We’ve all heard the old adage, “there are other fish in the sea”. It’s usually something we hear during or after a breakup, from a friend trying to make us feel a little less bad. But for people who are looking for a date (regardless of their recent romantic successes or failures), too many fish can be an overwhelming thing. Just make an account on any of the most popular internet dating sites to learn that there are A LOT of people on these platforms. All kinds of shapes, sizes, interests, beliefs, professions, and the list just goes on and on and on. I don’t know about you, but not everybody wants an endless Baskin-Robbins approach to dating options. Sometimes, too much choice can be a bad thing.
Especially if you already know what you are looking for. Despite a growing monoculture in America, there are numerous people who have strong cultural affinities, people groups or traditions with which they identify strongly. There’s nothing wrong with this. If we’re honest, we’re all tied to one culture or another, deep down, and it can be very comforting to be attached romantically to someone else who shares your understanding and appreciation of certain cultural cues, traditions, and values.
But how do you find such a person? One way guaranteed to make this task difficult is to simply go it alone. Think about it this way. Let’s say you are a vegetarian. Your vegetarianism is a deeply held value, so much so that you can’t imagine dating someone who was not also a vegetarian. About 3.2% of Americans are vegetarian. So if you were to hit up the local singles bar and hit on every acceptable dating candidate you saw (maybe you can’t afford that many drinks, but we’re playing pretend here), you’d have to talk to 30 or 40 people before you could be fairly certain of having met a vegetarian.
Those are long odds, and that sounds time consuming and soul-sucking. If only there was a better way. Well there is. Online dating isn’t a come-one, come-all free-for-all. Sure, there are some sites that cater to the masses, but there are an increasing number that exist so that specific kinds of people can meet other people who share their own cultural, political, or professional identities (to name just a few).
We’re talking here of military singles platforms, dating sites for the bereaved, dating sites for Christians, dating sites for Atheists, dating sites for people who dress up like cartoon characters, etc. There is no end to how specific you can be when it comes to online dating. Of course, the more fringe your dating interests, the fewer options you are likely to have in your region. But then again, if the internet has taught us nothing, it’s that there’s someone out there for everybody. No matter who you are, there’s a way to date online that can work for you. So don’t worry about the overwhelming number of fish in the sea. Dive in and find your fish or fishes.