Interested in meeting fellow dog owners? Try Twindog. Have facial hair or want to date those who do? Download Bristlr. Gluten intolerant? Sign up to Gluten Free Singles. Created by San Diego-based friends Sheri Grande and , it’s the first online platform for daters with coeliac disease. “I had anxiety before going on first dates,” she says. “I’d worry about choosing restaurants. Would they have gluten-free options? Would I have to explain why I was gluten free? Would I seem high maintenance?” After doing some research, the pair discovered that 1 per cent of the US population (approximately 3 million people) had coeliac disease and many more were choosing to eat gluten free. Their site now has 36,000 members from around the world. “More and more people are choosing niche dating sites over larger traditional ones,” adds Romaya. “It’s just a fact that relationships last longer when partners have similar lifestyles.”
Romaya, who suffers from the condition herself, admits she found it stressful dating people who didn’t understand her dietary requirements
This assumption has also driven the growth of religious dating platforms. Prospective daters can declare their denomination (from Orthodox and conservative to just Jewish), say whether they are kosher or not and upgrade to JSwipe First Class for premium features including a boosted profile that appears twice as often. Christian Mingle and Salt have found similar success with the Christian market, while the Single Muslim app has a database of over two million people. Shaadi, an online matchmaking service for people of South Asian origin which was founded in 1997, also operates an appbined with the site, it is responsible for a new match being made every 2.4 seconds.
Just as some apps match people based on their interests, others focus on their mutual dislikes. Hater, a dating app that determines compatibility based on the things you hate, allows users to complain about “everything from slow walkers to Kim Jong-un”. It has been downloaded by two million people since its launch in 2017-perhaps unsurprising considering the divisiveness of our current political climate. “Things like Trump and Brexit might attract people to Hater Travel dating review, but that won’t be the reason they stick around,” says the app’s press and Terris. “More than anything, our model provides easy conversation, which is often cited as an issue on other apps where people just say ‘hey’ and nothing else. Niche apps are about creating a space to geek out over what you have in common. We had a Trump supporter and a Clinton supporter get engaged last year-they bonded over their mutual hatred of pistachios that were difficult to open before they even discovered their political differences.”
Of course, there are many others who would rather not date across the political aisle. Donald Daters, an app for Trump supporters that uses the tagline “make America date again”, launched in 2018 and gained 1,600 users in a single day. “Trump supporters face extreme hostility wherever they go-whether they’re at a restaurant or on an online dating app,” the company’s CEO Emily Moreno said in a statement. “I started this app to provide a solution to young Trump supporters who have told me their dating horror stories. For many of them, liberal intolerance has made meeting and dating nearly impossible.” Rival platforms include NeverTrump.Dating which encourages users to “escape Trumpism with an enlightened lover”. Increasingly, it seems we are afraid to engage with those we might disagree with.
Among the most popular is JSwipe, a Jewish dating app with users in 70 countries
Despite Terris’s assurances, niche dating apps do seem to pigeonhole users more often than they encourage open-mindedness. Has the old adage of opposites attract become outdated? What about those who might fall in love and convert to another religion for a partner or couples who might thrive on the fact that they come from different backgrounds? Reeves and Davis insist that their apps don’t promote division. “What I’ve found from friends of mine who are dating online or through apps is that most people are on more than one site,” says Reeves. “Of course they’ll join free ones because it’s all about quantity.” Davis agrees: “People just want to maximise their chances. They’ll go on apps like Tinder where they can meet all sorts of people and they might also use two smaller apps alongside it.” Their advice? Narrow down the dating pool with niche apps but keep your eye on the big picture too. After all, you never know who you might meet.