February 9, 2010

Getting From 'Love Buzz’ to 'Happily Ever After' eHarmony Studies Reveal Many Singles Don’t Consider Long-Term Relationship Realities When Choosing a Partner

PASADENA, Calif. – February 9, 2010 – Love really can be blinding, new studies from eHarmony reveal. They found that singles often select romantic partners using criteria that facilitate falling in love, but are not as helpful when it comes to staying in love. The trend was particularly noticeable among single people who had not experienced the day-to-day realities of being in a marriage.

"People who have been married before are often more attuned to the hard work required to sustain a relationship and they draw from those experiences when selecting their next romantic partners," said Dr. Gian Gonzaga, eHarmony’s senior director of research and development and head of eHarmony Labs.

One study eHarmony conducted analyzed the differences between how never-married singles and previously married singles responded to eHarmony’s Relationship Questionnaire, which has members rate the importance of various qualities in a relationship partner.

Across the board, people who were previously married were more selective about what they wanted in a partner. Never-married people tended to put more stock in qualities such as enjoying how they feel around a partner, a partner’s physical appearance, and a partner’s personality.

By comparison, previously married people were more interested in their connection to a partner. They valued qualities such as their partner’s values and beliefs, ability to be emotionally intimate, skill at resolving conflicts and sexual compatibility.

The differences in how people select partners were further illustrated by a nationally representative omnibus study eHarmony conducted with Opinion Research Corp. Married and single people were asked either what they value most in their marriage right now or what they think they would value most in a marriage.

"The study showed that singles tend to focus on the emotional aspects of a relationship and don’t focus as much on the skills and requirements that are necessary to make a long term relationship stronger," Gonzaga said. "Although in general there was strong agreement on what is important in relationships, the subtle differences can have radical implications over time."

For example, single women under 45 years old were four times more likely to value the passion and desire they feel toward a partner, whereas younger married women were nearly three times as likely to focus on having or planning for children.

Single women 45 years old or older were more likely to value feelings of love and emotional intimacy, whereas older married women were more likely to value the security of knowing a partner would always be there.

The findings were directionally similar for men, as well.

"Feelings of intense passion and excitement are common in the early stages of dating because they help start and solidify new relationships. When you first start dating someone, you can literally experience a type of love buzz," Gonzaga said. "Unfortunately, people often select their long-term relationship partners based on these initial feelings without recognizing the differences between the emotions that help us fall in love and the qualities that help us stay in love over time.

"What's really important to a long-term relationship is how well couples can communicate with each other and resolve conflicts. Do they share a similar energy level and are they similarly open to new experiences? When two people are fundamentally incompatible on these and other levels, their relationship could eventually suffer."

eHarmony’s patented Compatibility Matching System® was developed after years of research to identify the qualities that best predict marital satisfaction. eHarmony matches people whose personalities, values, attitudes and beliefs are similar across a broad range of dimensions to create the greatest opportunities for long-term relationship success.

On average, 236 people are married in the United States every day as a result of being matched by eHarmony, according to a study conducted for eHarmony by Harris Interactive in 2007.

Study Methodologies
eHarmony analyzed a sample of 598,000 users who registered for the service in the United States between December 1, 2009 and January 10, 2010. Analysis was conducted on aggregated user responses to eHarmony’s Relationship Questionnaire.

The omnibus survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation’s computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 2,020 adults, composed of 1,007 men and 1,013 women 18 years of age and older. Interviewing for this survey was completed December 4-7 and December 10-13, 2009. The full sample had a margin of error of 2.2 percent. Questions asked only of married people had a margin of error of 3.0 percent and questions asked only of unmarried people had a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

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About eHarmony, Inc. Santa Monica, Calif.-based eHarmony, Inc. eHarmony, Inc. ( was founded in 2000 and is a pioneer in using relationship science to match singles seeking long-term relationships. Its service presents users with compatible matches based on key dimensions of personality that are scientifically proven to predict highly successful long-term relationships. New peer-reviewed research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) ranks eHarmony as number one for producing the most marriages and the most satisfied marriages. Of all meeting places measured, eHarmony also had the lowest divorce rate.b On average, 438 people marry every day in the U.S. as a result of being matched on eHarmony, nearly 4% of new marriages.b Currently, eHarmony operates online matchmaking services in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil.
bBased on data on 19,131 marriages from 2005 to 2012 by Harris Interactive, couples that met on eHarmony had significantly fewer breakups than couples who met via all other methods combined. Combining methods that account for less than 1% of marriages sampled."

* 2012 survey conducted for eHarmony by Harris Interactive.®

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