e-Disharmony.com

L.D., owner of a high-profile software startup went looking for a little romance on eHarmony.com and instead found pain and ignominy. Happy Valentine
s Day, based on our scientific analysis, you
re not fit to date any of our members, the number one online relationship site told her.

I
m not a pariah or a leper, not looking to hook up with someone for the rest of my life
I was married for a long time and now I
m not, it
s a weird transititional state,
she told The Consumerist. While not legally separated, all ties were definitely snipped. She wanted to date again but was uncertain where to begin. Encouraged by positive reviews from friends, L. signed up on eHarmony.com and began filling out their extensive profile. To get the best results, she went through the humiliating process of revealing herself to the computer questionnaire with honesty.

After spending over an hour she came to one of the final questions,
Please describe your current status
and was given the choice of married, divorced, single or separated. After clicking separated she got her reward,
Unable to match you at this time.
The kill screen continued something to the effect of how statistically speaking, separated peoples are not viable prospects as they may return to their partners. Focus groups participants voiced concerns for this possibility and eHarmony decided to make it a policy.

L.D. understands this from a
business standpoint
but
wishes they
d disclose that at the beginning.

On Friday, eHarmony.com sent her a Valentine
s day email.

1. I do have to say I feel punished about my status,
she wrote the company,
particularly since it was one of the categories asked about at the very end. There must be a community of people who understand the transitional state of going from married to nonmarried. 2. I don’t see a way to change my marital status once my divorce is final. 3. I got a valentine’s day message email today. Since I cannot possibly find a match through your service at the moment, I find receiving email messages about having hope of finding someone particularly tacky.

An eHarmony
lead agent,
Carla W., responded to L.
s complaint the same day,
Once you are divorced, please reply with the county and state of your divorce proceedings, the name of the judge, and the date your divorce was finalized
As an alternative, I can reset your personality profile test.

L. is not sure whether she will report the information in to eHarmony, already feeling chastened. She
s heard that
the founder has a Christian mission” and she finds that “really disturbing.
L.D. considers their policy of excluding same-sex partnerships,
offensive, to say the least.
Also, since filling out the personality profile, she
s noticed she seems to be receiving more Christian dating site spam.

As to whether she will continue to seek romance online, she
s not sure. L.D. looked into services like Lavalife and Match but was turned off by their pay-to-survey model and their approach of
hey what
s your sign okay here
s some matches, go!
For that,
you might as well head to Craigslist.

It
s just so fucking complicated,
reports L.,
I run a software company so I know all about designing a user friendly interface. Make it intuitive
Otherwise I
ll just go home and watch TV.

For Valentine
s Day, L.D. plans on attending her daughter
s parent-teacher conference.

Comments

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  1. etinterrapax says:

    I knew they seemed just a little too suspiciously wholesome.

  2. Paul D says:

    Christian dating site spam

    Ah, the funniest kind of spam.

  3. mrscolex says:

    I’m curious as to what exactly the “Christian message” that she finds disturbing actually is. That the site is specifically promoting long-term healthy relationships? Horror!

    I can’t say whether or not she’s being punished for her status– but I don’t find it implausible to believe that people seeking long-term relationships don’t want to be involved with a woman who is going through divorce proceedings.

    I think a better case for L would be made for her to get her money back since they weren’t able to are unable to accomplish their stated goals. In the mean time there are other dating websites that are advertised that may be more towards her specific demographic, for instance, momsmeetdads.com which caters towards single parents, I imagine many of which are in the same situation (thats one thats advertised on the radio I can’t say anything personally about it).

    I find the unhelpful valentines day spam from e-harmony a bit distasteful overall and that alone ought to be enough to demand money back as far as I’m concerned.

  4. konstantConsumer says:

    maybe she is turned off by lots of christianity’s “barefoot and pregnant” message, especially coming from a group that also doesn’t take time to offer and male searching for male or female searching for female option.

  5. Clampants says:

    mrscolex: “but I don’t find it implausible to believe that people seeking long-term relationships don’t want to be involved with a woman who is going through divorce proceedings.”

    To me the issue should be that other people signed up to eHarmony should be the ones to make that decision. Joe User does a search, finds L.D.’s profile, sees she is currently not-single-but-looking (or whatever) and makes the decision whether or not to proceed with anything. Instead, “the system” makes that determination for everyone involved…and moreover, makes that decision at the end of a seemingly long and tedious sign-up process (which is a pretty standard web no-no).

  6. Buckhorn says:

    I’ve been on eHarmony for a couple months now and I have not received any “Christian dating site spam” or any other spam beyond the usual gross stuff which I can’t attribute to eHarmony. As for the Christian mission of the founder, that may be the case but it seems they are quite open to all religions, letting you specify which religion you belong to (including the option for “none”) and letting you specify which religions you’re willing to accept in your matches.

    eHarmony’s mission, to me, seems to be matching people up for long-term commitments/marriages. It doesn’t sound like L.D. is at that point in her life right now. Personally, I’d rather eHarmony kept their mission focused on the long-term matches than try to meet the needs of everyone.

    I do have to agree that a better system would ask disqualifying questions up-front so as to not waste a person’s time but with eHarmony you don’t pay anything to take the survey so at least she’s not out any dough.

  7. Amy Alkon says:

    First of all, as a modern, rational human being, I don’t believe in Santa, The Easter Bunny, or The Big Imaginary Friend, and I find it offensive and primitive that gays are walled out — even if that’s what it means to some to be “Christian.”

    I was given a free subscrip to e-Harmony early on (because I write a syndicated love/dating/sex/relationships column, and I think they were hoping I’d endorse it. No dice). I was matched with men who couldn’t have been more wrong for me. I was shocked at how off-base they were. I suspect it’s just another sales gimmick, this testing assurance.

    I met my boyfriend in the Apple Computer store at the Grove. I suggest people who want to meet somebody do what the Europeans do: Go out in groups and be yourself and see if anybody bites. If you’re a woman, be sure you forget what you learned in women’s studies, and flirt your ass off. If you’re a man, don’t act like a pussy: Ask women out and make moves on them before they’re too old to care.

    Related to Internet dating, I heard a study presented at the Human Behavior & Evolution conference in Berlin a few years ago…by a woman from Max Planck Institute…Barbara Fasolo…who showed that, in Internet dating, too much choice causes people to make poor choices, and to be unhappy with their choices.

    While the sites have changed considerably since I was on, three years ago, if they’re still relatively the same, that would mean Matchmaker.com is one of the best, as it allows users to narrow down choices…very, very narrowly. But, I’m talking about tallness and age and profession and stuff like that.

    Regarding eH’s compatibility testing: Should the person you’re with be exactly like you? My boyfriend and I are very, very happy, and we’re quite different. Our values do mesh – but is that something you can tell from a dating questionnaire? It’s stuff like the fact that he’s rational that matters to me. I don’t recall the things that are important to me (like that) being reflected in that questionnaire. Then again, I’m a modern, pro-science girl, so maybe the test only works for fundies who don’t think too much. (And frankly, anybody who believes, entirely without evidence, in god, hasn’t done their mental homework.)

  8. OkiMike says:

    If she’s still available and wants to travel to Japan, I’ll take her out on a Valentine’s date! ;)

  9. rikomatic says:

    I’m unclear on the meaning of this sentence: “To get the best results, she went through the humiliating process of revealing herself to the computer questionnaire with honesty.”

    Why would it be “humiliating” to answer questions about who you are and what you are looking for? Until there is some kind of e-telepathy, the software is going to need some kind of data to use in matching people together. The best way to get that is by asking the person questions.

    Or were the questions somehow humiliating in how they were posed?

    That said, I feel for her. I can imagine how upset I would be if a matching site told me that I was not eligible for their service simply because I was seperated from my partner.

  10. Ben Popken says:

    L.D. told me she found it humiliating to reveal her full personal details while in the midst of the divorce. Think of some of the emotion such an experience might draw up.

  11. mrscolex says:

    L.D. told me she found it humiliating to reveal her full personal details while in the midst of the divorce. Think of some of the emotion such an experience might draw up.

    Quite frankly then perhaps E-harmony nailed this one– she’s not quite ready for dating again yet if it truly is that humiliating that she can’t “relive” those moments.

  12. adamondi says:

    Quite frankly then perhaps E-harmony nailed this one– she’s not quite ready for dating again yet if it truly is that humiliating that she can’t “relive” those moments.

    Hear Hear mrscolex. You nailed it. No one wants to be a “rebound”, especially from a relationship as serious as a marriage.

    As for eHarmony discriminating against homosexual couples, who cares? That is not the demographic they wish to target currently. If I start a business making racquetball shoes exclusively, then am I discriminating against tennis players for not making tennis shoes as well? No, I am simply targeting a different market niche. Taking offense to niche marketing is silly and a waste of energy.

  13. Ben Popken says:

    UPDATE: L.D. wrote in to say, “Well! Those are some comments – just a point of clarification – I don’t think the questions were humiliating, I was reacting to the online dating thang altogether. I guess it’s a more accepted way to meet people then when I was coming up; it just feels a little weird to reach out through that channel.”