eHarmony Seeks Scientific Edge in Uncertain Game of Love

"Essentially, a caller was just calling in to report a success story and to get their account closed with us," he said. "Whenever a customer has found the love of their life on our service ... essentially they call and report the story. ... They're always really excited."

Waldorf said his goal is to reach America's 90 million eligible single people, many of whom he says are lacking only one thing: hope.

Waldorf believes the company's big brain -- the group of Ph.D.s who write the algorithm that's supposed to put people together -- makes all the difference between this place and just another dating service.

"The Ph.D.s are a special breed, they have expertise in everything from psychology, how do relationships get formed, all the way through from computer science and mathematics to really figure out the complexity of the massive scale of our system, how to make it all happen in a very predictable way for the user, knowing we have a lot of choices that we can make to which choices we can deliver."

What does he say to the skeptics who think there's no mathematical formula for love?

"I would say to anyone who is skeptical, go talk to our success couples."

It turns out that even the so-called "success couples" started as skeptics.

"To be perfectly honest, I thought it was kind of weird to meet someone online," said Obed Varela, who has been happily married to Jennifer Sandoval, whom he met on eHarmony, for three years. "It's hard enough to meet people in real life, so [I was] not at all a believer." The couple has one baby, with another on the way.

"[It's] nothing short of a miracle, honestly," said Varela.

In a room wired with cameras, Gonzaga studies couples' interactions to find out more about what makes a healthy relationship. He gathers data that helps tweak the company's method of putting people together.

"This is one of the things that we are looking for when they are talking about the initial stages of their relationship," Gonzaga observed. "Couples that end up referring to the other person and then to the dyad more than they do to themselves, that's an indicator that they're more focused on the relationship."

Debriefing Dinner

Back at the restaurant, dinner was over.

The couple said eHarmony had worked for them.

But to cut to the chase: Were they headed for marriage?

"I think so," Tony stammered. "I mean, I don't, maybe, I hope so -- hopefully ... I don't want to say."

Hilarie, meanwhile, was nodding yes.

"Maybe I shouldn't be nodding yes," she said.

"No, I hope so, it's going great," said Tony. "I'll say yeah, I love her and I can't imagine being with anybody else at this point, so I would say definitely yeah."

They say love comes in many forms. eHarmony's version starts with a line of computer code and doesn't always work.

But sometimes it all adds up.

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