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Old 08-28-2005, 09:32 PM   #1
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Freestyles HB User
Online Dating - advice needed

After reading Banana Split's threads on dating someone with a "hidden" disability I'd thought I throw a question out to everyone.

But first, a little background.. I have a mobility impairment resulting from a condition I've had all my life - known as CP, or cerebral palsy.. I use two canes to get around, but aside from that I lead a "normal" life. I'm physically active and work out regularly.. I'm also work full time and study part time - Unfortunately The nature of my work doesn't leave me much time to meet potential dates, and I've given up on the club /bar scene.

After giving it a couple of weeks of thought, I've decided to give online dating a try... I must admit that I'm still a little weary of this, but as they say, oportunity lost is never gained.

So, to make a long post short, here is my question.. How is it best to bring up my mobility issues in the virtual world without scaring people away? I have lots to offer as a person and I'd hate to make what I have bigger than meets the eye. I'm open and honest about this, and I know talking to someone online shouldn't be any different. I'm just not sure how I'd bring this up as to me it seems a whole lot easier in a face to face meeting.

Any advice would be helpful..

Last edited by Freestyles; 08-28-2005 at 09:33 PM.

 
Old 08-28-2005, 10:06 PM   #2
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eaglesgirl37 HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

Hi Freestyles,

I can really empathize with your situation, and I wish I had an easy answer for you as to how to best handle telling potential dates about your condition. I am fortunate in that my medical problem (chronic neuropathic facial pain) is invisible to observers, but it is nonetheless a permanent condition which affects me every day and arouses a variety of judgmental assumptions in people made aware of my condition. I am particularly sensitive to revealing it because I believe it was the deciding factor which ended my last relationship (which I truly believed would last a lifetime), though I am now online dating and enjoying it immensely. As to how and when to convey this information to potential partners, I honestly wish I knew...I've mentioned this issue a few times in the past here, and I generally agree with the advice I've received that this isn't something I'm obligated to reveal immediately. Instead, most posters have suggested I wait until I get to know someone and decide whether or not they are trustworthy enough to confide in.

But obviously with your condition, it's not a viable option to wait a few dates before discussing the issue...as a woman, I think I'd respect you most if you explained your situation from the outset, either in your profile or in your first email communication. The only way it would bother or shock me is if it came as a surprised and I felt you were trying to hide something from me--does that make sense? The reason I say this is that if there are girls who are intolerant and close-minded about conditions like yours, you don't want to date them anyway, and they're likely to bolt no matter when they hear about your situation. However, I think the vast majority of women wouldn't dream of ruling out a potentially wonderful man because of something like CP which is completely outside your control and has likely made you more mature and compassionate than the average guy. The only way your condition would turn these women off is if, like Banana Split, they felt you deliberately decieved them and didn't trust and respect them to be 100% honest with them from the start. So basically, if there are girls who are going to be turned off by your CP, you're better off without them; most women are very unlikely to shy away from you due to your condition, but could very well be turned off if they perceive you as less than upfront and candid with them. That's the way I see it now, but I'm not really sure if that's the best advice or not--I'll be really interested to hear what other women, especially those with no personal experience with chronic medical problems, think and suggest as far as your situation is concerned.

I hope it's okay if I ask you a few questions about my situation and how you would feel encountering a woman with a chronic illness while online dating...I really don't want to hijack your thread so please feel free to ignore this if you'd prefer to concentrate on your own situation. Anyway, thinking about my advice to you, I wonder if I shouldn't be more upfront from the start in disclosing (what I believe will be) my chronic pain condition? As a guy who'll be dating online, freestyles, how would you suggest I approach this topic? Is it something you think should be mentioned on my profile? The only thing about that is that I'd worry about guys assuming I'm either addicted to pain medication or dating me with the goal of stealing pain medication as this is unfortunately, but usually, the first thing people ask me about after learning I have chronic pain. Do you think it would be best to mention in one of the first emails I exchange with a potential date, or should I hold off until we get to know each other better or perhaps meet in person? This is such a complex, private, and touchy subject that I really have no idea how to approach and discuss in the context of online dating, so I will be eagerly waiting to hear how people respond to your question, freestyles. You sound like an extremely intelligent and sensitive man, and I wish you all the best of luck with online dating...I have a feeling potential dates will view you as an amazing catch and be lining up all throughout cyberspace for a chance to snatch you up!

 
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Old 08-28-2005, 11:10 PM   #3
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glamourgal HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

I really don't think you have to list that you have CP on your profile (unless you just want to), because I am sure that it does not define who you are---so why list that on your profile? Get to know someone through a couple of emails (and let them get to know you)---and if it is someone that you would like to know even better, then tell them about the CP, but give them a chance to get to know the real you first. I do think that you should tell them about your condition before you meet in person, just so they know you are upfront and honest about it, and that way you will both be comfortable when you do meet in person for the first time. Anyway, good luck----I hope you meet someone really wonderful !!!!!!

 
Old 08-29-2005, 03:57 AM   #4
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Hangin in There HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

I was scanning a few ads the other day. One guy started out, "I have cerebral palsy, but please read on..." and I did. He was good looking and seemed nice, but I don't have a paid membership so I didn't contact him. At the end of the profile he reiterated, something like "I can do everything; I just walk a little slower".

 
Old 08-29-2005, 08:27 AM   #5
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greeneyes100 HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

I don't think you need to mention the cerebral palsy in your profile. But if you do exchange emails with someone that wants to meet and is interested in you, you might tell him on the phone before you meet. Especially, if you have trouble walking, because he would be certain to notice that right away on your date and would wonder why you didn't tell him about it.

There are lots of men with disabilities like yours and lots of men who would still love you, in spite of your disease. I truly believe there is someone for everyone and not just one person that's right for everyone. Good luck and keep us posted on your progess.

 
Old 08-29-2005, 08:47 PM   #6
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Freestyles HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

Thanks everyone for your replies...

Quote:
Originally Posted by greeneyes100
There are lots of men with disabilities like yours and lots of men who would still love you, in spite of your disease. I truly believe there is someone for everyone and not just one person that's right for everyone...
Greeneyes - It may be worth mentioning that I'm a guy, but hopefully that doesn't change much.

Eaglesgirl, I really appreciate your heartfelt insights.. I guess my fear is that in including this in my profile it will make for an unlevel playing field... I mean how easy is it to skip through one potential match out of dozens to choose from? At the same time I want to be honest and upfront because I'd have to agree that a relationship or friendship for that matter that's based on deception is a set-up for failure.

That being said, I feel it's important that you at least have some common interests with a person you'll be sharing personal information with, the same thing is true accross the board, disability or not.. I like the idea of mentioning it within the first few converstions. It's not my intention to "hide" anything
but I'd like to ensure that there is a foundation to build on, if there isn't chances are it wouldn't work out anyways.. What does everyone think of this approach?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglesgirl37
I am particularly sensitive to revealing it because I believe it was the deciding factor which ended my last relationship (which I truly believed would last a lifetime)
I know it can be incredibly hard to pick up the pieces after a previous relationship has ended on this note, but it's important to do so.. If you live in the past for too long, you miss out on opportunities, present and future... I know.. this is easier said than done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglesgirl37
Anyway, thinking about my advice to you, I wonder if I shouldn't be more upfront from the start in disclosing (what I believe will be) my chronic pain condition? As a guy who'll be dating online, freestyles, how would you suggest I approach this topic? Is it something you think should be mentioned on my profile? The only thing about that is that I'd worry about guys assuming I'm either addicted to pain medication or dating me with the goal of stealing pain medication as this is unfortunately, but usually, the first thing people ask me about after learning I have chronic pain.
I had to quote you here.. This sounds so much like what I used to think.. You need to stop thinking that a person must have some kind of hidden motive or is "defective" in some way in order to like you.. This thought is entirely falise and it's yet another reason why I missed out on a few potential "traditional" dates.

As for when you reveal your condition - This is essentially up to you.. I would recomend that you do it sooner rather than later, I'd hate for you to become attached to a guy and then have him back out over something like this.. If he runs off into the sunset after hearing about your conditon, then at least you don't have to cut all the emotional ties that come with breaking off something that's more long-standing.

The more open and honest you are with your date the better the potential for a solid friendship or relationship based on trust and integity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglesgirl37
...I really have no idea how to approach and discuss in the context of online dating, so I will be eagerly waiting to hear how people respond to your question, freestyles. You sound like an extremely intelligent and sensitive man, and I wish you all the best of luck with online dating...I have a feeling potential dates will view you as an amazing catch and be lining up all throughout cyberspace for a chance to snatch you up!
Nor do I.. So I'm hoping more people will respond to this thread. Likewise there are plenty of guys out there who will like you for you... Of that I'm sure!

FS

Last edited by Freestyles; 08-29-2005 at 08:58 PM.

 
Old 08-29-2005, 08:54 PM   #7
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Freestyles HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hangin in There
I was scanning a few ads the other day. One guy started out, "I have cerebral palsy, but please read on..."
By the way, I give this guy my utmost respect for mentioning this from the get go... Was this on a popular online dating site? I rarely, if ever see this kind of thing.

FS

Last edited by Freestyles; 08-29-2005 at 08:59 PM.

 
Old 08-29-2005, 10:41 PM   #8
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glamourgal HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestyles
.

That being said, I feel it's important that you at least have some common interests with a person you'll be sharing personal information with, the same thing is true accross the board, disability or not.. I like the idea of mentioning it within the first few converstions. It's not my intention to "hide" anything
but I'd like to ensure that there is a foundation to build on, if there isn't chances are it wouldn't work out anyways.. What does everyone think of this approach?
I totally agree with you FS!! Let us know how it goes---you sound like such a great person . I'm sure you won't have too much trouble finding someone as equally wonderful !!

 
Old 08-30-2005, 03:28 AM   #9
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Hangin in There HB User
Re: Online Dating - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestyles
By the way, I give this guy my utmost respect for mentioning this from the get go... Was this on a popular online dating site? I rarely, if ever see this kind of thing.
FS
Yes, it was on one of the largest dating sites. I appreciated his candor.

 
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