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An addictive spin on life, love, and the nature of reality

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Psychological matching and EHarmony: a good addition to your soulmate search?

Psychological matching tests may be fascinating. But can they really help you find your soulmate?

Here's an experience I had with psychological matching in corporate — then I'll link it back to love and eHarmony.

My corporate story

Early in the stages of learning about my own um — personal quirks ☺ — I applied for my first consulting job. As part of the hiring process, I was put through a battery of tests (later, I learned that the woman who had just been let go from the role was a poor match).

This employer had approached me and I was in the enviable position of not needing a job. I had just finished my MBA and felt as if the world was my oyster. I had nothing to lose. So when they called, I said ‘what the flick’ — I'm gonna show these people who I really am.

So corporate discretion out the window, I dove into their psychological matching process. I took the Myers Briggs, the Birkman test among others. Then they wrote up a summary of what kind of manager I'd be.

I had taken Myers Briggs in the MBA program and came out an INTJ, which means ‘Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging’. Good management material. This is my analytical and politically correct self. However, that wasn't how I was evolving, and it wasn't my more intimate, day-to-day way of being.

This time, all pretenses dropped, I came back an INFP ‘Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving’. I laughed out loud when the report described me as a Joan of Arc personality who would die for her beliefs. I've never been put to that test, but yeah: I buy that.

Turns out this is exactly what this firm was seeking. A values based manager. I was there for three years (a long time for me) and together, we won a number of communication awards. Indeed, it was a turning point in my career.

Psychological matching in dating

Dating titan eHarmony is known for its comprehensive matching process. They also recommend that you use a step-by-step system to get to know someone, ending with a comparison of your Must Haves and Can't Stands. If you make it that far, you then begin to communicate freely.

This is a brilliant system and the company is staggeringly successful. But how does this work in reality? How much value does the process really add? Does it make finding a soulmate easier?

Here's a composite of my eHarmony experience, which has also been corroborated by more than one or two friends.

My eHarmony story

The first time I used eHarmony, they weren't in Canada yet. I didn't know this, so I joined and most of my matches lived in the U.S. Personally, I'd be more open to moving to Europe than to the states! Apologies to my dear American friends. ☺ I never even exchanged e-mails with anyone in six months of membership — and yes, I did reach out.

When eHarmony came to Canada a few years later, I gave it another go. Over six months, I connected with four people by e-mail. After some correspondence, two just dropped off, no explanation. Two I met. One, a nice guy but with a few differences too big to ignore. Another who was interesting, but clearly had a past heartbreak weighing him down and I never heard from him again.

So in balance, did I find that their high priced psychological matching gave me an edge? Not sure about that.

Limitations of testing

I think about my experience with the Myers Briggs, how it varied depending on where I was at in my personal life. I wonder: how self-honest are folks who take these tests? How emotionally stable?

Case in point: a friend's ex (a complete RAGEFUL MESS) joined the $3,000 service LifeMates. Wouldncha love to pay big bucks to be matched with THAT? You get the picture).

I'm not saying that people lie deliberately. But honestly, people in pain aren't that clear-headed and many people don't have a great capacity for self honesty anyway. It's hard enough to reveal ourselves to the people we know love us, let alone when we're faced with potential rejection by strangers.

It's like this. There's our perception of ourself. There's the self we aspire to be. Then there is reality in the form of behaviour and the cumulative state of our lives. How can psychological matching test measure that?

Why did the psychological matching work for me — at work? I didn't need a job. So I wasn't holding on to an outcome to tightly. I wasn't coming from a place of fear, so I put it all out there. Good food for thought in the dating world.

Secrets to using eHarmony

Now having said that, eHarmony does boast hundreds of marriages a year in the U.S. So for some, it has worked! So I'm not bashing it. It's another option you have among many. If you do choose to go the eHarmony route to finding your soulmate, here are my tips.

  • Are you getting a real match?
    Even though eHarmony has a plethora of preferences to narrow your search, they WILL send you matches that are outside of your preferences to keep your numbers up, so beware. They do note this on the profile, but not prominently, and there's no way of knowing what the differences are.
  • Explore radical honesty
    When taking their test, be unabashedly, un-politically correct. Like my experience getting my first great consulting job, the more honest you can be, the better the psychological matching system can do its job.
  • Turn autorenew off
    When you sign up, you are automatically set up to autorenew, so watch out! You'll have to dig to find out how to turn it off, but I got no hassle when I did.
  • Do you want to be a step-parent?
    Strongly want a partner that has children? Or not? There's a place to say if you want kids yourself. But there's no way to express a preference for number or age of existing kids. This was a deal-breaker for me. If it is for you, make sure you mention it in your profile.
  • Take your time
    At first you'll get so many matches it's overwhelming (don't worry, they WILL drop off). Take the time up front to review say three a day. Don't feel rushed. This is easier said than done. ☺
  • Get a professional photo
    Do take the time to do a good profile and splurge to get a professional photo and makeup if you can afford it (if you're in Toronto, I recommend Suzanne at Prettiface and she also knows great photographers). Photos do matter.
  • Keep intuition on
    View the psychological matching system as a convenience, but don't give over your own power of discernment. The system does NOT know better than you do. Remember: Words are cheap. Always, always trust behaviour above all.
  • Cultivate detachment
    If someone drops off, don't take it personally. Ambivalence is rampant and sadly, it's a really common thing. You may even be fighting ambivalence within yourself (I sometimes do).

If you do feel ambivalent sometimes, yet you you sincerely want a soulmate, sign up for my newsletter Moondancing... Whispers from Your Heart. It'll help you move through it, so it doesn't sabotage your soulmate efforts.

I hope you enjoyed my take on psychological matching!

Take me to:

Finding your soulmate – Serious about finding your soulmate? Why dating sites aren't enough...

Online dating tips – 10 online dating tips you need to know if you're really looking for a soulmate

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