Dating sites for people with physical disabilities

"And let's face it, depending on what [the illness] is, it could very well make you uncompetitive in the larger dating pool." Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives.A new breed of dating site has emerged to play cupid for people with chronic diseases and disabilities.Y., has lived with schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines features of schizophrenia and mood disorders (such as depression), since 1992.In 2004, after years of brushing up against the harsh realities of the dating scene, Leftwich founded No Longer Lonely, a dating site that caters to the mentally ill."But I probably knew everybody in my community and nobody I knew wanted to date me or vice versa.Lynn lived 60 miles away, but we made it work." By pushing a "friends first" concept, which has been emulated in the communal blog and forum features of Prescription 4 Love, No Longer Lonely, and other illness-specific sites, Date Able members can get up to speed on the dating world in a familiar environment without the prying eyes of the Web.Lana, a 38 year-old publicist in Los Angeles, was diagnosed with genital herpes in 1997.Since then, she has "kind of been hiding" from the dating scene.

Prescription 4 Love, which started charging in May 2009, is .95 per month, while most of the features on No Longer Lonely (including the dating service and chat rooms) are still free.Let's face it: How do you drop that bomb on a potential love interest? She considered a number of online dating venues, but she says asked too many questions on its enrollment form, e Harmony was too "religious," and My Space was too much of a "hookup zone." "I wanted to meet men with my same diagnosis so we wouldn't [need to] have 'the talk,' or fear of rejection and transmitting," she says."Most of us with this don't wish to spread it." Despite -- or perhaps because of -- the economic downturn, the billion-dollar online dating industry has been booming. More from Health.com: Dating Tips For People With Inflammatory Bowel Disease How To Tell A New Partner A Health Secret 10 Tips For Dating With Depression While sites like and e Harmony don't discriminate, they also don't cater to people like Lana who are coping with sexually transmitted diseases, disabilities, or mental health conditions.Ricky Durham founded Prescription 4 Love in 2006, inspired by his late brother Keith, who lived with Crohn's disease for 15 years before passing away in 2004. Though he doesn't find it appropriate to be a member of a community he founded, he says he can empathize with his members."He was a good-looking boy, and he could find dates, but when do you tell someone you have a colostomy bag? "It's nice to find someone who's going through what you're going through," he says.All of these can make dating -- often an ego-shattering minefield for those in perfect health -- even trickier."On bigger dating sites the competition is tremendous," says Jim Houran, Ph D, a clinical psychologist and columnist for Online Dating Magazine."I thought to myself, "There should be something like this out there," and I was surprised to find there wasn't," says Leftwich."If you're mentally ill, it's kind of a hostile world out there."If it's the 30th day of the month, you're thinking, 'I've got one more day to find someone or it's another .'" Date Able, which was founded in 1987 by a Washington, D.C., doctor who wanted to give her patients a way to combat the isolation that accompanied their physical disabilities, charges a 5 initiation fee for the first year and every year thereafter.

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