Why Niche Dating Sites Might Be Better For Your Love Life, According To A Dating Expert

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With almost 8,000 online dating sites operating worldwide, it might be time for you to join some niche dating sites.

When there were fewer dating sites, it was easier to make a choice among, eHarmony, or Plenty of Fish. And you may have connected with a fair number of people on those sites, as well.

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.

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Why are niche dating sites better for your love life?

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're comfortable with each other, and you're 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.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed modern dating.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of modern dating has completely changed. Social distancing, self-isolation, and the shutdowns mean there's very little possibility of meeting someone out in the real world.

If you do meet someone, a typical date night has changed from dinner and a movie to FaceTime and maybe a socially distant walk.

It's no surprise that dating apps have had a major surge in use while everyone is locked away indoors.

According to Mashable, more people have been active on dating apps like Bumble and 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're looking for in a relationship.

In stressful times like this, it's natural to want to find someone to navigate the world with. Still, joining the dating pool can be an intimidating experience.

When you're ready to meet new people, the best plan might be to start with people who share your interests and passion. That's where a niche dating site can come in handy.

What is a niche dating site?

In the simplest terms, a niche dating site is a website or application that's specifically designed for people with similar interests, traits, or experiences to connect with each other.

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.

As you begin to explore dating apps and dating sites, you're 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.

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself if joining niche dating sites are better for you.

1. What are you looking for?

When you log into Bumble or Grindr, what do you hope to get out of it? There's no wrong answer here. If you just want to talk to people to get human interaction, there are sites for that.

Hinge is "the dating app designed to be deleted," so if you're 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're looking for is important.

It allows you to set expectations for yourself and others, so that you don't waste your time pursuing someone who's not interested or simply seeking to take advantage of you.

It's OK if you don't know what you're looking for.

A standard dating site like eHarmony might be a good place to start, where you can meet a large variety of people and learn how 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.

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.

RELATED: 11 Best Online Dating Sites For Finding Love In Coronavirus Lockdown

2. Do you feel seen by the other dating sites?

In 2017, Men’s Health magazine reported that the algorithms of some dating apps are not as reliable as people would hope. The 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!

While standard dating sites allow you to see all kinds of people from different walks of life, that doesn't mean you will feel accepted or wanted by them.

You can see 100 potential matches based on the people in your area, but it's possible that none of them know or understand you.

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, SingleParentMeet allows people with children to find someone else who understands what it's 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're looking to build a long-term relationship.

Niche sites like PozMatch provide a safe, honest dating environment for people who are HIV+ to meet without worrying about being discriminated against.

Your lived experiences are inextricable parts of who you 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. 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's 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. They can talk about their favorite books, new releases they are excited about, and even the first book that got them interested in reading.

When you're 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.

For example, 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's also OK to want distance from an interest. Too much exposure to one thing could spoil the love that you had for it.

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're putting yourself out into the world and exposing yourself to strong feelings.

You're just as likely to get hurt on your journey as you are to find true happiness. That's 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's OK if you're not ready to change your lifestyle to include someone else.

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.

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 the right choice if you want to meet all different kinds of people with countless different backgrounds.

But, 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.

By answering these questions and exploring the wealth of dating site options, you will be set up for romantic success.

RELATED: 5 Best Dating Sites For LGBT Singles Looking For Love

Claire Bahn is the CEO of Online Profile Pros, the largest network of professional photographers, writers, and coaches across the U.S. and Canada, all dedicated to making sure your personal brand is the best it can be.

This article was originally published at Online Profile Pros. Reprinted with permission from the author.