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eharmony review UK: A long, annoying sign-up process makes for a long, happy marriage

It’s your turn to find love.

Image: eharmony

If you’re interested in eharmony, we’re guessing you’re 110 percent over being single or going through numerous breakups with people who we thought were the love of our lives.

Or you’re tired of going on dates and having the person randomly stop texting you back, or tired of the “What are we?” conversation ending in some rendition of “I’m not looking for anything serious right now” from someone who is definitely too old to still be playing games.

Yeah, well about 10 million other people are tired of the same things, and they’ve put their love lives in the hands of eharmony.

eharmony is the go-to for marriage-minded people looking for a serious, long-term commitment. We’re dating for something something special, people. Not just dating for attention or as a reason to not be alone on a Friday night.

If you’re worried about the stigma that, for whatever out-of-date reason, surrounds online dating, we’re telling you to reevaluate. Dating IRL and leaving everything to fate clearly hasn’t been working either, or you wouldn’t have clicked on this. Sorry, but real life isn’t like Love Island where you are thrust into an incredible villa with loads of other singles.

Technology has now made it possible to meet people you may have never known existed and who want the same thing as you, which opens up your dating pool significantly. eharmony’s membership pool consists of singles who reside in more than 200 countries worldwide, making up around 5 million visitors per month. That’s a bit behind competitors like Match, but not a low number by any means. Where they lack in numbers, they make up for in a seamless and extremely personalised user experience.

And that’s clearly something users hold dear, because they keep coming back. eharmony is pretty confident in their matchmaking abilities, too, because they make a guarantee that if you’re not satisfied in three months, they’ll give you another three months for free. And honestly, it’s comforting to know that this shit works. Don’t believe us? Read these success stories and weep.

While most competing sites have made upgrades and tried to keep up with social media or internet trends, eharmony has maintained a pretty consistent look and message. This unchanging thing is both good and bad — but we’ll get into that later.

Making a profile: Honesty is a must, you guys

Before you even sign up, you’ll see that the login page features your typical heterosexual hipster couple — they’re like “Aw, this could be you!” Gee, thanks.

Image: eharmony

Something that must be noted is that eharmony doesn’t offer same sex matching. If you say that you’re a woman, it won’t even let you click on “seeking women.” That’s not really good enough. eharmony does have another site specifically for the LGBT community called Compatible Partners, which is a step in the right direction — but still, the fact that you can only choose one gender is a serious problem.

The questionnaire does take some time (around half an hour), so don’t expect to get this done and find a date within the hour. There are an intense 149 questions in total, which seems intimidating — but we guess getting down into the nitty gritty is how to make sure you really know someone.

The questions are pretty standard and are similar to what most other in-depth dating sites will ask. You’ll give yourself a rating on prompts like “I’m an honest partner,” with sliding scale choices like “This describes me well,” to “Doesn’t describe me at all.” On paper, asking deep questions like these straight away makes total sense when pairing two people together — but they’re so basic and annoying. Who wants to answer “Are you emotionally stable?” with “No, doesn’t describe me at all”? Do we want to admit that we struggle to deal with arguments like an adult? NAH. 

Admitting that you have problems in a certain area is key to eharmony matching you with someone who complements you.

Unless people have an extremely realistic sense of self, we feel like these answers just can’t be telling. Everyone would love to rate themselves the highest on patience and romantic and the lowest on selfishness, but if these people were perfect and had zero problems in relationships, they wouldn’t need online dating in the first place. 

Just remember that the right person will accept your quirks and flaws. As much as you’d like to lie to feel better about yourself, you know deep down that’s not the way to a healthy relationship. Admitting that you have problems in a certain area is key to eharmony matching you with someone who complements you. And finding someone who makes up for what you lack is better in the long run, even if it’s hard to come to terms with at times.

Reddit user criswell writes:

“I met my wife on eharmony. I’d definitely recommend it. Now, the caveat is that you need to be painfully honest on their questionnaire if you want good results. Most of my friends whom this hasn’t worked for are quite delusional about themselves and, thus, don’t find very good matches.”

Once the algorithm has compiled your self-ranked answers, you’ll get to see your main page and matches for the day. eharmony does a really nice job of making it all look modern and not too jumbled, which is an issue we’ve come across on a lot of other dating sites. Having a lot of features can be fun, but not when there are notifications popping up for things you didn’t even know existed. A calming colour scheme and minimalistic layout is the way to go, and eharmony nailed it. 

Profiles also look really nice, like a fancy CV designed by a graphic designer. You even have the option to put your favourite TV programmes, music, sports, and more on your profile, and we really appreciated that they allow your personality to be the main focus.

Image: eharmony / screenshot

You’ll probably notice that there’s still a bar that says your profile isn’t 100 percent done. That’s because eharmony has another surprise waiting for you, and it comes in the form of, wait for it, questions that are actually fun to answer. These are questions that potential matches can see your answers to and serve as a fun conversation starter or an easy way to tell if you would get along. They’ll be anything from “Do dogs go to heaven?” to “If you woke up with a fever on the morning of an important meeting, what would you do?” Basically, they’re trying to find out about your work ethic, political preferences, what you value in life, and other quirky things that we honestly think matter just as much as communication and patience. 

We do have one bone to pick with eharmony during these profile questions, though: They serve questions about church and God even if you say you’re not religious, and it’s not just the questions that were the issue — it was the selection of responses.

Image: eharmony / screenshot

eharmony does have a history of being very conservative though, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Questions like these are of course perfect for users who marked themselves as Christian — but that’s not everyone. It’s another clear sign that eharmony needs to diversify and be open to a wider range of ideas and lifestyles.

Finding a match

Finding the right one takes time. eharmony is trying to find you someone to spend your life with, and that’s something that can’t be half-hearted or rushed. Unless your life is eerily similar to a rom-com, weeding out all of the incompatible ones may take a few weeks — or months. It may get frustrating, but “slow and steady wins the race” is the mindset to have here. If it seems to be taking a while, that doesn’t mean it’s never gonna work — that’s how it is for everyone.

Something unique about eharmony (and another reason why the process takes so long) is that there’s no search feature. At all. Unlike Match, it won’t even let you browse a list of who’s nearby outside of the matches they’ve picked for you. Each day, you’ll get a new batch of matches, which is fine if you’ve made good decisions in the past, but bad if one day’s batch happens to be full of people you’re not interested in. It’s 100 percent personalised but also 100 percent restricted, and not being able to explore the pool on our own was frustrating. We appreciate their dedication to not wanting us to waste time on people we’re not compatible with, but we wish there was a bit of leeway. On the bright side, matches you do get are very likely to want to talk to you, as you’re clearly compatible and have things in common — and you won’t be getting random “heys” from a million random people that you’d never talk to. eharmony also monitors each user’s site activity very closely, so the chance of getting nasty opening messages about your favourite position in bed is minimal.


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eharmony monitors user’s site activity, so the chance of getting nasty opening messages about your favourite position in bed is minimal.

You don’t have to match with someone to talk to them, though, and you’ll notice this when names and faces you’ve never seen before end up in your inbox. In the message section, you can think of your own opening line, send a pre-made icebreaker question (if you’re not smooth on your own), or simply send a smile, which is like poking on Facebook. The environment is low pressure and nothing like the terrifying message section of Tinder, but when 20+ people are sending smiles or generic questions that they didn’t think of themselves, it can get a bit impersonal. And remember: “Hi” is not an exciting opening line for anyone to read.

Pro tip: Turn off your email notifications immediately, or you will get bombarded any time someone likes your photo. 

There is technically a free option, but it’s pretty worthless

With a free account, you can answer all of the personality questions, make a profile, and see your matches. That’s it. You can’t talk to anyone. We guess this is a nice way to see what your potential options are and what’s out there before you pay, and to see if eharmony actually knows what you’re looking for before you fork over that £40 per month.

The issue isn’t with the free feature, it’s with the price of the paid membership. eharmony’s prices fluctuate frequently and depend on how long you’re subscribing for, but they’re always one of the priciest dating sites out there. Right now, you’ll get three months for £21.95 per month, six months for £18.95 per month, and a year for £9.95 per month. As a general rule, membership prices get lower the longer your commitment to the site is. Which makes sense, because a strong connection probably won’t magically appear in just one month. It all gets to be pretty pricey when added up, and there are probably so many good, genuine people out there not signing up due to the mere fact that they have £200 to spend elsewhere. We guess it’s an easy way to know that most potential matches would be serious, as we highly doubt someone just looking for a hookup wants to drop this much money on a one night stand.

And eharmony has that guarantee, remember? If you’re not satisfied in three months, they’ll give you three months for free. They’re basically saying that your money will be worth it because you’ll find someone in three months, or you’ll get an extra three months to find someone without dropping a cent. That’s a pretty good incentive, we would say — and you won’t care about that little monthly fee when you have a wedding to plan.

Good for: People who want to marry the next person they date

If you cry at episodes of Love Island, eharmony might be the place for you. We won’t get all mushy on you guys, but we will say that you can tell that your matches are looking for something serious by the way they talk to you. Dating online and opening up to strangers takes courage, and users wouldn’t be doing that if they were looking for anything other than the real deal. Obviously eharmony isn’t the only dating site used to find a long-term partner, but it is pretty much the only site that is specifically dedicated to long-term relationships, and pretty much the only site that offers any type of stats on the marriages they’re responsible for. When you think of eharmony, you think of marriage. And so does everyone else — that’s the point.

When you think of eharmony, you think of marriage — and so does everyone else

Though some of their profile building is on the old-fashioned side, we have to hand it to their web developers: The site actually looks nice, and this was a pleasant surprise. If you’re someone who appreciates a minimalistic design and needs those clean aesthetics to accept the site as legit, you’ll be totally fine on eharmony. You’ll easily be able to find all of the stuff you need, with clear labels and sensible placements of notifications. It’s design-forward enough for the young people who need modernisation, but organised and simple enough for non-tech savvy people to get a handle on how it works. 

Bad for: Impatient, progressive people, or those looking for a fling 

This should be clear by now, but eharmony is not the place to find a friends with benefits situation or casual fling. Just because you’re bored with Tinder does not mean eharmony is the next step. Don’t come on here thinking you can weasel your way out of being serious and find someone on here who’s also just trying to mess around. Your match selection will be pretty diverse so sure, we bet they exist — but that’s the exact thing that the majority of users fear, so let’s not even risk giving someone the wrong idea. 

Just because you’re bored with Tinder does not mean eharmony is the next step.

Many users on here are divorced, have children, or have been involved in a serious long term relationship in the past. After a failed relationship, the last thing they want is to be hurt again, and if you know that you’re not ready to do the whole monogamy thing, do everyone a favour and try Hinge or Bumble instead. Matches are going to expect you to open up, be vulnerable, and really think hard about whether you can see a future with them. If that sounds gross to you, don’t try to force it. You won’t have fun, and neither will your matches who you led on. There’s a reason there are separate swiping hookup apps and big to-do dating sites, guys. 

Like we mentioned earlier, eharmony has a weird way of shifting to the conservative side of things, and even used to primarily market to a Christian clientele. You can see how that wouldn’t exactly be appealing to POC or anyone who skews more liberal. The fact that LGBT are so blatantly not allowed to participate on the site is enough to make us not want to use it.

The downsides

The questionnaire and profile building are completely in your hands, but after that, the whole matching thing is pretty out of your control. There are no search options or the ability to browse who’s in the area, which completely leaves everything in the hands of eharmony. Yes, they clearly know what they’re doing and their marriage statistics are impressive, but it feels like you’re just sitting around and waiting for your soulmate to pop up, and it can get frustrating. 

Also, it’s just plain expensive. Though we’re cynical, we’re also hopelessly romantic. But unless money weren’t an object at all, the last thing we’d be spending £40 a month on is a dating site that barely lets you control who you see. To be fair, if you are ready for marriage, we can see why the price isn’t an issue. But if you’re a little younger, you might rather spend that £40 on cheap wine.

And then there’s the whole “not being LGBTQI+ friendly” thing

Another big no-no: eharmony isn’t LGBTQI+ friendly. Offering men seeking men or women seeking women options should be a no-brainer — but eharmony’s founders are pretty conservative. Neil Warren, the now 84-year-old cofounder and CEO, insists that the whole ordeal wasn’t homophobic. “We didn’t want to pretend to be experts on gay and lesbian couples,” said Warren in a 2016 CNN article. “We’re not anti-gay at all …It’s a different match.”

But come on dude — you guys have been studying and perfecting the matchmaking process for nearly 20 years and have all of these fancy dimensions of connections, but you don’t understand same sex or queer relationship dynamics? 

To settle a 2005 discrimination lawsuit brought against eharmony by same-sex couples, the site launched a gay and lesbian-specific site called Compatible Partners in 2009. That’s great and all — the world needs more serious dating sites for gay and lesbian singles that aren’t totally sexualised. We just feel like that’s not something that should have been pushed to the back burner until legal action was taken. While some users won’t care about this (because it doesn’t affect them), some users will be avidly against supporting such a company — even if they’re straight. 

Alternatives

Fast-paced apps like Hinge are obvious competitors, and though Hinge is definitely a step up from the hookup atmosphere that Tinder and Bumble give off, it’s certainly not where you go to find a person to marry. So yes, they’re competitors, but also not really. Where they do compete, though, is in their app versions: eharmony’s smartphone app is just crappy, and young people are not having it. eharmony’s current CEO is on top of this, though, and knows that millennials are the ones to win over. He’s said that they’re working to become a better competitor with swiping apps, as well as make same sex matches available on eharmony instead of a completely separate site. 

Match and OkCupid are the biggest competitors in our opinion, and probably what you’ll see everyone comparing eharmony to if you do any research on your own. Both of those give significantly more freedom when it comes to “playing the field” and browsing loads of nearby people and have the ability to match with profiles even if their algorithm didn’t suggest it. That could be better or worse, depending on how much help you think you need in the choosing area. If your dating history has a pattern of life-ruining people who your parents hate, maybe sitting back and letting eharmony do the selecting is a good change of pace. When researching on Reddit, we saw multiple people mentioning that they found significantly more matches on eharmony compared to Match, that “sucks.” To each their own, we guess.

The final verdict

If you’re tired of having your feelings messed with, eharmony is your best bet when it comes to finding someone who wants something just as serious. Because the process is so drawn out and calculated, you might want to sit down and really think about if you want a long term relationship or if you genuinely want marriage ASAP, because eharmony is a lot of time and money that you’re not going to be happy about losing if you’re not on it for the right reasons. 

Not being able to browse the dating pool at all will probably be a new concept to most, and having extremely limited freedom can definitely turn into a pain. But it’s clear that the people you’ve picked by yourself in the past weren’t the right choices, so it may be time to let eharmony take the wheel. 

But the site has seen some major updates since it first went up, and they’re slowly but surely making the jump to an at least somewhat progressive site. They’re no AdultFriendFinder, but they’re not Christian Mingle either. Regardless, if you can ignore the bad parts, it’s where marriage-minded individuals can go to find people who take dating as seriously as they do — and confirm that being a hopeless romantic is normal and adorable, not desperate.  

Start making your profile here.