eHarmony vs. Match.com: which online dating site is right for you?
The two most popular online dating sites are popular for a reason. But both of them still exist for a reason. That reason is that they are both really great services; and they are very different from one another.
You’ve heard of them, you’ve seen them advertised on television, but maybe you wonder, which one is better? Which one is right for you? Even though I’ve already written a Match.com Review and an eHarmony Review, let me break down specifically how these sites compare to one another.
The main differences between eHarmony and Match.com
Here are the main differences between the approaches of eHarmony and Match.com:
- eHarmony provides a more curated experience. They will send you matches based upon their 29 dimension personality profile. You go through a series of “communication stages” with potential matches, starting with multiple choice questions about important relationship things, and working up to free-form communication. eHarmony wants to make sure – based upon their matching system – that everyone you meet is the right person for you.
- Match.com generally lets attraction do its thing. You can browse profiles freely, and message potential matches freely, no matter who they are, and no matter how compatible or incompatible you might actually be. Match.com pretty much leaves it up to you to meet the people and decide if they’re right for you.
Is your dating style better-suited for eHarmony or Match.com? Think of it this way:
- eHarmony has a more committed, marriage-minded approach to dating. If you’re dying to just be finished with dating, get married and have kids, eHarmony is probably more for you. Not only does it attract a crowd that is more serious about finding a committed relationship, everything about their service is designed to help you find the right person to commit to. They have an extensive personality quiz, and their guided communication process ensures that you won’t end up with someone who doesn’t agree with you on important issues like lifestyle and whether or not to have kids.
- Match.com has a more casual approach to dating. If you actually kind of enjoy the process of dating, Match.com is probably more for you. Like I said, they let attraction do its thing. You can get off your computer and into meeting face-to-face with potential matches more quickly. It’s then up to you to see if you really “click.” Match even organizes events called “Match.com Stir,” where you can meet singles and participate in activities or happy hours. You can skip all of the messaging back-and-forth, and just meet a bunch of singles at once.
So, how do these different services actually work? Think of it this way:
- eHarmony is a bit like watching TV because the experience is much more controlled. You can only interact with the matches they’ve decided are right for you. You’re strongly discouraged from messaging them right away, but instead there are a series of communication steps, starting with multiple choice questions, and finally working up to free-form messaging, where you can finally set up a date with your match to meet them in person. With eHarmony, you have to trust their years of research and expertise to send you the right people.
- Match.com is a bit like a dating search engine because you search for what you’re looking for, and you can literally message *anyone* on the site (unless they block you, in which case: what did you do!?). On Match.com, you make a dating profile, complete with interests and photos. Then, people can either find your profile, or you can use their search function to search for the profiles of others (on dozens of different things, such as height, body type, religion, etc.). Then, you can message them, set up a date, and meet in person. With Match.com, it’s up to you to decide who is right for you.
The pros & cons of eHarmony & Match.com
Both of these probably sound like great dating sites, right? It’s nice to think that you can decide who is right for you with Match.com, but it’s also nice to think of someone sending you the perfect match, based upon their years of experience, like with eHarmony. But, there are always compromises to each of these approaches. Keep in mind the pros and cons.
- You only get matches that are right for you. The idea of getting to search for yourself – like on Match.com – is enticing, but attraction can sometimes lead you astray. eHarmony has been studying relationship compatibility for years. In fact, Dr. Warren, who started eHarmony, has written an entire book about his matching philosophy. eHarmony puts this knowledge to work and only sends you matches that are right for you. A side benefit of that is that you won’t get annoying and unwanted messages from people you have nothing in common with.
- Communication is guided. eHarmony’s guided communication makes sure that you get all of the important potential sticking points out of the way before meeting someone. Do you see yourself living in the city in 15 years? Well, if your potential match wants to live in the country, that might be a problem. eHarmony will make sure you don’t waste your time with people with whom you don’t have compatibility.
- You decide who you get to meet. They don’t restrict you from searching for and messaging anyone on the site. At the same time – like eHarmony – Match.com has years of experience and knowledge built up (they’ve been in business since 1995), and they will do their best to get the people they think are right for you in front of you so that you will message them.
- You can meet people faster. There’s little more disappointing than messaging back and forth with a match, finally meeting them, and then finding out that they’re nothing like you expected. Maybe they lied in their profile, had old photos, or you just don’t feel chemistry with them. With Match.com, you can go from first message to meeting in person within a few days. If you go to their Match.com Stir events, you of course get to meet them right away. With Match.com, you waste less time sitting on your computer messaging with people you end up not being compatible with.
- You meet people more slowly. eHarmony has a “guided communication” process. This means you can’t message someone and set up a date until various levels of questions have been asked of one another back-and-forth. People are busy, so this means it can literally take weeks before you finally get to write free-form messages to your match. Sometimes, a potential match will get busy and just disappear, or his or her subscription will run out. Worse yet, you can find that when you meet – after weeks of communicating – there just isn’t a spark.
- Attraction can’t just “do its thing”. With eHarmony, you have to trust in their expertise. You have to trust that with all of their research about what makes happy marriages, they know what’s best for you. People have all sorts of lifestyles these days, and eHarmony really skews towards a traditional Christian view of marriage. This could possibly be a “pro” for you, but it doesn’t work for everyone. With eHarmony, it’s much harder to just be attracted to someone, set up a date, and see if things work.
- Anyone can message you. Sure, it sounds nice to be able to message anyone you want on the site, but with Match.com, this also means that anyone can message you. For many females, this can mean literally hundreds of unwanted copy-and-paste emails from guys that don’t have a clue.
- You’re left to your devices. The good thing about Match.com is that they really let attraction do its thing. The bad thing about Match.com is that they really let attraction do its thing. Only messaging people you feel visual chemistry for can leave you wondering why you’re always dating the wrong people. Research shows that attraction eventually fades, so solid relationships have to be built upon other types of compatibility. Do you trust yourself to make the right decision?
How much do eHarmony & Match.com cost?
To really get to meet someone one one of these sites, you need to purchase a subscription. (Though there is a Match.com free trial) So, there are costs associated with that, and they differ between the two sites.
If you’re like most people, money is tight. You have to watch what you spend, and be smart with your money. But, when it comes to online dating, I recommend you not skimp. This is love we are talking about here. Wars have been fought over it, great palaces have been built over it – it’s the single most powerful force on Earth. People will literally be willing to die for someone whom they love.
So be careful if you start counting dimes over love. These two services are very different from one another. They are both tremendous online dating sites, but they attract very different people with very different mentalities. eHarmony is the more expensive of the two, but if – based upon what I’ve told you – you feel eHarmony is better for you, you should just go with eHarmony. Don’t let the cost difference of a few hamburgers be the basis of a decision that could literally be the most important decision of your life.
If – based upon what I’ve told you – Match.com is the better site for you than eHarmony, then your decision is very easy because Match.com costs less.
Here is a general cost breakdown of base subscriptions of eHarmony and Match.com:
eHarmony costs (basic plan)
- 1 month: $59.99
- 3 months: $134.85 ($44.95/mo)
- 6 months: $239.70 ($39.95/mo)
- 12 months: $227.40 ($18.95/mo)
- 24 months: $238.80 ($9.95/mo)
So, you can see that if you were to buy a 12 month membership of Match.com, it would actually cost less than buying a 12 month membership of eHarmony. But, Match.com doesn’t even offer a special rate for a 12 month membership, while eHarmony offers a special rate for even a 24 month membership. eHarmony is really for the power dater that is looking for the “right one,” and is serious enough about it to potentially dedicate 2 years to their search.
Match.com costs (basic plan)
- 1 month: $35.99
- 3 months: $59.97 ($19.99/mo)
- 6 months: $107.94 ($17.99/mo comes with Match.com guarantee)
- 12 months: $215.88 (based on $17.99/mo 6-month rate)
Match.com also has many add-ons available for their memberships. If you want more information, check out my post, How Much Does Match.com Cost?
Learn more about eHarmony, or Match.com
Save big money with online dating coupons
You shouldn’t skimp on purchases when it comes to love, but you also shouldn’t pay more than you have to! I have eHarmony promotional codes and Match.com coupons that can save you up to 20% off either site. I also update the site with other online dating coupons from time to time.