[tabi] Going through life alone? Try something new in the new year

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 12:02:16 -0500

                   Difference Is the Norm on These Dating Sites
         By KAREN BARROW
    Sherry Nevius, single and 52, is looking for a mate with all the
    important adjectives -- caring, sincere, intelligent, funny. Oh, and
    one more thing: disabled.
    Born with [7]cerebral palsy, Ms. Nevius uses a wheelchair. She is
    independent and mobile, but would prefer to meet a man who could
    alongside her.
    "That way we're on equal ground," she said.
    Ms. Nevius has dated several perfectly nice able-bodied men, but
    seemed willing to start a serious relationship.
    "I think they were a little bit scared because they didn't know how
    treat me," she said. She lives in Normal, Ill., a town with few
    men around her age, let alone familiar and comfortable with
    "It's hard enough to find someone with similar interests," she said.
    "Finding someone O.K. with your disability just makes it harder."
    So this fall Ms. Nevius took her search online.
    Several dating Web sites for singles with health problems have
    up in the last few years. Ms. Nevius joined [8]Dating 4 Disabled, a
    site for people with an array of disabilities, including
    and [10]multiple sclerosis. Other sites include [11]NoLongerLonely,
    adults with mental illness, and [12]POZ Personals, for people who
    These sites are generally small and run by one person or a small
    They are all free, although some have a few ads to cover costs.
    Michael T. Maurer, 57, a professor of applied [14]psychology at
    York University, came upon POZ Personals while doing research for
    work and found it to be a welcoming community where it was easier to
    get to know someone.
    "As a gay man from Bucks County, Pa., I thought dating would be easy
    New York, but it didn't prove to be so," Dr. Maurer said.
    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
    with H.I.V. allows relationships to form without the burden of the
    reveal hovering overhead.
    "Here everyone knows you have H.I.V.," he said, "so it gets that
    barrier out of the way."
    Another site, [16]Prescription4Love, has communities dedicated to
    [17]sexually transmitted diseases and physical disabilities, but
    to other diseases that don't conjure images of romance and intimacy,
    like [18]diabetes and [19]Parkinson's. The site was created by Ricky
    Durham, whose late brother suffered from [20]Crohn's disease -- a
    condition that came with literal baggage.
    "He was a good-looking boy," Mr. Durham said. "But when do you tell
    girl that you have a [21]colostomy bag? The first date? The third?
    There's no good time."
    Awkward issues that come with an illness can be discussed frankly
    openly in an online space in which everyone is dealing with
    out of the ordinary.
    "Sexuality, travel, mobility, pain: Everything takes on a different
    dimension," said Merryl Kaplan, who is in charge of member services
    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
    almost 12,000 members of Dating 4 Disabled, for example, many
    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
    someone also mobile; others don't limit at all."
    As for Ms. Nevius, the man of her dreams may be paralyzed or blind,
    there is one potential deal breaker: He must be an animal lover.
    "My dog and I," she said, "come as a package deal."

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