James Long, Ph.D., P.E. Retired Analog and RF Consulting Engineer
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Brother Cysa Dime has authored a book on the seven deadly sins. I recommend it and his how to study the Bible book. Both are available on Amazon.
The review is in several parts, Problems common to all sites, Problems specific to eharmony, My experience, general observations
Problems common to all sites
The fundamental limitation of all sites is that you are only shown other members of the site and not the general public. Some years ago the only people on the Internet were adventurous people from home and responsible people from work. These were the first people on the dating sites and they got married off early on. This has gotten more serious with time. Now only the dregs of society are on dating sites. They have totally fake profiles. Now it is the general public on the Internet and the general public who are not adventurous or have responsible jobs that are on the dating sites.
Most of the people on these sites are there because of lack of success in personal encounters. Such people have some combination of four problems which hampered their success in personal encounters and will make them unsuccessful on the dating site: They have undesirable traits (that you will not live with). They have unrealistic expectations (no one is good enough for them). They are poor observers (you are exactly what they are looking for but there is no way to convince them). They have a disconnect between their intellect and emotions (the intellect writes the profile and the emotions want something else and reject the people who are like the profile).
A recent survey of happily married couples with Internet access showed that only 3% of them met on dating sites. The rate on eharmony is under 1% per year.
Another problem these people have is that they look for symbols instead of reality. They want security but are attracted to people with flashy possessions and no money in the bank because they equate possessions with wealth. One of my older friends was successful at investing and was worth tens of millions of dollars but rented a house because he could get a better return in the stock market. He had small amounts of bland possessions. Women avoided him because he did not own a house.
Another fundamental limitation is legal liability. The sites will not list the undesirable qualities of the members even if the personality tests catch these undesirable qualities. As a result, everyone, including Jack The Ripper, Charles Manson or even Satan, will get a favorable description.
To make these tests even less believable is that the people answering the questions can put on a false front or have mental illness delusions about themselves. You will get matched to a dream and not the real person.
The sites let the members fill in facts about themselves. These can be false. Photos can be years old. I have seen some that from the styles were twenty years old. No photo usually means mental illness that results in eating disabilities.
Another fundamental limitation is the poor results of psychological tests. These have been around for 70+ years and have proved unreliable because people can answer the questions untruthfully. A famous Silicon Valley church 30 years ago would not perform marriages for people unless they went through weeks of counseling and standardized psychological tests. The people who passed these tests had a marriage misery rate equal to the general public which got married at random.
If these sites were really interested in people having happy marriages, they would have free pages listing pointers to consider in selecting a mate.click here for my list
Problems specific to eharmony
The test of 29 qualities that cause marital friction do not include such universal show-stoppers as mental illness, dishonesty, marital unfaithfulness, selfishness, caustic relatives, and so on. As a result you will be matched with such people. After all, the site owner would make less money if such people were not given the option of buying a membership.
The test does is not totally accurate on the 29 traits. I was told that I was too reserved. I am pretty much the opposite. I was an Army Captain and served in Vietnam. I have run a successful consulting business in Silicon Valley for 20 years. The Yahoo test was more accurate. It even noted my knowing what I wanted and being able to sense it in women early on.
You will be shown profiles of people who have not paid for a membership or have discovered the things I have described above and have not returned to the site for months and will never see your first communication to them. You cannot tell because the date of their last visit is not listed as it is on most other sites.
One amusing thing is that the book by the site owner warns against marrying overweight people because they usually have mental illness problems. The site does not allow listing of weight or using weight to screen matches. After all, the site owner would make less money if overweight people got no matches. Instead they take over a week (the free period) before they find out that everyone will close the matches on them.
The way the site advertises the test is misleading in the same way dishonest journalists tell lies of omission. There are three stages of marriage. The first five years is the romantic excitement phase. The last five years is the nurse-caregiver phase. The middle many years is the low key companion-business partner phase. The test of 29 points of friction are for this middle phase which is the majority of the duration of a marriage. This is very good. The problem is that the site advertising implies that you will experience unbearably intense orgasmic pleasures from being around someone with the same investment philosophy as yours.
If you do not believe me so far do an Internet search for the experiences of people or ask around for information amongst your friends.
My experience on eharmony
I was on the site for 11 months before my membership was terminated because I said in my profile that the profiles hid the mental illness problems of the people. I got 1000+ matches. Less than ten of those were within 200 miles of me (Silicon Valley) and most were 2000+ miles away. Almost all of them did not pay to join the site. Most of them had serious problems of eating disabilities. Many of them that did communicate with me had serious mental illness problems.
I ended up being good pen pals (or is it key pals?) with three of them that were 2500+ miles away. One was a widow in the South who communicated with me because she did not like her other matches. After a month she did not renew.
One had serious moral problems. She dressed to overly-emphasize her hourglass body shape (read this huge breasts and small waste) and legs at work and dated married men. She ended up getting married to someone she met in ordinary social encounters locally.
The third put on such a good false front that it took me ten months to discover it. Up front I listed five things I would not put up with in a wife. She assured me that she did not do them. She actually did all of them frequently. I guess after ten months she forgot about my list and let slip that she was doing them.
If you want a good laugh, here are some examples of the lunatics I was matched with. One thought that being a blond was the cat's meow of beauty. She got all upset when I told her that my first choice was naturally red hair and my second choice was naturally black hair. She had posted an obviously 20 year old professionally retouched photo of herself and thought that being a BS level of researcher on learning also made her God's gift to civilization. Ph.D. level researchers at universities have been doing research in learning for 100 years. Another claimed that my photo showed by shirt being so small that the buttons were about to be pulled off. The shirt I wore in the photo fit before I lost 25 pounds taking me down to 155 pounds at 5 ft 10 inches tall with a short neck.
Three years later I tried the site again. This time I got a totally different personality evaluation. This means that at least once and possibly both times I was scientifically mismatched to the women. The second time I only got wimpy women who were afraid of their own shadows and frequently were frigid prudes suffering from the trauma of their divorce.
They have dishonest advertising. They tell the annual number of marriage but a little grammar school arithmetic will reveal that around 0.2% of the members get married each year. As in real life, these will be mostly thin, physically attractive people with happy outlooks on life. I suspect that widows are more likely to get married than the divorced.
The rumors of fake matches is true. In the first three days I had several women initiate the communication process with me. In the remainder of the three months there were none of these. The day before my membership expired I removed my photos and deleted all parts of my about me section. In the first field I said that my membership had expired and I would not pay to renew it. In the following week I got 4 communications initiated by matches. For the fun of it I tried responding to the last of the four. I filled out the questions and then was told that I had to pay for a membership to send the results to the match.
You will probably not get any benefit from a dating site unless you are in a rural area miles away from other people.
If you insist on joining a site, do it for the minimum time period so you can get rejected by everyone you like for the lowest economic cost. If you join eHarmony you need to raise a stink to get them to not automatically renew which is the default. Another option is to pay with a credit card that will expire before your membership.