You can’t chat with several different people or send messages of interest. There is no instant messaging and you can’t browse photos. It sounds like there’s a lot you can’t do at eHarmony, but that’s because it’s not just about dating or casual friendships.

eHarmony is all about finding your soul mate, your life partner, that special someone you will someday marry. It’s designed around a 29-point “Dimensions of Compatibility” system that p androfiles in minute detail such aspects of your personality as ambition, curiosity, adaptability, artistic passion, autonomy and values orientation.

eHarmony then matches you with several potential matches and gives you the chance to read their profiles. If you like what you see and want to communicate, you will start by communicating through “Guided Communication.”

Guided Communication is eHarmony’s structured format for getting to know each other by following a formal “courtship” phase of emails where you get to know each other by answering questions such as “Who was the most influential person in your life and why?” or “If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go and what would you want to do?” You will also exchange “Must Have’s” and “Can’t Stand’s.”

There are four guided stages before open communication, and the only time you will see photos of each other is once both of you have agreed to do so. eHarmony is time-consuming, but if you’re serious about finding someone who’s very closely in line with your personality, values, outlook on life and on the same general life path, the matching system is amazingly accurate. It’s really more like hiring a professional matchmaker than a dating service.

If you’re looking for someone presentable to take to your cousin’s wedding next month, this isn’t the service for you. If you’d like to invite your cousin to your own wedding a year or two down the line, eHarmony may be the way to find the right person for you.

Get your membership at eHarmony

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