Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Specialized dating sites for the disabled

Searching for a mate is hard work, and it can be hard to find a match if you have special needs. So there's a demand for specialized dating sites: Difference Is the Norm on These Dating Sites

"Several dating Web sites for singles with health problems have started up in the last few years. Ms. Nevius joined Dating 4 Disabled, a site for people with an array of disabilities, including paralysis and multiple sclerosis. Other sites include NoLongerLonely, for adults with mental illness, and POZ Personals, for people who are H.I.V-positive."
"He said the worst part of dating was the anxiety over disclosing his H.I.V. status. Getting to know someone in an online community of people with H.I.V. allows relationships to form without the burden of the big reveal hovering overhead.

“Here everyone knows you have H.I.V.,” he said, “so it gets that barrier out of the way.”

"Another site, Prescription4Love, has communities dedicated to sexually transmitted diseases and physical disabilities, but also to other diseases that don’t conjure images of romance and intimacy, like diabetes and Parkinson’s. The site was created by Ricky Durham, whose late brother suffered from Crohn’s disease — a condition that came with literal baggage.

“He was a good-looking boy,” Mr. Durham said. “But when do you tell a girl that you have a colostomy bag? The first date? The third? There’s no good time.”

"Awkward issues that come with an illness can be discussed frankly and openly in an online space in which everyone is dealing with something out of the ordinary.

“Sexuality, travel, mobility, pain: Everything takes on a different dimension,” said Merryl Kaplan, who is in charge of member services for Dating 4 Disabled.

"The anonymity of the Internet allows people to be forthcoming and honest about what they are truly looking for in a companion. Among the almost 12,000 members of Dating 4 Disabled, for example, many specify the types of disabilities they would be open to dealing with in a long-term relationship.

“Like anyone else, people with disabilities have different preferences,” Ms. Kaplan said. “Someone with good mobility may prefer someone also mobile; others don’t limit at all.”

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