Love by Courtney Walker

My Online Dating “Adventure”: Sampling some e-Harmony Q & As (part 1)

Morning reflection time… i.e., Thursday morning staff meeting. Things have been slowing down over on the e-harmony side of things for the past two months. When I signed up in mid-Jan I was overwhelmed by the level and continuous stream of questions, so much so that I began to save my responses. I did this partly to keep from having to “reinvent the wheel” each time I was asked the same question. The other reason was that I was hoping to be at least a little consistent with my responses.


Basically I’d get the profile of several “matches” E-Harmony created based on comparing our answers to the initial survey. Then whoever initiated the communication would ask the other person five questions (mostly drawn from a list of about thirty possible questions.. I think, it’s been awhile since I began a “match”). The respondent would answer with a short one sentence answer and then offer up five of his/her own questions. If that stage went well then the matches would exchange a list of ten “must haves” and ten “can’t stands” (more about that later). Then if that went well then each respondent would ask (and answer) three questions, this time the answers could be a bit longer (up to a short paragraph). It was a lot of work. My running buddy Colleen gave up at this stage, in part, because she got tired of getting messages from matches complaining that she wasn’t responding quickly enough. Too bad for them (I kind’a of know the feel… ugh).

Anyway, just the idea of having a real choice in dating was difficult to fathom. But I dutifully answered the escalating queries and ventured to hope that there might be someone out there who might appreciate what I have to offer and might meet my desires and needs. The following are some of my response to those queries, first a series of short Q&As and then some longer Q&As:

Q: When in a relationship, how much personal space do you generally find you need? A: Teaching & working on a grad degree, time can be a problem; but I look forward to weekends & special times during the week w/ someone special

Q: Which of the following quirks would bother you most about your partner? A: is not familiar with current events

Q: What do you think of “Soul Mates?” A: I believe in several soulmates, but love always requires hard work

Q: Do you consider yourself physically affectionate when involved in a relationship? A: yes, yes, yes… relationships require time, attention and lots of sharing of laughter, tears, stolen kisses and the bliss of the touch of one’s love.

Q: What are your body-type preferences for your mate A: How about “healthy,” from athletic to curvy. I know women are very sensitive about this, so for me this is more about having a great attitude & self-expectation

Q: Besides love, what one trait have you noticed in couples that have maintained a successful relationship for many years?

A: I’ve noticed 3 traits that seem to be equally important: friendship, trust & respect. Being able to remember the good qualities that brought the couple together in the first place, and to be able to share & talk things through (friendship); to be able to always remember the good qualities of one’s partner (respect); and to always try to maintain a level of communication that allows one to give oneself to ones partner (trust). We all change over time and we have to allow for that. But without friendship, respect and trust there is no relationship.

Q: What have you learned from past relationships?

A: I have learned how to listen to my emotions and how to ride the ups and downs rather than shut them down when things go badly. I have learned that it takes a lot of work and even then that are no guarantees, but that when one really connects with another there is nothing better in the world. I have learned that the greatest joy comes in giving ones self to another and the fulfillment that comes from a journey shared. I have learned that I was meant to be a part of something greater than myself and as much as I am quite capable of living alone and finding goodness in the life God has given me to this point, my best comes when I walk this path holding hands with the one He’s meant to be for me.

Q: Describe your ideal man/woman

A: Is there such a thing as an ideal man or woman? I have to confess that I’m a bit intimidated by the question and find it a bit sad that my first thought was that it seems easier to describe what I find appealing appearance-wise versus actually thinking about the deeper more important traits. Fortunately e-harmony has provided a little “who is right for me” summary and after I read it I had to say “Wow, do people like this really exist?” Briefly, my ideal mate is curious about life & likes learning new things. She loves to share her experiences, laugh and share jokes. She’s active in her church and being able to share a spiritual intimacy with me is important to her. She’s reasonably confident and expects the best from herself without being obsessive. She has a strong sense of right and wrong but is flexible and able to adapt to life’s unexpected demands. She has a kind heart and a sharp wit. Oh yeah, and she keeps herself healthy and in good shape.

Q: Describe your spirituality.

A: My spirituality is part of my daily private routine. My days begin & end with time on my knees. During breakfast I listen to a bible-study podcast & during my commute or quiet moments in the day I listen to contemporary worship music. Four-years ago, in course of rediscovering parts of myself because of relationship difficulties, I rediscovered the true Author of Love in my life and came back to the one person who has made a difference in my life, Jesus Christ. After being “away” for 15-years, I have a different appreciation and approach to my faith & spirituality than I did as a kid. I’m very much focused on building my connections with my little local community of believers, using my gifts to assist my fellow believers in their own walk with the Lord. But as a public school teacher I feel that my spirituality needs to shine through my character and how I handle the difficulties of the job versus anything I might say or any symbol I might display.

Q: If they were making a movie about your life, what would it be called and which actor would play you?

A: “Odysseus Among Us” starring Bill Murray. There’s no resemblance, appearance-wise, between myself and the actor, I’m just a big fan of his quirky stuff, a la “Lost in Translation.” As for the story, well let’s just say that one day a young man headed out to discover the world, full of determination and a sense of mission. Alas, what was supposed to be a quick voyage and back became a long series of adventures of self-discovery and difficult lessons and eventually the young man, now not so young, realized that the real value in life was not in the destination but in the journey.

Perhaps the “lesson” in all of this is that the value is in the Journey and that one misses out on that if all one can see is the Destination. One can only hope… More to follow. JBB