Whether you’re new to online dating or an experienced dater, you’ve almost certainly encountered eharmony. It’s a well-established option for online dating, and even people who have never used it likely know at least a little bit about the platform. 

But how does eharmony work? Compared to many other dating apps and websites, it’s a surprisingly involved process that incorporates dozens of personality questions and an algorithm that calculates a custom compatibility score for each pairing on the site. If you’re wondering how one of the first dating sites functions, who you’ll find on eharmony, what safety features are built into the experience, and whether you’re likely to meet your match on the site, keep reading. 

1. A Scientific Approach to Matchmaking

In 2000, long before online dating became ubiquitous, Neil Clark Warren and his son-in-law Greg Forgatch launched eharmony. Neil had spent many years as a psychologist, primarily treating couples. 

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  • Over 2 million people have found love here
  • Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
  • Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals

These experiences, along with his research, led him to write several books and eventually create eharmony. It became the first site to match singles based on a number of compatibility factors, bringing a scientific approach to the experience of dating. 

2. Connecting Singles Based on Personalities

So how does eharmony help you meet your match? They have a lengthy personality assessment which allows you to share everything from your hobbies to your goals to your dating dealbreakers and more. 

After you’ve filled out enough of this information, eharmony is able to see which users have answers similar to yours and suggest matches. In addition to the personality test, the site also allows you to set your own match preferences, making it easier to find someone who fits what you’re looking for. 

3. Compatibility Test Makes Matching More Accurate

Unlike many dating sites or apps, which suggest matches based on little more than geography, eharmony’s Compatibility Quiz takes a deep dive. Users can fill out a 70-question quiz to answer questions about their personality traits, values, and what they’re looking for in a relationship. Eharmony takes these results and creates a Personality Profile for each user. Then, the site takes this information and calculates Compatibility Scores based on the Personality Profiles of you and your potential match. 

eharmony compatibility text

Compatibility scores are shown on the top left corner of each member profile. Scores can range from 60 to 140. If you have a compatibility score of 60-99, you have a “base-level” eharmony score. If it’s 100-109, you have a good chance of connecting. And if it’s 110+, this is “an off-the-charts result” and eharmony “highly recommends you send them a message.” 

All of that said, it is possible to use eharmony without taking the compatibility test. If you’d rather skip the lengthy quiz, eharmony will instead match you based on some basic demographic information.

4. Free Basic Membership Allows Users to Get Comfortable

Don’t want to commit to a paid membership? Good news: The eharmony Basic membership is free for as long as you want. In other words, it’s not a free trial that automatically upgrades you after a certain period. With a Basic membership, you’re able to see all your member profiles and filter within Member Preferences once you’ve filled out the Compatibility Quiz. You can also see primary profile information, send and receive Smiles and Icebreakers, respond to a first message, browse anonymously and see who’s visited your profile.

eharmony premium membership

Some important features, however, are only available through a Premium membership. For instance, messaging your matches beyond that initial message is a Premium feature. This tier also unlocks features like the ability to see all of your matches’ photos, unlimited matches and enhanced search. 

If you’re looking to find a relationship, the Premium tier is certainly the better option. After all, how can you start a relationship if you can’t really message your match? But if you’re just looking to get a sense of how eharmony works, the Basic membership is an easy way to learn more about the platform and see if it’s for you.  

5. Diverse User Base Means There’s Someone for Everyone

Eharmony has over 10 million active users and over 750,000 paid subscribers, so the odds are great that you’ll find someone you’re interested in. It has a nearly even gender distribution:48% of users are men and 52% are women. 

eharmony user base

eharmony users must be at least 18 to use the site. eharmony users are people of all ages, from college students all the way up to senior daters. Most daters on the site tend to be 30 or older. One estimate suggests that 30% of the eharmony users are 18 to 24, another 18% are 25 to 34, and 20% are 35 to 44. At the top end of the age demographic, 18% of users are 45 to 54 and 14% are over 55. 

It has a geographically diverse user base, with members coming from all over the world, including the U.S. You’ll find people of many races, ethnicities, religions, and education levels, which makes it easy to meet someone who’s a good match for you. 

6. In-Depth Profiles Built for Finding Serious Relationships

The majority of users on eharmony are seeking a serious relationship, rather than hookups. That’s why most people say they are seeking profiles with plenty of information about the person’s likes, dislikes, values and what they want in a relationship. Luckily, the built-in Compatibility Quiz covers all of this and more. You’ll want to make sure you fill out all of your answers to receive the best matches. The more information you give the platform to work with, the better it will be at finding your matches. 

profiles on eharmony

Additionally, users can add depth to their profiles by adding unique photos and being thoughtful about what they put in their profile. This is the space for you to share fun stories, details about yourself, and everything else that makes you you. If you’re stumped on how to create a captivating profile, check out our eharmony tips or ask a close friend to help you choose pictures and write responses to the prompts. 

7. Guided Communication Helps Members Connect Faster

Eharmony offers multiple ways to have a conversation with someone who catches your eye. If you’re a Basic or Premium member, you can send an Icebreaker. The Icebreaker feature presents you with five pairs of images and asks you to choose the one you like the most and send your selections to a match. Then, they make their own selections and you both get to see the other’s response. It’s an undeniably fun and lighthearted way to get the ball rolling. 

eharmony conversation features

Another communication feature eharmony offers is Guided Communication. This can be a useful feature to help you screen your matches before diving into a full conversation. Guided Communication allows you to send five simple questions of your choosing for your match to answer.

You can then exchange 10 “Must Haves” and 10 “Can’t Stands,” followed by another round of prewritten in-depth questions. After that, you can move to Open Communication, where you’re just chatting on your own, or you can continue to use eharmony’s features to help move things along. 

If you’d rather just get straight to it, it’s possible to move straight to Open Communication without going through the Guided Communication prompts. If you want some conversation starters to inspire you, check out our list of the best online dating conversation starters

8. Prioritizing Safety and Privacy to Protect Singles

One of the most important aspects — perhaps the most important aspect — of any dating platform is how it keeps users safe. Luckily, eharmony has plenty of methods to protect daters. It’s generally considered one of the safest options for online daters.

Your profile will always be private, meaning it’s only visible to compatible users on the site rather than the entire internet. Only profiles with photos will be visible on the site. 

Additionally, the eharmony Trust and Safety team uses multiple methods to weed out fake profiles, so you can feel confident the person you’re chatting with is a real person. You can also report profiles that seem strange to you, and eharmony will investigate. 

safety on eharmony

There’s no need to worry about your sensitive information, like contact details or billing info. It’s all encrypted on eharmony and won’t ever be posted anywhere on the site. Last but not least, the site gives users the ability to block and report any profiles that are offensive or suspicious.

Whether you’re on eharmony or on any other dating sites, it’s important to follow some basic safety practices. You should never share financial information with someone you’re chatting with, and you’ll also want to take care not to share information like your address, place of work, where your kids go to school, or any other information about your day-to-day that you wouldn’t want a total stranger to have.

When it’s time to meet your match in person, it’s a good idea to have your first date in a public place rather than at either one of your homes. While it’s very unlikely you’ll have an unsafe experience with online dating, it’s always best to be cautious. 

9. Success Stories Show eharmony is Highly Effective

Feeling cynical about online dating is not uncommon, whether you’re new to online dating or you’ve been at it for a while. “There’s no way this will really work,” you may think to yourself. But bear in mind that eharmony is responsible for bringing together more than 2 million couples in the US alone! There are plenty of eharmony success stories, and you don’t have to look far to find them.

Here are just a few from the eharmony Success Stories page:

[Anne] was impressed with how thorough the Personality Profile was and even thought to herself, ‘I just pray this works!’ A few weeks later, she was matched with Brian. They agreed to wear the silliest outfits on their first dinner date in 2010 and have been inseparable ever since. Now they have been blessed with 10 incredible years of marriage. 

Anne & Brian: Married April 9, 2011

Brittany and Willie started their first conversation on eharmony in 2018, and they haven’t stopped talking ever since. Brittany said it truly was love at first sight, and she knew he was the one by the end of their first date. The two felt that they were made for each other and were married in a romantic ceremony in Paris at the beginning of 2020. They welcomed their first child in 2021 and are excited to raise their baby son together.

Richard’s first message to Sara on eharmony was a Game of Thrones pick-up line! She thought it was cheesy but cute and was excited that they had a shared interest. A lot of their scores on the eharmony Compatibility Quiz were very similar – the quiz helps narrow down the dating pool so people can have an easier time finding ‘the right one.’ … After talking for a couple of months, they finally set up their first date and it felt so easy because they already knew so much about each other.

FAQs: How Does eharmony’s Matching Algorithm Work?

Wondering how eharmony’s matching algorithm works? While the company hasn’t made all the details public, the experts at DatingAdvice have a pretty good idea of how eharmony helps you find your matches. It’s primarily based on the Compatibility Quiz that users are prompted to fill out when they sign up.

The questions go far deeper than the usual dating apps or sites, with daters being asked things like “What are the three things you’re thankful for?” and “Are you open to meet a partner who already has children?” 

eharmony matchmaking algorithm

Eharmony then takes your answers on the personality quiz and compares them with the answers other users have given. Then it matches you with users who have given compatible answers and whose preferences match yours as far as gender, geographic distance and other factors you’ve set in your Member Preferences. 

The site will deliver suggested matches to your inbox each day. As you review them, pay attention to the scores for how compatible you two are according to a list of traits. The higher the score, the more likely it is to be a match.   

Can I Meet an LGBTQ Partner on the Platform?

You certainly can! While eharmony hasn’t always been the most LGBTQ-friendly dating site, it made some notable changes in August 2023. eharmony collaborated with GLAAD to find ways it could better serve LGBTQ users.  

One major change: Users can now choose from an expansive list of gender identities when they sign up to use eharmony. In addition to male, female and nonbinary, eharmony now offers options like agender, genderqueer, pangender, questioning, transgender nonbinary and several others.

lgbtq dating on eharmony

Members can indicate whether they’re searching for men, women, nonbinary people or any combination of the above. This makes it possible for same-sex daters as well as people who are bisexual or date outside the gender binary to connect. 

In addition to eharmony, there are many other queer dating sites that are good for LGBTQ singles. We’ve rounded up the best lesbian dating sites, best gay dating sites, best bisexual dating apps and best transgender dating sites for you to explore. 

Is eharmony Good For Hookups?

No, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find one on the site. Eharmony tends to attract users who are seeking a serious relationship rather than a hookup or friends-with-benefits situation. But with millions of active users, there’s sure to be at least a few who are looking for something casual.

If you’re determined to use eharmony for this purpose, we’d recommend being upfront about seeking a hookup rather than a relationship, either in your profile or your initial messages with a match. 

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There are other dating sites and apps that may be more fruitful if you’re looking to hook up. Our list of the best sites for hookups includes Ashley Madison, Grindr, Adult Friend Finder and Feeld, among several others. 

You Can Find a Lasting Relationship on eharmony

Singles who want to meet their match should give eharmony a shot! The Basic membership is a low-stakes way to get acquainted with the site, while the Premium membership offers a suite of features that make it possible to communicate with potential dates in a multitude of ways.

What truly sets eharmony apart is the detailed personality assessment that asks users to honestly answer dozens of questions about their interests, values and what they’re looking for in a relationship. 

eharmony then takes this information and uses its algorithm to find people who are compatible and suggests that they get the ball rolling with an Icebreaker or Guided Conversation prompt. While users are learning more about their matches, they can rest easy knowing that eharmony’s Trust and Safety team is working to keep the site a safe and friendly place for everyone.

Daters of all backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, locations, and ages can find a lasting relationship on eharmony. If you’ve still got questions, read our in-depth review of eharmony to learn more about the dating platform.

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