Full disclosure – I hate dating. Not the actual dating part (unless you count the first date I went on with a man who got extremely offended when I said I wouldn’t wear an Arsenal shirt in bed, that can get in the bin), mind. I love having crushes and the little tickle in your belly when a conversation is blossoming and the whole body rush of a first kiss outside the pub. But getting to that point is hell for me. I’m 31, and I download and delete Tinder within hours, I’m too jaded for Bumble, and have run out of interest on Hinge and Her. Not to be all, “I want to meet someone the old-fashioned way”, but when you’ve dealt with as many chats that materialise into nothing as I have, it’s easy to get disillusioned with dating apps.
Of course, over the last year, we’ve had no real choice. I moved back to Ireland from London last year with a rose-coloured vision of finding the person of my dreams – or at least a great shag – on a pint-fuelled night at the pub. Well, you know what happened with that. It was dating apps or bust, and I instead chose ill-advised texts to people in different countries and full commitment to the government advice of the safest sex being with yourself. But now we’re emerging from full lockdown, I have decided it might be time to test the waters again, lest I really commit to the bitter woman married to her vibrator act. And when I heard that more people were signing up to eharmony after lockdown gave them a rather stark view of their situations, I thought I’d give it a spin.
While many dating apps are hotbeds for hook-ups, eharmony is all about finding true love. The website was founded in 2000 and pledged to match serious daters via an algorithm of in-depth questioning, which weeds out the impatient and guarantees that those on the site actually really want to be there. You’re offered specific daily matches within your location, and you can’t browse elsewhere, so no meaningless swiping here. In the two decades eharmony has been around, they have generated millions of happy unions (which they proudly document on their site), and put an emphasis on long-term relationships and marriage.
Because of this, eharmony has been seen as a place for an older crowd, but this is changing. While for most of the site’s history the average age of users was 36 to 37 years old, it is now closer to http://www.besthookupwebsites.org/cs/guyspy-recenze 30, and during the pandemic, there was a 60% surge in registrations across the board, with a “significant proportion of customers different from eharmony’s existing audience”. This was no fluke – the site started advertising on channels that skewed younger, like E4, and during shows like Love Island and First Dates.
But for all the love, there has also been controversy – mainly because eharmony is not the place for LGBTQ+ dating. As eharmony rose to the top of the dating site pile, they only offered heterosexual matches, leading to lawsuits being lodged against them alleging discrimination. Their solution to this was to set up another website, Compatible Partners, for same-sex dating. But as a queer woman keen to look for male and female matches, it’s pretty disheartening that this is still not an option on eharmony. The bisexual struggle is real.
I asked eharmony what the deal was, and bisexuals have been asked to set up two separate profiles. A spokesperson said: “At eharmony, we believe that real love is for everyone and we’re deeply committed to providing a platform that’s safe, inclusive and welcoming for every single one of our members. Currently, bisexual people using our platform are asked to create two separate profiles – one for each partner search. This second subscription incurs no additional cost. We recognise we have further steps to take for our platform to become truly inclusive, our team is currently developing a comprehensive plan to address this.” It’s also worth noting that if you’re non-binary or gender noncomforming, you can currently only set up an account as a “man” or a “woman”.