“I’m thinking of trying online dating, but I have no idea where to start!”
This is such a common challenge for single moms. While they may have been out of the dating market for years (or, face it: decades), or ready to try a new way to meet people, online dating is alluring.
But, it also comes with all kinds of questions, including which site to use:
A swipe app? A niche site such as Equestrian Singles or Mullet Passions? (Yes, these are actual sites!) Or a more mainstream site, with members from all walks of life with varying interests in all kinds of dating: serious, casual, sexy, long-term?
If you are sure you want a serious, long-term, committed relationship or marriage, there are two clear leaders in the dating site scene: eHarmony and EliteSingles.
eHarmony site frequently markets with the line:
“Every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eHarmony. It's FREE to review your single, compatible matches!”
If this sounds good, read on.
eHarmony is not a site for hookups and booty calls. For those encounters, there are other quality places to get your needs met.
The pros and cons of all the major dating sites are explained in detail in this post, Which dating sites are best for single moms? But before you rush and sign up, here’s what you need to know about eHarmony first to make sure it’s the right choice for you.
How does eHarmony work?
eHarmony uses science to match you and potential amores.
In this swipe-happy generation, it can be tough to make a real connection. For many, the mentality is “hot or not,” which, for those seeking a genuine relationship, can make online dating sometimes feel empty, even mean-spirited.
That’s why eHarmony is so amazing; instead of relying on looks alone, all members must take a compatibility quiz upon signing up, which works to determine who your best matches will be.
eHarmony uses actual science, not just your likes and dislikes, to match you with potential suitors who really “get” you, and with whom you have the highest chances of a meaningful connection.
eHarmony uses what it calls “main effects,” which is “the potential direct impact of your traits and your partner’s traits on your and their feelings” to figure out what kind of person you should be with, making it different than almost any other dating website out there.
What are the chances of meeting quality people on eHarmony?
The compatibility screening digs deep. eHarmony’s algorithm delves into who you are as a person, a method that has proved successful for thousands of users. In a survey of 20,000 couples who married after meeting on eHarmony, only 3.9 percent divorced, compared to 6.9 percent of couples who met in other ways.
With eHarmony, it can be that simple and that easy to find your match. It wasn’t until I began using eHarmony and had a lot more viable prospects that I finally felt online dating was a good fit for me.
Signing up for eHarmony is a commitment, though, one that could take more than an hour of your time.
After doing the basics, including adding a pleasing photo of yourself and filling in general information such as where you live and your age, you then get hit with a 150-question compatibility quiz that asks everything from what you believe your best traits are to what qualities you want a potential mate to possess during difficult times.
If you can’t finish the questionnaire in one sitting and need more time to answer these hard-hitting questions, don’t worry, you can come back to it later.
Brace yourself; the questions will cause you to be introspective, so get ready to learn about yourself in addition to others on the site.
Do you go through mood swings? Does life sometimes seem meaningless? Are you attracted to black men? Do you like to spend time alone?
One of the best, and possibly the worst, qualities about eHarmony is that almost nothing is left unsaid when it comes to filling out your profile. If you don’t hit on a topic in your bio, you’ve likely touched on it in your compatibility quiz. The idea is that no stone is left unturned, with the goal of increasing the chances of finding a partner with whom you will feel that elusive spark.
In this vein, users can see everyone who looks at their profile and use that information to eventually make decisions about whether they’re interested in a particular match and vice versa. Did you like the way his smile downturned a little in the corner? Send him a message!
Did you like the way he looked on that motorcycle? Tell him so! eHarmony encourages you to start a chat with those matches who pique your interest, based both on the results of the compatibility quiz and physical appearance.
How much does eHarmony cost? Is there a free trial?
Unlike it's competitors like EliteSingles, eHarmony does not have a free trial.
Instead, eHarmony offers plans for 6-months, 12-months and 24-months subscriptions plans, with discounts for first-time users:
- 6-month membership: $29.95 / month [minimum contract]
- 12-month membership: $22.95 / month
- 24-month membership: $14.95 / month
By comparison, EliteSingles does have a free basic version, and allows you to sign up at a month at a time.
Learn more about the differences between EliteSingles and eHarmony in this comparison. Both sites are leaders in the online dating space for singles looking for serious, long-term, committed relationships, including marriage.
What kind of people are on eHarmony?
eHarmony has about 750,000 paid subscribers and 10 million active users, which means eHarmony has all kinds of people!
Whether you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, black, Asian or Caucasian, love dogs or hate chinchillas, there’s a potential special someone for every member on eHarmony. However, it's important to recognize that online dating experience can also vary by geography, just like with other sites.
eHarmony has long had a reputation, perpetuated by its marketing, that it attracts relationship- and commitment-minded singles.
What makes eHarmony unique?
eHarmony’s unique science is focused on compatibility
eHarmony’s long, involved quiz and matching process really does stand out among dating sites. It serves more as a digital matchmaker, than a swipe-left-right app or speed-dating platform.
eHarmony attracts more serious daters
Because of its long history of focusing on serious relationships, including marriage, eHarmony appeals to singles who are looking for commitment.
Verification process for added security
What’s also nice about eHarmony is its state-of-the-art ID verification, providing you with an added level of comfort and security that the person you’re meeting is who he says he is.
eHarmony routinely closes accounts for a multitude of reasons, and this can give you some peace of mind when using online dating for the first time. Of course, always, always stay alert. Nothing’s a given, no matter how thorough the screening.
Instant conversation starters
eHarmony requires each user to create an in-depth profile, which means you have plenty of information to use to strike up a conversation on that first phone conversation or date.
It’s a lot easier to prep for a first date when you already know that the guy has kids around the same age as yours, and doesn’t like Indian food. You may even be able to avoid a few awkward moments over appetizers, such as finding out your date is interested in making America great again in a different way than you are.
Is eHarmony a good dating app for single parents?
Yes! Many eHarmony users are single moms and dads—including those who find love and marriage (if that is your goal)! Thanks to eHarmony security measures that ensure that each person is who they say they are, as well as the deep survey, the chances of attracting quality people who are also single parents, or open to dating a single parent, are higher than some of the more general dating apps.
The opportunity to move at your own pace
The best part about chatting on eHarmony stems from their “Quick Questions” option, which allows users to select questions they would most like their matches to answer.
This is a great way to help you (and the other person) learn information about potential matches that is important to you — as well as express to other singles what your priorities are.
With the ability to chat before meeting, it's also more likely you will feel comfortable by the time you’re ready to meet for drinks or dinner. A first date can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t been on one for a while. When I first jumped back into the dating pool, I hadn’t so much as had a phone call with a dating prospect I didn’t know beforehand in decades. Having the extra cushion of “getting to know you” time made first dates less of a big deal and more of a fun experience. And isn't that the way they’re supposed to be?
Does eHarmony have any drawbacks? Common user complaints?
Compatibility testing isn’t always accurate
It’s difficult to trust an algorithm to find a match for you based on answers you plug into a form. There are bound to be some errors and irregularities. For the best results, fully answer every question with as much honesty as you can, just like you would with any other dating site as well as in real life!
With that said, since you can’t pick matches for yourself — eHarmony does that for you based on the answers you give on its compatibility testing — it’s crucial that you’re as truthful as possible. There aren’t shortcuts to finding better matches on eHarmony, which can be negative and positive. You must work hard for them, too.
The more you know, the worse a date can be
Sometimes a first date is filled with magic because you spent the entire time learning about someone you knew nothing about before. Sometimes, especially when you have experienced heartache and disappointment, a long list of information about a potential date can actually be a long list of reasons to talk yourself out taking a risk and saying yes to meeting.
With so much information available to you beforehand, you run the risk of losing some of the butterflies you may have felt otherwise. But what I can attest to is this: some of the best conversations I’ve had while on a first date stemmed from a tidbit from the guy’s profile, leading to a greater understanding of the individual and a much more meaningful connection.
Surprises aren’t always pleasant, however, and a spark does sometimes lead to a fire. That said, being prepared never hurt anyone and online dating led me to my most successful relationship so far.
Unlike other apps and websites, eHarmony doesn’t want you to be a member forever. The goal of the site is to take your online relationship offline.
Is the LGBTQ community welcomed on eHarmony?
eHarmony arose during a time when the world wasn’t as accepting of a place as it should have been. In 2005, eHarmony became the subject of a very public lawsuit as a result of its discrimination against members sexual preference. As part of its settlement, in 2009, eHarmony launched Compatible Partners, a dating site dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
Today, eHarmony and Compatible Partners founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren claims success in helping many gay and lesbian people find their match. No matter your sexuality, the compatibility testing on Compatible Partners’ website works the same as it does on eHarmony’s and is meant to match all members “based on 29 dimensions of compatibility,” meaning there’s a place for everyone wanting to use online dating to find love and companionship.
Lucky for you, eHarmony and Compatible Partners’ algorithm changes every day to make sure it’s working to match you with someone as beautiful as you are, inside and out. And maybe even likes sushi, the beach, and can play a little tennis, too.
Elite Singles online dating website review—how does it compare to eHarmony for finding a serious relationship? Check out EliteSingles for free now >>
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.