When to Ask the Hard Questions?

When I first entered the online dating arena 4 1/2 years ago, the choice of providers was simple. I was warned away from OKCupid’s “hook-up” culture (which, from what I hear, has shifted in the years since). eHarmony rejected my “separated” marital status and, besides, they promoted themselves as the site used to find a spouse, which was NOT what I was looking for at the time. And Plenty of Fish only seemed appropriate if I was looking for a future in cradle robbing.

So, Match it was by default.

Their system at the time was pretty straightforward. After paying some money and completing a profile, you could either wink or message people and have the same done to you. The messaging was free response, which led to some interesting emails but also allowed for a quick weeding-out of the potential date pool. I received countless messages like the following:

You have a nice butt. I’d like to meet it in person.


Is that a recent picture? The last chick I met looked hot in her photo but was fat in real life.


Hi. You look nice. Id like to meat u.


Even the more thoughtful and thought-provoking responses didn’t provide any true character or relationship information. All they did was act as a first-level screen, sifting the debris out from the potential gems. The real getting-to-know you happened later.


In a conversation with a friend yesterday, I learned about eHarmony’s methodology. After a wink, you have the option of asking your interest a series of questions selected from a list. These are hard-hitting questions, the type that are important, yet frequently overlooked in the early, heady days of lust.

When you are in a relationship, how much alone time do you need?


How do you view gender roles?


Now, the part I find interesting, is that these are all multiple choice questions.

All you have to do is click on your selection.

No explanations.

No bigger picture.


Personally, I have mixed feelings about this approach. I love the fact that eHarmony encourages people to think about the traits that really matter in a relationship (yeah, apart from the butt). However, I have limited faith in the authenticity of a multiple choice response and I fear that people may be rejected for a simple answer to a more complex question. Nuance reduced to a letter.

What are your thoughts? Do you/would you prefer a more natural, open-ended format or do you like the pre-screening of the real questions first?


Thank you for sharing!

12 thoughts on “When to Ask the Hard Questions?

  1. Considering the fact that I did not actually meet any men while on eHarmony, their approach did help break the ice and offered a way to communicate without you having to fumble with what to say in the initial messages. That being said, Match uses the “free form” approach and allows users to talk openly within limits. This can be difficult for someone like me who hasn’t dated in 30+ years and has very little experience with dating in general much less online. There is the margin of error as well — messaging carries the “interpretation” factor. You know what I mean — you type what you think is a innocent message where you attempt to engage the other person and the message is not received in the way you intended and that’s it — you never hear from them again or worse yet they turn psycho. The greater risk is being the prey of scammers and “cat fishers” — which can leave a vulnerable person such as myself discouraged and heartbroken over and over again. (This can happen on all of the sites — but I found to be more prevalent on Match). I am also on POF and Zoosk. On Zoosk, I have met a few men that resulted in dates. I have joined an “off line” group (Events and Adventures) for singles that prescreens all members and plans activities where singles can meet in a comfortable setting while having fun which I am hoping will be a better fit for me.

  2. Nerdy Christian – Michigan – I'm just a man trying to find my place in this world. Walking through emotions and pain trying to become a more Godly man.
    shdwmage says:

    I’ve tried several of the different sites without much luck. I feel like I’ve waisted money on all of them. They all honestly feel a bit cheesy to me.

    E-Harmony – has a really good interface, but the way they filter the members makes it difficult to find someone to talk to. I have my field narrowed to less than 60 miles I believe and they are constantly complaining that my match preferences make it difficult to find a match. They often match me with people who haven’t been on for months, or when I allowed it people that were hundreds of miles away. Not really the kind of thing I was looking for.

    ChristianMingle – a long time ago it was a decent site, but now its all pretty fake. The interface isn’t very good. It allows you to send smiles to people from the free accounts, but that is about it. I have had some luck making friends off of this site however.

    Interestingly enough Cupid media has a huge privacy law problem right now. https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24315134/cupid-media-found-in-breach-of-privacy-laws-after-dating-sites-hacked-and-personal-information-stolen/ None of the data was encrypted. Such a big no-no in the IT world.

    POF is by far the worst site I have ever been on. I’m surprised anyone uses the thing. The interface is horrible.

    I’ve never used match.com, but a couple of my friends have had some luck.

    There are my 2 cents. Have a good day!

  3. Carrie Reimer – I think everyone at one time or another thinks, "If I only knew then what I know now." I share my life experiences in hopes a few less people have to look back and want a "do over". Through my Lady Witha Truck blog I have spent over 10 years sharing my experiences while being in an abusive relationship with a man I consider to be a narcissist/psychopath and through my other blog, Reimer Reason I share lessons learned throughout the 60+ years of my life. No experience is a waste as long as you learn from it and if I can save someone else from making the same mistakes I made, then it makes it all worth while. I am an expert on my life, not yours, my opinions are my own, not yours, and I enjoy open respectful communication on most topics. If I don't have an answer I will research it until I do. I have a sweetheart of a dog named Stella, an 8 year old Pitbull, Mastiff cross. I am artistic, enjoy bringing new life to antiques, gardening, refurbishing and repurposing other people's "garbage", reading, writing and being outside in nature. I have a 38 year old son who I am extremely proud of and a 10 yr old granddaughter I don't see near enough. I live on welfare disability after a lifetime of working full time because I have heart failure. I have gone from being a homeowner and landlord to being homeless and living in my car and now live in a 34' 5th wheel RV trailer that I am fixing up, bought by my brother and mother. I believe life would be far less stressful, and drama filled if we all just lived honest to our core self and listened to our gut. I have found inner peace, something I didn't think truly existed. It isn't what most people think it is.
    Carrie Reimer says:

    I am bad for deciding I want to meet someone, join a site, determined to follow through this time and then never reply to anyone who messages or flirts and never approach anyone myself. I have a hard time with the impersonal part of it all. I am used to meeting someone face to face and getting a feel for their personality. Anyone can say anything they want, not to say you can’t meet losers face to face either. I met my narcissistic ex face to face by chance and he put on a really great act in the beginning and then once he had me hooked his mask dropped. I think I am turned off of dating sites because he had ads on all the dating sites the whole time we were together, so I know scammers are out there but like I said I didn’t meet him on a dating site and he didn’t meet the woman he is with now on a dating site either. As a matter of fact I think he met her at Events and Adventures because I found out he had joined that also about 6 months before we split.
    That said my best friend met several nice guys through Match and is now in love with a guy from Match who only lives a mile away from her. They probably never would have met if not for Match.
    Maybe I am just not ready to take the plunge.

    1. I had some of that fear – if I couldn’t spot a “bad guy” in person, how could I expect to so it online? You are so right though, in person is no guarantee either!

  4. I actually have had really good luck with OK Cupid. From what I hear from others, it has changed a lot. The women I have met from there were all interested in long term relationships, not necessarily marriage, which is what I was looking for. I find that their questions and ‘percentage matching’ have been a pretty good guide for people I’ll have a good conversation with. It also may have to do with being in my 40s rather than younger where hookup culture is just more prevalent overall. I’ve had zero luck with POF and eHarmony sounds like online dating with handcuffs to me. Have you heard much about Tinder? A lot of people I know use it and rave about it but none have found anything lasting which I don’t understand. It’s so surface-only to me.

    I don’t like the idea of being limited in our approach to the big questions. Things just aren’t that black and white and I want more control over my destiny. That is, of course, just me. Obviously, it has seemingly worked for thousands according to their marketing. I just have way more intrinsic trust in human instinct than a computer algorithm.

    1. I love hearing how different sites fit for different people! Thanks for adding your experience.

      I have a friend that uses Tinder – nothing long term yet, but that’s also not what she’s really looking for.

  5. I met my last boyfriend on OKCupid, but I felt that after 2.5 years I was still waiting for the guy in the profile to show up, so I ended that relationship. I really liked OKCupid the first time around, but went back recently and was astounded at how gross it made me feel; it has definitely changed. I deleted my account after dozens of gross messages within 24 hours of signing up.

    I used Match a few years ago and met all the creepiest guys in my neck of the woods, so I’ll never go back.

    eHarmony seems too serious for me, and all the other sites (POF, Tinder) seem like hookup sites, and I’m just not into that. Plus Tinder requires a Facebook account and I choose not to have one.

    I’ve decided to live my life and meet men in my real life, even if that means I end up being single for the long run. In some ways, it feels safer and less fake that way (see example of creating a profile of who you want to be, not who you are, above). It’s helping me be less shy and less involved online, which is exactly what I need. Other people’s mileage may vary.

  6. Like you, when I went fishing online now six years ago, there weren’t as many options. I tried a few specific ones – Brainiacs.com, MillionaireMatch.com, and even SugarDaddy.com (more out of curiosity than interest – but in the end settled on Match. I did try EHarmony, but their sorting for me was irritating since they had decided I needed an accountant (which might have been true but wasn’t really what I would be attracted to). I liked being able to have a range of options to sort, and though at times it felt like a meat market, I slowly came up with specific “must haves” for who to contact further. I also managed to fine-tune my profile as I went along, although I don’t think most men actually read it. I realized I had to have someone who understood careful writing (any typos in an editable profile got an instant no). I also realized I needed someone who wasn’t afraid of his – or my – emotions. After a number of adventures – some really forgettable – I actually found the man who is now my husband. Yes, we can be one of those couples on the Match.com commercials.

    So in answer to your question: I liked the open-ended option.

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