Sex and Love 100

Musings on the most basic life skill . . .

Thursday, May 31, 2012

eHarmon-erffic! Some Truths about eHarmony and Why it Works

My girlfriend joined a few weeks ago.  I sat by her side and watched the process.  Because I’ve been asked many times about what I think about dating sites, I thought I’d spare the humor and give you a professional opinion.  No, I’m not being paid to say this.  It works because it is based in some rather sound scientific principles.  For those who do not know, eHarmony begins with a series of questions examining your values, beliefs, emotional health and life skills.  It takes hours and in the end, after paying a fee, you are shown some pictures and given limited information about your matches. You have three stages to follow before you get a chance to contact that person.  You cannot lie, you cannot be married nor can you be separated.  They have a way to check you out but that is another blog.  It works for several reasons. 

First, they force you to spend the entire day filling out questionnaires.  If you were not in touch with your feelings, it’s like having five serious therapy sessions—in the end you know a hell-of-a lot about yourself and what you can with or cannot live without.  As a side note, there are scales of mental fitness- it might be worth the effort and money to weed out some wakadoodles.    
Second, this is a fantastic exercise for anyone, especially men, many of whom have little idea what they really want out side of the best looking woman they can attract.  Men tend to go for the looks first and while women weigh attractiveness they tend to balance it out.    
“I want to go out with this one,” my cousin said to me while he was on Plenty of Fish. 
I looked at her picture, in a bikini, at least 20 years his junior.  
“But she says she will not date smokers and you smoke.”
“I’ll quit,” He tells me. 
Third and related to the second, you are not bombarded by hundreds of people.  My poor cousin could not sift the chafe from the wheat; he was stuck on young skinny women, twenty years his junior, that were into rock concerts—he wears a hearing aid.  The more balanced matches faded into the page.  eHarmony whittles the selection process down as the process reminds you what dating is all about.  It’s the time we get to know someone else—and not just physically.  
Fourth, once you hone in on someone it mimics courting.  You’ve see the face, you’ve read the bio, you have some facts and now you get the chance to tell your philosophy of live,  There are three stages of guided communication before you can email them.  The questions are deep and require thought:  What are five things you cannot live without, or what have you learned from your past relationships, or who has influenced you the most in life and why. These questions reveal a lot about a person. When my girlfriend read that her match could not live without cleanliness, organization, good hygiene and nice teeth, she went on to the next person.  Imagine how long it might have taken her to find out he was such a neat freak?    
Fifth, it requires effort.  Anything worth having is worth waiting for.  It’s called effort justification and the more we work at something the more valuable we think it is.  This principle applies the moment you sit in front of the computer and face hours of questions with a meter telling you how far you are in the process.  There were a few times I got frustrated when my girlfriend was answering the mounds of questions.  “But I’m 60% done,” she exclaimed.  The same idea applies when you’ve spent weeks harmonizing with another person.  Now she’s  going on her first date with the man she’s written to for several weeks. I can almost imagine it; awkwardness is set aside. Already they have discussed literature, their careers,  their relationships and he’s already aware that she isn’t ready for the bedroom.
Sixth, the name says it all—harmony—as in in-sync.  As a student of one of the most brilliant minds in the relationship arena (Dr. Donn Byrne) similarity is one of the most potent foundations of liking.  Opposites don’t attract!  We like people who share our views, it tell us we might be right about things.  It also gives us a feeling of control.  I remember some thirty years back when I went on a blind date.  He hated to read, loved heavy metal, chain restaurants and felt no one should leave the county until they had visited every state of the union.  Then there was his life of camping . . . It was a wash out.
Seventh,  familiarity breeds liking.  We like people we are more familiar with the more you talk, the more feel comfortable.  Have you ever had a person grow on you?  It’s the feeling you get when you realize they suddenly look more attractive.
Eight, it’s the timing thing.  You have to ready to love and to commit and anyone who takes the time to do eHarmony is in that place. 
Ninth, no man who is out for a hump and jump, hook-up, pump and run, or whatever you call it these days is going to pay over two hundred dollars, spend the entire day on the questionnaire, then have to wait another few weeks for some woman to respond to questions that he himself hasn’t written but are supplied by some psycho-computer somewhere.  He’ll be on another site. Your pool is virtually full of likeminded people who want to be in with someone.  Finally the most important one of all.
Tenth, You can openly discuss your sexual comfort level via the questionnaire and more important, that fling is going to take a while.  You’ve got weeks of a program ahead of you.
Despite our sexual freedoms, nothing can ruin a relationship more than hooking-up.  It clouds who they are and sex too soon is the kiss of death in many relationships. If it’s great sex, you might not notice the fact that they drink too much.  If the sex is bad, you might have gotten to know them enough to work on making it good.  And for your information, casual sex is virtually always poor for women.  It takes time to work it out, and when you do, when there is more caring, your partner is more interested in making it work.  The second problem is that once in the sack you can never go back.  Once sex enters the picture everything changes.  At least when you are on the site, your chances of that hook-up are decreased and all the effort put into hunting that person down might translate into a little wait.   

if you’re looking for a meaningful relationship and willing to put in the time, this is the site.  If you’re looking for quick and easy access join another site. 

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