The countdown is on my friends - my upcoming wedding is now a short eight weeks away! And so, in the spirit of love, this SharePost shall be about finding romance and friendship. Intimacy is complicated enough without the additional layer of dealing with a life challenge, especially when that challenge is something as easily stigmatized and misunderstood as incontinence. Luckily, the Internet age has once again come to the rescue! Need some convincing that internet dating might be a viable option for you? Read on:
- The numbers alone are almost testimony enough that online dating is worth checking out. There are some 100 million single adult Americans out there, and about 40% of them have turned to online dating. Whether or not there is a match for you in that 100 million remains to be seen, but at least it's a pretty big pool of fish.
- Many individuals with incontinence find leaving the house to be a hassle, to say the least, due to the incontinence itself or another disability. By looking for love from your home office you can save your energy for the actual dates!
- Two of the top places where people traditionally try to meet someone are bars and coffee shops. Statistically, only nine percent of women and two percent of men say that they've met someone in a bar that has led to a relationship. Additionally, I remind you that both alcohol and caffeine are bladder irritants: need I say more?
Here's where the news gets really good: a few smarties out there have decided to capitalize on the fact that America's largest minority is people with disabilities. While incontinence isn't always categorized as a "disability", it certainly is a challenge as an often life-altering symptom. Online dating sites catering specifically to the population of adults with disabilities (and other life challenges, like incontinence) are popping up all over the place. Many of these new sites are getting a slow start, and don't have a huge selection pool - yet. The good news is that most of them are free to search and even free to post your own personal ad. Keep in mind that there are always far more people looking at websites then posting on them, so even though you may not see a personal ad for "Mr. or Mrs. Right", that doesn't mean that he or she isn't out there. Posting a free profile allows the opportunity for someone to try contacting you (although there is sometimes a fee for this additional service).
To get started with online dating in the disability world, try searching for the key phrase "disability online dating" at your favorite search engine. As I said above, there are many start-up websites out there, where you may want to consider posting your profile even if the pickings appear slim. One website that seems to be doing fairly well is www.lovebyrd.com. On this site, registered users can list a "life challenge" and you can actually search (for free and without registering) for men and women who've listed "incontinence" as their life challenge. I urge you to keep in mind, however, that many users may have listed another disability as their primary life challenge, but may still experience incontinence as an offshoot of that disability. Even if you don't meet someone with incontinence, by meeting through a disability-focused dating site you'll open the door immediately to discuss your situation openly and honestly, right off the bat, hopefully allowing you to quickly move past this often-awkward phase in the relationship.
One last word of caution: while the internet provides a lot of wonderful opportunities, I encourage you to proceed with caution. There are a lot of scams that exist, particularly when it comes to dating and establishing a personal connection with someone. This article tells about a few of the many scams that can take place: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8704213/page/2/. As a general rule, be wary of any dealings with money.
Dating can be scary for any number of reasons including financial, physical and emotional, no matter what the circumstances, but it can also lead to warm friendship and companionship. While dating with a disability, including incontinence, can be especially challenging, it can also be well-worth the efforts, and online dating opportunities can make it an even more feasible option.
Published On: July 18, 2007