REJECTED BY eHARMONY.COM

Minority group, minority rights

My Story

I am a 54-year-old woman living in the southern US. That picture on the right was taken on my trip to Australia in October of 2005, so it is quite recent. I'm told by a lot of people that they think I don't look my age, and I've had a lot of fun getting people at carnivals to guess my age, I'm usually told that I look about 35 or 40. Which means that most people, on first impression, think that I'm a very out-of-shape 35 instead of a very in-shape 54.

In November of 2003, I was finally given a formal diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is a "pervasive developmental disorder" and falls on the Autistic Spectrum, it is sometimes referred to as "high functioning autism".

I was married for 3 years in my early 20s, no children. I've been living alone since then. I have my own paid-off car, a '66 Mustang, and my own paid-off house, which I bought after my divorce.

I have had many problems, including health problems, and have fought like a demon to find out what those problems were and to get them fixed, if that was possible. I am doing better now than I have at any time in my past.

I did a web search looking for a site that matched Aspergers (for friendship, romance, etc.) The only one that I found has been taken off-line recently because of problems with their hosting service.

I looked at all the services for "normal" people, and eventually settled on eHarmony.com. eHarmony.com is a computer matching service which is being highly advertised on American television right now. I filled out their questionaire very carefully, and as honestly as I could. My result? They told me: "Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched. This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time."

eHarmony didn't ask about health, so I know that isn't an issue. They also didn't ask about age. Nor did they ask any questions that would have revealed my Asperger condition, or any of the specific problems associated with it.

From what I have learned from various books, web pages, and an Autistic Spectrum forum that I am very active in, I am a pretty average older Asperger woman. Maybe a little bit better people skills than average, but that is partly because of my age, autistic spectrum people tend to mature emotionally more slowly than non-spectrum people.

It is my considered opinion, not borne out by any facts whatsoever, that if they reject me outright, they probably reject most other spectrum people as well.

At the bottom of this page, I have duplicated the personality profile that I received from eHarmony.com after their rejection. Please note that this is copyrighted, and I have left their copyright statement intact.

The "real" me:

Yes, I'm an intellectual. It is how I deal with the very real problems that I have being on the autistic spectrum. I use my intellect to fight, and in some cases overcome, the perfectly normal problems that are peculiar to spectrum disorders. I also have a very high I.Q., confirmed when I was tested (thoroughly) when I got my diagnosis.

I am very honest. I try very hard to overcome the problems I have, both spectrum and just plain human. I try to be accepting of people that are different from me, which is most people I meet, since spectrum people are an extremely small minority in the general population.

Despite my condition, I have supported myself (and sometimes others) almost my entire adult life. I have been a computer programmer most of that time, an occupation that tends to attract spectrum people. Like most programmers from 20 years ago, I changed jobs frequently, however, I've been in my current job for the past 15 years, so at least I can demonstrate some stability.

I'm a science fiction fan, I also like animation and anime, at one time I was very active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and today I am a budding gamer. I have also written a novel, which I am polishing, based on an online game. Poet, one-time dancer, artist, photographer, amateur Egyptologist.....as a matter of fact, I can develop an interest in almost any subject in the world....with the sole exception of accounting. :-)

I was asked to be a speaker at an autism conference, and they were kind enough to pay my way.

I have been told that I don't have a sense of humor, but, actually, I do. It's the typical autistic sense of humor.... intellectual in nature. I love puns and all kinds of word play. I do NOT like slapstick, and "low-brow" humor. I do like being silly, joking around with my friends, and so on. I do not like practical jokes, ethnic jokes, or any jokes that depend on someone being the "fall guy".

Unlike some spectrum people, I can read most people's emotions, but I *cannot* read their personalities. I can tell when someone is happy or sad, but I cannot tell who is trustworthy or not. I cannot tell when someone is lying to me, nor when they are trying to play a joke on me. I can project sarcasm appropriately, but I can't always tell when someone else is being sarcastic. I have reason to believe that my body language is messed up, it seems that people "read" things off my body language which simply aren't true, for example, I'm told I'm "arrogant", when actually I have rather low self-esteem. However, none of that has any impact on eHarmony.com.

Because I can't read people, I don't trust my own judgement about them. I take my time getting to know people, before I make decisions about them. This might make me seem a bit stand-offish, but I'm really a nice person once I get to know you and am sure that I won't freak you out. Once I make friends with someone, I am very loyal, because I don't tend to have a lot of close friends, or make new ones quickly or easily.

I am very romantic, and very much miss having someone to be emotionally involved with. I am actually a very passionate person; however, when I don't know someone's state of mind, I tend to stay rather distant, because I don't want to go overboard through misunderstanding. "Still waters run deep" is a pretty good description of me.

It just so happens that I like spectrum-like men. I've known many of them through science fiction societies.

If it is hard for so-called "normal" (non-spectrum) people to find a mate without the services of something like eHarmony.com, imagine how much harder it is for someone with poor people skills, who is ALSO handicapped by being a member of a cognitive minority. If any group of people on the face of the planet NEED assistance in finding compatible friends, lovers, and spouses, it is the autistic spectrum community.

I would very much like to hear eHarmony.com's response to this web page.

If you have a comment, I can be reached at

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Minority group; minority rights

Had they taken my money, I would be screaming "fraud" at the top of my lungs, and threatening to get a lawyer.

The point is that:
1. this IS an honest company,
2. their business is helping people find suitable mates,
3. if NTs have difficulty finding mates in this modern world, spectrum people have even MORE difficulty, and need that help even more.

Many companies are only money-driven. If eHarmony.com is such a company, it cannot be motivated to show concern for the (socially) handicapped, and I'm wasting my time, but am unlikely to do *them* any harm.

However.....I am really, really tired of being told that I am different, and that "difference is wrong". I do NOT agree that difference is wrong. I am also really, really tired of being told that I am a second-class citizen, that I don't DESERVE the same services, facilities, and resources that NTs have access to, just because I am a member of a cognitive minority.

Black people would be screaming to high heaven if eHarmony.com refused them their service because THEY are a minority, and you know it. And they would be right.

Spectrum people are NOT less deserving than black people. Period.

Most modern western countries have adopted an attitude of making accomodation to handicaps....that is why most of them have laws about making buildings and businesses "accessible". That's why companies of a certain size (so that they can reasonably afford it) are required by law in the U.S. to provide elevators and/or ramps for wheelchairs, and Braille lettering on elevators and some signs for the blind.

Spectrum people are also NOT less deserving of accomodation than the blind and people who are wheelchair-bound.

However, there is a prejudice against spectrum people that the blind and the wheelchair-bound do not suffer, but which blacks and other ethnic groups HAVE suffered.

Simply put, uneducated NTs don't LIKE us. Some of them even hate us, not because we are bad people, but because we are different people, and many of them suffer from xenophobia, which is a fear of that which is different.

Just as racial prejudice can appear in many guises, often well hidden, so prejudice against spectrum people often pretends to be something else as well.

Things will not get better for us, unless there are spectrum people who are willing to stand up for their rights, and to shine the light of day on "cognitive prejudice".

I understand that you and I may have very different viewpoints on this, and I am okay with that, or at least, it doesn't bother me as much as it used to. You are certainly welcome to your own opinion on the situation.

But I have my own. I see what I think is an "inequality", a situation of prejudice against the cognitively "different", the socially handicapped. I have a bit of a "crusader" streak....it rarely brings about change, but if I see what I think is an inequality, I feel duty-bound to do what I can to bring about a positive change, even though I know that the chances are very high that I will fail.

If people don't try when the chances are small....nothing would ever change for the better.

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My eHarmony.com profile, after I filled out their questionaire:

eHarmony

March 14, 2006

Unable to Match

eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples. One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants to fall within certain defined profiles. If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched. This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.

You can still receive your free Personality Profile by clicking here.

2000-2006 EHARMONY.COM, INC.

OVERVIEW

By analyzing your answers to the Relationship Questionnaire we have created the following Personality Profile. Everyone has a set of subconscious wants and desires that drive their choices and attitudes. By asking you questions about a wide range of emotional issues, this report has established general patterns in your values.

Some of the following information may seem inaccurate or incomplete. Remember, that this profile is a snapshot of your personality at a specific moment. It is not intended as an in-depth analysis of your complete being, but as a tool to aid in self-discovery.

* You may be a matter-of-fact person who may be critical of the shortcomings of others who display a more emotional or outgoing side.
* Others showing genuine sincerity and acceptance impress you. You do not like a shallow expression of feelings or thoughtlessness of others. You will get along with most people you meet because you don't cause hostility.
* Others may see you as disciplined and self-controlled. You have seen the problems of being overly optimistic when planning to depend on others following through.
* During times of stress or tension, you may withdraw inside yourself and appear as somewhat cool and aloof. You need to be alone when thinking through projects, problems or solutions.
* Because of your thoughtful nature, you need others to express sincere interest in you or the relationship. This offers the secure feeling that you seek.
* You usually assume a cautious and reserved demeanor when meeting new people. Your relationships must grow naturally and in sincere ways. You will not confide in others readily because of your need for security.

COMMUNICATION

Each person has a unique way of communicating. We use a combination of body language, facial expression, verbal tone and word choice to share ourselves with others. The following statements offer a look at the natural behavior you bring to an interpersonal relationship.

* You are usually astute in social situations because you take little at face value, will listen carefully and accurately, and will watch others carefully.
* You tend to listen rather than talk. You may place a premium on display of emotions. As a result, "reading" you at times may be difficult.
* You attempt to influence others not by showing great emotion, but by appealing to the logical nature of people. Those who are more emotional and excitable may sometimes ignore your approach.
* Some people may inaccurately perceive you as not liking people. You may be misread by others, because you approach social situations with logic and objectivity, judging others by their competence--you may sometimes be misread by others.
* Because of your need to be quiet rather than rambling, you are somewhat introspective about events and activities. You may not communicate readily and rapidly with others, but this does not mean you don't support others.
* You may want to base relationships on a nonemotional respect for each other's abilities, and base your level of trust on directness and straightforwardness.
* You may be somewhat reticent and retiring when with others, especially in a large group. As others grow louder, you may become quieter. You value control of emotions, and are more reflective than rowdy.

IMPROVING COMMUNICATION

Many different factors determine the communication styles with which you are most comfortable. Some individuals thrive on the challenge of pointed criticism, while others are at their best in a nurturing environment where criticism is offered as a suggestion for improvement. Each of us has a unique set of requirements and preferences. Below is a list of communication styles that will mesh well with your own. Having a partner who understands and practices these traits is important to your long-term happiness.

* Give pros and cons of ideas.
* Take your time and proceed slowly.
* Provide time to analyze the data before making a decision.
* Minimize risks by providing assurances for participation.
* Use a tone of voice that shows sincerity.
* Respect quiet demeanor.
* Approach in an honest, sincere manner.
* Have facts and ideas in a logical order.
* Use a logical and unemotional approach.
* If you agree, follow through with your end of the agreement.
* Use a thoughtful approach.

STRENGTHS

Following are some of the specific strengths and/or personal characteristics that you bring to a relationship. These may form the foundations of many of your friendships and dealings with other people. Some will seem obvious, but you may be surprised by others. Take a moment to reflect on each and consider what role it may have played in your past successes, and even failures.

* You tend to be the "Anchor of Reality" in highly emotional situations.
* You don't tend to get distracted by superficial issues.
* You tend to set and maintain very high standards for yourself.
* You are skilled at finding practical solutions to complicated situations.
* You generally take pride in being a strong community member.
* You are good at making certain that even small details are taken care of.
* You are good at "troubleshooting" potential problems in a relationship.
* You tend to have very high values.

NEEDS

In general, human beings are defined by their needs and individuals by their wants. Your emotional wants are especially important when establishing with whom you are compatible. While answering the Relationship Questionnaire you established a pattern of basic, subconscious wants. This section of the report was produced by analyzing those patterns. Our wants change as we mature and obtain our life goals. You may find it valuable to revisit this section periodically to see how your wants have changed.

You may want:

* Better planning for change in the future.
* Time to adjust to change.
* Things done "right" the first time.
* Others to present their ideas and information in a logical order.
* Limited socializing, especially with new people.
* No flattery or shallow praise.
* Others to adhere to your high standards.
* Time away occasionally--you value your privacy.
* Security and safety procedures around the house: fire safety, smoke detectors, electronic security systems, etc.
* Recognition for your concern for quality relationships.
* Fewer changes, if many changes have occurred recently.
* Facts and data before making decisions relating to others.

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March 19, 2006