Because of its convenience, anonymity, and instant results, online dating has become the norm. Couples who might have never met otherwise are finding soul mates in unexpected ways. Leading the pack of internet daters is eHarmony: a fun website which means serious business.

Where other dating websites are built on a premise of profit (for example, Gary Kremen—founder of—was looking to start an advertising company; Markus Frink—founder of—found that he could make serious bucks using Adsense), eHarmony is based on one of science. Rick Clark Warren, the founder, is a psychologist who spent over 35 years, studying relationships and marriages. He discovered that certain traits and shared characteristics could predict compatibility between a couple, ensuring a happier and longer lasting marriage. He set out to create a website that would not only bring people together, but would make sure they were well-matched before they ever saw the first date.

So what can a new user expect? Upon your first visit to eHarmony, you will take an extensive compatibility test. This will analyze who you are: personality, values, intellect, emotional stability, interaction style, and more. The idea behind this test is not to match interests with potential mate, but to match who you are. Warren found that the most successful relationships were those in which the couple shared commonalities in the most essential aspects of their beings (known on eHarmony as the “29 dimensions of personality”).

After the compatibility test has been examined, you will receive your analysis. You will then begin receiving matches, which you must review individually before you can receive the next set. Paired with the extensive starting process, this serves as a way to sift through those who are serious about a potential relationship and those who are just joining for “kicks”.

So you’ve received a match who seems promising to you. What next? You are then coached along by eHarmony. Their guided communication system breaks down the process; one way of doing this is by providing questions which you can ask your match. Additionally, the website has a library of tips and advice for dating and relationships.

One benefit, which may seem like a drawback initially, is eHarmony’s lack of a search engine. Unlike other sites, you cannot look for your mate—you can only wait for them to be hand-delivered. Yet, this process makes sense: users are not able to judge potential mates solely by appearances. This takes away the superficiality that so often rules the dating world.

But does this work? Can people really meet their soul mates by filling out a questionnaire and relying on a combination of fate and science? Apparently so. A recent study performed by Dr. Steve Carter, eHarmony’s research director, concluded that “90% of eHarmony couples had marriage quality scores which were above average when compared to couples who had begun their relationships elsewhere.”

We have all been there: you are an hour into a first date and you realize this connection is going nowhere—and fast. Maybe it is a lack of shared interests or maybe you just cannot stand another minute with the person sitting across from you. Either way, you have just wasted time and money, which would be better spent elsewhere.

Let’s face it: it is expensive to date. From start to finish, you will spend a lot of money, regardless of your gender or where you go to meet people. When you hang out with your friends in anticipation of meeting a potential mate, you are already spending money: cover charges for clubs and bars, parking garage passes, admission fees, and maybe even a babysitter if you have kids at home. If you are at a bar or club, you can bet on dropping upwards of fifty dollars in a night on drinks alone.

Then, taking the scenario a step further, assume you meet a nice man or woman and set up a future date. In these days of equality, many women prefer to pay their half on a date, taking the financial pressure off of the man. However, regardless of payment arrangements, one or both parties will end up spending even more money during this awkward, getting-to-know-you period: restaurants, taxi cabs, movie theaters, and so on.

Yet, it all may be for naught. Many dates are arranged before either person knows much about the other. This sets forth a rather large risk that you will end up in the aforementioned scenario, in which neither person is interested and would have much rather just kept his or her money.

This is where such online dating websites as eHarmony come in handy. It provides a more cost-effective way to meet people—and in much larger numbers! There is no commitment to spend money or time together until you have deemed each other truly worthy.

By way of eHarmony’s scientifically proven compatibility tests and subsequent guided communication system, users are able to meet better candidates much more quickly than if they were to pick a stranger out of bar, based on looks and initial impressions alone. These online sites give daters a chance to ask those early getting-to-know-you questions, without having to spend the time and money (and face the potentially awkward situation of avoiding the unwelcomed end-of-date kiss) to reach that point.

While the initial cost of purchasing an online dating site membership seems like the more expensive venture, it turns out to be much cheaper in the long run. For thrifty daters, it takes away the expense of meeting strangers. In a way, such sites as eHarmony even push users past the first few dates. By the time two matches ever meet up, they will already know a lot about one another. They will already feel assured that there is a good chance of a relationship spark, before they even have to feed the parking meter.

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