August 17, 2009

eharmony: i am not compatible

due to my much-publicized dating foibles, i've been asked a number of times why i don't try eharmony. i've heard good things about the site - for example, that the people registered there are more serious about finding a relationship, and that there are a number of real success stories to have come from that site, etc.

that doesn't change the fact that i will never use eharmony, though.

some history: eharmony was founded by Dr Neil Clark Warren, a (formerly) vocal christian fundamentalist. he has deep ties to Focus on the Family, a right wing christian group that promotes marriage and family - e.g., marriage is the fundamental glue that holds society together, which inherently means that homosexuality is trying to ruin the moral fabric of our society. their website is full of helpful articles on how to "prevent" homosexuality in your kids, theories that homosexuality is the result of sexual abuse and masturbation, and the fascinating information that while AIDS wasn't necessarily sent here specifically to punish the gays, they do pretty much deserve it.

charming, no? in any event, Warren was a "longtime friend" of Focus on the Family's founder, James Dobson, and used FoF's wide-reaching popularity to initially promote eharmony to the christian market. he only distanced himself from Dobson's evangelical views once eharmony took off and he wanted to appeal to a broader customer base. (somewhat ironically, while Dobson and FoF initially appeared hurt that Warren dropped them like a hot potato, they're now quite anti-eharmony themselves because eharmony is no longer "christian enough.")

so while eharmony isn't just for conservative christians anymore - or even just for christians - it IS still just for heterosexuals. Warren has explained that all his "scientific research" into the dynamics of successful relationships has only been performed on straight couples, so he has NO IDEA if it would even WORK on those gay types! i mean, who KNOWS how their relationships work, am i right?! it would be CRAZY to think that matching them up based on values and intelligence would work like it does on normal people!!

eharmony has been sued twice due to this policy, and as a result of the NJ lawsuit they gave in and decided to provide their service for gay couples..... on a separate website. which remains faithful the ol' tradition of separate but equal, no doubt. (take a look at the two websites - compatible partners looks like a fake website front compared to the eharmony site, and includes a disclaimer that they've done absolutely no research into same-sex couples so WHO KNOWS if this will even WORK, GOD.)

ultimately, i'm not sure how i feel about the lawsuits - it is a private service that you have to pay to use, which i suppose gives you the right to accept or refuse money from whoever you want, even if does make you a bigot - but i do know that personally, i definitely have the right to boycott a site that is anti-gay.

in related news, there is a national equality march happening in dc on october 11th. hopefully i'll see some of you there :-)


  1. I'm so glad you wrote this because I'm against eharmony for those reasons as well. And not many people know all that!

    Way to go sister. Take a stand!

  2. Yeah, even though I've been out of the dating world for a few years, that pretty much sums up my issues with that site as well.

  3. THANK. YOU. For writing this. This is also the reason I stopped reading Weddingbee--they got bought out by eHarmony. So disappointing.

  4. You've pretty summed up why I can't stand them.

    Good post lady.

  5. Now that is some serious food for thought.

  6. yeah... something about a company matchmaking while rooted in ancient, out-dated ideology about relationships seems destined to fail

  7. I never knew that about them. Good for you for refusing to deal with that BS.

  8. I like a woman who stands behind her principles and integrity.

  9. I never knew that about eharmony. If I'm ever single again, they won't get my business!

  10. eHarmony makes me want to gag. My ex-boyfriend actually got rejected by their site, so I decided to go register and see what would happen if I tried to join. Miraculously, I was accepted, but I nearly puked from all the obviously Christian propaganda. I love it that Atheism isn't even an option.

    I didn't know all this stuff about them being so hateful and anti-gay, but now that I do, I want to see them succeed even less. It makes me physically ill.

  11. I just started a slow-clap at my desk. True story.

  12. Wow. I had no idea. I'm going to have to read that again to let it all sink in. I've joined eHarmony and am a heterosexual Christian, but would never condone the condemnation of homosexuality. I wonder how Warren would feel about the fact that I am an unwed mother... I probably wouldn't be compatible for the site.

    (Hey, my word verification is compat. How funny.)

  13. I knew this but I just think EHarmony is lame, full-stop.

    I am a proud Christian but I'm also a proud drinker and supporter of gay rights and pro-choice and yadda yadda which usually means the lovely Christian community just turns against me anyway :S

    so I know even though I fit into the "christian" set, I'd be too much of a heathen for that website.

    That said, not everyone that doesn't support gay rights is bad and Christians have the right to believe what they want. Just playing Devil's Advocate here. But obviously, why belong to a site if it doesn't jibe with your beliefs.

    I just hate how people are so quick to hate on Christians and their beliefs, just because some right-wing assholes take things so far - we aren't all judgemental, no-fun bigots...

  14. @wanderlusting - completely agree. and if the site itself was just geared toward christians, i'd likely simply ignore the site and sign up with a different one. i mean, it's not like i get all hot under the collar because jdate caters to the jewish market. it's the heavily right wing anti-gay issue that really gets my panties in a bunch.

  15. I didn't know that about eHarmony until I was with my friends in NYC last week---I asked my Internet dater friend why she didn't try eHarmony after matched her with a slug that we all knew---


  16. OMG, I had no idea. Thank you for enlightening me.

  17. My best friend and his wife met on eH. That said, I refuse to use it for the same reasons you stated. Also, a friend of my brother and his wife used eH and was matched up...with her ex-husband. Guess they really were compatible after all. Or not.

  18. Interesting. Lots of venom. I heard Dr. Warren speak BEFORE eHarmony got huge. His methods are very solid for match finding. They could be applied to any relationship. If you pick up one of his early books like "Finding The Love Of Your Life" you find SOLID relationship principals. It's interesting people will drop a good idea because they don't like their beliefs or preferences. ( I suggest you read the TOC and tell me what's anti-homosexual about it )

    It seems people who don't believe in homosexuality aren't allowed to have their opinion? Is that what I'm hearing? I think I heard the baby go out with the bath water.

    No matter the case, his methods and research are solid. I've known numerous people who are very happily married after reading his books because they followed his advice. eHarmony is an extension of his work. You know, his Ph.D. The thing most people don't even think about pursuing.

    Or they have at least found a great method for sizing up people they date. And if that's what you are looking for, well, then I don't see why you are killing the messenger.

  19. knot - you've completely missed my point. if his methods are so fantastic, why deny them to gay people? if they work, they work. there's no reason they wouldn't work on homosexual relationships, unless you don't believe gay people should be ALLOWED to have relationships.

    i'm not sure exactly what messenger i'm killing. but the other point you've missed is that i don't care how effective his site is: i won't give money to an organization that doesn't believe homosexuality should be allowed. i'm not denying him or anyone else an opinion, but on the flip side i'm allowed to refrain from financing someone whose ideals i do not agree with.

  20. I didn't know eharmony was like that! As if homosexuals need ONE more place to be treated as less than human. That is just wrong. I am happy you are not using them.

  21. Obviously late to the party here, and with an unpopular opinion to boot:
    There are plenty of online sites out there to choose from, and this particular one is apparently clear in its perimeters. Why does that bother you so much? Is it really, truly that different from the jdate site? (Does jdate match up same-sex couples?)

    If it was a public institution, it would be WRONG. But this is a private company and has set itself up for a specific service. If I were looking for a mate online, I would choose whichever company most closely matched my philosophy.

    Anyhow, that's my 2-cents.

  22. Whoop Whoop. That's me raising the roof.

  23. exactly why I too would never use them again. One month and then I found out the background of the founder and that was it.

  24. I'll agree with kcinnova. And, I'll answer more to your point. You're upset for the wrong reason. I don't buy a car from a used lot and then go back and ask for maintenance. They don't offer that service. You're asking them to offer a service they don't provide.

    As a business, they can choose what services they offer. They choose not to offer a matching service for homosexuals.

    They may not because:

    - it's not profitable
    - they have no experience
    - their model doesn't work for homosexuality
    - they just don't want to

    Since homosexuality is a choice - you DO choose who you date and have sex with - it's not a protected status. When it comes down to it, you CHOOSE who you have a relationship with.

    It's still amusing to me that you care since you appear to be heterosexual; why do you care if they offer their services to homosexuals?

    This argument is really like listening to someone complain about a TV show they can't stand. Why do you watch it if you don't like it?

    You're saying you have no power to get up and change the channel or ignore it. There are tons of other businesses that offer services to homosexuals. eHarmony does not. Move on and let them do business.

    Forcing them to offer that service doesn't change anything. We already know the homosexual community doesn't want to use them, so how will that help if they are forced to offer that service? We also know heterosexuals may leave if that is offered. So you're going to hurt them either way.

    If you like their service use it. If you don't, stop whining and move on.

  25. knot: i'm sorry, but you're wrong.

    a) homosexuality is not a choice. are you telling me you "chose" to be straight? would you care to tell me in detail about the time you thought seriously about having sex with a man, and then "chose" to decide to be attracted to women instead?

    b) oh yes, it's so "amusing" when people stand up for groups they're not a part of! it was "amusing" when blacks wanted to rights too, wasn't it? and "amusing" when women wanted the vote? ah, those were all hilarious times.

    c) your argument about homosexuals having other options is the exact rationale behind segregation in the south. i mean heck, why would a black person even WANT to go to an all-white movie theater? they're probably just showing movies about white people anyway! there are PLENTY of movie theaters where those coloreds can go watch their own movies.

    the issue is not that there are other sites that offer dating services to gay people. the issue is that people like you don't think they DESERVE the same options as the rest of us, and try to hide behind a "business model" to mask their prejudice.

  26. "If you like their service use it. If you don't, stop whining and move on."

    indeed, if you like this blog use it. if you don't, stop whining and move on.

  27. Alice, I just wanted to say that you truly are a classy broad. I would not have been able to respond to either of Knot's comments without a lot of swearing. I'm so happy that there are people like you in the world. People who recognize injustice when they see it and are willing to stand up against it, even when it doesn't directly affect them (I threw up in my mouth a little bit when Knot asked you why you care about the gays seeing as you are straight. Like that's relevant.) I'm going to stop before I get all riled up but I do want to say thanks for writing this post. You rock, lady!

  28. Yeah, eHarmony disgusts me.

  29. I did know this about eHarmony. I even tried recently since it was the anti-eHarmony and accepted EVERYONE.

    But I don't fault anyone for using it. In fact, I know a few friends who have used eHarmony and have found great mates and ended up getting married or will be soon. And these people are my friends and I don't think they are bigots for wanting to use this site.

    On the other hand, I do think that it is WRONG that you can't just have every kind of relationship on eHarmony. Love is love. Whether I date a man or a woman, I still want the same things - I want to be loved and respected. That's UNIVERSAL.

  30. Ew, ugh! I had no idea about this.

    That is so wrong. I will NEVER recommend eHarmony to a friend, or anyone!!!

  31. I really debated with myself about whether I should post a comment or not, I generally don't when it comes to talking about my beliefs because people tend to not listen or talk in circles when I've made a point that they don't like or just resort to infantile use of four letter words.

    But you seem to know what you're talking about as well as being very level headed.

    So can I just say, speaking for the majority of Christians out their, our belief system is based around one thing; "Love", aka, Jesus Christ.

    While I do agree that if you don't like something about a company, no one is forcing it down your throats. I do not believe that knot is being very "loving" which is the whole point of Christianity. I may not personally believe that people who are gay are "born that way" but it's really not my business, for one.

    Eharmony is a Christian based company. Which is why I kind of had to laugh when someone pointed out that there is no option for "Atheism" in their form things, but that also means that they just assume that whoever is using their website is most likely a "believer" and while some "believer's" may be gay, the Christian view point on that is that, whether they can help it or not, it is a sin. Just like smoking, just like cursing, or murder, these are all things that people do, being that we're born hypocrites. This is the basis of our belief system, we sin, Jesus Died to save us, because he loves us, we‘re saved.

    I hope that explains things a little.

    Asking E-harmony to offer services to gay people is liking asking an ice cream shop to fix your tires. The waitress will tell you, "That is not a service we offer or are equipped to offer". You cannot sue them for it, nor can you begrudge them for it without seeming very ignorant and immature.

    If you don't like it, you don't have to support. And good for you for taking a stand in something you believe in.

    Just the same as I choose not to shop at Wal-mart because they destroy local/ small business. No one's forcing me to shop there, therefore, I don't walk in and start yelling in the middle of the store about how they're satanic. lol, I'm just saying.

  32. alaine - thanks for the comment, and especially thank you for voicing an opinion respectfully ;-)

    i do agree with a lot of your points - it's a christian company, so of course it's their right to gear themselves toward christians and/or christian values. i think the place where we differ is in the ice cream shop analogy.

    let's say the ice cream shop was run by christians, so all the ice cream cones have bits of scripture written on them. REALLY not my thing, so i probably wouldn't spend money there, but have no problem with anyone who wants to. so let's say there's a line of people wanting ice cream, and the store serves it to everyone... EXCEPT the hindu couple in line, because the christian owners of the store know that the hindu couple's beliefs and values are in direct conflict to theirs, so they refuse service to JUST the hindus.

    no one would think that was ok (i hope). but when gay people ask for dating services from a dating website, all of a sudden it's a crazy request that's the equivalent of asking for tires from an ice cream shop? when actually, they're just asking for the exact service that the site offers..?

    i appreciate the final point though: it's not like i'm trying to shut down eharmony; i'm just explaining why i don't use it, same as you would tell someone why you don't want to give your money to walmart.

  33. I tried them once. Hours of forms and they gave me the "you are not a personality match into our system, therefore we can't match you." Of course I realize why - I'm a hetero gay-loving Atheist who thinks Religion is the root of all evil, so they probably picked up on that in some of my answers. I like to think my face is on the E-Harmony "Wanted" posters, just like in the post office.

  34. Hell to the yeah, lady. I mean, if I was going to use one, it DEFINITELY wouldn't be the rejudiced one. That in itself would tell me they won't "get me".

  35. Alice,

    You write with courage and with respect for all. Kudos for what you reveal here.

    I send my best,


  36. Amen, sister!! pun intended... These are the same reasons I refuse to use e-Harmony, thanks for writing this

  37. Alice- You are doing so well with these comments. I myself am blowing a gasket.

  38. Also, I can always tell what the churches are teaching on a subject, because it's what EVERY SINGLE PERSON says. "It's not that I'm against having a black president, I just don't think THIS one is the right one for the job." "Asking a dating service to provide dating services for homosexuals is like asking an ice cream shop to provide car repair." "I guess only people who don't discriminate against homosexuals are allowed to have their own opinions and feelings."

  39. Props! This is exactly why I don't use that site, either.

  40. thanks, swistle, for getting me involved :)

    how can i not comment? the whole thing is totally absurd. kudos to you for keeping your cool and backing up your arguments. because honestly whoever up there is saying that homosexuality is a CHOICE makes me CRINGE. have they ever met and talked to gay person? do they honestly think someone would CHOOSE a life of constant struggle? my best friend is gay and i can tell you that if he could, he would most certainly choose to NOT to be gay.

    eHarmony should be ashamed of themselves.

  41. I filled out their whole survey and then was rejected at the end because at the time I was "legally separated" and not "divorced," a question that was asked on the FIRST PAGE of questions. You know, thanks for wasting my time, eHarmony. Now that I've read your post, I'm glad I wasn't accepted. As a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, agnostic, it may have been tough going. I went with and was very happy with it. Also, thanks for having the 'balls' to write this. And then deal so well with all the comments.

  42. I have to chime in here with my own experience with eHarmony. I talked a recently divorced friend into trying out the site...because NO WHERE in it's ads does it mention that it's a Christian dating service. They talk about the "scientific match process", Warren's research as a psychologist and counselor and their success rate. It wasn't until this poor guy spent 45 minutes filling out their insanely long form and it said there were no matches in a 60 mile radius that we did some more research. Turns out there are 100s of stories out there of people who paid the fee and had zero matches if they checked the "non-practicing" box under religion. So we re-did that section of the form (lying about his religious preference) and bingo - dozens of matches. He still didn't join because the service is obv not for him. But it would have been nice to know that before wasting the time.

    I personally think that their advertising is a sham - they should be up front and clear about the fact that they focus on matching practicing Christians. The fact that they refuse to match homosexual couples is a further nail in the coffin for this (Christian) girl. Thanks for sharing this great post...and great job with the comments!

  43. Alice - I followed Swistle here, I am new to your blog but wanted to tell you that you've handled this topic and comments very well.

    Discrimination is never okay.

  44. Alice you've expressed yourself in a clear & respectful fashion. What more can we ask for? Oh, for other haters to do the same...(:-D

    Good for you! I agree 100% with you & Swistle.

  45. I had absolutely NO IDEA that eharmony was a Christian company. Do they advertise that? I had no. idea.

    What with you being in tune with the older, naked, gay man I would have expected nothing less from you than to stand up and wave your PFLAG, sister.

    I agree that you handle these comments WELL and I appreciate respectful disagreement, too.

    It's just that when anyone (even NICE PEOPLE) come at me with the 'you choose to be gay' thing, my head double-explodes and I can't continue conversation.

  46. Great post, Alice. And there's some great comment dialog going on. I snorted at Velvet's comment!

    I've never had to use a dating website, but I certainly see no need for a service to discriminate. Good to know.

  47. Alyxmyself19/8/09 3:03 PM

    Thanks Alice for pointing out that if the word "black" was substituted for "gay" there'd be *crickets* in here.

    For every single repressed ignorant fool who distinguishes being gay as not being Christian I would like you to meet my partner of 5 years, a devout Christian. Thanks to your illogical rationale I can't hold her hand in public for fear she'll offend one of you bigots, or the bigots who parented you and taught you your repulsive knee jerk uninformed beliefs system, NOT validated anywhere in Christ's teachings.

    My father, grandfather, uncle, and all my ancestors going back to before the Revolution fought and died for this country, so you're welcome to your unequal rights which I cannot share. I hope every one of you is married to someone who makes you miserable every single day for the rest of you ignorance preaching lives.

    Christ said "Bring me the least of you"....he can have you. You folks need a saviour.

    None of this is directed at the good and decent people who posted on this site. I too follow the teachings of Christ, I just don't name drop him as a back-up for my insidious disregard for the feelings of others <-which is a "choice".

  48. I heard some weird things about Dr. Warren- thanks for setting the record straight.

    I admire your stand on an issue you care about, sounds like you are more of a girl anywho.

  49. I do have to give Alice props (does anyone really say that anymore? I am so old) for keeping things really civil. Alice, you are hilarious - yes, it's so FUNNY when women wanted to vote! Silly us, with our OPINIONS! And those crazy black folks! What was that all about?

    As a Christ follower, I love all people, yes, gay people, too. Some of my absolute favorite people are gay! I want people to have the relationship they feel is best for them. I will support them and love them, because I feel strongly that's what I'm called to do. I want them in my church community (and not everyone in my denomination feels the same, which is very sad). I just really get tired of people haggling over what relationship is right and what isn't - we have bigger problems to solve, in my opinion. Let's feed hungry people, let's make sure they are healthy - let's not worry about who's sleeping with who.

  50. Amen, and applause. That's all I have to say.

    Well, that, and the EHarm/FotF types really need to re-read the Bible and take a look at the love/not-judging stuff in there. I mean, I'm just sayin'...

  51. I met my husband on eH five years ago. I recommended my dad try it when we was ready to get into a relationship after my mother died. He's been married to his eH "match" for two years. Her daughter just married her eH match a few months ago.

    For me, the site directed me to my soulmate whom I wouldn't have met otherwise.

    I don't believe that homosexuality is wrong or that gay marriage shouldn't be allowed. As a matter of fact, I'm a huge supporter of human rights across the board.

    I agree with the other commenters who stated that eH is a business and isn't obligated to offer matchmaking to the LGBT community. While that is a shame, it's not a reason to boycott them in my opinion. If they were a company offering life-saving medications and were denying homosexuals the right to use their service, that would be unbelievably wrong. Matchmaking isn't curing cancer. It's dates, for cry'n out loud.

    And, fwiw, I was in a lesbian relationship for seven years. I've experienced discrimination in every conceivable situation because I was in a gay relationship.

  52. Suddenly, all the eHarmony commercials make sense. Wow. I always wondered why they publicized the concept that everyone would want the same. exact. thing.

  53. @erica thanks for offering another voice (while being calm & respectful! i may just get some faith in the internet yet!)

    two points i'd make:

    a) while eH is a business, that still doesn't mean they can do ANYTHING they want. the lawsuits are actually based on breaking laws - eg, the state of CA has anti-discrimination laws for any businesses operating there, and refusing service to someone based on their sexual orientation is pretty clearly discriminatory. would you feel the same way if it was a fast food restaurant who wouldn't serve gay people? i mean, fast food isn't curing cancer either.

    b) i agree: everyone is entitled to use eharmony or not, based on personal preference. and as i've stated before in these comments, i'm giving my reasons for not using it, not trying to take down the corporation or something. but given my (obvious) strong stance on gay rights, i'm wondering what else WOULD be considered a valid reason to boycott a business...??

  54. It's such a shame that companies and individuals continue to descriminate against so many people. I feel sorry for people filled with such hate.

  55. When I first joined eHarmony, I decided something was wrong with my profile because for some reason, they kept fixing me up with Bible-thumping "born again" Christians. (I have nothing against Christians, just the ones who believe that anyone who doesn't believe exactly as they do are lesser mortals). After much discussion and threats of getting my money back, they let me re-do the profile. And then they set me up with a cross-dresser. Apparently, he wasn't gay (because he wouldn't have been allowed!), he just dressed up in women's clothing and wore make-up! Nothing against transvestites (Eddie Izzard is my favorite), but I couldn't help but feel there was a little animosity in the selection. Needless to say, I cancelled my subscription and got my money back.

  56. Richard, DC20/8/09 5:13 PM

    I think it's really cool that you don't uppercase christian.
    What's also really cool, I just discovered,is that when I type christian in lowercase blogger underlines it as if it were a spelling error.
    Blogger? e-harmony? YIKES!

  57. Alice,
    Another Swistle reader. I have only read two posts and...well...I think I'm in love with you. Can we get eH to set us up? ;op

    In all seriousness, thank you for bringing this further into the light.

  58. "you've completely missed my point. if his methods are so fantastic, why deny them to gay people?"

    Maybe because he doesn't want to do anything to encourage homosexual relationships? I don't see what's wrong with that. This is supposedly a free country. People and private businesses should be able to discriminate in favor and against anybody they want. You may feel you's the epitome of tolerance, but you make judgments just like everyone else - maybe on looks or dress or education background or whatever instead of sexual orientation like the guy in question.

  59. @dc_publius - if you'll notice, this is not a treatise demanding eharmony allow gay people / shut down. obviously, if they want to be bigots, we do live in a free country, and you & eharmony are free to "encourage" fewer rights for gay people as much as you like. but this being a free country, i'm perfectly within my rights to not use a service that doesn't support gay rights, and i'm also allowed to tell people why i don't give them money.

    i'm not sure what the deal is with folks coming here and claiming that i'm being oppressive to someone's rights by voicing my opinion. you're allowed to come here and say you don't like homosexual relationships. i'm allowed to say i think that's dumb.

  60. Alice, you rock. Really. you rock

  61. This post is fucking awesome, Alice. I always knew I didn't like eHarmony for a reason (mostly because I felt like they were trying to play the role of God in my dating life - ironic, no?). That's not entirely fair. I didn't like eHarmony because I wanted to have more control over my dating life. Now that I've read this post, I'm so glad I didn't put my dating life in the hands of crazed Christians. Who knows what kinds of freaks they would've found suitable for this Jew. hahaha.

  62. I too hate E-Harmony
    i my self am not gay but completely support gay people

    the reason i despise E-harmony is this

    i went through there survey in an attempt to find a mate as im not the most social person in the world
    and e-harmony was suggested to me as a way i could find someone

    they sent me a message that they find im within the "10% of people who are completely incompatible"
    sitting reasons of me being a controlling and violent individual

    not only am i a complete pacifist but im also an ASPCA member
    and could never hurt another living thing
    and i have never ounce in my life tried to control another individual

    so What the %#^@ are they talking about

    e-harmony was my last great attempt at finding someone and it went down as a fiery disaster
    and feather blow to my willingness to even try to find a decent companion
    thanks e-harmony for even feather heart ache in my life

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