Saturday, November 03, 2007

Rocky start to eHarmony

I joined eHarmony last week. I'd been meaning to for quite some time, but kept putting it off because I didn't think I was ready for a relationship. Now, I guess, I am. Or at least I thought I was. I was feeling pretty good about myself--job's going well, my house is settled, I'm in a good exercise routine, I wasn't pining away for old times. So, you know, time to start thinking about finding someone to spend time with.

Years ago, I had a profile on another service, Spring Street, which is accessible from lots of different websites. I joined through, but they're also seen on The Onion, Nerve, etc. So I'm not exactly new to the whole online dating thing. But it's gotten to the point where finding someone online is no different than finding someone in a bar. It's all about looks. So I thought that maybe eHarmony would be a better route, since instead of just posting a profile and waiting for people to email, they actually match you up with people, and it's supposed to be a "serious" mate-finding site.

Well, I took the much-hyped personality profile, and much to my surprise, they found me 6 matches right away. I was stoked, because I had been very specific about age, religion, and geographic location. So I checked these guys out. They looked decent, right around my age, in good professional jobs, and they sounded pretty well grounded. Yippee! So I started the "guided communication" process. This entails selecting five multiple choice questions from a list of about 50, and sending them. I asked things like, "What is your philosophy on travel?" Then you wait for their responses. And wait.

As if 6 matches weren't enough, I got 6 more the next day. It was raining men! But then I started getting the dreaded "CLOSED." This is where you can basically indicate you're not interested in someone by ending communication. Since all the guys were local and around my age, with similar interests, etc., I didn't expect to get closed before we even started communicating! But sure enough, my first one came before I'd even had a chance to read his profile, and his reason: Other. Oh, that's helpful. And ever since then, for every 6 matches I get (I don't know why they come in batches of 6) at least 2 close me out right away. Sometimes they say they're in another relationship--ok, then why is your profile still accepting matches? One even said "There's too much going on in my life right now." Again, why doesn't he turn off his profile? Which leads me to believe that these "reasons" are just a way to let someone down easy. It's hard not to be a little discouraged. I posted several pictures of myself, and of course I think they're the best ones, and to think that someone would just be like, "Nah," well that kind of hurts. I mean, I can't expect everyone to find me attractive and find my profile interesting, but any form of rejection is a tiny blow to the ego. And naturally I start to assume that these guys are rejecting me simply because I'm not skinny. And if you read their profiles with that in mind, it is very disheartening. Almost all of them make some reference to how important being physically fit is to them. Which is just code for "no fatties." Fine, whatever, I don't want to be with someone who focuses so much on weight anyway. But if you go out to any public place, like the grocery store, Walmart, wherever, you see overweight women with husbands and kids, and I have to wonder: "If they found a guy, WHY CAN'T I????!" It is incredibly frustrating.

If signing up hadn't been so expensive (I joined for 3 months) I would be tempted to just forget about it. But I think I'll just let the matches keep on coming, and we'll see if anyone is interested. I am in communication with two guys right now, so at least there's that. We'll have to just wait and see.


  1. I'm going to give you a little tough love. Not because I'm looking down on you, but because I think it might help.

    eHarmony isn't a magic tool. It doesn't automagically change men's mind and make them look past weight and see the personality inside of you. As much as it is advertised as a magic dating system that will pair you up with the woman of your dreams, it's just another dating service, one with some pretty nasty flaws.

    For example, the closing system is nigh useless, as you've already discovered. In addition, the system doesn't let people filter by physical fitness - something that would have probably kept me from being matched up with around two-thirds of the people I've been matched with. This lets them inflate their match numbers, and delivers a fantasy to people which (like all dating sites) lets them believe they will find that magical someone just through the virtue of being on the site.

    To be honest, if I got matched up with you, I'd probably close you with either "I don't feel the chemistry is there" or the one about not liking what's in your profile. I'm not a complete fitness nut, but I do have a very active lifestyle (I dance 10-15 hours a week, and we're not talking about shuffling back and forth on the floor either) and I want someone in my life who can keep up with me. It's a very important trait to me, but the system doesn't let me filter for it, and it doesn't let me tell you that is the reason I've closed you out.

    Now, I am in good shape physically, so it's not unrealistic for me to expect to find a woman who is in decent shape. However, men also have this weird thing they do where they have unrealistic expectations about what they can get - and eHarmony feeds that expectation by not matching people up based on physical fitness. So when you get matched up with a guy, you've been matched up with a guy who has also gotten a bunch of matches that are in better physical condition than you, and if he's anything like the typical guy, he's going to be more interested in the fit ones than you, even if he's physically unfit himself.

    eHarmony is not a magic system. It doesn't match you up with the perfect person the first week you're on the service in many cases, and it can take months before you find someone you have chemistry with. I do believe it's a case of "it's the worst system we've tried, except for all the others", but I've found a couple gems on it.

    My one last tip? Find a place where you are comfortable with yourself. When someone rejects you, and you can say "oh well, their loss" without a twinge of regret, then you are truly ready to snatch the pebble from my hand. ;) Finding self-love is much more important than finding love in others - I don't believe you can truly find that someone else before you find yourself.

    Best of luck,
    Just a Guy

  2. You make some very good points about the flaws in the matching system, and about my own reaction to the closings. Thanks for commenting.

  3. There are some good points about the closing system and how people should stop accepting matches if they really don't want any at that time.

    On the flip side, there was recently a blogger who complained that she was being matched up with bald guys.

    >>But if you go out to any public place, like the grocery store, Walmart, wherever, you see overweight women with husbands and kids, and I have to wonder: "If they found a guy, WHY CAN'T I????!" It is incredibly frustrating.<<

    Most Americans are overweight. However, you don't know much about these husbands you are seeing. Maybe you wouldn't want them. Also, a lot of people put on weight AFTER getting married, after having kids, and as they get older.

    One reason these men could be using a matchmaking service in the first place is that they are "picky".

    EHarmony worked for me. If you are looking to get married, you only need to find ONE person that you are compatible with and with whom you have chemistry.

    I will not lie - your options will increase the more "fit" you are. I'm not talking bodybuilder or toothpick. Having something to hold onto is good. But men are visual creatures and they need to be turned on to "function", and most men are turned off by women who are too overweight - especially if they don't know her yet.

    If losing weight is too difficult to be worth your while (I can understand!), the good news is that there are men out there who either like that or just don't care either way. But they ARE in the minority.

    Hope you find what you want!

    -Another Guy

  4. Hi friend-

    I understand completely what you are saying. I felt a lot of the same frustrations when I belonged to E-Harmony, as you know. I even got a lecture on how to become more physically fit from one guy... excuse me! Remember that? I am proud of you for putting yourself out there. Doing E-Harmony was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It taught me a lot about myself and about about others.

    I think are amazing!!! : )

  5. One thing I've heard about in the past is speed dating...wonder if some of the girls at work would consider making an evening of speed dating....there are quite a few websites in the Raleigh area. Check it out!