Online dating when disabled. This is a very hot topic that we receive lots of questions about at the Love Lounge. We invited Ted Shiress, one of our sexperts, to share his thoughts, personal experience and advice. Ted, who writes from a straight guy’s perspective, offers these pearls of wisdom.
I met my partner on a dating website. In the five or so years before that, I changed from thinking of myself as a complete romantic write-off to someone who knows what they’re doing. My experiences of it arguably buck the trend of most things I read by disabled daters. But the reality is for online dating to work, you’ve got to put some effort in! My practical tips and honest advice are shared below.
Introductions are Everything
Hi. How r u?
Hey. How’s it going?
Hello. What’s up?
Are you still reading? I hope so. Still, I can’t blame those who have clicked away. I have (at least on a non-ironic level) made no effort to arouse and sustain your interest. So it’s totally understandable if you’ve been distracted and turned to the flashiest thing on your screen.
Introductions are everything. So get creative. Send imaginative messages, but also make sure that your profile sells you well.
“Everyone’s superficial!” I hear you cry. Well yes, there are lots of people who are superficial on dating sites. Why are you wasting your time with them? Ultimately, if your entire message is solely saying “Hi. how r u?” they probably think you’re superficial too! That’s probably the same message they got from other guys who were panting like a dog in heat at a flash of cleavage. Not the epitome of feeling wanted!
In my experience the average woman on a dating site isn’t short of messages. So, she’ll have little desire to give a seemingly unimaginative message any attention. Here, you have two options:
1) Only message matches you can see genuine common ground with
2) Or maybe slightly overplay the potential connection to spark a rapport
Admittedly, the second is slightly shady, but sometimes potential takes time and exploration!
Perfecting Your Profile
I see people focus purely on their disability when writing their dating profile. I’m going to be harsh but honest here. If someone has little to no prior experience of disability, they might be thrown off-kilter. So, write interestingly and positively to counter that. Write about your interests: the places you’ve visited, books you’ve read, and music you love. Pull the reader in and get them hooked on what you have to say, rather than the equipment you might use to navigate the world. That’s perhaps a more intimate chat for later on.
Choose Your Dating Site Carefully
OK Cupid was my personal favourite dating site, and where I met my partner. This was because it gave me the most opportunity to go into detail and put myself across well. Honestly? It took a nudge from her housemate (Thanks Chrissie!) to get her to reply to my first message, but it worked! In fact, it’s not a bad idea to ask friends to help you write your profile. Together, you might create the perfect dating pitch.
OK Cupid also had a good matching system, based on values rather than interests. An endless bank of questions you could answer gradually built up a kind of moral profile of who you were. It then matched you in % to potential partners. Obviously, it was a vague estimate but I often found the matches in the 90%s the most easy to talk to. I think my partner Astrid rocked in at 95% – see, my dear, stats don’t lie!
Is it Worth it?
So contrary to a lot of opinions, I say yes, online dating when disabled is worth it! Just don’t take it personally when you don’t get a reply. Your message is probably one of fifty!
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