Disability dating sites vs general dating sites
Recent case studies on Tinder, where attractive disabled women put up profiles that avoided mentioning their wheelchair or the fact that they have cerebral palsy, have shown that hiding a disability often results in rejection. It’s sad, but hardly surprising – the dating world can be quite unforgiving for most of us, able-bodied and disabled people alike.
Naturally, the best way to avoid many of these issues is to either be honest and upfront about your disability in the first place on a mainstream site, or to place a profile on a specialized disabled dating site. The benefit of specific sites is that users expect to meet singles who are living with various challenges, so marketing yourself on a niche disabled dating site makes it much more about you than your disability.
Disability dating sites: top profile writing tips
Choose a good online dating username
Many sites will randomly assign you a username, such as ‘Jill_29’ or ‘Max_47’, and many daters are lazy and give themselves bland names – ‘Jenny_plymouth’ or ‘loveseeker’. Stand out from the crowd with a username like ‘Wheelchair Wombat’ or ‘Fearless Tea Drinker.’ It’ll get you noticed and give people a glimpse into what kind of person you are.
If you decide to use your own name, then avoid adding numbers that relate to your birthday as that can leave you open to hackers. Whatever you do, it’s worth browsing the site first to see what interesting usernames appeal to you and select something similar.
Bring out your best qualities
Be really honest and open about your qualities. These are not necessarily physical attributes. Are you a loyal person? Are you generous? Do you make people around you laugh? If you are not sure, then ask a group of your closest friends and family. What do they believe are your best points?
Try to come up with at least five adjectives and points that best describe you. If you get stumped, just remember the nicest things you’ve done for your exes or family members and refer to those.
Put your qualities into a concrete everyday context. Don’t just say you are loyal and supportive, say that you will take a real interest in a partner’s life and make them cups of coffee whilst they are busy studying, or massage their neck after a difficult day at the office. Or rather than say you are amusing company, say that you will sing them silly songs or do a Boris Johnson impersonation to cheer them up when they feel low.
It’s worth letting them know that you will be someone they can count upon during difficult health issues, someone they can turn to and talk to.
Talk about your specific disability requirements
Disability dating websites often have drop-down menus that allow you to list your disability. But I would suggest also mentioning it in your profile, in particular talking about your specific mobility restrictions.
Being disabled is just a catch all term, but there are many different disabilities and challenges you could be facing. There is a big difference between being an amputee in a wheelchair to being on the autistic spectrum. You should allow your specific kind of disability to steer your strategy in online dating.
For example, if you are wheelchair-bound it will obviously affect your mobility when socializing and so would be difficult to omit when you’re describing yourself on a dating profile. On the other hand, if you are autistic or have a learning difficulty, physical barriers might be less impactful on dating. But there may be other requirements it’s worth mentioning, such as the need to meet for the first time somewhere less busy, or nearer your home.
Your future partner will need to know and understand your requirements, so there’s no point hiding things that are going to be fundamental to the way you live.
Be clear on what’s important to you
Write down the things that are really important to you, such as regularly spending time with your family or travelling a lot. Your future partner will need to know if there are things that impact your life. For example, being an Adele fan is one thing, but being obsessed with Adele and selling your flat to buy a ticket to see her live at the O2 is something else. You would certainly want to mention such key interests that you would need to share with your prospective partner.
Grab people’s attention
Write an attention-grabbing headline such as ‘Not perfect, but my dog thinks I’m awesome’ or ‘In my mind, I sing just like Elvis’. Avoid clichés such as ‘Looking for soulmate’ or ‘Can you make me love again’, which can make you sound desperate and sad. Try to be concise and keep your description to a maximum of 250 words.
Make every word count. Don’t ramble on about stuff that you can use for conversation on your date or on the phone or in emails before the date. Stick to the essentials. Imagine you are the person reading the profile description and be honest with yourself as to where your own attention span would cut off.
Pick your profile picture carefully
Research shows that profiles with pictures get more response and good profile pictures get even better results. So, what makes a great profile picture? Use a picture that shows you in action doing something you love. But don’t just stick to selfie pictures – also add ones with your friends or family as this shows you in a social context which can be endearing. If you have a pet include it as well – it’ll separate you from the crowd.
Most importantly, use a photo that is recent and genuine. You would be amazed at the number of profile pictures that look nothing like the person in the profile. This wastes everyone’s time, especially if you are meeting someone with mobility problems who has made an effort to meet you for a date.
If you follow my plan of action, you are certain to get more replies to your profile and end up with dates that work well. Hopefully it won’t be long before you don’t need online dating anymore.