ready for marriage. It's 97% of people who sign up for eHarmony.

So what you're seeing is successful targetted advertising and selection bias. eHarmony presents themselves as a site for "normal," happy, God-loving, marriage-minded straight singles. People in that demographic apply in droves, raising the acceptance rate, and people outside it go elsewhere. After all, there's plenty of other dating sites targetting other demographics.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:29 AM on March 15, 2007


Huh, I was entirely truthful and got through. Seconding the opinion that major depression matters a lot. I'm hetero and generally very happy, but other than that I'm pagan and very non-vanilla (unless there is some subtle pattern finding from the results, the survey does not seem to care about kinkiness).
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 7:22 AM on March 15, 2007


I took the test just for fun & to see how they'd react; I put "other" and "don't care" for all the religious selection stuff, and the religious activities were the only things I put as "completely uninterested" in the "what do you like to do" section. I also put ranked myself around 5-6 (I think) on sadness, depression, anger, etc. But they gave me quite a nice profile in the end (I didn't look at the "matches" they sent; I never even met anyone through Nerve or Consumating, which are really more my style; even OkCupid and Match.com seem too mainstream / whitebread for me). Maybe they are more accepting of women outside the norm? Or maybe it was because I checked "don't care" on a lot of the q's about the partner? It could also be that things just balanced out enough? - I also ranked myself high on sympathy, caring about others, etc.
Anyway, the profile seemed reasonably accurate with an obvious bias toward being flattering.
posted by mdn at 8:18 AM on March 15, 2007


Another interesting interview with the eH founder in Salon, and one that talks a bit about their het-only focus. I've never been a member personally, but from the people I know who have used it (and been happy with it for the most part), I think the stereotype about the service being exclusively for conservative Christians is way off.
posted by j-dawg at 8:20 AM on March 15, 2007


I got blackballed too, a couple of years ago. I never could quite figure out why but oh well, I decided to take it as a mark of pride - hey! Look! I'm too weird for eharmony! Yay me!

I figured that maybe it was because I had been divorced twice or maybe it was that I was honest about the drinking and smoking but on reading this thread I guess it was the depression. Huh. Who knew? So anyway, I wish I could end this little tale with "and we lived happily ever after" but in actual fact I'm still single.* But, you know, being single is okay and has its perks. Which is all a long way of saying that there are a ton of online dating things out there. Also, my friend met two serious assholes on eharmony, so they're not as wonderful as one might hope.

Keep trying: maybe getting out and about or a book club or something, somehow will work. Even if you don't end up with a partner at least you've done something besides sitting on the couch crying about your lack of eharmony, so laugh at them and keep on going. Join the few, the proud - the eharmony rejects!

*of course I'm still single. I'm a depressed, twice divorced woman who drinks and smokes! Argh!
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:56 AM on March 15, 2007


I, too, am apparently "unmatchable." I've also been happily married for a couple years. My husband and I both took the test together for fun to see if we'd get matched up. It told me I was unmatchable, but sent my husband plenty of local matches to choose from. He teased me for at least 3 weeks with his "matches" before blocking the emails...!
posted by theantikitty at 8:58 AM on March 15, 2007


I'm single, divorced, jewish (more culturally), and very, very liberal.

I've been matched with several wonderful women from eharmony, and a number of disasters too.

I've also tried match, jdate, nerve, yahoo....

Look, the major serious advantage about the 'long profile' dating sites, is that they try to encourage you to be less superficial.

If you got turned down, it's not because of the wikipedia entry.

They feel they have a formula that works for certain 'types.' They say up front about 20% of people fall outside of those types.

I think they base it on the idea that they've dealt with a number of married couples are are looking to help similar people into that situation.

Again it's not about you - it's about them. Their math works for people that hit a certain bullseye.

Is it really any different than a surgeon turning you down because he doesn't think he has the skills to help?
posted by Towelie at 9:06 AM on March 15, 2007


I found my boyfriend on OkCupid.com. He always had a very high match percentage for me, and I talked to him for a full year online before we met (even though we live in the same city). He is everything I've ever looked for in a guy, and although we don't always hold the same beliefs, we are amazingly compatible. We've been together for a year and a few months, and live together, and let's just say neither of us come close to being vanilla. I highly recommend their site.
posted by nursegracer at 9:16 AM on March 15, 2007


We are all destined for lives of loneliness and hanging on in quiet desperation. The Romans knew it. The Germans knew it. Now you know it too.

Thankfully, the Internet is here to tell us what we've always suspected--nobody loves us. Perhaps not even our dogs.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 9:24 AM on March 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I was on it for a while. They kept matching me up with people who were far away but were good matches because they also liked "intelligent discussions."

Of these women who were intelligent matches, few had descriptions that were actually written well, many with misspellings and grammatical errors. The one exception, was a lady, who, answering the question "Where would you like to live?" Answered, "Wherever my husband wants to."

So, um. Yeah.

eHarmony does suck.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:59 AM on March 15, 2007


He suggested that the author was very smart and would probably have a hard time finding someone such a large general dating site as eHarmony.

What an ol' smoothie! That doesn't stand to reason, though. There's no reason why a large dating site shouldn't provide opportunities to meet someone near your own intelligence level. It should be at least as successful as a sample from the general population - perhaps more, since you have to be literate to do the quiz. Unless the guy's trying to gently suggest that they filter out smart people....
posted by Miko at 12:57 PM on March 15, 2007


I'm having a child and am engaged to a girl i met on eharmony 10 months ago.
posted by TwilightKid at 2:06 PM on March 15, 2007


Somebody familiar with my Mefi record might find it odd that eHarmony sent me four local potential matches right away, despite my "flexible attitude toward [my] obligations." But I'm not actually in the meet market nor will I pay to find somebody; I just wanted to see what they made of my personality questionnaire— said results being so funny I might find a way to post them someplace.
posted by davy at 2:29 PM on March 15, 2007


eHarmony doesn't let you post your profile if you are not single, widowed or divorced. If you're in Currently Separated limbo, it's "Sorry, come back later when you're really available."

This may simply be a practicality, since many women won't date men until a year after their divorce is final.

Now that I read the other comments though, I wonder whether I will fall into the "3%" camp even after I'm single.
posted by Araucaria at 2:40 PM on March 15, 2007


A friend of ours had the same experience. She's in her mid60s, sweet as pie, a church organist, and divorced for 20 years. She was pretty upset, I think.

DH and I met on match.com. Salon.com/nerve.com personals are good, too, I think.
posted by purenitrous at 9:24 PM on March 15, 2007


I took the eharmony test twice. When I answered honestly, I got rejected. When I took the test again and made my answers more optimistic, I suddenly found people.
posted by realpseudonym at 1:36 AM on March 16, 2007


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