eharmony’s Matching Algorithm: How Does It Work?

Emma Walters | 18.05.18 | | Comments

eharmony is one of the most recognizable and successful names in online dating. Since its launch in 2000, it claims to have introduced more than 600,000 married couples, accounting for almost 4% of newly wedded couples in the U.S (2012).

Their long-lasting success is based on their unique and patented matchmaking algorithm, created by eharmony’s CEO and founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Warren counseled thousands of married couples, and his experience informed the development of eharmony’s famous 29 Dimensions of Compatibility.

What are the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility?

What are the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility used in the algorithm? Here is the complete list, as it appears on

Core Traits

Emotional Temperament: Self-Concept, Emotional Status, Energy: Emotional, Obstreperousness, and Passion: Romantic.

Social Style: Character, Kindness, Dominance, Sociability, Autonomy, and Adaptability.

Cognitive Mode: Intellect, Curiosity, Humor, and Artistic Passion.

Physicality: Energy: Physical, Passion: Sexual, Vitality and Security, Industry, and Appearance.

Vital Attributes

Relationship Skills: Communication Style, Emotion Management, Conflict Resolution.

Values and Beliefs: Spirituality, Family Goals, Traditionalism, Ambition, and Altruism.

Key Experiences: Family Background, Family Status, and Education.


The Algorithm’s Purpose

The algorithm tries to find people who are compatible with you in all 29 dimensions.

This idea that similar people are happier together in a relationship may fly in the face of the old “opposites attract” cliché, but it is at the core of eharmony’s matching philosophy.

Critics have questioned whether true relationship happiness can be predicted based on similarity alone. But if you believe the same way that eharmony does (and their results are certainly impressive) then the algorithm is designed to match you with someone who is as similar to you as possible.

Algorithm Questions

The moment you register to eharmony you will need to answer questions for the algorithm. There are a lot more questions than you’re used to, so be prepared to settle in and clear at least 30 minutes in your schedule. eharmony certainly demands more time than most dating sites, but time spent answering the questions fully and accurately should be more than made up for by all the time you’ll save not going on dates with inappropriate matches.

Here is what the process includes:

At first, you will need to fill in general information about yourself: gender, age, relationship status, whether you have children, do you know anyone who found success on eharmony, and have you ever used online dating sites yourself?

In the next section, you need to describe your personal qualities. Some of the qualities that are included are warm, clever, intelligent, witty, dominant, viscous, bossy, and irritable amongst others. You need to rank each quality on a scale of 1-7 from “not at all” to “very”.

There is no right or wrong answer. You have to be honest in your responses to ensure a better compatibility with the algorithm.

In the next section, you will be asked: “If your best friend had to pick four words to describe you, which four from this list would they pick?” You need to choose from: loyal, spiritual, funny, sweet, modest, romantic, and optimistic among others.

The next section evaluates your emotional reaction to different experiences in life. You’re asked: “How well does this describe you?” in scenarios such as: “I do things according to a plan,”I feel unable to deal with things”, “I love to help others,” and much more. The answers are on a 1-7 scale with the same options as before.

While on the theme of emotion you need to mark “How often in the past month have you felt…?” emotions and experiences such as “fearful about the future”, “angry”, “calm”, “out of control”, “depressed” and more. The answers are on a 1-7 scale which ranges from “rarely” to “almost always.”

Following that, you’re asked “How skilled are you at the following things” such as “creating romance in relationships”, “keeping physically fit,” and more. The answers are on a 1-7 scale which moves from “Not Skilled” to “Very Skilled”.

Next, you’ll be asked about your interest in things such as: “Watching movies,” Listening to music”, “Parties” and more. The answers are on a 1-7 scale which moves from “None” to “Very Strong Interest.”

The next section examines your personality further. You will be asked “How well each of the following describes you?” with statements such as “I try to accommodate the other person’s position”, “I try to be respectful of all opinions different from my own” and more. The answers are on a 1-7 scale which moves from “not at all” to “very well.” The same section also has “How strongly do you agree or disagree with…?” statements such as “It is difficult for me to let people get emotionally close to me.” The answers are on a 1-7 scale which moves from “Absolutely disagree” to “Absolutely agree.” You will also be asked “How important in a relationship is…” on statements such as “My partner’s sex appeal”, “Enjoying the way I feel around my partner”. The answers are on a 1-7 scale which spans from “Not at all important” to “Very important.”

The next section includes more general information about you: education, occupation, income, height, physical appearance, ethnicity, religious beliefs and more.

Once that’s complete you are – finally – no longer confined to scales. You can write what you are passionate about, and describe a few things that you like to do in your leisure time, and what you’re thankful for.

Now you need to fill all the above information about your preferences in a partner.

All of this is for the algorithm. Afterwards, you can go on to building your actual profile.

Although these questions and statements are extremely personal and even a little embarrassing, they are meant to judge your emotional state, personality, interests, beliefs, and more in order to help the algorithm find you the best possible match. The answers are not visible to other users who can see your profile.

So, Does it Work?

The matchmaking algorithm is looking for someone who is similar to you on many different levels. The basic reasoning behind this choice is that someone similar to you means less friction and more compatibility and happiness. eharmony sends you specific matches. That means that you don’t have to waste time going through thousands of profiles. You can also choose the “what if” option to see those who are less compatible with you and broaden your options. Despite some claims against the success and scientific-backing of the algorithm, it is hard to argue with the results that eharmony provides. Put simply, eharmony has a higher success rate than any other online dating site: more marriages and a lower divorce rate. Join eharmony today!!!

Emma Walters

Emma is an arts and science student graduating this year from NYU. She loves New York City and writes about her big city single-hood experiences. “Being single in the Big Apple is more of a task than a status”, she says, “Dating sites are great for socializing, especially if you’re new in town”. Emma is a regular contributor to the Top 5 Dating blog.

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