How to perfect your eHarmony personal preferences

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This article is one in a series about getting your eHarmony settings just right. We use the Relationship Questionnaire to match you based on deep compatibility, but you can also screen out matches based on your own personal preferences. We’ve covered getting your distance settings right, so now we want to tackle personal preferences.

You can edit these whenever you like, and you’ll find them under ‘My Settings’ when you sign in. The include Smoking, Drinking, Children and Age. Here’s how to approach each setting so that you get the best out of eHarmony.

Remember, that we will never send you flexible matches for any of your settings that you put as ‘Very Important’ (i.e. 5-7). We understand that there are some things that are very important to you, and we respect that.

The smoking preference
Generally, people will feel very strongly about this subject. If you don’t like smoking, it tends to be that you’d never want to date a smoker, and that is completely fair. In this case, set the bar right at number 7, indicating this is very important to you.

However, if smoking isn’t a complete deal breaker for you, but you’re still not a fan, consider lowering your importance on that scale. After all, lots of matches put that they smoke ‘a few times a year’. This can literally be a cigar at Christmas, or a cheeky cigarette when with old university friends. Would you want to completely rule out these people? If you answer is still ‘yes’ then that’s fine, but if there’s some leeway there, consider lowering that setting. After all you’ll be opening yourself up to a whole pool of new matches

The drinking preference
Drinking is another pretty crucial, health related setting. If, for example, you don’t drink – perhaps because of a personal experience with addiction – then it’s probably safe to suggest you don’t want to be with anyone who drinks. In that case, we want to know that this is ‘very important’ to you.

Again though, what if someone drinks a few times a year, or even once a week? Perhaps that drink is a glass of Champagne at a wedding, or a glass of wine on a Saturday night with dinner. Yes, they’re not teetotal, but maybe you’d be happy to be matched with someone whose drinking is very considered and infrequent.

If you state that this setting is of less important to you then you’ll still be receiving highly compatible matches – people who share your values and outlook on life – it just so happens that those people enjoy the occasional drink. As with any of these preferences, we’ll never make you change your settings, but it is worthwhile giving them careful thought.

Of course, the only way you’ll know a match’s true attitude towards drinking is to get to know them and spend time with them, but this is a good starting point. After all, if you get into Guided Communication with a match, this can be a great point to ask them about their thoughts on alcohol, if it is an important subject to you.

The children preference
Here the format changes and we ask you three separate questions. Our first piece of advice is for you to read these questions very closely to ensure you’re answering exactly what we ask.  The first two questions ask about children under 18, living with you full time. If you have children living with you who are over 19, or only living with you part time, you shouldn’t include them in this question.

This also means that if, for the question ‘Would you be willing to accept a partner who has children 18 years old or younger living full time in their home?’, you answer ‘No’, you may still receive matches who have children over 19 living with them, or children living with them part time.

If you are only interested in matches who have no children, or no children living with them then you should be able to ascertain this from their About Me page. People with children are generally quick to talk about them, or even post photos of them. Additionally you have the opportunity to ask about children in the Guided Communication process if the subject is very important to you.

This leads us to question three: ‘Aside from any children you or your partner may already have, would you like to start a new family by having or adopting a baby?’ This is specifically about whether you would want to have children with a match, not whether you’d be willing to accept a match with children.

To help you answer, here’s a little tip: members answering ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ will be matched with other members answering ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’. Anyone answering ‘no’ will only be matched with others answering ‘no’.

Again, if you absolutely firm on the issue, then a yes or no will do fine. However, if you’re unsure, take other factors into account. For example, if you’re in your 30s or 40s, bear in mind that in this age range your potential matches will probably be polarised over whether they want to start a family in the future. If you put ‘maybe’ you won’t be receiving matches from the sizable chunk of your pool who put ‘no’ – and vice versa. If you are unsure, or not bothered, this is a good setting to play around with to see what gets you the most matches.

The age preference
The Relationship Questionnaire creates a default age range for you from the start, based on your answers, to optimise the number of matches you get. However, you can still use this setting to set your own specific preferences. One thing to note is that we require at least a 6-year age difference between the ages you specify. This is because we advise members that it’s good to seek matches who are 6 years older or younger than themselves. For example, if you’re 36, it seems reasonable that you would find love with someone aged 30, or 42.

Everyone has their own ideas around the age range of their own ideal match, and some members do choose to only look for members younger than themselves. When asked they often say that this is because they feel young at heart and that they don’t feel on the same level as their peers.

This may be true to some extent, but we have found increasing numbers of members say this, suggesting that looking for someone their own age they may find someone just as young at heart. This really is a roundabout way of suggesting that if you are looking for someone younger than you, you may want to consider broadening your age range, and therefore broadening your pool of matches!


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