With almost 8,000 online dating sites operating worldwide, is it time for you to join a niche dating site? When there were fewer dating sites you pretty much made a choice between Match.com, eHarmony, or Plenty of Fish. Because of their sheer size, you may have found that you were connected to a fair number of people. However, since it was so generic, you might have also found that your matches actually had contrasting lifestyles, interests, or any number of issues which meant that you weren’t all that compatible in the end.
Having some common ground with your partner and getting your expectations met is the most important foundation on which to build a relationship. A prominent Philadelphia divorce lawyer notes that incompatibility, either from contrasting lifestyles, interests, or any number of issues, is one of the top reasons cited when couples file for divorce.
Dating is a complex experience. In the best-case scenario, you find someone with whom you immediately connect. Your interests line up, your chemistry is electric, you are comfortable with each other, and you are on the exact same page about how fast your relationship develops from dating to marriage and beyond. In a more realistic scenario, at least one of those four things does not align between you and your partner.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of modern dating has completely changed. Social distancing, self-isolation, and the shutdowns mean there is very little possibility of meeting someone out in the real world. You are unlikely to see a cute girl at a bar or meet a nice boy in the park. If you do meet someone, a typical date night has changed from dinner and a movie to a FaceTime and maybe a socially distant walk.
As such it is no surprise that dating apps have had a major surge in use while everyone is locked away indoors. According to Mashable, more people are active on dating apps like Bumble and Match.com since the shutdowns began in March. Additionally, people on dating apps are spending more time getting to know potential partners and being honest about who they are and what they are looking for in a relationship.
Is a Niche Dating Site Right for You? Find out!
In stressful times like we are currently living in, it is natural to want to find someone to navigate the world with, but joining the dating pool can be an intimidating experience. When you are ready to meet new people, the best plan might be to start with people who share your interests and passion. That is where a niche dating site can come in handy.
Table of Contents:
Niche Dating Sites vs. Other Dating Apps
- What Are You Looking For?
- Do You Feel Seen By the Other Dating Sites?
- Are You Passionate About Something?
- Are You Ready?
What is a Niche Dating Site?
In the simplest terms, a niche dating site is a website or application that is specifically designed for people with similar interests, traits, or experiences to connect with each other. Niche dating sites offer an alternative to mainstream dating sites that like Match.com, Hinge, Tinder, etc. Through a niche dating site, you can find someone and build a relationship based on specific choices and preferences.
People want to find partners who share their hobbies and lifestyles. With sites like JDate, for Jewish people looking for partners, and FarmersOnly, for farmers living in the countryside, niche dating sites have become increasingly popular services for those looking to find the One. Shared interests are important. A niche dating site can cut through the clutter of the other dating sites and show you people who share your interests or share similar experiences.
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Niche Dating Sites vs. Other Dating Apps
Dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid cast a wide net for potential matches. In most cases, the only criteria that someone on a dating site has to meet is that they are geographically close to you. It is only after you connect that you begin to see if there is any common ground.
SimilarWeb reports that niche dating sites are rising in popularity while the more general sites like Match.com are losing their daily traffic. If a hobby is an important part of your life, then it makes sense that you would want to seek out others who share that interest.
Another advantage of niche dating sites is that you are able to find people with whom you share a specific demographic. Our Time is a dating site for seniors looking to find someone to share their golden years with. A niche site like this only has clients that fit a specific demographic, specifically, people over the age of 50.
While an app like Plenty of Fish has options to restrict the age of people you can match with, however that does not guarantee that you fit into another person’s search criteria. Niche sites automatically set you to match with people similar to you demographically. The advantage of a dating site is that you get to see how many options are out there. The advantage of a niche dating site is that you can narrow those options to fit criteria specific to you.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
As you begin to explore dating apps and dating sites, you are going to face a lot of questions from potential matches, friends, family members, and anyone else who has an opinion on dating. These questions come from outside sources, but you also need to think about a few things and set up rules for yourself as you begin swiping and tapping.
1. What Are You Looking For?
If you have any experience in the world of dating, you have heard this question countless times. If you are new to the world of dating, you are going to hear this question from just about everyone you match with. It is standard, but it is also important to figure out for yourself.
When you log into Bumble or Grindr, what do you hope to get out of it? There is not really a wrong answer here. If you just want to talk to people so that you get human interaction, there are sites for that. Hinge is “the dating app designed to be deleted” so if you are looking for something very serious, that might be the right path for you. There are even opportunities for casual flings.
Even if it doesn’t come up in the conversation, knowing what you are looking for is important. It allows you to set expectations for yourself and others so that you do not waste your time pursuing someone who is not interested or so that you do not let someone else take advantage of you.
It is okay if you do not know what you are looking for. A standard dating site like eHarmony might be a good place to start. You can start by meeting a large variety of people and learning how you like to interact with them. Most people will fill out a profile with their hobbies and interests so you can learn more about them before connecting.
For example, maybe you find someone who works at a rock climbing gym, and you have always thought that rock climbing was interesting, but never had the time to join a gym. With this dating app, you can connect with people and learn more about something you are interested in but have not had a chance to explore. A niche dating site like Outdoor Duo would be appropriate if you were deeply passionate about rock climbing, but not if you only have a passing interest.
Dating apps offer great opportunities to meet new people from all walks of life. It is important and valuable to define for yourself what you want to achieve when you visit dating sites. Niche dating sites are great for conversations with people who share your interests and backgrounds, while broader dating sites allow you to meet incredibly different and diverse people.
2. Do You Feel Seen By the Other Dating Sites?
A wide range of dating sites like OkCupid will open you up to many different kinds of people. Within that group, there are likely to be many nice, available people, but maybe not people who you can relate to and you can relate to you.
Even you find someone nice, that does not necessarily mean you will connect. In 2017, Men’s Health reported that the algorithms of some dating apps are not as reliable as people would hope. A study found that when comparing self-reported traits and preferences, scientists were able to predict partner compatibility. When the scientists interviewed participants after the date, the responses were unpredictable, despite the algorithm setting them up.
Don’t get lost in the pool of online daters on a mainstream dating site …find your niche!
On one hand, it is nice to have a wide range of people to talk to. You may meet someone who will expose you to worlds that you may never have thought about before. It can be nice to be pushed out of your comfort zone. On the other hand, some people want and need a partner who closely aligns with their lives.
While standard dating sites, you see all kinds of people from different walks of life, and while that can be good, that does not mean you will feel accepted or wanted by them. You can see 100 potential matches based on the people in your area, but it is possible that none of them know or understand what you have been through.
If you have a specific life experience or lifestyle, a niche dating site can put you in contact with people who have lived through similar situations. For example, SingleParentsMeet meet allows people with children to find someone else who understands what it is like to navigate the world while raising a child by themselves.
People living with HIV/AIDs have to have an important conversation with every partner they have, especially if they are looking to build a long term relationship. Even if they have received treatment and are undetectable, these people still face the stigma associated with being HIV+. Niche sites like PozMatch provide a safe, honest dating environment for people who are HIV+ to meet without worrying about being discriminated against.
Our lived experiences are inextricable parts of who we are. If those experiences are important to your life, they should be important to anyone you end up in a relationship with. Niche dating sites allow you to present your full authentic self in front of other people who can relate to you.
3. Are You Passionate About Something?
There are interests, and then there are passions. Some people like to play video games in their free time as a way to relax, others closely follow blogs and social media, make videos reviewing the best Fortnite plays, and even build computers to exact specifications so that they are optimized for gaming. For these people, a site like Gamers Meet might be the place to find a true connection.
Niche dating sites are intended to be hyper-specific, even if they might seem like jokes. For every Fitness Singles, for people interested in exercising, there is a Sea Captain Date, for actual sea captains looking to share their love of the ocean.
Small talk can be tiresome. It can be nice to find someone with whom you can quickly get down to the big questions. Meeting someone who shares your passions gives you an immediate talking point to explore. A site like Alikewise pairs up book lovers and people who are well-read. On dates, they can talk about their favorite books, new releases they are excited about, even the first book that got them interested in reading.
When you are looking for someone to share the rest of your life with, you want to be able to share every part, especially the parts you are passionate about. Using a niche dating site is a great way to increase your chances of finding someone who loves the same things as you. When you find that person, you can have new experiences together. If two people meet and connect on Craft Brew Mingles, they will always have a person to go try out new breweries with (and hopefully there will always be a designated driver).
However, it is also okay to want distance from an interest. Too much exposure to one thing could spoil the love that you had for it. If you and your partner are both deeply immersed in the world you are passionate about, it could quickly lead to burnout, and then you will not find the same joy that you once did. When you find someone who does not share the same interests as you, you both have the opportunity to learn more about each other and grow as people.
4. Are You Ready?
This really is the most important question to ask yourself. Dating means you are putting yourself out into the world and exposing yourself to strong feelings. You are just as likely to get hurt on your journey as you are to find true happiness. That is a big undertaking. Are you ready?
The answers to these questions may not be clear immediately. Dating, like many other things in life, is about changing and adapting. If you want to welcome another person into your life, you have to be willing to make some compromises and grow as a person to include them.
It is okay if you are not ready to change your lifestyle to include someone else. A good thing about dating sites is that you can learn how to adapt. In one day, you could connect with three people. One is a nice person with whom you have good back and forth, but you do not see much else beyond that conversation. One never replies to any of your messages. And then one is absolutely perfect, funny, and charming. And then you never talk to them again. Personally, I have had many days where I experience all three.
It takes a lot to put yourself in a situation where you have to rely on someone else, but the rewards are worth it. You get to build connections with new people. Every dating experience, even bad ones, are opportunities to grow as a person. You could even find the person you get to spend the rest of your life with.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but starting might be a good way to get ready. Putting yourself out there is a major step that will ultimately show you that dating is not so scary. That is where dating sites come in. A niche dating site will immediately set you up with people you have something in common with and thus something you can talk about.
When you talk to people through the internet and not exactly face-to-face, there is more casual energy to the interactions. You can stop and start talking to people whenever you want. Taking steps, however big or small they are, will help you get to a place where you are ready.
In an incredibly online world and in a global pandemic, people are finding new ways to meet and connect with each other. A standard dating site is a right choice for you if you want to meet all different kinds of people with countless different backgrounds. A niche dating site might be the right choice for you if you want to find a significant other with whom you share similar specific life experiences and interests.
It is a big step to begin, and it can be intimidating to join a dating site, but you are not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, 30% of adults in the United States say they have used a dating app. The numbers vary across ages, sexes, and races, but the largest percentage of dating app users are from the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) community.
In this article alone I have mentioned 20 dating sites, some niche, some not. I wanted to illustrate how many different dating sites there are out there for you to use. By answering these questions and exploring the wealth of dating site options, you will be set up for romantic success.
About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a blogger and legal assistant living and working in the great city of Philadelphia, USA. She frequently works with Lee Schwartz, a noted divorce attorney in Philadelphia.