When someone you cared about screws you over, it sucks. You thought you finally found a great partner, someone to build a new life with, and then bam! They pull the rug out from under you. When you cry to your friends about it, they placate you with platitudes, the most popular being that “there are plenty of fish in the sea.” But are there, really?
What does “plenty of fish in the sea” even mean?
The expression “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” is used to assure another person, usually one who has just gone through a breakup or has been hurt by a romantic partner, that there are plenty of other single people out there. In other words, don’t get too hung up on this one person, as they’re just a single fish in a vast ocean full of them. It’s not that the ex is insignificant or that the relationship was real. However, it is a way of comforting someone when they believe they’ll never love again or will be alone forever.
It’s obnoxious as hell, to be totally honest. Yes, it’s well-intentioned. It’s meant to encourage you to never give up on love no matter how hopeless it seems. However, it doesn’t matter if there are a million so-called fish in the so-called sea if you’re hung up on one in particular. It’s cliche, trite, and not at all helpful. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from saying it. You might as well embrace it in the end.
So, how many single people are out there, anyway?
While being single used to be rare in the 1960s, rolling solo, whether involuntarily or by choice, is becoming more and more popular every year. Per Statista, there are 37.89 million single-person-led households in the United States in 2022. That includes households shared by friends, family members, and roommates. That’s a rise of 1.39 million on the year before, and a whopping 9.11 million more than in 2002. Needless to say, there are a lot of single people in the country.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau further revealed that in 2021, nearly 50% of all American adults were single, which equals about 126.9 million people. And while not all of them are looking for love — plenty of people are on their own by choice — a good percentage of them are still open to romantic connections. That should give you hope.
How to increase your chances of finding a good “fish”
- Get off your butt and out of the house. It doesn’t matter how many fish are in the sea if you’re not actually swimming alongside them. It’s easy to complain about the state of dating, the lack of options, and the depressing reality of being on your own from the comfort of your couch. Finding love does require some effort. The first step is getting up, getting dressed, and actually leaving your house.
- Do what you love. This is good advice for life in general, but it’s particularly helpful in dating. By this, we mean practicing your passions and hobbies whenever possible. If you love cooking, take a class. If your passion is reading, maybe join a book club. By hanging out in places and doing things that reflect what you love, you’re more likely to find someone on the same page.
- Keep your eyes open but not hyper-focused. It can be hard to strike a balance between being open to love and making it the center of your universe. Approach every day with openness and welcome any opportunities for connection. However, don’t become so obsessed with finding someone that it takes over your life.
- Let go of your “type.” By now you’ve probably realized that your “type” is somewhat limiting. That’s not to say you can’t have preferences. However, you should loosen your iron grip on exactly what you’re looking for. There are plenty of different kinds of fish in the sea. Why would only one kind be right for you?
- Hold onto those all-important standards and boundaries. If you want to find someone decent, you need to have standards. Demanding basic things like respect, courtesy, and consideration are the bare minimum. While many people won’t be willing or able to offer you those, there are plenty who will. Focus on them.
- Build a complete life that you love on your own. It goes without saying that a relationship is a bonus, not a requirement. The realization that you can have an incredible life on your own is so freeing. It means that you never accept less than you deserve. Not only that, but it makes you a better partner. You go into love as a whole person, not half of one. Find someone who’s the same.
- Don’t look down on being set up. It can be cringeworthy when a friend says they know someone you might really like. However, what’s the harm in giving it a go? There’s no way you can meet even a fraction of those plentiful fish swimming around looking for an amazing woman like you. Appreciate any help that comes your way.
- Be authentically, unapologetically yourself. Again, great life advice that just so happens to be vital for relationships. Pretending to be someone you’re not will never end well. Not only will things implode when you finally let your guard down, but you end up selling yourself short. You’re incredible. Let that shine and you can’t go wrong.