How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (2024)

Since its release in 2000, eharmony has proven to be one of the most popular dating apps for single people searching for serious, long-term relationships.

We are not joking when we say that pretty much every single man and woman on planet Earth knows that eharmony is the place to go if you’re interested in finding a lasting partner thanks to commercials, word of mouth, and the success stories, posted on the dating app itself. But one thing that’s still kind of a mystery is eharmony’s matching algorithm.

While eHarmony has revealed a few tidbits regarding its revered matching process over the years, it still remains closely guarded–but we do know some things and thought we’d share a peek behind the secret to eharmony’s success!

Beginnings

Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist, Christian philosopher, college professor, and co-founder and chairman of eharmony, worked with J. Galen Buckwalter, eHarmony’s Chief Scientific Officer from 1997 to 2008, to create eHarmony’s distinctive matching system.

Buckwalter told Global Dating Insights that:

“Marriage requires the passion and the chemistry, but if you rely on that, that is not necessarily a good start for marriage. In the wild, that is the temptation, but I think there can be advantages to a more systematic exploration that online dating enhances.”

How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (1)
How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (2)

The Secret Algorithm

There are 29 different elements considered when filling out the eharmony questionnaire, hence the name and six main factors determining romantic compatibility.

The opening section, “Emotional Temperament,” explores a person’s sense of self, their emotional status, their emotional vitality, their obstinacy (propensity to find fault in others), and their romantic passion.

The second section, “Social Style,” examines a person’s disposition, encompassing compassion, dominance, sociability, independence, and flexibility. Intelligence, exploration, humor, and creative zeal comprise the next section, which assesses Cognitive Mode.

The fourth section, Physicality, explores topics including energy, libido, security, efficiency, and physical appearance Fifth, we have Relationship Skills, which eharmony defines as the ability to effectively communicate and control one’s emotions, including anger, mood, and conflict resolution. Spirituality, family values, traditionalism, career aspirations, and altruism round out the Values and Beliefs section.

The Number of Test Questions Decreased

When eharmony first burst onto the dating app scene, there were about 400 (yes, FOUR HUNDRED) questions new members had to get through just to create a dating profile!

It took singles at least an hour to answer them all–but in 2016, someone smartened up over there at the eharmony headquarters and decided to nip that in the bud– the dating platform pared down the number of questions to around 150 (which is still a lot of questions).

Today, it’s even shorter than that–the goal is for daters to be able to rip through them and finish in about 10 minutes–you’ve still got your basic questions, like those on gender, location, age, education, and career, as well as more thoughtful topics, like what adjectives your friends would use to describe you, etc.

How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (3)
How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (4)

What You Say You Want is Heavily Weighed

The most important component of eharmony’s algorithm is how you answer its questions and what you put in the blank sections of your profile.

So you’ll definitely want to give it some thought instead of just typing whatever pops into your mind! No worries if you aren’t satisfied with what you’ve written–you can edit your profile whenever and as many times as you want.

And eHarmony can keep up with all your edits and adapt its match suggestions as needed!

Your On-App Behavior is a Factor, Too!

In addition to the information on your profile, eharmony’s algorithm also works by keeping tabs on who you like or dislike, the types of people you chat with, and other ways you interact with the app and other members.

Prateek Jain, Head of Engineering at eharmony, calls this “Machine Learning.” For example, if you keep expressing interest in people within 20 miles of you, the app will keep sending you matches like that, and so on. It’s called a “smart” algorithm for a reason.

How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (5)
How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (6)

eHarmony Uses Percentages to Show Compatibility

Once you get a match, you can look at his or her profile to see how much you have in common, not only in terms of interests but also values and beliefs. This nifty little feature is called the “Two of You Together”–you can access it by clicking “Compatibility” at the top of a person’s profile and voila! You can get a sense of how you’d mesh as a couple.

You’ll also see breakdowns of compatibility percentages for categories like emotional intimacy, altruism, physical intimacy, exclusivity, and intellect–you can sort these percentages by lowest to highest or highest to lowest, and these details will no doubt help you when you are deciding on whether you want to match or move on.

Being Too Picky Won’t Help You

One of the most important things to know about eharmony’s sorta secret matching system is that there’s a balance between specifying what you want and being too picky. While you’re asked to choose your likes and dislikes based on a sliding scale, Chief Scientist Dr. Steve Carter told the Telegraph extreme answers could be ignored.

“We saw that by giving people the opportunity to say ‘What race do you want to be presented with? What religion? What denomination? How much can they smoke or drink?’ people thought ‘Oh, I have to make a choice here’ when they might not have made a choice,” he said.

Really consider your must-haves and icks. Do you absolutely have to be with someone who loves cats as much as you do, goes hiking every single weekend, and has a Ph.D.? Probably not, right? To sum it up, you’re only hurting yourself if you are too rigid with your relationship demands and refuse to budge–a little flexibility goes a long way in the dating game.

How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (7)

Takeaways

eharmony’s algorithm represents a significant advancement in the world of online dating, bringing together the science of compatibility and technology to facilitate meaningful connections.

The algorithm strives to provide users with highly compatible matches by leveraging data-driven insights and continuous learning. While no algorithm can guarantee a perfect match, eharmony’s approach significantly increases the chances of finding a compatible partner, offering hope and possibilities in the realm of online dating.

While eharmony probably won’t tell us exactly how the algorithm works, you can still use the information above to your advantage. Remember to put some thought into the questionnaire and what appears in your profile, keep your on-site behavior in mind, check out your compatibility percentages with other members, and ensure your preferences and dealbreakers are realistic. As soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know!

How the eHarmony Algorithm Works | The Science Behind the Success (2024)

FAQs

How does the eharmony algorithm work? ›

Instead, eHarmony uses an algorithm to select matches for you. Compatibility is partially determined by a quiz new users take that is centered around 32 “Dimensions of Compatibility”. The quiz consists of over 80 situational and graphics-based questions.

What is the real success rate of eharmony? ›

eHarmony Marriage and Divorce Rates

It has been directly responsible for more than 600,000 marriages over the past sixteen years. Plus, the divorce rate of married couples who met on the platform is 3.86%, which is much lower than the national average of 50% of marriage rates [1].

How to find success on eharmony? ›

Seven eharmony Tips and Tricks to Make the Most of Your Membership
  1. Your eharmony Profile is Your First Impression. ...
  2. Treat Every Message as an Opportunity for Connection. ...
  3. Get Your Flirt On. ...
  4. Prepare to Keep the Conversation Flowing. ...
  5. Be courage and risk to be vulnerable. ...
  6. Keep an Open Mind. ...
  7. Getting to Know Each Other Takes Time.

What is a good compatibility number on eharmony? ›

An eharmony Compatibility score over 100

110 or more is a high level of compatibility and indicates you're a good fit with this member.

How does eharmony calculate matches? ›

eharmony claims to be the first online dating app and site to use a proprietary matching system developed to match you with highly compatible singles. eharmony uses an 80-question compatibility quiz to match potential dates based on their compatibility.

How do you get more matches on eharmony? ›

Click on the Discover tab at the top. Scroll down to the bottom of the list, where you'll see your Member Preferences. Select Change Search Criteria. Think about widening factors like age, location, and height to get more profiles.

How do you spot a catfish on eharmony? ›

Common catfish red flags include very few personal photos, sparse or inactive posting, and having a small number of friends or followers even though their page has been active for some time. Also, you should check to see if the person has other profiles using the same handle.

What age group uses eharmony the most? ›

between 30-49 years old

Can someone see how many times you view their profile on eharmony? ›

Yes, eharmony shows multiple profile views. The visitor list is updated every time a member views a profile. If you have visited a profile multiple times you will be shown first in the visitor list of other members every time.

Why am I not getting any likes on eHarmony? ›

One reason could be that your profile is incomplete or not detailed enough. It's important to fill out all the sections of your profile and provide as much information about yourself as possible. This will help eHarmony's matching algorithm find compatible matches for you.

What is the male to female ratio on eHarmony? ›

eHarmony has 15,500,000 members, 47% men and 53% women.

Should you give out your phone number on eHarmony? ›

It's best not to exchange personal information before meeting up with someone in real life, and you should take many precautions before doing so if you do choose to meet. If you do want to continue the conversation beyond the app or website you met someone on, use a second phone number.

Why am I not getting any likes on eharmony? ›

One reason could be that your profile is incomplete or not detailed enough. It's important to fill out all the sections of your profile and provide as much information about yourself as possible. This will help eHarmony's matching algorithm find compatible matches for you.

Can someone tell if you look at their eharmony profile? ›

The visitor list is updated every time a member views a profile. If you have visited a profile multiple times you will be shown first in the visitor list of other members every time. However, other members cannot tell how many times you have visited their profile.

How do you make the first move on eharmony? ›

Tips for your first message
  1. Know what you're looking for before you start.
  2. Think about the kind of people you want to attract instead of aiming for volume.
  3. Pay attention to spelling and grammar.
  4. Being proactive about getting in touch first leads to greater success.
  5. Honesty is the best policy.

Does eharmony have a competitive advantage if so where does it come from? ›

Beyond the five forces model, eHarmony has a competitive advantage over many other online dating websites. This competitive advantage stems from many different company attributes. The first advantage is the matching algorithm that eHarmony has patented.

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