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

  • From: "Lynn Evans" <evans-lynn@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 12:54:21 -0500

There seems to be a place for everyone on the Internet. All you need is a good 
search engine.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chip Orange 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 12:02 PM
  Subject: [tabi] Going through life alone? Try something new in the new year

                     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 roll
      alongside her.

      "That way we're on equal ground," she said.

      Ms. Nevius has dated several perfectly nice able-bodied men, but none
      seemed willing to start a serious relationship.

      "I think they were a little bit scared because they didn't know how to
      treat me," she said. She lives in Normal, Ill., a town with few single
      men around her age, let alone familiar and comfortable with disability.

      "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 started
      up in the last few years. Ms. Nevius joined [8]Dating 4 Disabled, a
      site for people with an array of disabilities, including [9]paralysis
      and [10]multiple sclerosis. Other sites include [11]NoLongerLonely, for
      adults with mental illness, and [12]POZ Personals, for people who are

      These sites are generally small and run by one person or a small group.
      They are all free, although some have a few ads to cover costs.

      Michael T. Maurer, 57, a professor of applied [14]psychology at [15]New
      York University, came upon POZ Personals while doing research for his
      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 in
      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 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, [16]Prescription4Love, has communities dedicated to
      [17]sexually transmitted diseases and physical disabilities, but also
      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 a
      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 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."

      As for Ms. Nevius, the man of her dreams may be paralyzed or blind, but
      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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