Today I wish to address an intriguing issue, online dating and cerebral palsy/disabilities.
Specifically I’ll discuss the dating website e-Harmony. Looking for something different I decided to take advantage of e-Harmony’s special post-Valentine’s Day pricing, signing up for a year subscription at the discounted rate.
Over the year I enjoyed in-depth communication with three women, going on to have a date with one of them.
Reflecting back I don’t think I fully capitalized on my e-Harmony experience because I didn’t know how to handle my cerebral palsy.
Should I mention my mild CP in my profile, withhold the information until talking on the phone, or not discuss it at all?
Initially I thought an upfront approach served best so I included my CP into my dating profile.
I figured “Hey, if my disability is going to put someone off, so be it.
Relying on the wonders of Internet search engines I researched the subject when to disclose a disability while using an online dating service.Basically my findings indicated each stage (in profile, on the phone, not at all) maintained some pros and cons.I did remove the fact about my cerebral palsy from my profile after advice an able-bodied friend of eight years gave me.“I don’t think you should put it in your profile because there is more to you than your diagnosis.” Surely once I deleted CP from my profile I noticed an increase in responses.I still felt obligated to disclose my cerebral palsy prior to meeting a match in person, an obligation which nerved me.Having to disclose my disability just didn’t sit well with me. I don’t think cerebral palsy should require disclosing.Instead I think a disability serves as an element that’s simply there.After all, when I meet someone in person I don’t greet her “Hi, I have cerebral palsy and my name is Zachary.” Rather I say “Hi, my name is Zachary.” Certainly my cerebral palsy will eventually get brought up but as something just there, not a fact I must disclose.Now I know certain online dating websites remove any disability related stigma by catering strictly to the disability community.Personally I’m not opposed to dating somebody with a disability. Disabilities can trigger self-confidence issues with dating too, a subject I discuss in my teenage memoir Off Balanced (available on the Kindle & Nook).However, I dislike the idea of limiting myself strictly to them. If you want to learn how I dealt with my self-confidence issues in high school, make sure to read my book.